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Guest Review by Iona McGraw: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Well, I’m here again. This time, I’m reviewing the first book of one of my favourite series ever. I must have read these books over ten times and I am desperately waiting for the next one to come out. The Land Of Stories: The Wishing Spell is an amazing book written by bestselling author and Golden Globe winner Chris Colfer. If I’m perfectly honest, the reason I read the first book was because it was written by one of my favourite characters from one of my favourite TV shows. The reason I read the second, third, fourth, side books and the other novel he wrote was because he is actually an amazing writer. He really is one of the most creative and funny writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  That’s enough of me sucking up, in the hope that he’ll follow me on Twitter! (It’s @ionagleek btw!)

The ‘Land of Stories’ series follows twins Connor and Alex Bailey after their Dad passes away. A year after it happens Alex gets a story book from their grandmother and she finds out it’s magic. After many pencils, odd socks and books being thrown through the magical portal shining through the book, Alex decides to jump in herself. Connor finds out and jumps after her. They then find themselves in the land of stories (hence the series title), a magic land where all the fairy tale characters live. After a little bit of exploring, they find that they have no way home, so they are told about The Wishing Spell. It’s a spell that requires them to retrieve a handful of objects, many of which you should recognize from stories such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. After they get the items they can wish for anything their heart’s desire. The only problem is that the evil queen (as seen in Snow White) wants it too. It’s a race to get the objects first, paired with the struggles they face being two twelve year olds stuck in an unfamiliar world

This book is amazing. It takes the characters you know and love and manages to put them in a new perspective without completely forgetting what they originally were. It talks about stories and fairy tales but isn’t just a book for kids. I read this for the first time at 13 and still love it now, at nearly 16 years old. As practically an adult (although my mum would argue otherwise) I can say it definitely suits an audience slightly older than what it’s aimed at. If there was ever any doubt about his acting career, we are all safe in the knowledge that Chris Colfer has another area to comfortably fall back on. He is critically acclaimed and in my opinion one of the best writers of our era. It would not surprise me if, in a few years, he is as treasured and celebrated for his writing as the likes of Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. A true author for the ages.

Guest Review by Iona McGraw: Miss Prince by Alicia L. Wright

So I know its been a while since my first review for Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, due to Christmas, homework, mock exams and (the real reason) Netflix. But I finally got pestered enough from my mother to do it, so my next review is here. At the start of December I went to a Christmas Fair where I picked up and offered to do a review for Alicia L. Wright’s book, Miss Prince. I agreed, thinking it would be a good book with lots of similarities to many of today’s popular young adult novels. Apparently I was wrong. Wright managed to come up with an entirely new concept and outlook on the traditional fairytale, adding lots of references that would appeal to a typical teenage audience of 2016. With references to social media, animé and internet friends, ‘geeky is the new cool’ really comes through in her writing.
Miss Prince is all about a young girl called Lucinda who would like to travel to America to meet up with her internet friends and create an amazing video to win a competition. The only problem is, she lives in England and her awful parents refuse to cover the fund. (They aren’t really that bad but I’m trying to stick with the teenager theme here) They agree that if Lucinda can come up with the funds herself she will be allowed to go. This means she has to do the thing every young adult fears; to become an actual adult and find a job. After seeing an advert in a corner shop window she applies to ‘Rent-a-Prince’. It turns out that this organization needs an actual prince but one that won’t run off and get married to the first princess they rescue and stop doing their princely duties. (I was unaware that this was a problem in the fairy tale world but now I think about it, it makes perfect sense…) As the novel carries on, we follow Lucinda on the path to her plane ticket and all the trials and tribulations she faces on the way. We meet good vampires, sassy unicorns and move through lots of doubt about whether or not she can do it.
On the whole I liked the book. It was an unusual, original concept and I honestly had no idea what was going to happen next for the majority of the book. The writing was good and the story mostly flowed smoothly with only a few small ripples of confusion. Also after meeting the author, I found that she was a lovely person who clearly loves what she does. I look forward to reading her other novel Eggs, Butter, Sugar and Disaster’ soon. Anyway, that’s it from me, the internet beckons, so i’ll try to write another review but I won’t make any promises. Bye!

 

The Widow
Fiona Barton The Widow (16) Release Date: 14 Jan. 2016 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

Juiceman
Andrew Cooper Release Date: 14 Jan. 2016 Buy new: £16.99 £11.89

Someone to Save You
Paul Pilkington Someone to Save You 37 days in the top 100 Someone to Save You (514) Download: £0.99

Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles)
Jeffrey Archer Release Date: 25 Feb. 2016 Buy new: £20.00 £13.60

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever
Marie Kondo The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever 279 days in the top 100 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever (835) Buy new: £10.99 £7.69 37 used & new from £4.38

The Other Son
Nick Alexander 67 days in the top 100 The Other Son (382) Download: £1.99

Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy
Joe Wicks 111 days in the top 100 Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy (196) Buy new: £14.99 £6.99 25 used & new from £6.91

Guest Review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan by Iona McGraw

Hi. I’m Iona McGraw and I’m the eldest daughter of Lisa, your usual Segnalibro writer. For a few months now my mum has been asking me to write a review for her website. She says that it should ‘help my English skills’ but honestly I’m just doing this to prove to her that I can.
I first read Percy Jackson aged 13 but I don’t think I really took it in as I read the first book and didn’t pick the second one up for another two months. Upon reading this again recently (and for the fourth time I might add) I remembered the greatness that is this series of books. They are truly amazing, in my opinion.
This series is all about a teenage boy named Percy Jackson and the adventures he faces after learning that he is a demigod. Meaning that he has one parent who is actually a Greek god. Far-fetched I know but Riordan writes it in a fashion that makes it almost believable. The first book is where Percy finds out about his true parentage and that his father is really Poseidon, god of the sea. After his mother is captured he is taken to a special place called Camp Half-blood where young demigods go to train and defend themselves against the monsters which threaten them. Percy finds out that the gods are currently angry at him because they think he stole a bolt of lightning from the king of the gods himself, Zeus. He goes on a quest to find the lightning bolt and return it to Olympus to prove his innocence and get his other back. The story follows his quest along with his new friends Grover the satyr (Google it) and fellow demigod Annabeth, daughter of Athena.
Riordan’s writing is spectacular, with an easy to follow storyline and lots of jokes and humour thrown into the mix. It is written from the point of view of Percy and I think that Riordan really captures what I would imagine a twelve-year-old boy’s mind is like. As well as the funny storyline there are a lot of (mythologically speaking) accurate facts about Ancient Greece and the Greek gods. This book is a great way to learn about Greek mythology without even realising you’re doing it. I know for a fact that even though she protests to reading these books, my mum would really enjoy them and would learn the facts about Greek mythology she apparently craves to know. Honestly she didn’t even know who Zeus was. (Yes, I did! – Lisa)
His portrayal of the gods in modern times makes them different from the usual descriptions of the gods but also resonates with how you would imagine them to be in the twenty-first century. He describes how they now look, their modern habits and preferences and of course the type of people they look to procreate with. They give the series a sense of modernness to this book all about things people believed 2500 years ago.
The later books in the series are just as good, some even better and the follow-up series of books, ‘Heroes of Olympus’ are all up to Riordan’s usual standard of writing. This beyond amazing standard extends to his trilogy of Egyptian mythology and all the side books he has written for both. In particular, his book ‘Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods’ is also really good. I have recommended these books to everyone from my eight year old sister to my sixty-three year old grandad. It is thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to reading more of Riordan’s books in the future.


Twitter ID: @ionagleek

 

Grandpa's Great Escape

David Walliams Release Date: 24 Sept. 2015 Buy new: £12.99 £6.49

Eating Well Made Easy: Deliciously healthy recipes for everyone, every day

Lorraine Pascale Release Date: 27 Aug. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £12.99

The Taming of the Queen

Philippa Gregory The Taming of the Queen 27 days in the top 100 The Taming of the Queen (12) Buy new: £20.00 £4.99 29 used & new from £4.98

Murder House: Part One

James Patterson Download: £1.99

Username: Evie

Joe Sugg Release Date: 10 Sept. 2015 Buy new: £14.99 £7.00

Mightier than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles)

Jeffrey Archer Mightier than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles) (1431) Release Date: 27 Aug. 2015 Buy new: £7.99 £3.99

Make Me: (Jack Reacher 20)

Lee Child Release Date: 10 Sept. 2015 Buy new: £20.00 £10.00