Category Archives: Children’s Fiction

The Mirror of Pharos by J.S. Landor

Title:The Mirror of Pharos
Author: J.S. Landor
Genre: Children’s Fiction & Sci Fi & Fantasy
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Limited
Publishing date: 28th November, 2017
ISBN: 9781788034159

Synopsis:Jack Tideswell’s parents died in a diving accident while exploring the underwater ruins of the ancient Pharos lighthouse. So Jack wants nothing to do with adventure. Until that is, a seagull delivers a strange disc, addressed to him in his own handwriting.
In the blink of an eye, all kinds of magic are let loose, sending Jack on a dangerous journey. Can he learn to navigate time before it’s too late to save the one person who can help him unravel the secrets of the disc?
Whether he likes it or not, there’s no more hiding away. And no looking back. Especially when Alpha is watching. A wolf who sees all there is to see

My Review:

I was very excited starting to read this book, but also quite hesitant, because the book is compared to Harry Potter and other reviewers have compared it to the early Harry Potter books. Both Harry Potter and Jack are orphans so the comparisons start already in the first chapter. Additionally it is a book that suggests ancient Egypt and I am sort of a fan of the area. However, I did find the book a bit hard to start, it did not suck me in right away and I did not get carried away with the story. For me the story moved a bit too slow, so it was too easy to just put the book down to do something else. Once I got past the first initial chapters, it was easier to keep reading and the story indulged me. The characters you meet are easy to like and imagine. The illustrations that I saw was great, but my kindle seemed to have a small issue showing the illustrations properly (or it could just be my iPad that had the issue), though I would recommend getting this book in book format rather than for kindle.

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The Seer’s Curse by J.J. Faulks

Title: The Seer’s Curse
Author: J.J. Faulks
Genre: Frantasy
Publisher: Matador
Publishing date: April 28th, 2018
ISBN: 9781788038546

Synopsis: Orleigh is cursed. Or so the other villagers believe. With each harvest worse than the last, something must be done. And so they consult the Seer. A deal is struck: the village will thrive once more, but in return, Orleigh must be sacrificed to the Earth God, Teymos.
A tale of friendship, acceptance and self-discovery, filled with a new mythology, The Seer’s Curse is a moving debut to be enjoyed by all fantasy fans

My Review:

The Seer’s Curse start off a little slow in order to set up a world that is a little different from ours and to set up the plot. I think that for some readers the beginning might be a bit too slow to stick with, but when you stick with it you will get delivered a story of self-discovery and acceptance. At times the story seems a bit confused in regards to which audience it’s intended for, whether it is middle grade, teenage or intended for the YA genre. That issue aside, I did really enjoy to hear the story through the various point of views it had to offer, however the view of the Seer became redundant and did not really add any value to the narrative of the complete story. Overall I believe this is a good debut novel and I look forward to what else this author can bring to the table.

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The Elf King by Lorraine Hellier

Title: The Elf King
1st book  in an unnamed series.
Author: Lorraine Hellier
Genre: Fantasy – Children’s
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd
Publishing date: 28th of January 2017
ISBN: 9781785898877

Synopsis: Bay Leaf is the new Elf King. In this fantasy tale his sister, Sweet Pea, demonstrates her love and devotion for her brother. The elves go on a perilous journey to the Mountain Shrine where Bay Leaf must take his ‘Oath of Allegiance’ to the ‘Moon Lake Elves’. An enchanted book offers advice and guidance from their ancestors and warns Sweet Pea to take care of her brother

My Review:

The Elf King is very clearly intended for a younger audience, which I was aware of when I started reading. Still it took me a little while to get with the story, it might have been the beginning that seems a bit abrupt or that the pace seemed a bit in certain places. Though once I got  a grip on the story I managed to stay with it, and I did rather enjoy it.
The narrative is fresh and young When I read it kept reminding me of the Disney movies about Tinkerbell, and I think those who enjoyed those movies will enjoy this book series very much (maybe when they are slightly older than the intended age-group for Tinkerbell).
The community in which we meet the elves felt very natural and convincing. Lorraine has her own take on the elves without it becoming forced, you can see her own little world in there.
I do though recommend this book for younger readers, though I see no reason older readers shouldn’t enjoy this book too.

Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston

Title: Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms
Author:Robert Paul Weston
Illustrator: Misa Saburi
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publishing date: 20th of February 2018
ISBN: 9781101918746

Synopsis: A warm, gorgeous exploration of a little girl’s experience immigrating to a new country and missing her home and her grandmother, who still lives far away.

