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Curse of the Nomed by B. B. Taylor – Blog Tour Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40035236-curse-of-the-nomed

Synopsis

Ancient Gods, a cursed Librarian and a battle to save their souls. How hard could the first day of school really be? Welcome to Nomed Academy! An epic adventure for three unsuspecting year seven students as they embark on their first day of school. One they will never forget. But can they really defeat an ancient Egyptian God with nothing but revenge on his mind?

All net profits from the sale of this book go to Partnership for Children, a mental health charity supporting the positive mental health of children.

Idea created by the ‘Whizz Writers’ of Four Dwellings School Birmingham as part of the ‘Look At Our Book’ Project by Wesleyan Financial Mutual Services to raise money for the Partnership For Children Charity http://www.lookatourbook.co.uk

About the Author

Born in sunny Birmingham in the late 80’s I always wanted to write as a child, so as I grew and explored my love of working with animals and people I used all these experiences to create my first story and from there I was hooked! My Children and my animals are my main source of inspiration always giving me new ideas and stories to write. I studied as a Youth Worker and i’m also a qualified early years practitioner as well has having lots of random qualifications including in animals and sports 😉 My first book ever published is called Sox and Pals and is about my Raccoon Socrates, a very special raccoon that helps educate people all about animals and how to care for animals properly

Website:http://bbtaylor-books.co.uk/

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

Twitter:https://twitter.com/BB_Taylor_

What I Thought

I had flashbacks to reading The Demon Headmaster when I was little. This was a fun mash up with The Mummy vibes too.

The three lead characters Nora, Stefan and Jacob find out that missing assembly isn’t always a bad thing as they uncover a nefarious plot, find friends, and with the aid of the school librarian (who else) set about defeating the God Sett. Nora is reminiscent of Hermione and she is well and truly in control and although she is often referred to as weak that’s definitely not the case. Jacob has been misunderstood and is hoping for a fresh start whilst Stef has less of a back story. However the story is left open with the potential for more to come.

I believe children still study Ancient Egypt and Hieroglyphics at school and this book would be a great way to get them engaged at the start of a project. The book is just under 100 pages long so it’s a quick read too. Many of the chapters end with a mini cliffhanger so it’s one kids will want to read/hear all the way through in one sitting. The pace is fast and there’s a good mix of minor peril and humour.

The one little bugbear I had is the repeated use of the word crazy in a book that is supporting promotion of positive mental health as it’s been pointed out to me by mental health activists that the use of the word should be reconsidered. It’s a tricky one because calling someone ‘doing something not recommended’ crazy is so pervasive in our language. I’d love to hear some other suggestions of better ways to describe this.

Postscript:

It’s always tricky reviewing ARCs because you aren’t 100% sure what will make it into the finished copy. The author reached out to me to say they’d picked up the issue on edits and have changed it. See the tweets below. Thanks B.B.

And just a warning to parents that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are rumoured to be false in this story! And Ofsted is mentioned – sure to give any teacher nightmares!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour to see what everyone else thought – and to purchase your copy to support the charity.

Thank you to Faye Rogers for organising the tour and for the electronic proof copy I received for the purposes of this honest review.

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On Holy Ground by Louise Cole – Blog Tour

Not too long ago I reviewed the first book in this series – The Devil’s Poetry (see my review here) and jumped at the chance to read its sequel.

The first book was a unique blend of dystopian fantasy and I was interested to see where Louise took things next.

Synopsis

Saving the world was just the start

In The Devil’s Poetry, Callie gambled with her life to stop a war. And she won. But now the game has changed. A Reader who understands the Book’s magic is either a savior or a curse – what she can’t be is free. When Callie’s stranded in the US, hunted and penniless, she desperately needs allies. But whose agenda can she trust? She must re-evaluate everything she knows, and find a way to escape, or die trying. Don’t miss the riveting sequel to The Devil’s Poetry.

About the Author

Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire – she’s the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford – read being the operative word – and hasn’t stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.

What I thought

Another cracking opening sentence. I won’t share it though and I advise not reading it until after you’ve read book one.

As with the previous book the point of view switches between first person from Callie and third person from a range of other characters’ perspectives. Not having re-read Book 1 immediately before meant this switching did make it a bit trickier to get back into the story, and something happens immediately that knocks Callie and us for six and takes a while to process.

When Callie heads to America the plot and tension really paces up and along with Callie we don’t fully know who to trust. Not only is The Order and the Cadaveri after her but also a new group join in. Who is friend and who is foe?

It’s good to see a heroine who is vulnerable and who doesn’t always have the answers. Callie is questioning herself a lot in this book and that makes it perfect for a YA. We seem to know more than her and at times it is hard not to be shouting at her not to make certain decisions but this time she has to get herself out of the trouble she finds herself in and this makes for great character development.

The book makes for an intriguing exploration about the purpose of war and explores the concepts of bereavement, ptsd, survivor guilt and more all within the context of a fantasy thriller. It is full of twists and turns and is a pretty complex read as a result.

Do check out the other stops on the tour to see what everyone else thought.

More Than We Can Tell by Bridget Kemmerer – Blog Tour Book Review

So on Saturday I reviewed Letters to the Lost and whilst these two are companion novels you can definitely read More Than We Can Tell without having read the former. I loved them both so highly recommend picking the pair up to devour, and you will have the benefit of already knowing a bit about Rev’s past if you read LttL first.

When I started reading I initially thought that it was going to be very similar to the first book where much of the communication takes place via letter and then e-mail. And although texts and online forum communication features here too it is not between the main characters who actually meet face to face.

The first book dealt with loss. This book tackles some even heavier issues, such as child abuse, fostering and adoption, online bullying and misogynist gamer culture, and another topic I can’t mention without it being a spoiler.

Although Juliet and Declan from the first book feature, the former is very much only briefly mentioned and Declan is relegated to best friend status but is still his awesome self. I love the brotherly relationship between him and Rev.

But this book is time to really focus on Rev’s back story, the reason behind his uniform of a hoodie which leads to his nickname as the Grim Reaper. In the book he turns 18 and that means someone he’d never quite been able to forget sneaks back into his life.

Emma meanwhile has an online stalker slide into her DMs and hack into the popular game she herself developed. The only problem is she knows that gaming culture is like that for girls and her parents are too busy with their own thing, including her mum disapproving with how much time she spends on the computer so she doesn’t feel able to share.

It’s all too common for parents in YA fiction to be absent, and whilst our main characters do have some absent parents it’s nice to see the relationships with the parents they do have explored from all angles. Something that was started in the first book too. It’s particularly good to see such a positive relationship with adoptive parents whilst also showing the challenges that foster/adoptive parents face and the abuses that can sometimes occur with caregivers too.

The end of the book turns into a bit of a thriller and there is some violence that readers expecting a romance may not be expecting.

It’s really good to explore the concept of harassment happening in the context of ‘but that’s just how it is’ and to see teens challenging that and looking out for each other.

One topic that doesn’t get that much mention in books in religion and I thought Rev’s religious views were sensitively handled. Personally I don’t follow subscribe to organised religion, identifying more as a humanist agnostic. I thought the author did a really good job in presenting a balanced view whilst respecting the beliefs of her character.

I loved Letters to the Lost and I think I loved this powerful read a tiny bit more. Actually no I can’t decide. They are both ones I’ll read again.

About the author

Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Letters to the Lost and the YALSA nominated Elementals series and the paranormal mystery Thicker ThanWater. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, with several stops in between. Brigid is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and children.

Website: http://brigidkemmerer.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrigidKemmerer

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

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

Huge thanks to Faye and Bloomsbury for my copy for review. I will treasure it and the opinions above are entirely my own.

Do check out the other two Bloomsbury Spring Titles – Truly, Wildly, Deeply by Jenny McLachlan and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.

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