MINI REVIEWS & EXCERPT - THE LADYBIRDS series so far... by Jenny McLachlan

Flirty Dancing (The Ladybirds #1)
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Release Date - July 3rd 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.

The Ladybirds were once a group of friends from nursery, but now as they've grown up they have parted ways. But when a dancing show gives their school an opportunity to audition, she can't but want to be a part of it even without a partner. She loves to dance in her room so why not dance for a show. Her nan however, makes sure she gets to dance, so she arranges to dance with Ollie, Pearl's boyfriend (ish). Pearl was part of their friendship but now she has become the bitch of the group, basically. You all know how they can be.

Bea, is one of those girls who feels very self conscious and shy about herself, although dancing becomes an integral part of her personality, it gets her to open up. What I loved was how her Nan played such an emotional and driven relationship with Bea that I felt that was the most precious thing in the entire book. Although Ollie and Bea was indeed a highlight as well. I know what that relationship is like and I love how Nans and Grandma's have a certain view of the world that we don't get to see in this new generation.

Each novel starts with an event or incentive to get the girls in the competitive spirit which you can see throughout the series. What I loved was the setting which was Brighton, I mean who has read a book in Brighton? Not me until now. We need more of them to explore the beauty of which is the UK and not just London. Flirty Dancing was indeed a breath of fresh air. The Ladybird series is one of those that you can read when you want just a light and fluffy novel. This particular novel in the series really made me remember when I was at school, although I wasn't very much the person who had a love story at that age. Just quite a couple of crushes I guess. All I have to say to Bea is don't lose herself or Ollie when she leaves school. Be the person you are. It was a very young YA novel for myself and sometimes I find that you can't really connect with the characters very often. But if I'm honest I find that it really depends on the character herself and the story-line. But that didn't deter from Bea's novel.

Rating - 3.5

Love Bomb (The Ladybirds #2)
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Release Date - March 12th 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Betty Plum has never been in love. She's never even kissed a boy. But when H.O.T. Toby starts school it's like Betty has been hit with a thousand of Cupid's arrows. It's like a bomb has exploded – a love bomb!

More than ever Betty wishes her mum hadn't died when Betty was a baby. She really needs her mum here to ask her advice. And that's when she finds hidden letters for just these moments. Letters about what your first kiss should feel like and what real love is all about …

Again, the book begun on a event of some sorts, rather than a dancing audition, this time is was a Autumn show, where Betty would bring out her personality by singing with either Kat her best friend, or the new kid Toby! I knew from the start that something wasn't right here. Although it was Betty's love is feeling getting in the mix she really couldn't tell and to be honest, it was after all her first time falling for someone. But it seemed that is someone closer to home that she had fallen for all along.

As you all know by now, I adore novels that add some more texture to the novels with letters, extracts, notes that sort of thing. Rather than just text and dialogue it's another way to communicate with one another especially that between Betty and her mum. Her mum was her rock but she never got the chance to really know her that well. So her mum wrote a letter for every birthday up to the age of 16 trying to keep herself alive in memory in some way for Betty. But then her mum create four very important letter, a lesson, a moment in your life that you need your mum around in this form. Each letter was heart-breaking, she had cancer and each growing letter she was deteriorating, but it showed just how much she loved Betty.

As far as a sequel goes in this series, I wasn't as good as the first novel. But that has nothing to do with the plot more to do with Betty as a character. For the life of me I couldn't quite connect with her as much as I did Bea. I think her lack of maturity, but that is her character, she is a little bonkers in places and I did see that, which made me laugh out loud. But if I'm honest it was the fun and laugh factor that made me love these books. Short, sweet, and colourful, I mean look at the covers, aren't they gorgeous and I think that is what pulled me to these books. And that fact the Betty on this cover sort of looks like me but younger. Lol. If you want someone light and fluffy then your in the right place.

Rating - 3

The latest novel is coming out next week so I thought I would share an excerpt with all of what's to come of Kat's story...

Sunkissed (The Ladybirds #3)
Publisher - Bloomsbury UK
Release Date - 13th August 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

Kat can't believe her family are sending her to Sweden for the summer. But without her friends, or even a phone signal, can Kat make it on her own?

In a land of saunas, nudity and summer sun, Kat soon realises she has nowhere to hide. It's time to embrace who she really is, underneath what she's been thinking people want her to be. Especially if she's going to win the heart of mega fit Swede Leo! Can Kat find her inner strength and prove she's got what it takes?

Kat soon finds that when you're surrounded by phosphorescence and wonder it's easy to sparkle. Or maybe that's what happens when you fall in love . Or maybe you only shine when you're true to yourself.

      In the darkness, Joel finds my hand and squeezes it. ‘And I mean, I really like you . . .’
     ‘Oh,’ I say, and I gulp, but maybe it sounds like, ‘Mmm,’ because he puts his arm round me and starts rubbing his nose in my hair. I've got to get out of here! I fumble through dresses and jumpers, trying to get my fingers in the gap in the door, but as I lean forward, he starts kissing me. 
      Actually, he’s kissing my ear. 
      Does this count as a kiss? If it does, it’s my third-ever kiss. Joel’s ear-kiss is moist and gross. Part of me wants it to stop immediately, but a bigger part of me knows this is going to be a really funny story to tell my 8 friends because I’m fairly certain Joel thinks he’s kissing my mouth. 
      Suddenly, Joel breathes out and it’s so tickly I burst out laughing. Next, footsteps crash across my room, my wardrobe door is thrown open and I tumble on to the carpet. Joel and some shoeboxes land on top of me. 
     I stare up at Dad, blinking into the bright light. ‘Sorry, sorry!’ says Joel as he desperately tries to untangle his shirt button from my hair. Then Pinky strolls in, followed by Mum and Britta. Pinky starts to bite my toes, Britta gasps and covers her mouth, but Mum doesn’t even look surprised. She just shakes her head and says, ‘Oh, Kat, how could you?’ which is word for word what she said at Marks and Spencer’s. 
     And then I make my second big mistake of the evening: I start to laugh . . . and I just can’t stop.


  1. It does sound lie you had a good time with these even if they weren't perfect. Great reviews!

  2. I don't think these would be for me but I'm glad to see they were extremely enjoyable, nevertheless. Fantastic mini-reviews, Emma! :)

  3. I've read Flirty Dancing before and already that one felt a bit too young for me unfortunately. I do agree it was a light and fluffy read that was a lot of fun. Her mum writing a letter for her sounds like such a touching and poignant thing to do in Love Bomb! Great reviews Emma.

  4. The covers of Flirty Dancing and Love Bomb remind me so much of that girl (you?) in your header!! :D Anyways, they don't really appeal to me, but they do look like a lot of fun! Lovely reviews, Emma!

    Ruzaika @ The Regal Critiques


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