Half term reading

One of my favourite things about half term is:


Like seriously, a week of (avoiding doing a lot of work) reading is absolute bliss. I don’t hold back. I read a book, then pick up another, then another, until I inevitably can’t pick up another because I have to just get on with doing some of the work I’ve avoided. 

I thought today I’d share some quick reviews of the books I got through this half term! More than happy to share more thoughts if you wanna know more – just ask! 


These are in backwards order – The Climbers was the last book I finished during half term.

The Climbers – MG
Lonely Alma longs to explore the lush forest beyond her narrow town, but her uncle has told her it’s full of fearsome beasts. One night, she ventures into the trees and finds a frightened bear cub. The two become friends but the rest of the town is not so welcoming. Soon, Alma and Star Bear are forced to set off in search of a place to call home.

A lovely tale of friendship in all its guises! Beautifully illustrated page after page. Some lovely messages about being kind to animals and people alike. A good step up from picture books, but not chapter book length!

Boot – MG
When toy robot, Boot, wakes up at a scrapyard, it has no idea how it got there and why it isn’t with its owner, Beth. It only has two and a half glitchy memories, but it knows it was loved, which means something important to humans. Boot is scared but tries to be brave, which is hard when its screen keeps showing a wobbly, worried face. Luckily Boot meets Noke and Red – other ‘advanced’ robots who have learned to survive in secret. With new friends by its side, Boot is determined to find Beth and the gang set off on a dangerous adventure. Everything Boot thought it knew about the world is changing and things aren’t as simple as it remembers . . .

This is fun, friendship and finding yourself. I loved Boot and his bunch of merry robot friends! Imagine waking up one day with only 3 memories and a sense that you need to get home! Boot needs to find his way back to Beth and to himself. I chuckled a lot at this!

Viper – YA (full review to come)
Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles. But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake. He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father. She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

Pirate assassins? Magic? Brilliant main character? A dad who is TRULY the worst? Absolutely yes. I adored Bronn and Grace with all that I am. Marianne deserves like the rest of her life to just chill after what she’s been through, but she’s definitely going to have more adventures. I can’t wait for book 2. I really really enjoyed this.

The Girl Who Speaks Bear – MG (full review to come)
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure.

Storytelling at its very finest. Brilliant characters, beautiful worlds, exciting adventures and powerful messages. I just adored this. Yanka is a character that kids and adults will adore, and relate to! You can’t beat a bit of finding yourself and your people (or animals) with a good bit of story woven together. Just bloody brilliant.

Malamander – MG
Malamander is told from the perspective of Herbert Lemon, the Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel, who tries to unite objects that have been left at the hotel with their owners. Other characters in the story include Violet Palma, who is lost and needs to be found, and the eponymous Malamander, who controls people’s dreams.

A brilliant adventure set in a small (if not a little creepy) seaside town. I loved the friendships and the hints of magic and folk lore in this book. It’s a wonderful mix of science, fantasy, adventure and friendship: along with a few secrets and a mysterious fish. Bloody marvellous.

The Burning – YA (full review to come)
New school. Tick.
New town. Tick.
New surname. Tick.
Social media profiles? Erased.
There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’. At least that’s what she thinks … until the whispers start up again. As time begins to run out on her secrets, Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own…

This book is INTENSE. But in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE. It’s hard to read, it’s gritty, it’s history and now. It’s girls arguing, it’s online shaming, it’s history repeating. Betrayal, lies, secrets, fresh starts, friendship, honesty. Just bloody magnificent.

Starfell – MG 
Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Her magic might be useful, but it’s not exactly exciting . . . Until, that is, the most powerful witch in the whole of Starfell turns up at her door needing Willow’s help. A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. And the repercussions could be devastating. Can Willow find the day to save the day?

A great story about accepting things about yourself you might not see as useful; learning the power of teamwork; the joy of magic and friendship. I really enjoyed this! Some gorgeous touches of characters, magic, names and places. This will go down well with my Y4s/5s!

The Truth About Keeping Secrets – YA
Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio town. He is also unexpectedly dead. Is Sydney crazy, or is it kind of weird that her dad-a guy whose entire job revolved around other peoples’ secrets-crashed alone, with no explanation? And why is June Copeland, homecoming queen and the town’s golden child, at his funeral? 
As the two girls grow closer in the wake of the accident, it’s clear that not everyone is happy about their new friendship. But what is picture perfect June still hiding? And does Sydney even want to know? 

This kept me guessing throughout. Really really good. Loved the characters and the storyline. There’s a lot of misleading in this which kept me on my toes.

The Middler – MG (Full review to come)
Eleven-year-old Maggie lives in Fennis Wick, enclosed and protected from the outside world by a boundary, beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam. Her brother Jed is an eldest, revered and special. A hero. Her younger brother is Trig – everyone loves Trig. But Maggie’s just a middler; invisible and left behind. Then, one hot September day, she meets Una, a hungry wanderer girl in need of help, and everything Maggie has ever known gets turned on its head.

I adored every single minute of this – it is completely unputdownable! You will fall for Maggie 100%. I loved the adventure and the messages in this – stand up for what you believe in, work with your fear and be kind.

No Big Deal – YA (full review to come)
Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in. With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

If I could swear, I would. This book is exceptional. I am/was Emily and there’s nothing more important that seeing yourself in a book. I hope every young girl gets a chance to read it. Loving yourself is SO IMPORTANT. This book made me laugh, cry and want to shout. Just bloody marvellous.

As you can see I had a VERY varied half term filled with EXCEPTIONAL books. I would recommend ALL of these! Some of them are out now, some of them were proofs the publishers very kindly sent me! 

What have you recently?
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Do you love to spend your time off reading? 

Talk to me, let me know your thoughts on any of these books if you’ve read them, or if you want to know anything else about any of them! 

S x 

3 thoughts on “Half term reading

  1. Lilyfae says:

    You’ve read some of my favourites and some of my hardest wished for (but haven’t got yet) books!!
    Glad you’ve had a great reading break, you’ve certainly filled it with some amazing stories!!


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