Begone the Raggedy Witches: MG Review

36131823Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publication: February 1st 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Publisher
Thank you Walker Books
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On the night that Aunty dies the Raggedy Witches come for Mup’s mam. Pale, cold, relentless, they will do anything to coax Mam back to Witches Borough. When they kidnap Mup’s dad, Mup and her mam must leave the mundane world to rescue him. But Mam is strange on this side of the border – striding, powerful, and distant. Even if they can save Dad, Mup is not sure anything will ever be the same again…


Begone the Raggedy Witches has been dubbed as Ireland’s answer to JK Rowling, but I got more of an Alice in Wonderland vibe then Harry Potter. So, maybe it’s Ireland’s answer to Lewis Carroll? Hmmm, no.

Mup was an easily likeable main character. You couldn’t help but root for her, on her journey through a strange and exciting new land, to save her father.

Mup’s baby brother Tipper turning in a dog was a highlight for me. I have an eighteen month old son and I kept imagining him running around as a puppy. I also loved the inclusion of the old family dog on the adventure, really rounded out Mup’s ragtag band of adventurers.

Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan is a whimsical fairytale-esque story about self-discovery, making friends, writing wrongs and good triumphing over evil. I would highly recommended this book for any younger fantasy fans.


Celine Kiernan’s Links: Twitter | Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Raggedy Witches Links: Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon US | Amazon AU

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Review: A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt

28237538For fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett comes a hilarious new space and time adventure.

Teenagers on skateboards jumped off walkways, dropped a dozen floors and activated rockets to safely land walkways below.
Blake took a deep breath, inhaling something that smelt like a cross between burnt plastic and toffee apple.
Neo City, Blake thought. Home, sweet home.

NEO City, 2509.
After a series of operational bungles, as well as
the accidental death of his partner, special agent Blake Carter’s career at the Planetary Bureau of Investigation is in trouble.
To make matters worse, he’s just been assigned a new partner—and the beautiful and brilliant Nicki Steel happens to be a cyborg.
When universe-famous criminal Bartholomew Badde steals a weapon capable of destroying whole planets at a time, Blake and Nicki must work together to recover it—an investigation that takes them to all corners of the weird and wonderful galaxy.
But things get serious when Badde kidnaps Blake’s teenage daughter, Lisa. Can Blake prove he’s still a first-rate agent—not to mention father—and save Lisa in time?

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Thank You Netgalley, Darrell Pitt and Text Publishing for allowing me a copy to read and review.

My Thoughts: So straight up the synopsis has offered up some high expectation for this book to meet and as an Adam’s fan I was like “Bring it on Pitt”. While I did grow to kinda like the lead character Blake Carter, he was in no way the adorable Arthur Dent – but that’s ok because he wasn’t supposed to be.

We follow Blake Carter a middle-aged agent with the Planetary Bureau of Investigation as he gets kicked off his current long running case, assigned a Cyborg as a new partner and having to deal with his ex-wife after their daughter is kidnapped. And of course, *spoiler alert* getting the bad guy – with a lot of help from the Cyborg, the ex-wife, some Elvis’s and an odd pirate-like space captain.

The “Zeeb Says” sections throughout the story while humorous at times and very ‘Hitchhikers’ in the style of narration, which I should have loved, I found a nuisance. I’d just be getting into the rhythm of the story and they’d distract me from it. Why was this so? I really don’t know! Did they feel like a poor Adam’s imitations? No that wasn’t it. Was it just because I was trying to hurry and finish the book because it wasn’t floating my boat and they were slowing me down? Yeah, I think that was more it.

I thought this book was going to be right up my ally; sci-fi with silly humour etc. But no, while I liked the book and can see its merits, unfortunately we didn’t click. I had to force myself to stay focused and read on. This book is listed as Middle Grade, so I’m not the target audience. But I can’t quite get my head around this book’s listing.

I’m trying to figure out who on earth would be the right audience for this book, because it is by no means a bad story. I think it’s a good story despite my personal enjoyment issues. If it was a Friday night telemovie I could totally see my father chuckling while watching it on the couch with a beer in his hand as he’s sprawled out with only his green and gold footy shorts on unwinding after another week of working hard in the Aussie heat.

I would say it’s definitely not for Teens, those self-absorbed self-torturing darlings wouldn’t give two hoots about this middle-aged law enforcement officer from the future. I’m thinking 8/12-year-olds who have a love of sci-fi for sci-fi sake and don’t care too much about who the hero is if there is lots of action and adventure – yeah, it’d suit them. MAYBE even a “daggy dad” type who wants to switch off his brain after a long day at work and read something that’s simple and amusing – I totally thought I fell into this category, but apparently not.

I do intend to check out Pitt’s The Firebird Mystery and Diary of a Teenage Superhero and see how I go with them, because I think Pitt’s a good writer, just that this book wasn’t for me. THREE ‘I Liked It’ STARS.

The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin

25951371

Published: October 1st 2015 by Hot Key Books (first published August 1st 2010)

Age Rating: 9+

Pages: 288

Thank you to Ms Coggin and Hot Key Books for giving me a copy to read in exchange for a honest review.

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*     *     *     *     *     S y n o p s i s     *     *     *     *     *

A girl, a dog, a boy, a journey.

“When my death came, it was swift. Swift as a racing horse.”

Twelve-year-old Daisy has just died in a car crash. But in a twist of fate, and through a heavenly bureaucratic mistake Daisy ends up, not where she is supposed to be – but in the body of a dog. Daisy may now be inhabiting a dog’s body, but inside she is still very much Daisy, and is as bouncy, loyal, positive, energetic as she ever was.

Daisy’s only thought is to somehow be reunited with her parents, who she knows will be missing her. And this is how she meets Pip, a boy who is homeless and on his own journey, and a lasting, tender and very moving friendship between boy and dog/girl is formed.

A charming and beautifully written story with a bit of quirk and a lot of heart.

*     *     *     *     *     M y      T h o u g h t s    *     *     *     *     *

Yes, this book is a story of death and reincarnation, but it’s also a story of love, friendship and second chances. It is heart-breaking and heart-warming all at the same time. It is quite an easy read, that has a nice flow and fast pace.

In Taking the wrong door, Daisy who was a twelve-year-old girl, goes into a new life as a new born puppy with all her memories. The door she was supposed to take would have erased her memories, wiping her slate clean.

Dog Daisy is determined to get back to her human parents and recreate some former resemblance of her old life – this doesn’t go very well.

A sequence of events (I don’t want to give too much away!) finds Daisy out on her own and struggling to stay alive a stray dog. Fate and a drifter named Jack bring Pip and her together. It is Pip who gives Daisy the name Ray (as in a ray of sunshine), which is the first step in Daisy’s healing process.

Pip is a fourteen-year-old boy who has run away from his foster carers on a mission to track down his father.

Pip and Ray need each other and they form a deep and pure bond.

There are plenty of twists and turns in Pip and Ray’s adventure/search for Pip’s dad and even though it’s not what he imagined, Pip gets a happy ending.

Slowly Daisy slips away as she comes to terms with her death and embraces the life of Ray. In the end she is at peace and happy.

The way Ms Coggin wrote the way Ray thought was believable and I felt she captured the heart of a dog beautifully in this book.

It is a sweet story with some beautiful characters that I don’t think I’ll forget any time soon.

Purchase Links:

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Author’s Links:

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