22 April 2018


The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross


This book is brilliant. I recommend it to anyone looking for a thriller to take them into another world of magic. When I started ‘The Queen’s Rising’ I knew straight away that I wouldn’t be able to put it down. The plot is not just intriguing but also enjoyable.

The book is about a girl of 17 called Brienna approaching her last summer solstice at Magnolia House, Valenia. In Valenia, the education system is of patronship. There are five passions - knowledge, wit, music, art and dramatics - and you can be trained in any one of the passions. Magnolia House runs a seven year program, allowing girls to embrace any one of the five passions during their time.

However Brienna has a difficult past that she must accept; Valenia’s enemy is Maevena and Brienna holds a dual citizenship. To make it all worse, Brienna doesn’t have an obvious passion like most people, so after attempting one passion for each of her first five years, she settles with knowledge. At the summer solstice though, Brienna isn’t chosen by any of the patrons and is forced to stay on at Magnolia.

Eventually the Dowager finds Brienna a patron, but he is an undercover Lord of Maevena - which is split into 14 pieces. But he is also one of three lords that rebelled 25 years ago…

The book draws you in and I’m sure I could rave about it for hours but you won’t like that - because I think you have some serious reading to do! I can’t wait for ‘The Queen’s Resistance’!

FictionFan1 Rating: 10/10

If you liked this author you might like: J.K Rowling, SharonCreech

About the author: Rebecca Ross grew up in Georgia, USA where she still lives with her husband. She has had many jobs including a school librarian but ‘The Queen’s Rising’ was her debut novel which she published recently in 2018.

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for my next reviews.

18 March 2018

Duo of Sarah Lean books: 
The Riverbank Otter and Duckling Days

I would recommend these two amusing books to a slightly younger age group (7+). They were very entertaining and made me think about my grandmothers and our society today.

The Riverbank Otter

There is only one way to say this: May Days, grandmother to Tiger Days, is not your storybook grandmother. In fact, she is not very normal at all.
                                                                                           
This story is about a girl called Tiger. Her grandmother, May Days, lives at Willowgate House, and when Tiger visits, there is always a surprise waiting for her. In ‘The Riverbank Otter’, Tiger makes a new friend, Lucky, an otter. She is given important jobs by the vet, to feed and care for Lucky, but also to find him a suitable home on the river.

Meanwhile, things with her friend Tom are starting to get a bit complicated. Tiger wants the old boatshed to be a nature-spotters den, but Tom wants to be a pirate explorer. They fix up an old boat and use it to both of their advantages. This book has a happy ending and I enjoyed it.


Duckling Days

Once again, I enjoyed this book, but I felt younger children could also enjoy it.

In this escapade, Tiger is asked to look after some duckling eggs. Soon enough, the ducklings are making mischief wherever they go as they learn to walk and swim. But, they need a home and Tiger has to find one.

To add to this drama, Tiger finds out some information and thinks May Days is going to go back to Africa! She discovers the history of Willowgate House, uncovers mysterious secrets and reorganises an event which used to be annual as well as finding hidden artefacts! It sure is a busy trip for Tiger, May and their duckling friends!


FictionFan1 Rating: 7.5/10

NOTE: These are the 3rd and 4th books in the series of four but I don’t think it matters if you haven’t read the others.

If you liked this author you might like: Holly Webb

About the author: Sarah Lean is an English children’s author. Her most famous book is ‘A Dog Called Homeless’ which she wrote in 2012.

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for my next review of ‘Tin' by Pádraig Kenny.

25 February 2018

Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery



I heartily enjoyed Perijee and me. It is full of surprises and carries a strong theme throughout the book- it is never right to hate. This book is about a girl called Caitlin, 11, who is out for a walk on the beach after a meteor shower and discovers a small ‘shrimp-like’ creature, who has a tendency to grow and to eat. 

Caitlin must find him a home - somewhere where he can’t get away until her father, an expert on aliens, returns home from a tour. On meeting Caitlin’s father, Perijee grows and a monster emerges out of him. Soon enough, he runs away and Caitlin is forced to accept he is gone. But then, on the news a catastrophe occurs.

A monster is terrorising the city and the city is flooded. The country is camped and these camps are guarded heavily. Everyone wants to kill Perijee, and finally Caitlin escapes the camp.

She makes a friend, loses two friends and finds herself on a boat as a sacrifice, before she is saved.

This book is so engaging and emotional as well! I was laughing, crying and angry as I read Perijee and me and it reminded me that we can’t always be right and there is prejudice in the world, and we can’t make a huge change, but every small change helps.

FictionFan1 Rating: 9/10

If you liked this author you might like: Sally Nicholls, Katherine Rundall

About the author: Ross Montgomery tours the country as a children’s author, and writes wacky books for young teens and small children.

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for my next review of two books that I have received from Harper Collins. Thank you Harper Collins!


 The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight by Jenny Valentine


What is the Double Life? That was the first thing that went through my head when I picked up this book. This story is about a boy, Chap, who runs away from foster care, ends up in a hostel and sees a missing boy poster of a boy called Cassiel Roadnight. Here’s the catch, Cassiel looks very similar to him. They could be twins.

If Chap says yes, then he will have a comforting family, a warm house. But he runs two risks. First, the real Cassiel could arrive home any minute and secondly, he might not be up to the acting, and might be seen through!

So far I have made this book sound absolutely brilliant, I bet you’re thinking, ‘why didn’t I make it a 10/10?’ Here’s why. The start of the book was action-packed. We find out a bit about Chap’s background but are still very slightly curious.