My Review:

Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms is written through a series of Tanka poems , a traditional Japanese poem. The poem style is applied flawlessly throughout the book, and though it has few pages this book covers a lot of ground.
The story is about Sakura, who relocates with her family to America, and her meeting with the everyday in a foreign country with a new culture and a new language. It gives a view of how she misses her old home and her grandmother, but still becomes a sweet story about friendship.
The illustrations in this book is beautiful and varied, they compliment the story excellently. It is an excellent story, very suitable for young readers between 3 – 7 years.

Rocky Rocks and the Colourful Socks by Seniha Slowinsk

Title: Rocky Rocks and the Colourful Socks
Author: Seniha Slowinsk
Genre: Picture book, Children’s fiction
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publishing date: 1st of February 2018
ISBN: 9781912262274

Synopsis: Can you help Rocky Rocks find his socks? If you can see, you must tell me, what colour sock you can see?
I’ll give you a clue, it rhymes with bed, could it be the colour…

My Review:

Rocky Rocks and the Colourful Socks is a nifty little picture books which will teach the youngest readers about colours as you search through Rocky’s house looking for socks.
The book is written in light rhyme which makes it easy to read out loud and easy to remember. The illustrations are large and colourful, which makes them entertaining.
I would recommend this book for the youngest readers, as the text and illustrations are fun.

Planet of the Orb Trees by Barton Ludwig

Title: Planet of the Orb Trees
Author: Barton Ludwig
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Heartlab Press Inc.
Publishing date: 14th of December 2017
ISBN: 9780995044159

Synopsis:Environmental disasters have forced most of humanity to live inside Roaring Rocket Amusement Park. Everyone is happy riding broken-down rides except for Kai. When Kai spots a healthy tree inside a giant maze, he wonders if orbs from that tree can transport him to a new green planet. Kai’s friend, RJ, tries to talk him out of his dreams but Kai persists.

My Review:

I enjoyed the premise of this post apocalyptic world where a group of people have taken refuge withing an amusement park. Kai, is not convinced that he is safe at the amusement park, he want to flee the flame-ridden planet to find a safe haven. Despite his friend’s warnings he set out on a journey to get to the biggest Orb Three, because he is convinced that his escape lies in this three.
In his journey Kai learns a lot of lessons about other people and about being kind.
I did enjoy the story, but the story felt too rushed and it lacked any depth in its characters. The artwork was nice, but whoever was tasked with drawing a camel for this book does not know the different between a camel and a dromedary. Camel are two-humped, the drawing in the book is one-humped (that is a dromedary). As a children’s book I believe that things like that should be on point, because these books are supposed to not only entertain children but also educate them.
The book also had a few inconsistencies where there were talk about not having any coconuts and then suddenly the orbs were called coconuts.
Apart from that it was an okay read.

The Girl Who Said Sorry by Hayoung Yim

Title: The Girl Who Said Sorry
Author: Hayoung Yim
Illustrator: Marta M.
Genre: Children’s Fiction , Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Self-published
Publishing date: 5th of October 2017
ISBN: 9780993717482

Synopsis: Too girly or too boyish. Too thin or too fat. Too quiet, too loud. Be ambitious, but don’t hurt feelings. Be inquisitive, but don’t interrupt. Be outspoken, but don’t be bossy. Most of all, be yourself — but be a lady. What’s a girl to do in a world filled with contradicting gender expectations, aside from saying sorry?

My Review:

The Girl Who Said Sorry is a short and easy read, this is a book intended for 4 – 8 year olds. It does serve a good narrative for all the things that girls are told to do but not to do from an early age on. This is a picture book, and the illustrations are simplistic and colours are used sparingly. I think the design goes very well with the books theme.
This book does cover a topic in great need for coverage, and I think it that this book could definitely help both child and parent. This book could potentially help a little girl to get on the path of discovering herself.

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball by Laura Ellen Anderson

Title: Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball
Author: Laura Ellen Anderson
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Egmont UK
Publishing date: 5th of October 2017
ISBN:9781405286725

Synopsis:Welcome to the world of Nocturnia, where darkness reigns supreme, glitter is terrifying, and unicorns are the stuff of nightmares! Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the yeti and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball.
When the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy, Amelia and her friends must escape the party to plan a daring rescue. In their race against time, they being to realize things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem… Join Amelia on her very first adventure. She won’t bite!

