Best of 2018: MG edition

It’s time! It is the end of 2018 and here comes my “best of the year” series! 

For books to be considered in the “best of 2018” series, I had to have read them in 2018. So this discounts some of my favourite 2018 releases…

Today’s best of series takes on:

2018 best mg header

Just like yesterday, they aren’t in any real order. I’ll link to any reviews I’ve posted but I’ll give a short review!

Pages and Co – Tilly and the Book Wanderers: Anna James

Story telling at it’s absolute finest. Absolutely brilliant. I want to be a kid again to fall in love with this over and over. 

Beyond the Odyssey: Maz Evans

Love Greek Gods? Love having your heart ripped out? Love laughing? You’ve got yourself a winner here!

The Storm Keeper’s Island: Catherine Doyle

I fell in love with this very quickly. I love the idea of the magic in this book. Just lush.

Rooftoppers: Katherine Rundell

I don’t know how I hadn’t read this book before this year, but my GOD it is exceptional. I just devoured it. With a romantic setting like Paris and characters like this, you can’t go wrong!

The Wild Robot: Peter Brown

I LOVE Roz with all of my heart. This book is a WONDERFUL mix of Science, frienship, charm and wit. 

The Truth Pixie: Matt Haig

Guys. This book though. It made me WEEP. It’s so incredibly important. PLEASE get this read if you can.

The Nowhere Emporium: Ross Mackenzie

This is another one I’m not sure how I slept on it so long, but when I read it, it changed the game. I did a WHOLE 4 weeks of work on this book. The kids loved it just as much as me. I love this book.

The Way Past Winter: Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Oh man. This book is like the perfect wintry book. This book is one of those brilliant ones that deals with kindness – to yourself, each other and to the world. I absolutely loved the world that this book was written in. 

Royal Rabbits of London series: Simon Sebag Montefiore and Santa Montefiore

I ADORE this series. It’s so much fun. Rabbits are the ones who are secretly on the lookout for the queen? Secret service rabbits with rats as their enemies? This is one of the many brilliant series to come from 2018.

Sam Wu is NOT afraid of Ghosts: Katie and Kevin Tsang

Brillaintly funny with exceptional illustrations from Nathan Reed! I adore these books in that laugh out loud way. Like Royal Rabbits, the Sam Wu series is another brilliant one to come from 2018.

THERE WERE SO SO SO MANY MORE that could have been on the list. I read SO many incredible MG books in 2018. I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store, 2018 has set the bar PRETTY high. 

A massive thank you to all of the brilliant publishers who have sent me books this year. You guys are amazing. I love reading your books and then passing them on to my kids! 

S x 

S4S – Autobuy authors

Hello Sunday! Hello #SixforSunday pals. 

How are we all today? 

Today on #SixforSunday, we are talking:

Authors I will always pick up

Now… I’m technically going to do 2 #SixforSunday posts in one here… 6 YA authors, and 6 MG authors. (Hey, I’m the creator of #SixforSunday, I can bend the rules!)

6 YA authors that are automatic buys:

  1. Melinda Salisbury (I KNOW! WHAT A SHOCKER!)
  2. Sara Barnard (again… WHO AM I?)
  3. Alwyn Hamilton 
  4. Katherine Webber
  5. Alice Broadway
  6. Alice Oseman

6 MG authors that are automatic buys:

  1. Maz Evans (I bet you didn’t see that coming!)
  2. Lisa Thompson
  3. Katherine Rundell
  4. Ross Montgomery
  5. Kiran Milwood-Hargrave
  6. Abi Elphinstone

Shout out to Matt Haig too… who doesn’t fit into these 2 categories, but who is 1100% an auto-buy in my life.

None of these names will come as a surprise to long time, or even short time, followers of my blog! 

Remember to share your #SixforSunday post with me on twitter! I’m loving all of the posts! Thanks guys!

See you next week for Authors who surprised you!

S x

 

Brilliant MG still to come!

2018 has graced us some EXCEPTIONAL MG so faryet with half a year left there is still some EXCELLENT MG left to come.

Today, in the spirit of sharing exciting things and looking forward, I thought I would share with you 10 books that I’m excited for in the rest of this year

There are SO MANY books I’m excited for, both in YA and MG, that I could actually be here forever and a day and not have told you them all… however, for now I’ve chosen 10 that I’m THE MOST excited for.

Next week I’ll share YA books I’m excited for too!

