Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2015. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. I’ve mixed the different genres together for this one, so there should be something for everyone. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading
Archive for children’s books
When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. But when the Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.
Meanwhile, across the forest lives Áine, the daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” When Áine’s and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over between their two kingdoms?
First of all before I start talking about this book, I just want to say: That cover, you guys! I really love that cover and if anything, it was that cover that first drew me to give Kelly Barnhill’s The Witch’s Boy a closer look. I loved the play with the big shadows and those tiny little figures, and the sense that they were at the edge of the world. It is very fitting to the setting of the book and the villagers’ belief that there is nothing beyond the forest-clad mountains. But mostly it just made for an arresting visual. And all this was even before I read the blurb. When I opened the book and started reading I was sold, as Kelly Barnhill managed to break my heart twice in the span of two chapters, which meant I was in for a treat. Continue reading
When Nona’s guardian kills himself, she is immediately suspected of murdering him. In a world where nature and darkness are feared, where wild animals are held captive and cities are illuminated by permanent light, who will believe her innocence? Nona must flee with her only friend – a bear who is strangely human.
In their desperate attempt to escape capture, Nona and her bear encounter two strange boys, Caius and Jay. Together, the four of them will hide, and fight, and make the deadliest of enemies in their desperate race to a forbidden place called The Edge – where nature is unrestrained, where there is light and shade, forest and mountain, and where there are no shackles or boundaries.
A poetic, haunting and unforgettable modern fable about nature, society, and what it is that makes us human.
The Boy with the Tiger’s Heart immediately caught my attention with its intriguing title and that beautiful cover. Yet from the synopsis I wasn’t really clear on what to expect from the story. Together with the title it was somewhat suggestive of a fairytale, which might be correct but it’s a tale more of the level of an original Grimm story than that of a Disney film. Yet despite its somewhat bleak and sad narrative, overall the novel evokes a sense of escape and hope of a better future and it left me optimistic about Nona, Caius, and Jay’s futures. Continue reading
For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief Surveyor for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on technology, Phoebe’s father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal, one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.
The Foundry’s Edge is the first instalment in The Book of Ore and is aimed at the middle grade market. As such it is a bit younger than I usually read, but in my opinion it’s very much at the upper range and there will be plenty young adult readers who will get a kick out of this story. It’s a very fun romp with a lot of action and very cool characters. I enjoyed the book tremendously, not least because of the wonderfully inventive world of Mehk and the cool characters that inhabit it. Continue reading
Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. I’ve mixed the different genres together for this one, so there should be something for everyone. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading
The fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.
I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.
And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.
If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.
I love Sophia McDougall’s short fiction; I think she’s one of the most talented short fiction writers out there. I still have to read her Romanitas series; the first book in said series is patiently sitting on my TBR-pile. But when I heard about Mars Evacuees, learnt about McDougall’s inspiration for the book and read the flap text, I was sold and really wanted to read it. So I was gutted to learn that I had missed snagging an ARC of the book at World Fantasy last year, but made up for it by winning a competition McDougall ran for an ARC. There was much rejoicing in Casa Librarian at that news. And Mars Evacuees was everything I expected. It’s funny, smart, well-written and has oodles of character. Continue reading
Nine-year-old Sophia daydreams about the beautiful Princess Polly and the fairytale land of Polldovia. One day she finds herself inhabiting this fantasy world but a very different one to that she has so far imagined.
She and Polly are in Suspyria, Polldovia’s war-ravaged neighbour, ruled by the warlord Naberius and his monstrous Dark Army. Imprisoned in Naberius’ fearful dungeon, escape is their only means of survival and a hair-raising chase ensues.
Their quest is to find a magical flower, the only thing that can defeat Naberius and save Polldovia from being destroyed at the hands of his soldiers. With the help of Acanthus, their magical and faithful steed, Polly and Sophia are caught up in a race against time and must use all their strength and bravery to outrun their pursuers…
The Race for Polldovia is a charming middle grade novel for children on the younger side of that age scale. It’s a portal narrative where Sophia follows the adventures of Princess Polly in a land she believes to be just something drawn from her imagination. I liked that aspect and while younger children might not get the context of how Sophia’s extended adventure in Polldovia came about, to older readers this is quickly apparent. As such it’s a layered reading experience that will keep it interesting for both the children and the parents reading the book with them. Continue reading
No one believes Junk saw a monster take his sister. No one believes he’s not to blame.
So begins Junk’s quest to find Ambeline’s kidnapper. His journey will take him to a future world where animal species have evolved, and where the cult of the League of Sharks – the cult that stole Junk’s sister – is etched into folklore…
The League of Sharks is a fun YA novel about a time-traveling teen. The premise of the book is insane: time-travelling shark men? How on earth was Logan going to make that work? But the book also sounded insanely entertaining and it was. However, no matter how much it entertained me, The League of Sharks is very much the equivalent of a big summer popcorn film. One you enjoy hugely, but you shouldn’t ponder too closely or critically afterwards, otherwise you’ll break its magic. Something that is distinctly difficult if you are to write a review for a book. As such, even if this review might be quite critical in places, one thing that should be remembered at all times, reading this book was just plain fun. Continue reading
In the past two and a half weeks I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2014 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Tom Pollock’s final book in The Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, Douglas Hulick’s long-awaited second book Sworn in Steel and Stephanie Saulter’s Binary, the second book in her ®Evolution series. I also left off repeat offenders who also made the list last time, such as Mark Alder’s Son of the Morning. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently? Continue reading
Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the first half of 2014. Today it’s time to look at books for a younger set of readers: middle grade books. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading