Chill by @AlexNyeWriter

Winner of a Scottish Children’s Book Award.

The Morton family are cursed: their house is haunted by eerie footsteps, a ghostly figure and whispers in the night.

Fiona and new neighbour Samuel investigate the hauntings and discover a deadly tale of betrayal and revenge, and a family secret long forgotten.

Trapped by snow and ice, can the friends escape the chill or will the Morton children be doomed to repeat the past forever?

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Samuel was alone in the house.

THE WEEPING WOMAN

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(@FlorisBooks, 17 July 2014, ebook, 208 pages, borrowed from @GlasgowLib via @OverDriveInc)

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I really enjoyed this book. It’s marketed as children’s fiction but it felt very adult to me at times. I had a lot of fun reading this book. I really enjoyed mysteries and ghost stories so this ticked a lot of boxes for me. I enjoyed the way the author builds suspense and gradually reveals the tragic history of the ghost that haunts the Morton house and the impact it’s had on the family for generations.

The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique

The unforgettable story of a man and his alligator.

When Faoro the clockmaker adopts a baby alligator, he has no idea that someday their story will travel far and wide. But the town of San Fernando de Apure would never forget this kind young man and his adoring alligator, who played with the neighbourhood children, took part in Faoro’s wedding, and, eventually, mourned his loss. Now their story is being shared with the world.

In this delightful picture book first published in Venezuela, the author brings us back to her own childhood in Venezuela, as one of the children who used to visit this famous caiman, to tell the story of a man who loved animals and how his friendship with his alligator sparked a lasting legacy.

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This story happened many years ago in San Ferando de Apure, a tiny city on the bank of a wild river that was home to many alligators.

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(Amazon Crossing Kids, 1 July 2021, 36 pages, freebie from @AmazonKindle for World Book Day)

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This is a new author for me. I dip into children’s fiction now and again. I really enjoyed this book. I was impressed by the illustrations, they were just perfect, not over-the-top or too colourful and in your face and there was plenty of white space on each page. The story is a simple yet powerful tale that touches on love, friendship and devotion. I’d recommend this.

The Chime Seekers by @mossmontmomery

From the Costa-shortlisted and critically acclaimed author of the bestselling The Midnight Guardians comes a middle-grade fantasy adventure about siblings, courage and the magic that hides in the cracks.

Step into a world of faerie tricks and hidden danger… When an evil faerie steals Yanni’s baby sister and swaps her for a Changeling, Yanni is swept into a dangerous race against time to get her back. For faeries delight in tricks and rescuing her won’t be easy. With the help of his cousin, Amy, and the reluctant Changeling, Yanni must travel to goblin palaces and battle-swept oceans, discovering ancient treasures and secrets along the way. Yanni will need every drop of courage and even a few tricks of his own, if he’s to outwit the faerie and save his sister…

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YANNI HATED THE HOUSE THE MOMENT HE SAW IT.

THE NEW HOUSE

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(@WalkerBooksUK, 4 November 2021, ebook, 384 pages, borrowed from @GlasgowLib via @OverDriveInc)

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I like to read middle grade fiction now and again and sometimes books aimed at even younger children. It can be nice to step outside your comfort zone. The Chime Seekers reminds me a lot of fantasy fiction I’ve read for older readers not least of all the Harry Potter books. I love books that involve fantasy and magic. I really enjoyed this book, a tamer but no less enjoyable read than similar titles for older audiences. This is entertaining.

Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon by Eve Cabanel

One of the newest picture books about friendship, artfully written by Eve Cabanel and lushly illustrated by Ekaterina Ilchenko, Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon is a wonderfully imaginative fantasy picture book about the magical strength of friendship and courage.

In a beautiful enchanted forest lives a moon elf named Eli and her friend Luna. When Luna’s baby bunny is turned into hard rock candy by magical sugar crystals, the friends begin a journey to do the impossible to reverse the curse: confront the terrifying and legendary Hallowshine dragon for a drop of its healing saliva.

