BOOK BLOG: Helena Duggan

The Battle For Perfect: a creepily perfect ending!

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“Things have quietened down in the town that used to be Perfect. But stories reach Violet and Boy of five missing scientists. And then they discover something odd in the forest outside Town – a mirror maze hiding a huge castle. Creeping inside, they overhear a terrible plan – a zombie army is about march on Town. Can Violet and Boy save their friends?”

Anyone who has read my blog in the past will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of the A Place Called Perfect series by Helena Duggan. I raced through book 1, devoured book 2 and then when it came to book 3… I was SO NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE that I savoured every moment. 

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For those who don’t know the series, it follows a young girl called Violet, who lives in a town called Perfect. There’s been a lot of goings on in Perfect, from brothers who try and take over, to child snatchers and all sorts. It’s Violet’s job to try and save the day. With the help of her friend Boy, she manages each and every time to save the day. These books are a wonderful mix of creepy, adventure-filled and filled with gorgeous description. 

I’d waited a long time for book 3 to come out. Once I’d read book 2, I was ready for book 3. In Battle for Perfect, we get the next installment in the series. Violet and Boy need to face off against some of their biggest, and meanest, and closest, villains. With zombies galore and some wonderful science on show, it’s up to Violet and Boy to try and save the town from once again being taken over by scheming wrong-doers. 

One of the things I love most about these books is that they’re just a little bit on the creepy side. They’re not so creepy that they give you nightmares, but they’re just on that balance between spine tingling and normal. I read this book with a slight fear in me. The whole series has been the same, like it could be really bloody scary, but it’s just the right amount of creepy. I mean eye plants??? 

Another of the things that I love so much about this series is Violet. She’s bloody wonderful. She’s a great main character to read. She’s bold, brave and a little bit scared. In Battle for Perfect, she shows that she just wants to be the best friend she can be with Boy, but she doubts things that she should be doing. I think it was lovely to see, once again, that it’s Violet and her friends that are coming to save the day again. Perfect wouldn’t be the place it is if it weren’t for Violet! In Battle for Perfect, you get some lovely reappearances from some familiar faces. Violet has her very own crew of super sleuths who are on hand to help save the day. I mean, I would need a MASSIVE band of super sleuths to try and take down an army of zombies. (I’d be rubbish at it to be honest…)

This book, like the previous 2, was the perfect mix of being fast paced, some wonderful characters and being back in the world that I love (despite the fact it creeps me out). I’m so sad that it’s now over, but it was a complete and utter ride! Shout out here to Karl James Mountford for the cover illustrations and the illustrations inside… they’re definitely a series of books that are BEAUTIFUL to look at! 

On another note… my kids are LOVING book 1 in this series and I already have a waiting list for the two copies of the book we have! I’m loving seeing them all getting lost in Violet and Boy’s world! 

My Goodreads review:

Bloody brilliant. It was a brilliant way to say goodbye to this series. Jam packed with science, zombies, the characters and the world we know and love! I’m gutted this series is over, but their ending seems more than closure.

And just like that, it’s all over. I hope you enjoyed this review!

Can you recommend me some scary/creepy books?
Have you read the Perfect series?

Talk to me, I’d love to know your thoughts!

S x 

Forgotten Faves: MG edition

Hello!

How are we all today?

Today, I thought I would share with you some of my “forgotten” faves.

What is a “forgotten fave” I hear you say?

For me, a “forgotten fave” is a book that I loved reading that I don’t really ever talk about because there are 70294723940 books that instantly come to mind when I am asked for a recommendation. They’re those quietly loved books. They’re the books you love talking about when people are reading them, but they don’t come to mind instantly. They’re the books that you JUMP about when you see someone else recommending them. They’re the books that get forgotten, but that you love so.

Why am I taking to my blog and sharing my forgotten faves?

I think it’s important that books aren’t forgotten about. There are SO MANY BOOKS that are recommended to us and they’re usually either BRAND NEW BOOKS or they’re books that are recommended over and over again. It’s important that we remember books that were published more than the past few months. I am the most guilty about shouting about books that are BRAND NEW because they’re at the forefront of my mind, so this is my way of saying hello and I love you again to the books I read a while ago that I loved.

So here we go, today I’m taking on my middle grade forgotten faves (or at least 10 of them!)

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A Girl Called Owl (and all of Amy Wilson’s books tbf) is full of magic, friendship and beauty. This is one of those books that just give you a tap of magic that remains with you forever.

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A Boy Called Hope is a gorgeous book. It’s one of those wonderful warm, funny and quirky books that comes along. I remember reading it in the sunshine and thinking “this is gorgeous, but also a little sad”. Canny Dan and his search to find his Dad

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A Darkness of Dragons is an amazing story – a retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Anyone who loves a folktale and a brave main character will be gripped by this. I properly loved it and I can’t wait for the second book!

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A Place Called Perfect. Man, this book. I think it’s one of the best kids, spooky, mysterious books around. I devoured this book in a matter of hours AND then the sequel too. I miss these characters, I do hope there will be more!

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I truly believe this is one of those books that is NOT talked about enough. I devoured Storm Witch quickly. It’s an incredible tale of coming of age, identity and belonging. I would LOVE to be a Storm Witch, but I truly believe I am not cool enough for a title like that hah!

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This book was an absolute delight to read! Imagine Charlie and the Chocolate Factory met Bugsy Malone – that’s what you get here. Candy sees a world where sweets have been banned and there is a black market for them. I just adored this.

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The Buried Crown is a brilliant historical book. It’s got amazing characters and a memorable plot! Who wouldn’t want to read a story about a young man trying to protect the crown from Hitler?

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I read The Company of Eight almost 2 years ago now and I STILL recommend it to people. It’s one of those fantastic fantasy adventure story with old-London themes, pirates and mysterious spies. Totally one that younger me loved (grown up me absolutely did!)

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When I first read Eye of the North, I was blown away. This is the best kind of adventure. It’s filled with messages about being brave and being kind. If you’re after something with wonderful main characters, family secrets and pretty terrifying villains, you can not go wrong with this!

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Another wonderful mystery story that I don’t talk about enough. The Goodly and Grave series is a firm favourite in mine – I love seeing a new book announced. This series is a brilliant tale of magic, mystery and menacing characters.

And there you go! Ten of my “forgotten faves” for now!

If you’d like to share your forgotten faves, please do! I’d love to see some of the lesser talked about books being shown some love!

See you soon!

S x

“Which books should I add to my Christmas list, Miss?”

Yesterday, I shared 10 recommendations for emerging chapter book readers – check it out if you’re after recommendations for 6+ years! Today I’m sharing books that I’ve shared with the kids in my class, school and life! Today is the turn of those who are confidently reading longer chapter books – longer chapter books that are BLOODY BRILLIANT.

None of these books will come as a surprise to ANYONE who knows me, but nevertheless. I think one of the best books you can buy kids is a book. These recommendations are books I’ve loved, but also books that my kids have wholeheartedly taken under their wing!

2018 mg recs

(I know right, SHOCKERS)

Now, some of these are book 1 in a series that I would recommend the whole series of… but if I’d put ALL of the books in the series of, I would have been here forever!

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series – Alex Bell

A Place Called Perfect series – Helena Duggan

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson

The Nowhere Emporium series – Ross Mackenzie

Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

Who Let The Gods Out series by Maz Evans (Simply the Quest reviewBeyond the Odyssey review)

And there you have it… my second lot of MG recommendations which are perfect to buy for any budding bookworm in your life!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any favourites?
Would you recommend any for me to add to my list?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Come back tomorrow for YA recommendations!

S x

 

S4S – Ultimate panels

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the hiatus this week… there was just a little need for my brain to take a break after a very busy half term! I am back though! And today’s #SixforSunday sees me taking on:

Dream panels/events

So, my dream panels? WELL THIS IS GONNA BE FUN. I’m gonna go 3 MG and 3 YA because LOVE.

“Contemporary YA: Why it matters” with Laura Steven, Alice Oseman, Sara Barnard and Katherine Webber.

“Writing badass characters” featuring Leigh Bardugo, Melinda Salisbury, Alice Broadway and Alwyn Hamilton.

“Writing stories that make our readers cry (we love it)” featuring C.G.Drews, Karen Gregory, Lisa Healthfield and Adam Silvera.

“Creating worlds kids want to read about” featuring Helena Duggan, Maz Evans, Ross Mackenzie and Kiran Milwood Hargrave.

“Writing incredible characters” featuring Peter Brown, Lisa Thompson, Alex Bell and Jessica Townsend.

“Books: an ode to books” featuring Anna James and Piers Torday in conversation.

Side note: I am still waiting for a Floored Seven panel

There we go! I LOVE hearing authors talk about their books, so please GET ME MORE EVENTS IN THE NORTH. I’m more than happy to host any of these *wink*

Remember to share your dream panels using #SixforSunday! I can’t wait to see what you all think! 

S x 

S4S – film interpretations of books

ALOHA. The final Sunday in February. WHEN HOW WHY?

