9+, Adventure, Books that adults should read, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Relationship Tales, Summer Reads

Summer Reading – What’s That in Dog Years?

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

What’s That in Dog Years? by Ben Davis

illustrated by Julia Christians

Recommended for Middle Grade (9+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

Gizmo has been my best friend since the day I was born – he’s always been around. But now they’re telling me he might not always be around which completely sucks.

I’m determined that me and Gizmo will have lots more fun and adventures before he goes – I mean, he loves parties, deserves pampering, and needs a break by the seaside. And as for that old saying about how you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – it’s true, you really can’t!

Gizmo’s bucket list is up and running – unlike Gizmo who is totally lazy and demanding to be carried . . .

All the laugh-out-loud humour you’d expect from a Ben Davis book but with added heart and poignancy . . . and a four-legged character you’ll fall in love with!

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When I was growing up my best friend was our family dog.  Her name was Sadie and I just adored her.  She was a black mongrel who we adopted from the RSPCA.  She was gorgeous and always treated me with love and kindness.  It’s always hard when it’s time to say goodbye but I still think of her to this very day.  This book is on my reading pile and I can’t wait to read it…psst. the illustrations are rather super too.

What’s That in Dog Years was published by Oxford University Press in July and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). It’s also available on eBook and Audiobook.

ISBN: 9780192749215

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Middle Grade Fiction, Summer Reads

Summer Reads – The Maker of Monsters

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

The Maker of Monsters by Lorraine Gregory

Recommended for Middle Grade (9+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

Brat has always lived in the isolated castle on the island, taking care of the vicious creatures that his master creates, waiting in terror for the moment when they are ready to be put to use. But then the unthinkable happens. The monsters get out. Now Brat must overcome his fears, and venture into the world he has hidden from his whole life. For the fate of everyone rests on his shoulders alone. . .

A thrilling new standalone adventure from Lorraine Gregory.

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The Maker of Monsters was published in by Oxford University Press in May and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). It’s also available on eBook.

ISBN: 978-0-19-276883-4

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Magic, Middle Grade Fiction, Summer Reads, Witchcraft

Summer Reading – Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

Starfell by Dominique Valente

Willow Moss and the Lost Day

Recommended for Middle Grade (8+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

The most spellbinding new children’s fantasy series of 2019, in a stunning hardback edition with beautiful black-and-white inside illustrations by Sarah Warburton. Perfect for fans of Cressida Cowell and Nevermoor.

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. Useful, but not exactly exciting . . .

Then the most powerful witch in the world of Starfell turns up at Willow’s door and asks for her help. A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. Completely. And, without it, the whole universe could unravel.

Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands . . . Can she save the day – by finding the lost one?

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Starfell  was published in hardback by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks in May and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). It’s also available on both eBook and Audiobook.

ISBN: 9780008308391

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Middle Grade Fiction, Thriller, Witchcraft

Summer Reading – The Merrybegot

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

The Merrybegot by Julie Hearn

Recommended for Middle Grade (9+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

In a remote west-country village, all is not as it seems. Rumours of bad magic and witchcraft are spreading. The piskies are whispering in the orchard and an ill wind is blowing. The fingers of blame are all pointing to Nell, the cunning woman’s granddaughter.
With the Witchfinder General on his way, Nell is alone, trapped, and in fear for her life. Who can she trust? And who will save her?

This amazing story has been reissued with a stunning new cover by Karl James Mountford for a new generation of readers to enjoy.

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The Merrybegot was first published in 2005.  Did you read it when it originally came out or are you new to it just like me?  The new cover design is stunning and will hopefully attract many new readers to this enchanting novel.  This new edition also includes reading notes and discussion points at the end.

The Merrybegot  was reissued by Oxford University Press in May and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). It’s also available on eBook and Audiobook.

ISBN: 978-0-19-276958-9

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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9+, Adventure, Books that adults should read, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Summer Reads

Summer Reading – The Dog Runner

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble

Recommended for Middle Grade (age 9+) and above! 

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Here’s the synopsis:

‘We’re gonna starve if we stay here, Emery said. ‘If we’re gonna go, best go now.’ And he said it like going was something easy.  Like all we have to do is walk away.

Ella and her brother, Emery, are alone in a city that’s starving to death.  If they are going to survive, they must get away, up-country, to find Emery’s mum.  But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren and dangerous landscape?

From the author of How to Bee, an intense and thrilling adventure with an important environmental message, set in an all-too-possible dystopian future Australia.

