📚Cultural Fiction Suitable For Middle Grade Or Older Pre-Teen Readers. Rosie’s #Bookreview Of One More Mountain (Breadwinner Series Book 5) by Deborah Ellis #TuesdayBookBlog #BookTwitter

One More Mountain (Breadwinner Series Book 5)One More Mountain by Deborah Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One More Mountain is the fifth book in the Breadwinner series of cultural fiction suitable for middle grade or older pre-teen readers. The series is set in Afghanistan and this particular story happens around 2021 when the Taliban have re-taken the country.

In the story, characters from previous books continue their lives, but this book can be read without knowledge of the story so far. It begins with Maryam, a female singer, and her nephew Rafi trying to leave the country for a better life in America; alas, the airport has been shut as thousands try to flee the country.

Rafi’s mother is staying in Afghanistan, where she runs a refuge for women and young girls. With news of the rebels’ advance, the refuge must close for the safety of all. They then set out on a long journey to find a better place to live.

I have not read any other books in this series, however, I think these books are important as they highlight the plight of people in different parts of the world.

There is a map showing where Afghanistan is at the front of the book and a glossary of native words at the back with a short history of the country which is suitable for young readers to understand. There are no illustrations, but the descriptive passages drew their own pictures in my mind.

View all my reviews  on Goodreads


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Book description

It’s 2021, and the Taliban have regained power in Afghanistan. Parvana and Shauzia, the brave protagonists of The Breadwinner, must now flee to escape new dangers from an old enemy.

In Kabul, 15-year-old Damsa runs away to avoid being forced into marriage by her family. She is found by a police officer named Shauzia, who takes her to Green Valley, a shelter and school for women and girls run by Parvana.

It has been 20 years since Parvana and Shauzia had to disguise themselves as boys to support themselves and their families. But when the Taliban were defeated in 2001, it looked as if Afghans could finally rebuild their country. Many things have changed for Parvana since then. She has married Asif, who she met in the desert as she searched for her family when she was a child. She runs a school for girls. She has a son, Rafi, who is about to fly to New York, where he will train to become a dancer.

But Shauzia is still Parvana’s best friend. And Parvana is still headstrong, bringing her in conflict with her spoiled sister Maryam.

While Asif tries to get Maryam and Rafi on one of the last flights out of Kabul, the Taliban come to the school, and Parvana must lead the girls out of Green Valley and into the mountains.

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📚A young adult suspense #thriller. Rosie’s #Bookreview of Secrets So Deep by Ginny Myers Sain @stageandpage

Secrets So DeepSecrets So Deep by Ginny Myers Sain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Secrets So Deep is a young adult suspense thriller with a paranormal sub-theme, plus a sprinkle of romance.

The setting is a summer theatre camp in Whisper Cove, Connecticut in Long Island Sound, a tidal estuary sheltered from the Atlantic.

A group of teenagers has been selected to work with the famous playwright, Willa Culver. Avril’s place in the group is particularly meaningful to her because Whisper Cove is the place where her mother died.

There are tales surrounding the Cove; legend says that the sea calls people to their deaths. Was Avril’s mother called by the sea? Each night an eerie fog rolls in from the coast along with ghostly whispers and strange sightings which begin to haunt Avril’s days.

Avril is cast as the lead actress in the re-enactment of Culver’s famous play. Both the play and the place begin to trigger Avril’s memories as she tries to piece together what really happened all those years ago.

The setting was very good with plenty of atmosphere and tension. However, Culver’s play was a little odd as there really didn’t seem to be many parts for all the other ‘brilliant students’ who were selected for the course and their roles as sub-characters became non-existent. Only two other official course attendees had roles in this story.

I also found that the pace was a little slow in places, circling back to the fog each evening which became rather wearing in the end, while I was eager to get to the denouement of the story. There were a few red herrings thrown in which added to the suspense, but I did guess the outcome before the end. Overall, quite a good story with a memorable setting, creating a great spooky vibe.

View all my reviews  on Goodreads


Orange rose book description
Book description

Twelve years ago, Avril’s mother drowned at Whisper Cove theater, just off the rocky Connecticut coastline. It was ruled an accident, but Avril’s never been totally convinced. Local legend claims that the women in the waves—ghosts from old whaling stories—called her mother into the ocean with their whispering. Because, as they say at Whisper Cove, what the sea wants, the sea will have.

