Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Review

A Far Away Magic by Amy Wilson

Haunting prose that feeds the magical story as monsters are battled, fears are faced and grief is overcome. There is something quite beautiful in Bavar and Angel’s relationship. A special connection that makes them gentler, braver and more compassionate.

Angel doesn’t fit. Not in her new school or in her foster home in the vanilla house with nice Mary. The day her parents died was the day everything changed for her. A burglary gone wrong they said but Angel knows different. Angel knows that monsters really exist but when they don’t believe her she tries to forget the memories that haunt her dreams…that is until she meets Bavar.

He too is different except that he doesn’t draw attention to himself and seems to shrink back into the shadows even though he is seven feet tall. But Angel can see him, and she sees the magic that surrounds him. The two are drawn together by their differences, by the way they stand out and by the sadness that surrounds them. Soon they discover that they have an even deeper connection and Angel believes she’s found a way to stop the monsters but she needs Bavar’s help. He’s reluctant but if there is one thing she’s sure of it’s that she wants to stop the monsters once and for all and make sure that no one else suffers the loss she has.

Bavar, sees the light in Angel, in his world of shadows and darkness she is sunshine and starlight and his need to protect her draws him into her plan to fight the monsters. But are two young teens enough to defeat the Raksasa, the strange, winged creatures you’d only expect to find in a nightmare. Everyday they are growing stronger and it’s only a matter of time until before they break through the gate and kill again.

Beautifully written, filled with magic, love and grief, this is a powerful novel with wonderful characters – I was left feeling a little of the magic had stayed behind with me.

Suitable for aged 9-11yrs+

Discover more about Amy Wilson here.

Published by Pan Macmillan

Published on 25th January 2018

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Christmas 2017, Young Adult Fiction

Christmas 2017 – Book Advent – Day Ten

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I first read this book three years ago now and it’s stayed with me ever since. Haunting and well crafted, this is a pretty special piece of YA fiction. It brought E.Lockhart to my attention and she is now one of my favourite YA authors. Edgy, gripping and at times shocking, this is one YA title that’s too good to miss.

We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury. We are cracked and broken. It is a story of love and romance. It is a tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth?

This book actually made me gasp at the end, I just didn’t see it coming. Thoroughly recommended.

We Were Liars was published in 2014 by Hot Key Books

Christmas 2017, Picture Books

Christmas 2017 – Book Advent – Day Seven

Day Seven

I’m going back to a picture book for this one and it’s absolutely stunning. It’s by Kate DiCamillo, author of titles such as Ramie Nightingale and Flora & Ulysses and illustrator, Jaime Kim

La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo and Jaime Kim.

La La La

“La La La…La”

A little girl stands alone and sings,

but there’s no response.

So, gathering her courage and her curiosity,

She skips out into the world,

calling to the trees,and the pond and the reeds..

But will anyone sing back to her?

This is a book where the pictures literally tell the story. A story about loneliness and finding the courage to find your voice, step out into the world and connect with it. It’s a beautiful, gentle story with the most sublime illustrations that add warmth and tenderness. This is a book to share with your little ones, a book to talk about and look for the meaning in. “What is she doing? What is she feeling? How has she overcome that?”

La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo and Jaime Kim was published in October 2017 by Walker Books.

Just wonderful and to finish a few words from Lovereading4kids expert reviewer, Andrea Reece:

There’s no need for extra words to tell this story, children will understand exactly the girl’s need to be heard, seen and answered; impeccably told, it’s a story that speak to us all. ~ Andrea Reece, Lovereading4kids

Christmas 2017

Christmas Advent – Books, Books, Books

December is finally with us again and with it advent begins. I always feel slightly nostalgic at this time of year. I remember the advent calenders I used to have as a child, festive pictures of Father Christmas and Christmas trees covered in glitter. Behind each door would be a small picture: maybe a star, maybe a beautifully wrapped pile of presents, a sprig of holly or even a Christmas pudding. I loved those calenders. They didn’t contain chocolate in those days but they were still exciting and magical. Well this year I thought I’d make my own virtual calender to share with you and this one will of course contain books!

Day one brings us a little something to get us in the Christmas spirit!

Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares

This beautiful picture book brings us the story of Red and Lulu, happy together in their tree until one day they are unexpectedly separated. We follow Red on his quest to find Lulu. Tired and hungry he begins to wonder if he’ll ever find Lulu again. Then he hears a familiar tune. Will it lead him back to Lulu and home? With stunning illustrations, this gentle story will be wonderful to share over the festive season and beyond.