Welcome to another #SixforSunday. Today I’m sharing my dream film adaptations in today’s prompt:

Film interpretations of books

So I technically cheated but I went with books I’d LOVE to see as films

  1. The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy – Melinda Salisbury
    CAN YOU IMAGINE IF THIS WAS MADE FOR THE BIG SCREEN? Golly. I would be there SO HARD. The world building, Twylla, the story, the deception. I WANT IT SO BAD.
  2. Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard
    I think this would be a really interesting one to see on the big screen. I would certainly love to see it. 
  3. One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
    I think this could be a totally massive hit. The book is exceptional and I think it would translate BRILLIANTLY to the big screen. 
  4. The Fandom – Anna Day
    Another one that I think would be an interesting one to put on the screen. Doing the two stories in one film, I’d love to see how they would do it.
  5. A Place Called Perfect – Helena Duggan
    A kids’ book but I think the deliciously devilish nature of it would be perfect for the big screen.
  6. Rebel of the Sands trilogy – Alwyn Hamilton
    The desert, the magic, Amani and Jin, the incredible friendships. I NEED THIS TO HAPPEN. 

MAN. Now I want ALL of these to happen. PLEASE SOMEONE GET ON WITH IT.

Share your thoughts in the comments and share your #SixforSunday with me on twitter! I’d love to see the books you want to see on the big screen! 

S x

Best of 2017: MG edition

4 days of 2017 left. 4 days of books to add to my Goodreads total. 

However, I have made a decision about the best MG books of 2017, for me. I’m going to give a very short description and leave a link to my review, if you’re interested in more information. If there isn’t a full review on it, there will be one coming, have no fear!

So here goes:

The best MG books of 2017

Best MG 2017(it must be noted that these are not in any order whatsoever!)

Running on the Roof of the World – Jess Butterworth
(review to come)
Adventure filled with incredible colours (and gorgeous chapter pages!)

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club – Alex Bell
(review to come)
Exceptional. Friendship, equality, fun and gorgeous characters.

Christmas Dinner of Souls – Ross Montgomery 
BOOKBLOG: Ross Montgomery
Another winner from Ross. Devious, delicious and daring.

Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
(review to come)
Mysterious and magical: I absolutely adored this book.

Letters From The Lighthouse – Emma Carroll
BOOKBLOG: Emma Carroll
Brave, bold and brilliant. I fell in love with this, quickly.

A Place Called Perfect – Helena Duggan
BOOKBLOG: Helena Duggan
Creepy and brilliant, filled with brave characters and an interesting plot.

The Last Wild – Piers Torday
BOOKBLOG: Piers Torday
Heartbreaking, heart warming and brilliant. This book made me cry on a train.

Simply The Quest (WLTGO #2) – Maz Evans
BOOKBLOG: Maz Evans
Excellent sequel to WLTGO. Was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint. Maz is a genius.

The Explorer – Katherine Rundell
BOOKBLOG: Katherine Rundell
This is one of my stand out books of the year. I completely fell for this book. It is just exceptional. 

The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
BOOKBLOG: Sylvia Bishop
This is one of those brilliant books that just spark something within imaginations. This world is one of my favourites of the year.

The Island At The End of Everything – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
BOOKBLOG: Kiran Milwood Hargrave
One of those books that comes along every now and again: inspiring, heartbreaking and touching. Kiran’s books are absolute magic.

Who Let The Gods Out – Maz Evans
BOOK BLOG: Maz Evans
The first in the WLTGO series. Sets the tone by being hilarious and moving, with characters you care about and want to see more of!

And there we have it… 2017 has blessed us with hilarious Greek Gods, touching stories of friendship, stories with magical book shops, mothers and daughters separated, children lost in the Amazon jungle with a stranger to help, brave kids pairing up with animals to do some saving, magical lands of mountains and ice, more magic and rescues aplenty. MG books are wonderful. Kid or not, go out there and read them!

What are your favourite MG books of 2017?
Have you read any of my list?
If you could recommend me one more 2017 MG book what would it be?

Happy reading!

S x

Perfect Presents #2

Yesterday, was the first of my “Perfect Presents” series! I hope you enjoyed my recommendations for brilliant picture books to buy! I would love to know if you have bought any of them for the little people in your life! 

Today’s perfect presents post is all about:

Perfect MG books

(Now this could be a LONG post, 2017 has been an exceptional year for MG books… bear with me!)

Christmas Dinner of Souls – Ross Montgomery
(review to come!)

“It’s a dark and lonely Christmas Eve in the dining room of ancient Soul’s College. The kitchen boy, 11-year-old Lewis, has helped prepare a highly unusual meal, made with unrecognisable ingredients, cooked by a mysterious chef. And then the guests arrive … and carnage ensues. For this is the annual meeting of a secret club for those who despise children, warmth, happiness, and above all Christmas. Each member must try to outdo the others by telling the most terrible, disgusting story they know. A spooky, shocking, bloodthirsty alternative to festive cheer that will appeal to, fascinate and delight young readers.”

Letters from the Lighthouse – Emma Carroll
(BOOKBLOG: Emma Carroll)

“February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees. Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.”

Who Let The Gods Out – Maz Evans
(while you’re at it, buy Simply The Quest too!)
(BOOKBLOG: Maz EvansBOOK BLOG: Maz Evans 1)

“Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?”

