Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy Review

Today I am going to review the complete opposite of my last book review, a children’s book.

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Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen. 
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge! 
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life! 

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When I first saw this I hoped it wouldn’t be too much of a Christmas read, but decided to put that notion aside and give it a go. Oh boy was I wrong! This was a really cute read and my only complaints are a) there is no physical copy of this book available and b) I wish it was longer.

Of course, neither is actually a bad thing. The story is the right length for young readers (if I am not mistaken the target reader is 5-10 years old) and it is nicely broken up into little digestible chunks by illustratons of what you are reading. This brought a smile to my face as I was reading and made it even better. I think as a younger reader, the pictures in the book will encourage them to read it and not feel like it is a ‘boring book’.

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This is most certainly not a boring book and now I am curious what other adventures Ronaldo and his friends get into (also, I am ever so grateful I don’t have a knitting reindeer granpa).

As an extra thing that made me very happy, all the references to actual flight academies and flight training were good and my aicraft crazy self was like “look, this is the right term to use, oh that one is a good use for this situation, I like this”.

Moon recommends

I recommend this book for anyone young at heart (or in actual age). It is also a good read aloud book, with a lot of room for “voices” and fun sounds. It has a Christmas vibe but in truth can be read anytime (it did make me wish it was winter and I had a fire next to me and some hot chocolate).

If you are interested in reading this, it is currently available for Kindle on Amazon here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have done. There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

After The Fire Review

I have been saying that After The Fire is my best read of 2017 but I haven’t actually reviewed it here, so I say it is long overdue and here it is!

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After the Fire by Will Hill

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

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This book was recommended (and gifted) to me by the lovely Kate and Libby from Book Box Club who also loved it and thought it was ideal for me. One of the many reasons is that the main character is called Moonbeam, which made them think of me (because I am Moon, just in case).  So much they wanted me to read it that it was my birthday gift, and what a gift it was!

The story starts with the last moments that Moonbeam spends inside The Fence while a terrible fire is wreaking even more havoc around her. Then the story starts when she actually wakes up in the hospital and realises she is in the hands of the very people she was warned never to talk to, never to disclose all the secrets from inside The Fence to. Poor Moonbeam, can’t blame her for feeling confused and conflicted inside.

But deciding what she should share with the strangers that are giving her sessions and keeping her “locked” in a room isn’t the only thing that is eating her up inside. She is also trying to puzzle out what happened in those last moments once the raid started and then with the fire.

The narrative is amazing at taking you into Moonbeam’s mind and helping you understand why she is thinking what she is thinking. She has been brought up inside the Fence most of her life and after her mother leaves, she is fending for herself inside, unsure if this is the best or not.

The story progresses in jumps since we are being told what Moonbeam sees fit to share with the psychologist and the detective. Of course, at first she isn’t willing to share much, they are the evil and the voice in her head resonates with Father John’s voice blaming her and giving her free guilt trips. [I know all too well how this feels, because more than two years after leaving an abusive relationship I still battle with that voice at times, every day a little less, but it is a nagging persistent pesky thing]. But slowly she makes the so-called progress she is being told about and starts telling more and more and she talks about it, more comes to the surface.

And without spoilers I just have to say that the last few chapters were the right note to end the story and I did not expect a few of the twists about the ending but it was good to find them happen. Once I closed the book I felt okay, pleased with how it had ended despite all that Moonbeam had had to go through.

You’re seriously in for a ride with this one. It is not a soft and fluffy romantic read, but it is a gripping ‘can’t put the book down’ read and I was utterly blown away by it.

From what I have learned (and after meeting the author, who was amazing and signed my copy and remembered me after I kept coming back to chat to him) this was inspired by the Waco Siege in Texas in 1993. I only learned this afterwards, and have now done some research into that. I admit that it is a good inspiration but love Will’s story on its own and to me they are two different events and cults.

Moon recommends

Go read it now. You needs this on the top of your TBR or straight into your hands. But if you’d like interesting gripping reads I can recommend Lies like Love by Louisa Reid, which is about a mother daughter relationship but it is also about manipulation, control, depression and mental illness. Or you can try This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn by Aidan Chambers, which is another gripping read, written in six ‘books’ of Cordelia’s adolescent life, by turns funny, poignant, sad, exciting, fascinating ironic and truthful about topics that parents often do not tell their children.

If you’d like to buy the book, you can find it here or you can check out my GoodReads review.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

The Disappearances Review

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The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Every seven years something goes missing in the remote town of Sterling: people’s reflections, the stars in the sky, the ability to dream. Aila realises that her mother may be to blame for the curse. But some mysteries are buried very deep and some secrets want to stay hidden – and one young woman’s desire to uncover the truth may not be enough to save Sterling from the past.

A beautifully told story of love, loss and finding the truth – no matter how difficult that might be.

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Warning, this review contains spoilers. Read at your discretion.

This was a slow start kind of book. The story starts in Gardner, where Aila and Miles have been living their whole life, and it starts at the moment they are meant to leave for Sterling (the place where the Disappearances happen).

From the beginning the prose is rich and delightful and as much as the story was moving slowly at first, there were several moments when I just wanted to grab a pencil and underline or copy some of the phrases.

Thankfully, once we arrive to Sterling and get past the introductory days and being introduced to most characters, things pick up.

I have to say that the thing that stuck with me the most was how much Emily (the author) must love Shakespeare’s works. The amount of details, and the use of them through the book was impressive and left me admiring her skills. Retellings of Shakespeare’s works are relatively common, but The Disappearances does a magic act here and instead of retelling them, weaves them into the story so they are in a way the story but never a retelling nor do you feel like you’re just reading Shakespeare with fillers around it.

I loved the Variants, cringed a little on the idea of the Virtues and what Stefen kept thinking in his head (and totally wasn’t expecting the fact that he was atually related to Juliet), as soon as Tempest was introduced I wanted to try it, though I think it’d be too chicken to do it in such a public way as Aila did. I really liked the way the relationships develop and how they have found ways around issues and found hilarious the last “disappearance” (not that it was great or good to have that disappear but rather on what it implied and the consequences of it). There was some fun in it and that was enjoyable despite the direness of it all.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand what made Stefen change his mind and hint them on how to break the curse, but I am glad he did despite the way his own story ended. All in all, it was a good read, despite the slow start, and beautifully written.

Moon recommends

This is not my usual kind of book but in a similar line there is Spellbook of the Lost and Found if you want something to go alongside.

If you’d like to buy it here, or if you’d like to read my shorter GoodReads review.

 

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.