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Red & Blue was published on the 5th of October by Walker Books.

Discover more about author and illustrator Matt Tavares here.

Discover more about Walker Books here.

Picture Books

Picture Book Heaven…

Publisher Simon & Schuster have a wonderful selection of picture books which are just perfect for storytime anytime of the day. Bright, colourful and with engaging characters, these are sure to capture your little ones imagination.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Alison Ritchie & Marisa Morea

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A riotous, rhyming countdown to Christmas with adorable dogs leaping from every page.

A delightfully doggy take on the twelve days of Christmas, this fun, beautifully illustrated picture book is filled to the brim with perfect pooches. With one excited little pub, ‘three drooling Dalmatians’ and ‘six sausage-snaffling Scotties’ and many more besides, this will be a perfect book to share with young dog lovers.

Children will love picking their favourite dogs and spotting the puppy in busy scenes. This hilarious picture book is a great way to introduce children to Christmas traditions.

Published in paperback: 5th October 2017

Price: £6.99

The Magical Ice Palace by Suzanne Smith & Lindsay Taylor

Illustrated by Marnie Maurri

9781471123191Doodle Girl uses her magic pencil to create adventures by transforming doodles into fantastical lands, full of amazing animals!

On their latest outing, Doodle Girl and her friends find a curly, curvy shape. What is it supposed to be? Whilst trying to work it out, they find a sad, lonely mammoth high up on a mountain. What’s he doing there? Will Doodle Girl be able to help him? And what is the curly, curvy shape going to be?

Talented trio, Suzanne Smith, Lindsay Taylor and Marnie Maurri have created an original and fresh character in Doodle Girl, who exudes positivity and encourages creative thinking. With a giant, free doodling poster included inside, this book is full of creativity and fun for all to enjoy.

This is such a charming, pretty picture book, which celebrates the power of drawing and the illustrators who bring the words to life. Doodle Girl is incredibly endearing, feisty and brave. She made me want to go grab a magic, red pencil and create my own fantastical lands and adventures. A wonderful tribute to both books AND those oh so important illustrations. – Oh and it comes with the most amazing giant poster to colour in. This would be the perfect gift for any little readers who love to draw and especially those who lack a little confidence with their drawing.

Published in paperback: 19th October 2017

Price: £6.99

Evil Pea Rules! by Sue General & Paul Linnet

9781471144066_JacketFrom bestselling, award-winning duo Sue General & Paul Linnet comes the story of the much-loved Supertato’s nemesis…the Evil Pea. It’s all very well being a superhero and saving the day…but what if there was no one there to cause the chaos? To provide these heroes with their chance to shine? Would we even need superheroes?! Fortunately, this isn’t something we will have to worry about any time soon. The Evil Pea is BACK! And this time he has his biggest, most dastardly plan yet to take over the supermarket…

Evil Pea escapes the confines of the freezer and tries to cause madness and mayhem in the supermarket. Will Supertato save the day?

I absolutely love Evil Pea and the frosty chaos he tries to unleash on the other vegetables and fruit. There is a distinctly festive feel to this latest adventure making it perfect in the run up to Christmas. I think even the naughty, little pea found a little Christmas spirit in the end (or should I say in HIS rear-end – tee hee 😋.)

Published on: 2nd November 2017

Price: £6.99

Words and your Heart by Kate Jane Neal

41gv2McsjML._SX428_BO1,204,203,200_Your words are amazing!

This book is about your heart.

The little bit inside of you that makes you, you!

A very timely book about the power of words – and how we use them. Told through the eyes of Pip and Cat, this book beautifully demonstrates the importance of what we say – both positive and negative. Thoughtful, warm-hearted and completely non-preachy, this is a book that has already resonated with large numbers of children, whose teachers report a sea of change in the culture of their classroom after reading it.

A universal message, for a world that always needs a little more kindness.

This is an absolutely stunning book. The design and layout is just beautifully executed, the illustrations perfectly complimenting the text have a wonderfully memorable impact. The message is simple yet powerful and expresses the effect our words have on those around us. It’s about empathy, compassion and how each and every one of us can make the world a little better, a little happier. This is a book I think every child should read.

Published on: 2nd November 2017

Price: £6.99