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JoMaynard (UK)

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Earthfall (Earthfall 1)
Earthfall (Earthfall 1)
by Mark Walden
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aliens and secrets, 18 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Aliens have invaded turning most of mankind into mindless Walkers. One boy, Sam has managed to escape and survive in London, living in the sewers, but then he gets stung by a Hunter. He gets away but the injury looks bad, what is he going to do in a world without hospitals?
He does meet a group of other survivors, who help him. But they also raise all kinds of questions. Why are most of the survivors so young? Is there something special about them? What did Sam's Dad know about all this?

It is a great post-apocalyptic novel for youngsters/young adults. It is fast moving and dramatic. Although there are moments when things seem to get resolved by a some slight of hand, which is disappointing.

However I would highly recommend it, especially for those difficult to please boys between 10-13+.

One Hundred Names
One Hundred Names
by Cecelia Ahern
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.45

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just who has a good story to tell?, 18 Sep 2012
This review is from: One Hundred Names (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A journalist has made a dreadful mistake, which has ruined someones life and threatens to end her career. At the same time her mentor is dying from cancer. When Kitty goes to visit her mentor, Constance they get to discussing the stories that writers never wrote but wanted to. Constance says hers is in an envelope at her home.
Kitty has to go through the awful inquiry into the news story that went wrong. By the time she gets to Constance's unwritten story, Constance is dead.
When Kitty opens the envelope to write the story as a tribute to Constance, she discovers it just contains 100 names. She discovers the same 100 hundred names are highlighted in a phone directory at Constance's house, so she starts to try to contact the people to see what the story was. Some have moved, lots won't talk (especially when they realise who she is), those she can talk to seem to have nothing in common.
Slowly however as Kitty learns more about them, and discovers who her true friends are, the real story begins to unfold.
Along the way you meet, star crossed lovers, unemployed immigrants doing something to prove their worth to an unfeeling world, and many other fascinating characters.

It is a great read, there is romance but also bucket loads of human interest. I had a great time reading it and my teenage daughter is now reading it too (she normally prefers the Hunger Games).

Monstrous Maud: Big Fright
Monstrous Maud: Big Fright
by A. B. Saddlewick
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for any little monsters in your life., 18 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Maud is a bit of a monster at school, unlike her twin sister. When her pet rat gets loose in class she is asked to leave and go to Rotwood Academy. However is Maud Monsterous enough for her new school?

Maud is a bit like a female Horrid Henry, but her parents whilst a bit unattached are nothing like as bad as Henry's. Her sister is pink and girly, but Maud just isn't. However she enjoys her new school, she just has to prove she is enough of a monster to be allowed to stay.

As a parent I enjoyed it. However, much more importantly my 9 year old is loving it and whizzed through reading it in a couple of days. We will be reading more of this series.

Social Suicide (Deadly Cool)
Social Suicide (Deadly Cool)
by Gemma Halliday
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A murder mystery for teenagers and young adults, 6 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a murder mystery set on a High School Campus, like all good mysteries it does have both red herrings and clues to the murderer. It is also set in a place that most teenagers can relate to, a school. Things maybe a bit different as it is in the US, but most British kids should get it as they have seen lots about High school on TV and in Films.
Hartley is an aspiring reporter on the High School online newspaper. She also quite likes the Editor, but is he interested in her or not? And if he was interested would her best friends styling tips make him runaway fast?
Then of course who murdered the cheerleader suspended for cheating in a test? How were students getting the test answers anyway?
The book is not hung up on sex as a lot of teenage books are, and Hartley's relationship with her editor is very innocent, although there are references to her ex-boyfriend having cheated on her. However I think it is suitable for any secondary age girl.
It is a gripping read and very funny in places. Do read it.

The Long Way Home
The Long Way Home
by Karen McQuestion
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.64

3.0 out of 5 stars One Psychic and three older women travel across America, 23 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Long Way Home (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an easy read, and quite interesting.

However when a book relies heavily on the psychic ability of one character to nudge the characters on their way, and it is so easy to be a psychic in a book, then it's never going to be a great book.
The initial characters are interesting: the woman whose partner recently died and she lost custody and contact which her much loved step-son, a psychic who takes over their grief counselling group, a woman still seeking revenge for the murder of her daughter (by her daughter's boyfriend) and the landlady who has been a recluse since her husband died years before. They set off together to check the step son is okay. They break down on they way and so stay in a small town in Colorado, where several important meetings happen.

Then ending is a bit fairy tale, and maybe rushes to give everyone their happy ever after. There is also only one real baddy who gets his just deserts.

Leitz Bebop Active 180 80mm Lever Arch File - White
Leitz Bebop Active 180 80mm Lever Arch File - White
Price: 14.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the New Term, 23 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An arch lever file? How could this deserve five stars? They are all pretty much the same aren't they?

Well first this one seems to be of pretty sturdy construction, especially useful if you are going to be carrying it around everyday, and using it frequently. Secondly it has one of those levers to open it, which tears at the paper less than just pulling it open. It also has a useful elasticacted closure which will keep loose pages more securely in the file. Finally it comes with useful pockets, one for loose pages, one for CD Roms and a place to store your pen.