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Bren MacDibble is a writer to watch.  Her novels look at the effect we are having on our environment and just how it might just all come back to bite us.  I reviewed her first novel How to Bee, her writing style is fresh and although her stories are set in a dystopian future they are very much seeded in the here and now. These books are important for our children to read but also us too, they encourage us to look at the consequences through the eyes of a child.  But despite the seriousness of their subject matter they are also exciting stories filled with hope.

The Dog Runner was published by Old Barn Books in May and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.). There are also teachers notes on the website so do take a look. 

ISBN: 9781910646489

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Summer Reads

Summer Reading – Malamander

Books to be swept away with this summer…

There are SO MANY great books around at the moment and so I’d like to share a few that I think are particularly exciting.  I’m not going to plop them all together in one post but give each the opportunity to shine in it’s own right…

Hold on to your hats… here are my summer 2019 recommendations.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Recommended for Middle grade and above (or age 9+)…

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Here’s the synopsis:

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous malamander creep…

Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger…

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Yes I know it’s summer but there is never a wrong time to go on a chilling adventure!

Malamander was published by Walker Books in May and you can find where to buy it here (also your local indie will be able to get hold of it too if they don’t already have a copy.)

ISBN: 9781406386288

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Read it already?  Please feel free to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Happy reading and I hope you have a fabulous summer!

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11+, 9+, Children's Fiction, Eva Reads Books!, Summer Reads

The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu – Reviewed by Eva

Eva is back with another cracking review.  This time she’s kicking off my Recommended Summer Reads and chatting about The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu.  Over to Eva…

The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu

A spellbinding, timeless and beautifully told adventure about two sisters and their journey to find each other again.

Sisters Tansy and Belle are the stars of the grand finale of a circus show; a dazzling and perfectly timed trapeze act where they soar through the air like shimmering butterflies. One night, desperate to impress her older sister, Tansy attempts a spectacular jump and falls. Now terrified of heights, all Tansy can do is watch from below while Belle shines above. But when Belle mysteriously vanishes and Tansy’s shadow miraculously comes to life, Tansy discovers that the courage she needs to rescue her sister may have been inside her all along.

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The Butterfly Circus is a heart-warming tale about teamwork, friendship and sisterhood.

Tansy – a twelve-year-old girl with amazing talents – is an incredible acrobat. Everyone loved her, until one night she fell. Now all she does is watch her fourteen-year-old sister Belle, who is also an acrobat, get all the credit and fame. On a grand night Belle was about to pull one of her most exiting tricks, but then she disappeared. Tansy sets out to find where her sister has gone.

This book was both exciting and tense. However, I thought at times the pace made it hard to follow the story, and I had to turn back a few pages to know what was happening. This only happened a few times, and not enough to spoil what was an amazing story.

I loved how in the middle of the book the mood changed, and the world went from happy and jolly to dark and creepy. The writer definitely has the talent to be both funny and scary. I would recommend this book to everyone. It has great characters with unique backgrounds. I would love to read another book by this author.

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Thank you so much to the lovely people at Walker Books.  Both Eva and I loved The Butterfly Circus!

The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu was published on the 6th of June and is available in paperback, eBook AND on Audiobook.

About the author

Francesca Armour-Chelu

91UnVQqAu8L._US230_I was brought up in Suffolk building dens & tree houses & although I loved writing & drawing, it wasn’t until an accident & a long hospital stay that I really got into reading; my Dad gave me ‘Pippi Longstocking’ & I fell in love with her – & books.

After school I lived in an abandoned Edwardian railway carriage & made film props before reading English & Drama at Goldsmiths, University of London. After working with children with disabilities I worked in libraries & museum education. When not writing, I work for public libraries and run creative writing workshops.

‘Fenn Halflin & the Fearzero’ was short-listed for the Mslexia Children’s Novel & the Mal Peet Award. It was also long-listed for the Branford Boase Award, the New Angles Prize, & the Little Rebels Award. My short-story inspired by Japanese folklore; ‘The Starving Ghost’, won the Mslexia Short Story Competition & my novel ‘Lemon Ink Over Flame’ was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize. ‘Fenn Halflin & the Seaborn’ was short-listed for the Mal Peet Award 2017. My next book ‘The Butterfly Circus’, is due out June 2019. – Via Amazon UK

You can follow Francesca on Twitter at @fkarmourchelu

You can follow Walker Books on twitter at WalkerBooksUK

Other books by Francesca…