My Review:

In Nocturnia  everything sparkly, fluffy and cute is considered terrifying, which is a great premise for a comical book about nocturnal creatures. This premise intrigued me to pick up this book for my autumn reading roll. This book was fun and easy to read, but on certain topics it did disappoint.

One of the disappointing part of this book was the absentee parenting trope which tends to be a viral infection in literature for children. I understand the need for absentee parents, and it can be done well, like in Coraline by Neil Gaiman. In Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball the absentee parenting troupe was borderline neglect, the mother is insanely self-absorbed caring more for her looks and her social status before her daughter. At one point the mother gives away her favorite chair and Amelia’s pet pumping away to the kings spoiled-rotten son. when Amelia refuses she is told not to cause a scene and sent to her room. The father seems to be more concerned about his crossword puzzles than his family and is a stereotypical never-in-the-kitchen male. This is empathized by Amelia’s bafflement over the first time her father put a teacup in the sink on his own. In our day and time where social norms and gender-roles are being challenged, reverting back to stereotypes in children’s fictions will not help us grow a new generation with good and open values.
The bottom line regarding this issue is that I think this story had a lot of unexplored potential.

That aside I found the illustrations in this book nothing short of amazing. They are simple and very cute, and they do their job well of complimenting the story and it’s themes.
Another good point about this book is the humor, which is at some points a little over the top hilarious with words like “darklings” and “diephone” and so on and so forth. In the beginning I found the puns a little annoying, but as I read on I go used to them. I can imagine that the humor will be just the perfect cup of tea for it’s intended audience (which is middle grade), but as an adult reader it took me a while to get used to them.
This book can easily be compared to the Hotel Transylvania movies with it’s vitty language and puns, and I think they are reaching for the same type of audience. And I only wish that Amelia’s parents would have taken a tiny straw out of daddy Count Dracula’s overprotective parenting book.

Book Review: The Thunderbolt Pony

Title: The Thunderbolt Pony
Author: Stacy Gregg
Genre: Children’s Fiction , Middle Grade
Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Children’s
Publishing date: 5th of October 2017
ISBN: 9780008257026

Synopsis: A dramatic and emotional story about one girl’s determination to stand by her beloved animals – and her refusal to give up, even in the face of impossible odds.

My Review:

The Thunderbolt Pony is a good story for any animal lover. It is a cute little story about Evie’s journey across the earthquake torn South Island of New Zealand, accompanies by her three animal friends. Her pony Gus, her dog Jock and her cat Moxy
I did enjoy to read the story through the girls eyes, and her troubles and challenges seemed real. However I found the beginning of the story a bit hard to get in to, as I found it a bit implausible that a 12-year-old girl could pin point the exact moment she developed her OCD. Don’t get me wrong, the story was very touching and seemed logical of how her father’s declining health to cancer cased her to develop OCD, but I found that part implausible.
That did not stop me from continuing reading the story, and I did enjoy that the author spent a lot of time showing how an illness like OCD can affect people, even in crisis and I think we need more books that empathize this.
In the end it was a very moving story and I enjoyed to spend time with Evie, Moxy, Gus and Jock, and it emphasized the fact of not leaving anyone behind and that pets are part of your responsibility even when a disaster hit.

Book Review: Kakieland Katastrophe – Hotel Transylvania

Title: Kakieland Katastroph
Series: Hotel Transylvania #1
Author: Stefan Petrucha
Genre: Graphic Novel, Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Papercutz
Publishing date: 12th of September 2017
ISBN: 9781629918082

Synopsis: The debut Hotel Transylvania graphic novel based on the movies! Horror author Stephen Cling visits Hotel Transylvania to try and prove monsters are still dangerous. Dracula, his daughter and her family, and the Drac pack are anything but! However, when a human child goes missing, it is up to Drac, Mavis, and the rest of the Hotel crew to locate the child before their monstrous reputation gets them chased out of town.

My Review:

Kakieland Katastroph is a rather short comic book with about 64 pages. the story contains the same quirky humor of the two very popular and successful movies. The art work, as expected, is a bit of a downgrade, but it is still neat and adds to the story.

In the story we meet the familiar characters from the movie as they are running a hotel in a monster-friendly (or not so monster friendly world). It takes place at some time after the second movie ended.

The story feels a bit rushed at times, which probably could have been avoided by adding a couple more pages, I would have liked the story to be longer. This is the first volume of a series and hopefully the story progression in the next chapter will be a bit more natural.
As a fan of both the movies I found this book very entertaining and I enjoyed reading  it, and I look forward to the next installment.