So here goes…

2018 mg second half

The Elsewhere Emporium – Ross Mackenzie
(follow up from The Nowhere Emporium, one of my favourite books I’ve read this year!)
“The Nowhere Emporium has been stolen. The shop from nowhere has vanished without a trace. Will it ever reappear? As they search for the lost Emporium, Daniel and Ellie encounter magical bookshops, deserted islands in the dead of night, and an array of magicians (both dead and alive). Meanwhile a dangerous force is attacking the Emporium from the inside, waiting for a chance to break free.”

Tilly and the Bookwanderers. – Anna James
(I’ve been excited for this forever and a day, Anna is a LOVE)
“Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories. One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life. With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face”

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
(I am the BIGGEST Kiran fan ever, she’s just incredible, this is one on my MUST HAVE NOW books)
“Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.”

The Lost Magician – Piers Torday
(As I write this blog post, there is a proof copy of this on its way to me… SO THAT’S EXCITING!)
“1945. They have survived the Blitz, but when Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry step through a mysterious library door, it is the beginning of their most dangerous adventure yet. They discover the magical world of Folio, where an enchanted kingdom of fairy knights, bears and tree gods is under threat from a sinister robot army. The many stories of the Library are locked in eternal war, and the children’s only hope is to find their creator – a magician who has been lost for centuries. What they discover will change not just their own lives, but the fate of the world, for ever …”

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer
(I love a war book and Tom writes the most brilliant books)
“Tom Palmer will mark the centenary of the end of First World War with a powerful, fictionalised account of the fell-runners who were used as messengers to and from the front lines in the last days of the war. Deftly told in an intertwining narrative of past and present, Armistice Runner follows a young fell-runner called Lily as she discovers the diaries of her great-great-grandfather and his experiences as a runner-messenger in the
lead-up to the Armistice of 1918.” (Taken from Barrington Stoke press release)

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson
(I’ve actually read this book already and it is INCREDIBLE… watch out for my review coming in the next few weeks!)
“When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew. The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.”

Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend
(again, this is a follow up from Nevermoor which is just remarkable… this is one of those releases I’ve been waiting for since I finished the last word of the first book!)
“Morrigan Crow has been invited to join the prestigious Wundrous Society, a place that promised her friendship, protection and belonging for life. She’s hoping for an education full of wunder, imagination and discovery – but all the Society want to teach her is how evil Wundersmiths are. And someone is blackmailing Morrigan’s unit, turning her last few loyal friends against her. Has Morrigan escaped from being the cursed child of Wintersea only to become the most hated figure in Nevermoor? Worst of all, people have started to go missing. The fantastical city of Nevermoor, once a place of magic and safety, is now riddled with fear and suspicion…”

Explorers on Witch Mountain – Alex Bell
(another follow up from The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club, another one I’ve been waiting for FOREVER)
“Stella Starflake Pearl is eagerly anticipating her next expedition. Suddenly disaster strikes when Stella’s father, Felix, is snatched by a fearsome witch. Stella must bring her magic ice princess tiara to Witch Mountain or she will never see Felix again! But no one ever returns from Witch Mountain… Stella, Ethan, Shay, Beanie and reluctant Jungle Cat explorer, Percival, set off into the unknown. They will face terrifying bat caves, poisonous apple groves, outraged vultures, argumentative mushrooms and deranged broomsticks in their quest to rescue Felix.”

Into the Jungle – Katherine Rundell
(everything Katherine Rundell writes blows me away…)
“This wise and witty companion to Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic is likewise a series of connected stories about the man-cub Mowgli and his adventures among the animals in the Indian jungle. It includes all the original favorites like Baloo and Bagheera and gives female characters, like Mother Wolf, a more prominent role in Mowgli’s upbringing. The timely theme of the possibility of understanding and empathy across species, cultures, and genders will resonate with contemporary readers.”

Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens
(I absolutely adore Robin Stevens’ books, and this is one we’ve been waiting for a while!)
“Someone will take their final bow . . . Fresh from their adventure in Hong Kong, Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are off to the Rue Theatre in London to face an entirely new challenge: acting. But danger has a nasty habit of catching up with the Detective Society, and it soon becomes clear that there is trouble afoot at the Rue. Jealousy, threats and horrible pranks quickly spiral out of control – and then a body is found. Now Hazel and Daisy must take centre stage and solve the crime . . . before the murderer strikes again.”

And there you have it. 10 of the books I AM MOST EXCITED FOR OK.

2018 continues to be a TREAT FOR THE BRAIN. 

Which 2018 books are you still most excited for?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
Are there any books you think should’ve made my list but didn’t?

Share your thoughts with me! I’d love to know which MG books you’re still most excited for!

S x

Bank Holiday Book Tag

My lovely friend Cora (over at TeaPartyPrincess) created this tag, centred around things we usually do around Bank Holiday!

Have a lie in: which book could you lounge in bed with all morning?Image result for the scarecrow queenThe Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury. It just is magnificent. I love Twylla’s progression. If I could be left in bed wtih all 3 of the series, that would be magnificent.

Oh my goodness, it’s so sunny outside: which book makes you feel optimistic?Image result for wing jonesWing Jones by Katherine Webber. Wing Jones is such an incredible young woman, she actually made me want to go running. I think I need to get Wing out again to get my motivation back!

Spend some time outdoors: which book that reminds you of nature?34992381The Explorer – Katherine Rundell is written so beautifully that it is definitely one that makes me feel like I’m outside, in the rainforest with the kids.

Make some punch.: which book do you find difficult to classify into one genre?Image result for out of the blue sophie cameronOut of the Blue – Sophie Cameron. It’s contemporary, fantasy, magical realism… all those brilliant things in one! 

Pass some food around: which book you want to share with everyone?
Image result for perijee and me
Perijee and Me – Ross Montgomery. It’s one of the first books I shared with the kids at school and we all fell in love with it. I had readit during the summer hoidays and knew I needed to use it as a class reader.
Light the BBQ: which book took a while to get going?
Image result for where the world endsWhere the World Ends – Geraldine McCaughrean. I’m so glad I stuck with this book, it’s dark and grim. It’s properly good though. 
Failed BBQ: which book ultimately disappointed you?
Image result for caraval
Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I had SUCH HIGH EXPECTATIONS for this book and it just didn’t spark my imagination like I was hoping. (I know A LOT OF PEOPLE love this book though)
It’s raining. Of course: which book would you curl up with when it’s raining outside?
Image result for the storm keeper's islandThe Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle. Capturing the island’s weather in candles and using their power… man, this book is special.
Let’s just eat the chocolate: which book issuper sweet?
Image result for a quiet kind of thunderA Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard. Guys, I have such a love for this book it’s unreal. I miss Steffi and Rhys. I hope they make a reappearance in my life some day. Just one of the loveliest love stories ever. 
And there you have it! My bank holiday tag books! If you fancy doing this tag, please feel free! 
Enjoy your bank holiday! 
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

BOOKBLOG: Katherine Rundell

The Explorer: incredible, adventure filled story with unexpected heroes

IMG_5680

“Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.”

The Explorer follows the tale of 4 children who are on the plane to England from Manaus when they end up crashing in the rainforest. What ensues is an adventure like none other, written in the most perfect and captivating manner. There’s an unexpected hero, animal friends, terrifying obstacles, bravery and friendship.

I had heard a LOT of talk about this book and lots of people knew this was one to watch out for so when the people at Bloomsbury offered me a proof I knew I was in for a treat. I didn’t realise just HOW MUCH of a treat I was in for. Not only is this book an amazing take on Amazon adventures but it shows the amazing traits of kids – the awe and wonder of them, their bravery, their inquisitive nature, how bold they can be. 

There’s an unexpected hero in this book. He’s wonderful, secretive, quiet. The children learn more through him than they ever imagined they could. He saves them from almost certain death. He teaches them about the jungle. He teaches them about themselves. They teach each other about being human. The relationship between the hero and the children is one of the things I loved most about this. It may have made me cry. 

I loved the characters in this story. I loved the way it was written. I loved that it was never predictable. I loved that I wanted to read it. I loved the way in which I wanted to read on but I didn’t want it to end. I hated that it ended. I loved the ending. It worked so perfectly. I want to experience this book all over again. I want the excitement and discovery.

I can’t wait to share this book with a class. It is so brilliant for using with children. The language is incredible. You need a piece that delves into sensory writing? You’ll find any amount in here! You need a piece about peril? You’ll find that here! You need an incredible book that will have your kids hooked? Look no further. It would work so beautifully in UKS2 classes but let your kids read it. I don’t have the words for how much I loved this book. I swear, if you can, get your hands on this for your school library/class library/personal collection – it is just exquisite. I’m going to have to get myself a finished copy for the illustrations – I have heard they are beautiful.

Have you read The Explorer?
What was your take on the hero?
Did you have a favourite child?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter. I have so much positivity about this book, I need to share it. 

S x