Reviewing Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink

About this book:

Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working with Jess, who can communicate with animals, they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well-behaved pupils. And exactly who is behind it all.

Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink is a funny, mid-grade novel full of farts, jokes and superhero references. Oh, and a rather clever goldfish called Bob. In a world where kids’ flaws and peculiarities are being erased out of existence, Alex and Jess must rely on what makes them different to save the day.

Author: Jennifer Killick

Illustrator: Heath McKenzie

Publisher: Firefly Press Ltd

My Review:

Somewhere between The Demon Headmaster and Alex Rider this book is packed with humour, spies and mysterious goings on!

I found this book very funny from the very beginning- it’s definitely my humour, a bit of serious and a bit of silly mixed together.

I love the use pop culture references, from the word go Jennifer has you feeling like you might just go to school with Alex, you may just casually bump into him in the playground perhaps because he makes reference to the things that you know and the things that are current. It’s very funny and appealing- although i’m not sure how that may sit with readers in years to come but right now it’s great!

The book is hilarious and Alex’s ‘power’ is simply genius and i felt quite unique- we get a lot of rehashing the same old ideas in exactly the same way and this felt quite fresh and not at all done!

Brilliant, i read it all in one sitting and i’m thoroughly looking forward to the next instalment. 

alex sparrow and the really big stink

Reviewing The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare

About this book:

I am how I’ve always been.
My name is Auden Dare.
I am eleven years old.

Auden Dare has an unusual perspective on life: he cannot see in colour. He’s always had this rare condition – and life is beginning to get harder for Auden. The war for water that is raging across the world is getting a little closer all the time. It hardly rains any more, anywhere. Everyone is thirsty all the time, and grubby, and exhausted. Auden has to learn to live without his father, who is away fighting, and has had to move to a new town with his mother, and start a new school, where everyone thinks he’s a weirdo. But when he meets Vivi Rookmini, a smiling girl bright with cleverness, his hopes begin to lift.

It soon becomes clear to Auden, though, that there are some strange things afoot in his new hometown. He and his mother have moved into the old cottage of his recently-dead uncle Jonah Bloom – a scientist and professor at the university. The place is in disarray – and although Auden’s mother tells him it’s because Jonah was a messy old thing, Auden knows differently. Someone else did this – someone who was looking for something of Jonah’s. Auden had heard too that Jonah was working on something that could cure Auden’s condition – could this be it?

Then Auden and Vivi make an extraordinary discovery. Hidden away under the shed at the bottom of Jonah’s garden is an engimatic and ingenious robot, who calls himself Paragon. A talking, walking, human-like robot. Apparently built by Jonah – but why? The answer to this will take Auden and Vivi on a thrilling journey of discovery as they seek to find out just what exactly Paragon is – and what link he has to Auden – and find that the truth is bigger and more wonderful than either of them could have imagined.

Author: Zillah Bethall

Artwork: Matt Saunders

Publishers: Piccadilly Press

My Review:

The extraordinary colours of Auden Dare is in fact rather a extraordinary book!

I was a little bit unsure of what to expect before reading it but i can honestly say that it surprised me in a great way.

The story is expertly crafted, the war on water feels strangely familiar and the dystopian world in which Auden is living in feels like it could almost parallel ours at times- in fact it could all just be one big foreshadow to the future of our planets inhabitants. I likened the war and rations on water to wars begun in ownership rows on oil. 

The imagery that this idea then set up was strong and at times hard to swallow because the sense of it all being utterly wrong was so intense, the thought was heartbreaking- nobody expects to have just 4 minutes a week to clean themselves.

Bethall conjured such powerful imagery when she described a world constantly thirsty.

This is definitely a thought provoking novel and a definite must for those that like mystery, intrigue and science elements. There are many other parts to the book but i don’t want to spoil it for you, go and discover its secrets now!

My favourite character are Vivi and Paragon.

I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one sitting.

the extraordinary colours of auden dare

Thank you to Toppsta and Piccadilly Press for my copy of the book.

Reviewing A Christmas Carol: A Charles Dickens Search and Find Book

About this book:

Discover the world of Charles Dickens with Search & Find A Christmas Carol. The popular, magical story is retold in beautifully illustrated search & find pages where you can find the characters on the busy pages and follow them through the story. Each page is full of characters to find and details to spot in the busy scenes, such as Scrooge in his counting house, the arrival of Jacob Marley’s ghost, the Fezziwig Christmas party and the Cratchit family at home on Christmas Day and many more. Beautiful illustrations are accompanied by abridged text, perfect for sharing with little ones and introducing them to Charles Dickens’ stories.

Author: Charles Dickens

Illustrator: Louise Pigott

Publisher: Templar Publishing

a christmas carol

My Review:

I tried reading A Christmas Carol last year but i struggled to get into it, i suppose it was the language difference. I was keen to read it as so many stories adapt the original and i wanted to see where they derived from, alas at the time, like i say i just couldn’t get though it.

I really liked this search and find version of the book, not only did it give a very very shortened version of the story- think basically ‘this happened, then this happened, then this happened’- it also was completely and utterly beautifully visual. The artwork suits it well and is lovely, every page is a real delight.

I think this book is a great introduction to Charles Dickens classic tale and it has made me want to try reading the original again, while appreciating this book at the same time.

a christmas carol

Thank you to Toppsta and Templar Publishing for my copy of this book.

Reviewing Who Let The Gods Out

About this book:

Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

A new, exciting and brilliantly British Percy Jackson-esque adventure – the first in a series centred on the Olympian gods. 

Author: Maz Evans

Publisher: Chicken House

Extract (Provided by Publisher):

It began on a Friday, as strange things often do. This particular Friday turned out to be stranger than most, although it had started normally enough. Elliot Hooper got up at 7.30 a.m. as normal, made his mum breakfast at 8.15 a.m. as normal, went to school at 8.55 a.m. as normal and was in the headmaster’s office by 9.30 a.m., which was, in fact, slightly later than normal. ‘Oh, Elliot,’ sighed Graham Sopweed, headmaster of Brysmore Grammar School. ‘What are we going to do with you?’

With thanks to The Kids Of Readalot for my copy of
Who Let The Gods Out

My Review:

Wow!

I mean genuinely wow!

I can’t describe just how much i have absolutely fallen in love with this book and in turn Maz Evans.

Both my parents read Who Let The Gods Out before i did. My Mummy read it in the car on the way to our holiday and i could hear her howling like a banshee from the backseat. I say that with a lot of love and respect for her of course but i swear she snorted a few times. My Daddy got his mitts on it next because she’d read that many extracts out to him that he was dying to read it before we came back.

I’ve kept meaning to read it but new books have cropped up and i simply haven’t found the time- boy was i missing out! I should have snuck it into my room every night and read it with a torch under my duvet!

Who Let The Gods Out has semi familiar characters, everyone knows the story of the Greek Gods… or so we thought. Maz Evans gives them depth, gives them heart, gives them their own special swear word! The Gods here aren’t quite what they used to be and those in charge are not what you’d expect. It’s when humans and the heavens collide that our adventure really begins.

Then there are those without powers, leading ordinary, everyday lives.. kind of. Elliot lives with his Mum. His wonderful Mum who provides our hard hitting story that runs alongside the fun/ exciting one. Maz has brought an issue that is rarely brought into children’s fiction and handled with such care. Elliot’s has become carer to his Mother who is the shell of her former self. The relationship between the two is deeply tender, heartwarming and breaking and keeps us grounded while all the other craziness is going on.

Josie Mum we love you and you raised a good boy.

There is a teacher bullying Elliot, a posh tycoon bullying just about everyone, a soft walk-over headmaster, a Demon on the loose and of course a plethora of Gods.

There were so many utterly wonderful and entertaining moments during this book that when you recall one, they all start flooding back. This is so much more than just a funny read however as i felt elated, sad, worried, scared, excited and my heart genuinely hurts for Elliot and his Mum, thankfully the inclusion of such characters as Charon provide light relief and make that awful pain subside.

My favourite character is definitely Virgo, no wait, Hermes… er Zeus, no Patricia, the Queen. You can see it’s hard to choose!

I put down Who Let the God’s Out and picked up Simply The Quest. If you read any book this year, make it this book.

A firm favourite in our house. Maz, i think we love you.

Who-Let-the-Gods-Out