In their race against time to find the dragon, Eli and Luna meet magical creatures and travel through various dreamy lands including the Abyss of Time, a marvellous unicorn’s kingdom, a whimsical fairy’s home, and a waterfall with enchanted golden shoes.

A lesson is learned about how love, friendship, and acceptance can heal all if you have courage and believe in yourself.

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Once upon a time, there lived a moon elf named Eli who spent her days exploring the enchanted forest of Cucuruzzu with her best friend Luna.

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(Twenty Two House Publishing, 23 October 2021 2021, ebook, 44 pages, copy from author)

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I read picture books now and again when I want something a little bit different. First off, I was impressed by the way this book is illustrated, full colour illustration on every page. These were really beautiful illustrations, bright and really detailed. I loved all of them. The amount of text on each page is perfect for a picture book. The story is told in simple terms but contains powerful messages about love and friendship. I loved this book.

#FaeChild by @hanejolly

When eight-year-old Abbie Brown discovers a quiet pool of water while wandering through the woods behind her Oregon home, she wades out into it and discovers she’s not alone. A wild-haired boy in green stares at her from the other side of the water. Mesmerized, Abbie reaches down to him and is yanked underwater.

She emerges on the other side as an unwelcome visitor to the Otherworld, the land of the Fae, with only the boy Foster to guide her. Back in Oregon, a changeling lookalike has taken her place, bonding with her mother while her father, hiding a secret of his own, views the “girl” with suspicion.

In the courts of the Fae a truce has long been in place between Winter and Summer. What havoc might a human child wreak in the careful machinations of beings older than time? And to what lengths will Abbie’s father go to get her back?

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ABIGAIL D BROWN was like most eight-year old girls her age; creative, inquisitive and precocious, though perhaps taller than some.

CHAPTER 1

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(Quill, 15 December 2020, 220 pages, ebook, #ARC from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 10 December via @RandomTTours)

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This is my first time reading the author. I love fantasy, fairy tales and magic and read a lot of children’s fiction so I was really looking forward to this. The language used suggests an older reading than I was expecting but this doesn’t matter. This is a well-written and thoroughly entertaining book. I had a great time with it. I fell in love with the characters and they became like friends. I enjoyed the time I spent in the Otherworld. I loved the contrast between Abbie’s experiences in the Otherworld and the changing who takes her form in her own world. This has everything you can expect from a fairy-tale; magic, mischief, a beautiful kingdom in danger, warring elves and magical creatures and there’s even an unpleasant Queen. This is a great book.

The Ickabog by @jk_rowling

Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food. From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburg to the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them.

But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands… the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it’s just a myth…

And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children — best friends Bert and Daisy — embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.

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Once upon a time, there was a tiny country called Cornucopia, which had been ruled for centuries by a long-line of fair-haired kings.

CHAPTER 1

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(@LittleBrownYR, 10 November 2020, 288 pages, hardback, bought from @AmazonUK)

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I’ve been looking forward to reading this all year and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved The Ickabog. The hardback is a gorgeous book with a lover cover, printed on high quality paper and packed with impressive illustrations by children who won a competition. It’s a joy to hold and touch. I loved reading it. The author offers a traditional fairytale with darker elements such as a mysterious monster said to terrorise Cornucopia and the sinister motivations of the King and his men. The book is for children so easy to read and understand without being too childish. I loved it.

#TheMonksofAppallingDreadfulness by @jconnollybooks

The Monks of Appalling Dreadfulness are the most feared assassins in the Multiverse.

They are ruthless. They are cunning. They can do interesting things with oranges.

Now they have been hired to hunt down and kill the demon Nurd, along with every friend he’s ever had.

But friends come in all shapes and sizes, and with all kinds of talents.

The Monks of Appalling Dreadfulness are about to meet their match . . .

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The knight was wearing very shiny armour.

