9+, Adventure, Bookish Post, Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction

Book post – The Morgans and the Jewel of Bar-Ran by K.T.Dady

The postman has been a calling again and brought me this little beauty which has now been added to my tbr list…

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Your world isn’t the only one that exists. There is another, a magical place called Bar-Ran, and it’s about to be destroyed unless the Morgan children can find the royal dragon and replace its heart. They are five siblings who are magically transported to a strange land during the night. All they want to do is go home, but a wizard sends them on a journey to rescue the powerful Jewel, and it is a journey that changes their lives forever.

This book is suitable for Harry Potter fans and those who enjoy discovering new places like Neverland, Wonderland, and Narnia.

This is the first book in the series

The Morgans and the Jewel of Bar-Ran is available in both paperback and eBook.

You can find our more about author K.T. Dady by visiting her website.

You can follow K.T. Dady on twitter at @kt_dady

Many thanks to the author for sending me this copy of The Morgans.

 

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7+, 9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Middle Grade Fiction, Summer Reads

Summer Reads – Wish for a Witch

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.

Wish for a Witch by Kaye Umansky

illustrated by Ashley King

Recommended for YoungReader/Middle Grade (7+) & above…

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Here’s the synopsis:

After her week living in Magenta Sharp’s magical tower, Elsie Pickles is back home and finding normal life a little dull. But when a magical gift leads her back to the Tower, Elsie knows mischief and marvellous magic are about to turn her life upside down again!

This time Magenta needs Elsie’s help to save her magic licence and deal with a grumpy genieon the loose! Will it all prove too much for Elsie and her friends? Even a witch needs a wish every once in a while!

A magical adventure from Kaye Umansky, the bestselling author of the spellbinding children’s classic Pongwiffy, brought to life with charming illustrations from rising star Ashley King!

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Another story from the life of Elsie Pickles, following on from the rather delightful Witch for a Week.

Wish for a Witch was published by Simon and Schuster 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 Kindle.

ISBN: 9781471160936

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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, 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, 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…

 

Blog Tour, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest spell-binding novel from Michelle Harrison – A Pinch of Magic. I’m also thrilled to share a piece from Michelle herself on the inspiration behind the story. Read on dear reader, read on.

How stunning is this cover? Believe me it’s even more beautiful in the flesh, shimmering with gold foil. The detail is amazing and you’ll catch many glimpses of the story on this eye-catching cover.

I absolutely adored reading A Pinch of Magic, it’s a wonderful story full of adventure, courage and magic. Betty Widdershins is a sparky young lady desperate for travel and adventure but she might just get rather more than she bargained for. This is a story about magic but it’s also a story about family, love, and that nothing good can come from jealousy and hatred. Recommended for age 8+, I think this is a joyous read for anyone. Michelle is a mesmerising writer and I was completely held within her spell from the moment I picked the book up.

Synopsis

It was on Betty Widdershins’ thirteenth birthday that she first learned of the family curse…

Living on the isle of Crowstone, surrounded by eerie marshes and a formidable prison, the Widdershins sisters: Betty, Fliss and Charlie, are desperate for adventure. But when Betty strays too far from home, she learns the awful truth: a deadly curse has haunted her family for generations. If Betty and her sisters leave Crowstone, they will be dead by sunrise.

But the knowledge of the family curse comes with a bit of excitement too! Each sister inherits a magical object, been passed down the family: A scruffy carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls and a gilt-framed mirror – none of them are what they seem.

Will they be enough to help the Widdershins break the curse? Or will the sisters have better luck with a mysterious prisoner who claims he can help them?

And now lets here a little from the author herself…

Author, Michelle Harrison

Widdershins and Witches: the inspiration for A Pinch of Magic – by Michelle Harrison

I came across the wonderful, whimsical word ‘widdershins’ in one of the spell books I often leaf through when researching magic for my stories. It’s a word commonly associated with witchcraft, and means the witches’ path/ the wrong way/ anti-clockwise. In the past, even observing someone walking ‘widdershins’ was enough to warrant an accusation of witchcraft. These days, when it is used by modern wiccans it’s usually for the purposes of banishing or eliminating something. It’s also believed to be unlucky. Naturally, I fell in love with the word immediately, and decided it had to be the name of the family in my next story.

Originally, A Pinch of Magic was based on witches, a subject I find endlessly fascinating. In the first three chapters and synopsis which I sent to my editor, Betty Widdershins discovered she was a witch on her thirteenth birthday and had to master a signature spell linked to an ordinary object of her choosing.


The idea stemmed from a snippet of local folklore linked to the Essex village of Canewdon. According to legend, there will always be six witches in the village, and whenever a stone falls from the church tower walls it signifies that one of them has died and been replaced within the coven.

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While I loved the idea of all this, there was a problem. My publisher already had several other books about witches lined up, so my editor asked if we could rethink the witch element but retain certain parts of the folklore. Following some discussion and brainstorming I came up with the idea of a family curse, which allowed me to keep the ‘fairy tale’ aspect of the falling stones. Of course I then had to give Betty some siblings to ramp up the tension and danger of the curse, so Fliss and Charlie were introduced. As the youngest of three sisters myself, it felt like a good dynamic and the ‘power of three’ fits with my liking of fairy tales.

The witch became a sorceress, the church a tower, and the stones falling from it a warning of imminent death for the cursed girls. Finally, the ‘signature spell’ became a set of three magical objects handed down the family – after all, gifts and curses go hand in hand. The name of ‘Widdershins’ still worked perfectly with the idea of being cursed; being both unlucky and symbolic of the girls trying to ‘banish’ the curse from their lives. But I have to admit that it’s such a favourite word of mine that I was intent on using it – and I’m thrilled that it continues to be part of my working life, because I’m already working on the Widdershins’ next adventure . . .

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So there we have it, the synopsis and the inspiration. There is already so much buzz surrounding this book. It is also a Waterstones book of the month (with some absolutely gorgeous special purple edged copies). This is a story to entrance young readers and add fuel to reading for pleasure, a story that will be treasured. I am so happy to hear there are more Widdershins’ adventures coming our way, these characters have found their way into my heart and I can’t wait to see where their story takes them next.

If you’d like to discover more about Michelle and her writing then take a look at her website here.

Thank you to Michelle for sharing Widdershins and Witches and her stunning photographs for me to feature on my blog.

Thanks also to Olivia Horrox at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.