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Letters to the Lost by Bridget Kemmerer – Book review

On Wednesday I’m part of the Bloomsbury Spring Titles blog tour and I will be reviewing the follow up to Letters to the Lost – More Than We Can Tell. I’ve heard you can read the books as standalones but I’ve had the first book on my shelf for ages so wanted to pick that up first.

And I am very glad I did. Now I’m not a big romance reader with regards Adult Fiction but throw me some YA Contemporary Romance and I get the gushies. I find contemporaries so much quicker to read than the sci-fi/fantasy books I usually go for so I’d highly recommend if you’ve hit a bit of a slump and want a pacy and emotional read.

This romance is fairly complex. Juliet writes letters to her dead mother which she leaves on her grave. One day she gets a response to her letter – from a stranger.

At first she is so angry and, rightly so – her privacy has been violated. So she writes back telling the mysterious author what she thinks of them.

Soon the pair of them come to realise that the other person they are communicating with share similar feelings of loss and anguish and eventually they share e-mail addresses and start chatting about life, the universe and everything.

But little do they know that they’ve actually already met in real life, and they really don’t like each other.

Declan thinks Juliet is a preppy snob and he’s known as the school’s most likely to end up in prison, after all he’s already doing community service.

Author Bridget Kemmerer creates two troubled teens searching for meaning, finding it in each other but being scared to take that next step. As an occupational therapist I also liked how the author explored the meaning people find in doing valued occcupations and the loss they feel when they are prevented from taking part in them.

There’s a shock twist towards the end of the book that I can’t help but wonder how their relationship would play out if the author had chosen to pick the alternative. We would have needed a much longer story to play that out and I was satisfied with the ending but left pleased with the knowledge that we get to delve into Declan’s best friend Rev’s back story in the follow up. Come back on Wednesday for my stop on the blog tour to read what I thought about More Than We Can Tell and check out the other blood tour stops reviewing three of Bloomsbury’s Spring titles.

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Curse of the Werewolf Boy by Chris Priestly – Blog Tour 


Summary

Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloomladen, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?

Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.

Goodreads link 

The Author 

Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

 

Website: http://www.chrispriestleybooks.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/crispriestley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrispriestleywriter/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherpriestley/

 
What I Thought

This was such a fun read and perfect for the target audience. I can imagine that this would make a great bedtime story with lots of enjoyment to be had doing the voices. 

The two main characters, best friends Mildew and Sponge reminded me of Phineus and Ferb, as did the whole crackpot adventure. 
Not only did Chris write all the words he drew all the pictures too. And I felt the illustrations added to the story, in one case more clearly contributing details that wouldn’t have been gleamed from words alone. And look at this map? 


This is a fun boarding school parody that will entertain fans of the genre. I’d love to see Robin Stevens and Chris do a Murder Most Unladylike/Maudlin Towers crossover. Maybe the Deepdean Vampire could meet the Maudlin Werewolf?! 

The werewolf aspect wasn’t really introduced until halfway through the book which I thought was a little late, not that there wasn’t lots of enjoyment to be had with all the other aspects of the story first. 

There were lots of threads that were tied up and this was very well executed, and I imagine created quite a headache for everyone involved. Note to self: Never write time travel. Addition to note: Oops too late – – Ask Chris for advice on how to keep track of everything. 

Will our intrepid duo live to have another adventure or will they fall down to the curse? Even though Halloween is over do pick up a copy. This dark nights time of year is perfect for spooky stories. 

I nearly got bitten by this little Werecat the other night but how can you not forgive him?


Don’t forget to check out the other stops on this blog tour to see what other reviewers thought too. 

Thanks to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for arranging the review copy. Opinions are mine. 

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren – Blog Tour 


Goodreads link 


Synopsis 

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

 

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

 

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …

 

An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.

Author


Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.

 
Website: https://www.ruthlauren.com/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ruth__lauren

Instagram: www .instagram.com/ruth_lauren

What I Thought 

This was such a thrilling read with high stakes (both personal and societal) from the outset, and as a consequence had me zipping through to find out what happens. 

Prisoner of Ice and Snow was like a cross between Prison Break, Six of Crows, Nevernight, and the first Throne of Glass, with a strong central sisterly relationship (a la Frozen), but perhaps aimed at a slightly younger audience. 

Valor is such an awesome character. The book is told from her first person perspective. She’s a 13 year old willing to risk her own freedom for her twin but good enough to not walk over other people. I will admit to being a little ahead of her at times but I believe that was purposeful and for me doesn’t usually detract from enjoyment of a story. 

I really liked that although the main action was the attempted escape from the prison Tyur’ma that there was intrigue outside of this. If Valor’s sister Sasha is innocent of the crime she was said to commit who did it and why? 

The wider cast of characters were all interesting in their own right and I’m glad to hear a sequel is coming so hopefully we get to know even more about them and the world in which they live. 


Prisoner of Ice and Snow is out tomorrow so you can read it really soon. Do make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour too. Thanks to Faye and Bloomsbury for my copy of the book for the purpose of this honest review. 

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