CHAPTER 1

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(@HodderBooks, 29 October 2020, 39 pages, ebook, bought from @AmazonKindle)

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John Connolly is one of my favourite writers and I pretty much devour everything he writes so I had to get myself a copy of this single story when I stumble across it by chance when browsing the Kindle store on Amazon. I really enjoyed this story which is clearly aimed at the middle grade market. I read a lot of YA, children’s and middle-grade fiction so I’m used to the language etc. The Monks of Appalling Dreadfulness is very entertaining, and very wry and funny. The narrator is quite sarcastic about the characters and their sneers and asides were the best thing about the story. This is well worth a read as it’s entertaining.

Some Days by María Wernicke

From an Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominee comes a touching story of family, security, and loss.

A young girl tells her mother about a passageway in their yard. Down this passageway, it is not cold, there is no danger, and nothing bad can ever happen—and the person she longs for is with her again. The only problem is that, on some days, the passageway is not there. But maybe, together, mother and daughter can find a way to carry that feeling with them always.

First published in Argentina, this lovely picture book will tug on the heartstrings of anyone who knows what it means to miss a loved one. 

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In our yard, there’s a passageway.

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(Amazon Crossing Kids, 1 November 2020, 24 pages, ebook, bought from @AmazonKindle, #AmazonFirstReads)

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This is a delightful picture book. I read the kindle version but it would work much better in hardback, held open as a child sits on your knee so you can both read it together. Like a lot of picture books Some Days uses a fairy simple structure and simple images to convey a story. In this case, the girl’s father has obviously died but the book never comes out and directly states this. It’s a lovely way to approach the subjects of death, loss and grief without being too dark or sad. The illustrations impressed me. They are of a very high standard, simple yet beautiful.

#LittleGirlWho by @keano81

This is the story of a brave young girl, Elodie-Rose, who one day decides to change the world and keep all her fucks in her basket. Wait a minute. You’re confused. What are fucks, you ask? It’s quite simple, really. Fucks are her self-esteem; all the happy, sad and wonderful thoughts that sit in her basket. That sits in every girl’s basket! And every girl must give these fucks away every time someone asks. One day Elodie-Rose decides to break rank and find out what happens if those fucks stay where they are.

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[Some days, the world was meant to change]

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(@Unbound_Digital, 1 November 2018, 89 pages, ebook, copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 23 July via @RandomTTours)

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I thought this was an amazing book. I didn’t know what to think at first, can a book be classed as appropriate children’s fiction when it has the word fuck and fucks scattered throughout? By concerns soon melted away. First off, this is a gorgeous, brightly illustrated and colourful book. Every page was pleasure to read. I read a digital copy off my PC screen as the book just didn’t look right on my kindle. This would be even better in hardback. I cannot compliment the gorgeous artwork enough. The author uses poetry throughout, mostly rhyming couplets to tell Elodie-Rose’s story. This is a book about friendship and self-esteem and feminism and love. This is a brilliant book.  

Wonderscape by @jenrosebell

THE GAME IS ON. TRAVEL WITH WONDER.

When Arthur, Ren and Cecily investigate a mysterious explosion on their way to school, they find themselves trapped aboard The Principia – a scientific research ship sailing through hazardous waters, captained by one Isaac Newton.

Lost in the year 2473 in the Wonderscape, an epic in-reality adventure game, they must call on the help of some unlikely historical heroes, to play their way home before time runs out.

Jumanji meets Ready Player One in this fast-paced adventure featuring incredible real-life heroes, from the internationally bestselling author of The Uncommoners series.

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It was early morning and Arthur was already running late for school when the gnomes exploded.

1

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(@WalkerBooksUK, 4 June 2020, 352 pages, ebook, borrowed from @GlasgowLib via @OverDriveLibs)

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I’d never heard of the author before. I wanted to read the book because I loved the cover and the blurb made it sound right up my street. I had such fun reading this book. Wonderscape reminds me a lot of favourite books from my childhood such as the books of Roald Dahl and the Narnia books. There’s fantasy and mystery and a dash of everything else. There are a lot of puzzles in the book as the characters try to solve various riddles to unlock the next realm of the game. I loved the fact so many of the realms and characters in the game are inspired by real life historical figures and heroes. This was a nice touch. I had a lot of fun with this.

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