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 

“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 

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

S4S – Fave books of 2018

Hello there!

It is yet again time for another #SixforSunday post. Who knew these weeks could fly so fast? I’ve had a week of half term so far. Lots of work to do though, so I can enjoy next week! There’s lots of exciting things happening next week! More on that in future blog posts.

Today’s #SixforSunday post is:

Favourite reads of 2018 so far

Now, I’d like to preface this with a disclaimer:

I read State of Sorrow, Goodbye Perfect and The Exact Opposite of Okay in 2017, so it would be cheating to include these. But if you’ve not read them, you should. They are incredible 2018 releases. 

  1. 1000 Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews
    Heartbreaking, powerful and emotive. I read a proof of this and I can not stop thinking about it.
  2. The Nowhere Emporium – Ross Mackenzie
    This isn’t a 2018 release, but I read it in 2018. It is just so magical. I want to forget it and reread it because I loved it so much.
  3. The Wicked Deep – Shea Ernshaw 
    Delicious, deceptive and dark. Just BRILLIANT (check out my review: BOOK BLOG: Shea Ernshaw)
  4. Hero at the Fall – Alwyn Hamilton
    Oh Jin. Swoon, but seriously, this series is BRILLIANT. Check out my review: BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton)
  5. Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy
    Properly good adventure. I can’t wait for more.
  6. When the Mountains Roared – Jess Butterworth
    This is a BRILLIANT story. Conservationism and friendship. Kids are loving it!

I’ve read so many great books so far in 2018, I can’t wait for the rest of the year! 

What have your favourite books of 2018 been so far? Don’t forget to share using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I look forward to reading your posts!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Ross Mackenzie

The Nowhere Emporium – magical, fantastical and sheer brilliant.

“When the mysterious Nowhere Emporium arrives in Glasgow, orphan Daniel Holmes stumbles upon it quite by accident. Before long, the ‘shop from nowhere’ — and its owner, Mr Silver — draw Daniel into a breathtaking world of magic and enchantment. Recruited as Mr Silver’s apprentice, Daniel learns the secrets of the Emporium’s vast labyrinth of passageways and rooms — rooms that contain wonders beyond anything Daniel has ever imagined. But when Mr Silver disappears, and a shadow from the past threatens everything, the Emporium and all its wonders begin to crumble. Can Daniel save his home, and his new friends, before the Nowhere Emporium is destroyed forever?”

You know you’ve read a special book when you just keep asking the children at school if they’ve read it yet. Most of them are like “OBVIOUSLY MISS”, but when I come across one who hasn’t read it yet, my general reaction is “GET IT READ NOW IT IS SO GOOD MAN”. 

The Nowhere Emporium tells the tale of Daniel and his weird and wonderful run in with The Nowhere Emporiuma place people visit, but don’t remember anything about it. It’s a place filled with magic, imagination and sheer wonder. When Daniel first discovers the Emporium, it’s just a normal building… but once he’s inside the world you see this incredible magic and fantastical world that Mr Silver has created

(Side note: as a MASSIVE fan of The Night Circus, this book is like a kids’ version and that made my heart SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY. I’m always on the lookout for books like The Night Circus… so please holler if you have any!)

I don’t know that I have the words quite yet for how much I loved it. There’s so much that makes this book ABSOLUTELY incredible. The characters, the plot, the Emporium itself, the back story, the remarkable world, Daniel’s journey… so much and SO FEW words to talk about how much I loved it. 

Inside the Emporium is just room after room of sheer wonder. People come in, leave their imaginations and their incredible visions behind, and then have NO idea they were ever there. The Emporium never stays anywhere too long. It’s like a mysterious circus. It’s like it’s very own incredible caravan that can move around.

(How I write this review without just going PLEASE JUST READ THIS! I’M SO SAD I WAITED SO LONG TO READ THIS! SERIOUSLY THOUGH! READ IT! is beyond me!)

The characters are all interesting – from the people who work at the Emporium, to mysterious Mr. Silver, Ellie, or the infamous baddie. The thing I loved most was that you actually got to know the history of the characters. You find out Mr. Silver’s history (there’s a pretty tragic story that comes with his story, that did leave me pretty gutted!)

There’s a scene towards the end of the book that just blew me away. I don’t want to spoil it, but the imagery, the imagintion and the clever manipulation of the Emporium just made my heart really happy. 

This book is clever. Like properly clever. I would LOVE to use this as a class novel. I think you could get SO SO much from it. There’s so much potential for some incredible description and some brilliant art work that could come from this! I’d love to see what kids would create as their own room in the Nowhere Emporium. Seeing the creations would be amazing! 

(I realise my review is SO RUBBISH at conveying the things I actually loved about this book, but I genuinely did love it… wholeheartedly).

My goodreads does this book SO MUCH MORE JUSTICE, in far fewer words!

Absolutely incredible. I just don’t have the words for this. The evil villain, the tragic back story, the brilliant background characters, magpies, friendship, family… ALL INCREDIBLE. Throw in a massive dollop of magic and a writing style that you just can’t help but devour and you get this special book. I need more NOW.

PLUS… there’s a sequel coming out and I GENUINELY CAN’T WAIT. Bring it on. I love a sequel. The Elsewhere Emporium, guys. I’m excited.

 

What would your room in the Nowhere Emporium look like?
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU FOR THE ELSEWHERE EMPORIUM?
Can you recommend me any other books (kids or YA) that are swimilar to The Night Circus?

Please share all recommendations or thoughts in the comments or on twitter, I’d love to squee over this book with someone! 

S x