It has a curved spine rather than the traditional flat one, which should enhance its strength.

It is the ideal folder to carry around from day to day, and if you can only afford one this is the use I would suggest you put it to. However it would be luxurious to have all your notes stored in these files. That's why it has five stars.

Braun Oral-B TriZone 1000 One-Mode Rechargeable Toothbrush (Packaging Varies)
Braun Oral-B TriZone 1000 One-Mode Rechargeable Toothbrush (Packaging Varies)
Price: 24.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For cleaner teeth, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really liked this product. I feel my teeth are getting really clean, but it also stops me "overbrushing" which my dentist says can also cause damage to my teeth.

My teeth are pretty sensitive, so I was concerned at first by the section in the instructions saying that gums might bleed at first. Fortunately my gums never bleed, partly because of the useful red light on the back of the stem of the toothbrush, which shows when you are pressing too hard. This light is one of my favourite two features, as it is brilliantly positioned, so it doesn't matter where you are looking or how much of a daydream you are in, it captures your attention for its timely warning.
My other favourite feature? The built in timer, basically you are supposed to divide your mouth into four quadrants, you stick to one until the toothbrush vibrates to tell you to move on to the next. It also vibrates in a different way to tell you it's time to stop brushing your teeth. I found this encouraged me to spend plenty of time on each area of my mouth, even when I was in a hurry, and to brush my whole mouth evenly.

Overall I would highly recommend this toothbrush, and may well buy one for my son.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 14, 2012 11:53 PM BST

The Youngstars
The Youngstars
by Ursula Jones
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story of Music Hall entertainers, 28 Jun 2012
This review is from: The Youngstars (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story is set with a Music Hall troup of young entertainers in 1930s England.
Ollie the main character is the son of the manager of their group, he is never praised always criticised, and doesn't even get paid like the other youngsters do. One day whilst changing trains he sees a boy on another train who is his double, Ralph.
Ralph sees him too and with the aid of a mysterious french girl Giselle seeks to find his Dopple-ganger. This involves pulling communication cords, hiding in barns, getting lifts from kind strangers and unlikely co-incidences, as Ralph tries to find Ollie. There is also a man with a gun looking for Ralph.
It becomes a real farce of mistake identity once both boys are in Liverpool. Ralph swears and is less kind than Ollie, which just adds to the confusion. Ollie has a stammer, especially over words beginning with T. Frequently one boy has to deal with the consequences of the others actions.
This section of the book is a jolly romp, although a bit over complicated. An awful lot happens in a few short day in Liverpool, from the tragic to the comic.

So why did I give it only 3 stars? Well I think it is a bit complex for the average reader of this age group (mid to late primary, maybe first couple of years of secondary). Despite mention of the Spanish civil war it didn't convince me that it was realistic to the time. Finally I found the ending unsatisfactory.

Where She Went
Where She Went
by Gayle Forman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.56

5.0 out of 5 stars A story about love for late teens early twenties, 28 Jun 2012
This review is from: Where She Went (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I hadn't read the previous book If I Stay but I totally loved this book. I am also not in the target age group which I would guess as very late teens and early twenties. Some themes are a bit adult for younger teens (although not to explicit).
Adam is a famous Rock Star, who seems extremely dis-functional, definitely a tortured genius. He writes the songs that have shot his group to super stardom, but although they used to be his closest friends, he barely speaks to them now. He has an awful interview with a journalist, who is trying to find out the inspiration for his songs. He acts like a caricature of a spoilt pop star.
As he can't fly to England with the band; as it is Friday 13th, and after his out burst with the journalist he is given free time in New York. 24 hours to relax.
On a whim he goes to a classical concert given by Mia, a gifted young Cellist.
The story then shows, using flash backs, how Adam got to where he is now chain smoking, pill popping and barely functioning (but possibly genius?). Also what it all has to do with Mia. You also watch him and Mia reconnect, and her explain why she dropped him so cruelly.

It is a really good read, which I enjoyed more and more as I got into the book. As I learnt more about the characters I empathised and cared more for them. The ending is also believable, and for Adam you do feel he didn't have too many other choices left.

Teenagers Explained: A manual for parents by teenagers
Teenagers Explained: A manual for parents by teenagers
by Megan Lovegrove
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful information for parents but maybe not quite the way the authors intended., 28 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is well written, easy to read and enjoyable.
I found it matched pretty well to my experience of teenagers. Although one big weakness is that being written by two girls, it really doesn't understand teenage boys as well. Although they have talked to male friends and brothers, I don't think they understand the geek who shuts himself in his room any more than the average teenage girl.
They are also two London based girls, and whilst their experience may be common to teenagers in most cities (or at least middle class ones), I think there are plenty of teenagers who will not really relate to going to Gigs of obscure music scenes and so on.
My biggest criticism, although also the area which taught me the most, was the mis-information contained in the book. Eg. Contraception will prevent you getting pregnant; I often point out to my own teens that quite a few of their friends were born when their parents were using a variety of contraceptive methods. Or breast examination is not important for teenagers because its older women who get breast cancer.

So it is a useful and interesting book on how teenagers think, but I wouldn't use it as your only source of information on raising teenagers.

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