In my opinion, the middle is  v e r y   s l o w. I gave up a number of times, then persuaded myself to keep reading. But boy, it was worth it! The ending is fast and furious, a thriller and a chiller!

So I recommend this book to patient people, who will give this a go and keep trying and persevering because there’s a mighty surprise at the end!

FictionFan1 Rating: 8/10

If you liked this author you might like: Sally Nicholls, Katherine Rundall

About the author: Jenny Valentine is a British children’s novelist and has over 15 titles to her name.

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for my next review of ‘Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery

Just a note: So sorry I haven’t blogged in a while- I’ve been very busy and have struggled to find time!

28 January 2018

An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls



An Island Of Our Own is an absolutely amazing book and I recommend it to anyone aged roughly 11 who loves an emotional journey. It is about the rollercoaster life of siblings Jonathan, Holly and Davy.

The trio are orphans, and with brother Jonathan as the official foster parent, and a waiter in the week, money is low and they just about have enough to pay the rent for their flat- there is no dishwasher and everybody hates washing clothes.

When their Aunty Irene has a stroke, Holly should have inherited all of her jewellery, but there is no jewellery to be found. Aunty Irene’s daughter Jo reveals to the family that Irene kept all of her documents and jewellery in locked safes so when Holly is given a photo album by her aunt on her death-bed, she is determined to solve the mystery of her missing family inheritance.

Jonathan is not so sure but with the persuasion of his internet girlfriend added to the mix, things begin to run a bit more smoothly until…sorry but I’m not going to spoil it!

One of the settings in An Island of Our Own is ‘the Maker Space.’ There are Maker Spaces all over the UK in this fictional account, which provide a sense of safety and security and encourage new things. Just to give you an example, they provide lock-picking classes!

Sally Nicholls uses imagery to help us imagine the atmosphere in the Maker Space- warm, jolly, welcoming- but I think it also adds a sense of security to the book, it makes us feel like the characters have almost got a second home.

An Island of Our Own takes on the style of an autobiography, Holly is the narrator, but we as readers also get a sense of calmness. As mentioned, the great detail of the Maker Space adds immensely to the plot but there is a twist at the end- at first the plot seems to be rolling on oiled hinges, but soon things become slightly more fragile! This book is definitely one of my current favourites.

FictionFan1 Rating: 9.5/10

If you liked this author you might like: Laurel Remington,  Katherine Rundall

About the author: Sally Nicholls is a British author and has published over 10 books and 1 movie!

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for my next review of ‘The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight’ by Jenny Valentine

21 January 2018

The Honeymoon Sisters by Gwyneth Rees


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The Honeymoon Sisters was just what I wanted at the time I read it. I had recently tried a rather gory novel, and put it down again, and I was in the library trying to choose a book to read when its eye-catching yellow cover persuaded me to borrow it.

It certainly pulled my heartstrings, that’s for sure! This amazing book’s plot is so simple yet so astonishingly brilliant. Poppy lives with her mum most of the week, and she can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a younger foster brother or sister.

But when their most recent charge moves on, the last person Poppy expects to host is Sadie Shaw, the new girl in her class. Poppy just doesn’t understand why her mum has fallen for Sadie’s sweet-as-honey act.  Poppy knows just how horrid she can be. But the two sisters begin to bond, over their big secret, they’re cousins!

This amazing book has its fair share of negatives, but on balance it was great. When I saw the author’s name, I wasn’t so sure as I’d never heard of Gwyneth Rees before, but as soon as I read the first sentence, I knew I would enjoy this book.

FictionFan1 Rating: 8.5/10

If you liked this author you might like: Laurel Remington, Cathy Cassidy, Katherine Rundall, Holly Smale

About the author: Gwyneth Rees is a children’s author and her books have won several awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Red House Children’s Book Award For Younger Readers.

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for my next review.

17 January 2018

A Message to the Sea by Alex Shearer


I picked up this book in the library wondering what sort of book it would be. The plot was both original and intriguing. It turned out it wasn’t quite what I expected, but in a good way. I think this book is very similar in style of writing to Michael Morpurgo.

‘A Message to the Sea’ kept me hooked, and I’m tempted to look for other Alex Shearer books in the future. The main protagonist in this book is a young boy, named Tom Pellow. A year prior to the beginning of the book, his dad died at sea, but as Tom lives with his mother and sister near the sea, instead of the sea making him sad, it almost reassures him, like a father.

Tom throws a bottle in to the sea, as a way of ‘unbottling’ his feelings - get it? - but doesn’t expect a reply. Soon Tom writes more and more letters, in the hope of discovering his father’s whereabouts as he starts to discover some interesting facts...

Tom’s uncle works on a ferry, back and forth, back and forth every day, but he never gets tired of it. Near where he works, cargo ships are moored, waiting for when they are needed. The book also picks up on some conversations between two men painting one of the two ships, and the end of the story comes as a surprise.

This is the sort of book where at the end you just think, I should have known that would happen, or other things along those lines. I for one got to the end and thought, that was so obvious, how could I have missed that connection. But that just makes it an even better book, so go on, give it a try, and please comment below and subscribe by email!

FictionFan1 Rating: 8.5/10

If you liked this author you might like: Rebbeca Stead, SimonMayo, Michael Morpurgo

About the author: Shearer is a British novelist who was recognised aged 29 as a television scenario writer after having produced 30 works.

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Coming up soon: Stay tuned for next review of The Honeymoon Sisters by Gwyneth Rees