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club – Alex Bell
(review to come!)

“Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages… When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?”

Father Christmas and Me – Matt Haig
(This is part of a series, buy all of them!)

“It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas. For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs every day – even in July – and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold. But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it’s too late . . .”

A Place Called Perfect – Helena Duggan
(BOOKBLOG: Helena Duggan)

“Violet never wanted to move to Perfect. Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be perfectly behaved all the time? Violet quickly discovers there’s something weird going on, and when she meets Boy she realizes that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!”

The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
(BOOKBLOG: Sylvia Bishop)

“This story is about a little girl named Property Jones, so-called because she was left in the lost property cupboard of a bookshop when she was five years old. Property loves living in the bookshop, but she has a whopper of a secret … she can’t actually read! So Property doesn’t see the newspaper article announcing the chance to win the Montgomery Book Emporium, the biggest and most magnificent bookshop in the world! When her family win the competition, Property finds herself moving to the Emporium, a magical place filled with floor upon floor of books and a very bad-tempered cat. But all is not at it seems at the Emporium and soon Property Jones finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.”

Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
(review to come!)

“Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day of the year, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away to the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter wants her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – otherwise she’ll have to leave and confront her deadly fate once and for all.”

Just like I said yesterday, there are so many SO MANY incredible books out there for kids. Please buy the kids in your life a book. They’re so important and there’s some absolutely incredible books out there! Ask booksellers for recommendations, they’ll have some absolutely choices for you! 

Have you read any of these choices?
Are there any books you’d like to see me review?
Which book would you most like to receive?

Talk to me on twitter, or in the comments! I would love to know what you’re buying for the kids in your life (or even yourself!)

S x

BOOKBLOG: Helena Duggan

A Place Called Perfect: creepy and gripping; perfect by name and nature.

Perfect

Violet never wanted to move to Perfect. Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time? But Violet quickly discovers there’s something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared. When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away…and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!

A while back, I asked people for their favourite book covers and one that kept creeping up was this one. I had never heard of it but I knew, JUST FROM LOOKING AT IT, that I needed it. The gorgeous people of Usborne (thank you Stevie!) sent me a copy to review and when it arrived it jumped straight to the top of my pile. I mean, you shouldn’t just a book by it’s cover (yadda yadda) and all that BUT JUST LOOK AT IT. It is absolutely beautiful. Incredible colours, lots of little things to notice, a suspicious looking boy and a girl with mysterious glasses. I wanted to know more INSTANTLY. So I dived in…

Perfect2

‘A Place Called Perfect’ follows Violet and her family who have moved to a place called Perfect because her dad is an optometrist (an eye doctor). The people of Perfect need an eye doctor to help them with their problems. Violet hates Perfect. She doesn’t want to live there. Who wants to live somewhere which claims to be perfect? What’s the fun in perfect? It’s that very first night in Perfect that Violet and her family meet the secretive and villainous Archer brothers. The Archer brothers and their tea. Whatsoever is so magical about their tea? Well, could it be, that the tea is the reason the population of Perfect are in need of glasses? Well who knows. Violet knows there is something weird and suspicious going on and when her dad disappears she KNOWS she needs to investigate. She’s new, she doesn’t have any friends, until Boy comes along. Boy who shows Violet that bravery comes in lots of forms. Violet realises that Boy isn’t like the rest of the people in Perfect. He reads between the lines, but the Archer brothers want rid of him. They work together to try and get to the bottom of the Archer brothers’ villainy.

How does reclusive brothers, tea and an incredible adventure sound to you?
Up your street? Then get on it.

I loved that Perfect was an unusual and different plot idea – working on the idea of “rose tinted glasses” to the max. How would the world work if we did live with rose tinted glasses? The characters are all likeable and interesting (or not so much in the case of the Machiavellian Archer brothers and their cronies) and I read on wanting to know what was to come! I was genuinely hooked on this book. It’ll be SO PERFECT for kids – it’s complex enough without getting lost in the details. There is some absolutely gorgeous vocabulary and description in the story that will grip children’s (and adults’) attention! It’s the right amount of creepy, spooky and eerie, without being too scary. I just adored it.  

As a debut novel, Helena Duggan has hit the nail on the head with this one. I can’t wait to share this with the kids at school. Perfect in a school librarykids will adore this! I hope there’s a second one! 

My goodreads review:
“Creepy, brave, brilliant.
A brilliant book with incredible characters and an interesting story. Boy and Violet are wonderful main characters and the baddies are truly bad. I absolutely loved this.”

Have you read ‘Perfect’?
Would you like to live in a ‘Perfect’ world?
What would your tea make people do/see?

Let me know your thoughts on twitter or in the comments below. I would love to know if you’ve read this! I loved it and need people to talk to it about!

S x