While Avril doesn’t believe in ghosts, she knows there are lots of different ways for places, and people, to be haunted. She’s spent the past twelve years trying to make sense of the strange bits and pieces she does remember from the night she lost her mother. Stars falling into the sea. A blinding light. A tight grip on her wrist. The odd sensation of flying. Now, at seventeen, she’s returning to Whisper Cove for the first time, and she might finally unravel the mystery of what really happened.

As Avril becomes more involved with camp director Willa and her mysterious son Cole, Whisper Cove reveals itself to her. Distances seem to shift in the strange fog. Echos of long-past moments bounce off the marsh. And Avril keeps meeting herself—and her dead mother—late at night, at the edge of the ocean.

The truth Avril seeks is ready to be discovered. But it will come at a terrible cost.

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📚A Contemporary #YoungAdult Story With A Sprinkling Of #Fantasy all Set In England. Rosie’s #Bookreview of Ice Cooper And The Depton Shadelings by @JBowler_author

Ice Cooper and the Depton ShadelingsIce Cooper and the Depton Shadelings by J.A. Bowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ice Cooper And The Depton Shadelings is a contemporary young adult story with a sprinkle of fantasy set in England.

Thirteen-year-old Ice has moved from London to Depton, Warwickshire with her dad and her younger brother. Most things in Depton are normal, except for the large amount of rain and the shadowy creatures (Shadelings) that only Ice can see.

During her first day at her new school, Ice gets into trouble when she stands up to the bullies. But then the boy that she rescues goes missing and the Shadelings want Ice to follow them.

This was a quick read in a realistic setting which had a secondary environmental theme. I liked Ice and her younger brother. The Shadelings were very interesting and I believe that they were influenced by a variety of myths from the county. I could easily envisage this book being longer and delving deeper into the fantasy genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads


Orange rose book description
Book description

This is the first in the Ice Cooper series of YA fiction with a touch of the supernatural.

Rainswept Depton is a town with dark secrets. New to the area, young teen, Ice Cooper is alarmed to see the strange creatures from her dreams. She would prefer to stay home with a book or take her dog on lonely walks, but when the earthquakes start and people go missing, she is forced out of her comfort zone. She knows when people are lying, so what is her own father hiding? And where is her mother? She may need help from her friends and an unlikely source if she is to survive and discover the truth.

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🌳’Monsters in the wood nip at the edges of her thoughts.’🌳Rosie’s #Bookreview of #urbanfantasy The Forest Of Forgotten Vows by Grace Carlisle.

Book cover for urban fantasy The Forest Of Forgotten Vows by Grace Carlisle, set against a woodland scene with orange toadstools from a free photo from Pixabay

The Forest Of Forgotten Vows by Grace Carlisle

Forest of Forgotten Vows by Grace Carlisle

3.5 stars

Forest of Forgotten Vows is an urban fantasy tale. It has an American setting in a deep woodland. Tamsin, a young adult, has returned to her grandmother’s home to help care for her. She left when she was a teenager but now memories of monsters in the wood nip at the edges of her thoughts.

Tamsin is about to dismiss any thought of monsters as silly and childish when a tiny man, a brownie, sprints out from under the doorsteps. Then there’s the cat who doesn’t speak, but wants Tamsin to follow it into the woods. Grandma doesn’t want Tamsin to wander about; her ventures have ended badly in the past. Perhaps Zach, Tamsin’s childhood friend, can help her remember what happened when they were children.

This story ventures into the world of Faerie and a mystery surrounding a prison. Tamsin has been on a quest since her childhood, but she cannot remember the details. Now as an adult she must once more tread through the complexities of Faerie and those who live there, to try and fulfil her quest and the vows she has made.

I liked the little brownie called Creeps and the characters from Faerie. However, the twists of the tale weren’t always easy to follow and I wasn’t a fan of the extended time spent in visions and dreams, which took me away from the story.  Just a suggestion here and there would have worked better for me with more interaction in real time to keep this firmly in the urban fantasy genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Orange rose book description

Book description

After returning to her isolated childhood home to care for her aging grandmother, Tamsin thinks the make-believe games and imaginary friends of her youth are far behind her. But she soon discovers the past has been waiting, and that the dangerous and enigmatic world of Faerie is bleeding into her world, forcing Tamsin to contend with forgotten friends, foes, and creatures pulled from deepest nightmares in order to reclaim what she didn’t know she’d lost.

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‘Adventure at its highest in a world previously unimagined.’ Noelle reviews #Ya #UrbanFantasy Fae Or Foe? By C A Deegan @CracklockSaga

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Fae Or Foe? by C A Deegan

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Although this book is listed for YA, I have found many such books are a great ride, so even though I am not into magical ‘stuff,’ I decided to give this a read. I was not disappointed in my choice. This book is indeed magical – a breathtaking adventure of such imagination that I read myself right into the second book in the series.

Jack Crackley is a normal young teenager, who has a lot on his plate – two jobs to help support himself and his mum, school, lumbering twins at his school who think he and his classmates are good punching bags, and a strange disease affecting young children everywhere. One day they are fine, the next they are comatose and resemble very old people.

The adventure begins when Jack is asked to help move a table by a seemingly innocuous elderly gentlemen who lives in a huge old house on his paper route. What Jack finds in the house changes his life forever: he discovers he can see gnomes and other small creatures he can’t identify – a hidden world he never knew about – and most of them mean him harm. Jack escaped with no idea who he really is, but he has fae (fairies, brownies, and other little folk) all around him to help him find out.

Since he was a baby, Jack and his mother have been living under a magic spell (a glamour) designed to shield him from the clutches of the evil side of his family, the Cracklocks (he is actually Jack Cracklock). But his glamour begins to fail, just as his Aunt Agatha and cousin Anastasia and her devil of a son discover where Jack is living and plot to capture him for what end is not clear—but it is evil and designed to end the world of the fae.

His human reality and the magical world of the fae collide and he discovers that monsters are not only make believe.

The book is full of richly drawn characters, and there is humor and whimsy on practically every page. New imaginative, magical devices appear with regularity, and there is steady tension, punctuated by a breathless stretches. Adventure at its highest in a world previously unimagined.

Treat yourself. Read this.

Five stars.

Desc 1

No one would want to kill a Faery, surely?!

Jack Crackley wouldn’t; teenagers don’t believe in such things. There are plenty of other things to worry about; his mum, jobs, school, the local bullies, not to mention some weird disease that’s affecting young children the world over.

However, things are never as they seem. Little eyes watch out for him whilst bigger ones seek him for their own ends.

There’s a hidden world out there, and its inhabitants are in serious danger. Jack is going to have to get to the bottom of it all before it’s too late. And that’s a tall order when you have no idea who you really are…

A fantasy adventure like no other, where worlds collide and the monsters are not only from make believe.

Things are going to get complicated. It’s a good job our brownie knows how to throw a punch!

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A Coming-Of-Age Superheroes #Scifi Story. @SueBavey reviews The Ascension Machine by @StorycastRob, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sue. She blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Sue has been reading The Ascension Machine by Rob Edwards

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This book was a lot of fun to read. Aimed at YA/Middle grade readers, The Ascension Machine starts off in a space station in deep space, filled with interesting alien species such as the Welatak:

“The family pod of Welatak that sat near the toilets weren’t looking at me at all. The prime of the pod was playing a game that made the podlings clack with laughter, while the other adult in the group fiddled with one of the podling’s saline suits. They needed their suits to keep saltwater on their skin; Welatak dried out quickly in oxygen.”

The many different alien species at the transport hub brought to mind the scene in the bar in Star Wars: A New Hope, where we see all the different aliens – that scene was always fascinating to me and I imagine young readers will be equally captivated by the intriguing and unusual species described here.

We are introduced to our unnamed teenaged main character, who begins to tell us his story from first person perspective. He has lived aboard space stations for most of his young life, scamming travelers to make a little money here and there, without really thinking too much about the morals or consequences of his actions. Over the course of the novel, thankfully, this all changes, and he begins to see the error of his old ways as a grifter.

Searching for a lookalike to take over his responsibilities, while he goes off on some unidentified escapade, offensively rich Mirabor Gravane runs into our shady main character on the space station, running from his latest mark. Persuaded to take on the job, against his better judgement and for no small fee, our hero decides to call himself ‘Grey’ for short and reluctantly boards the ship for which Gravane handed over his first class ticket, without knowing what is in store at his destination. Another first class passenger, a somewhat scary looking large green alien of the Brontom variety, known as Seventhirtyfour turns out to have an enthusiastic and upbeat personality and quickly takes Grey under his four arms, eagerly showing him the commercial for the Justice Academy they are both heading towards – a college for would-be superheroes. The commercial makes it clear that you do not need superpowers to become a superhero – being true to yourself and having the right mindset will get you a long way on the path towards your goal and the courses on offer will build on these character traits:

“At the Justice Academy, we will equip you with the skills to be the hero the galaxy needs. Self-defence! Clue Analysis! Parkour! Rocket-Grapnel Maintenance! Rescueology!” Rescueology? “But we will also teach the other side of being a superhero.” And now there was a flurry of more studious, earnest learning scenes. “We have award-winning classes in marketing and public relations, costume design, and even philosophy, morals and ethics.”

In this way the Justice Academy is more inclusive than other similar schools such as Professor X’s Xavier Institute in the X-Men franchise.

The group of diverse friends Grey makes at the Justice Academy become his found family and they support each other in any way possible. In addition to the effusive Seventhirtyfour, they comprise Pilvi, a female human farmer and plant expert; Gadget Dude, a tech genius; reptilian female Dez; and winged Avrim. Seventhirtyfour was my favourite of the bunch, due to his unwavering positivity, friendliness and enthusiasm. Indeed at one point he is described as “a wall of green enthusiasm”. He is the glue that holds the group together.

The friends soon form a team for the inventive school sport of PowerBall and quickly learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Grey makes full use of his problem-solving skills, honed when running from his targets onboard space stations and now given full rein. These strengths and weaknesses translate well into the real world and when they are sent on a mission by Gravane’s mother they find themselves face to face with notorious gangs on a distant planet named Bantus, and make use of everything they have learned so far at the Justice Academy as well as their own natural skills to save the victims of these gangs. Hanging around with the morally upstanding Seventhirtyfour has already had a positive effect on Grey – he is no longer simply out for himself, he cannot ignore a mugging and also feels bad about his previous thievery.  He acts as a spy rather than superhero and foils the gang leaders on Bantus. Thrown into the situation at short notice, Grey has been unable to decide on an appropriate superhero name:

““Who are you?” he asked. “I’m the Grey…” Accountant? Ghost? Avenger? None of them sounded right. “The Grey?” he repeated. Great, now my superhero name was the same as my assumed secret identity…”

Grey is brave, if also reckless, and puts his friends in harm’s way again and again, never seeming to learn from his mistakes.

The pace of this book is fast with a chase right at the beginning and continuing in this vein with exciting adventures and escapades: chases, gang fights and action sequences involving superheroes (both with and without powers and tech gadgets), spying, criminology and detective work, a kidnap plot, an evil and possibly insane enhanced arch-villain with an army full of alien henchmen, a thrilling escape through a cave system and since they are young adults at college, there is even some social and emotional awkwardness between Grey and a girl called Sky Diamond.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good coming of age, action-packed school story with superheroes, aliens and a main character whose personality develops for the better and matures through his story arc. I loved how this book is filled with tongue in cheek humour and positive messages.

Desc 1

Welcome to the Justice Academy – the galaxy’s best superhero college! Teen grifter Grey arrives at the school carrying a lie: he isn’t really tech heir Mirabor Gravane. At the first opportunity Grey plans to leave the Academy. That is until he makes the mistake of starting to like his fellow students. The Justice Academy promises to “equip you with the skills to be the hero the galaxy needs” and Grey is beginning to believe the hype. But as he takes more risks to protect his secret, events spiral out of his control. When the real Gravane is kidnapped, Grey and his new friends must come together to mount a rescue and defend a city from an attack by hostile super-powered aliens. If he is to succeed, or even survive, Grey must decide who he is, and does he want to be a superhero?

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