WWW Wednesday

I’m currently listening to Between Shades of Gray which is just incredible. This is such a powerful, heart-breaking story that has had me in tears as I’ve been driving to work. It tells the story of Lina, her mother and young brother who are forced from their home by Soviet guards and taken by cattle cars to Siberia. The bravery and strength shown by Lina and others at what they are forced to endure is incredible. I’m so glad I decided to listen to this after seeing Rachael on Bellis Does Books recommend it but, my goodness, it’s a raw, powerful and harrowing story.

I finished reading Wilder than Midnight which I really enjoyed – I’ve posted my review. I also read The Map of Leaves which tells the story of Orla who has lost her mother to a sickness which people are led to believe has been caused the plants. Orla can speak to plants, and they are her only friends. She sets out to find the truth behind the sickness which takes her on a dangerous journey with some new friends. I will be posting my review shortly. I also read a couple of books from Barrington Stoke, who publisher dyslexia-friendly books. Fagin’s Girl is an Oliver Twist inspired adventure which I really enjoyed. I’ve just finished The Clockwork Queen which was a wonderful story set in Russia with a fantastic young chess player. I’ll be posting my review shortly.

I didn’t get to this one last week, so I’m hoping it will be my next read – after I’ve finished binge-watching HeartStopper!

What are you reading? Have you read any of these?

Review: Wilder than Midnight

Written by Cerrie Burnell
Cover Illustration by Flavia Sorrentino
Map and Interior Illustrations by Sophia Watts
Published by Puffin Books

Wilder than Midnight is a spell-bindingly magical adventure that utterly entranced me from the opening lines.  I was transported into a world that I thought I knew – a world of fairy tales, of forests and castles, of wolves and witches – but instead, I found an intricately woven world, presented in a wonderfully fresh and original way, with a dream-like, lyrical quality that captured my heart and led me on the most breath-taking adventure.

A baby, born in a castle at the stroke of midnight with the Mark of the Witch, is left in Silverthorne Forest, to be raised by wolves and the Forest Folk.  A baby, born at the stroke of midnight, and cursed by a wicked fairy, is locked in a tower until her betrothal.  What tragic secrets and truths will be revealed should these children ever meet?

Saffy lives with her woodsman father and mother in a cottage on the edge of the forest.  She is given a red velvet cloak in exchange for delivering a letter but, on her return home, finds herself lost in the woods and without her protective lavender.  When Saffy finds herself hunted by a wolf pack, she is saved by a girl who has made her home with the wolves, and gives her the red cloak …

Wild Rose is at home in the heart of Silverthorne Forest although she is eager to explore beyond its boundaries and cross the Spindle Wood, a tangled wall of impassable thorny briars, through which there is a tower …

Aurelia has been locked in a tower, hidden from the world, in order to protect her from a curse.  She longs to escape into the forest to find a cure, and has formed a plan to gain her freedom …

This is an utterly mesmerising adventure as the three girls, Saffy, Wild Rose and Aurelia meet and together plot a course to change their destiny.  They are all wonderfully strong, courageous and kind-hearted girls who find friendship in each other.  They celebrate and accept difference, thread their own path, and have a natural affinity with nature. I loved how Wild Rose does not allow others to define her, rises above prejudice and fear and grows into a strong, fearless girl who does not allow others to detract her from her chosen path.

This story is written in three parts:  The Wolf Child, The Cursed Princess and The Stolen Daughter.  These parts are intricately interlaced to form a rich, detailed tapestry embroidered with deeply held secrets, terrible deeds and life-changing revelations.  I adored the fairy-tale references sprinkled throughout, and loved that they were never quite what I expected!

Wilder than Midnight is a heart-warming, magical adventure radiating with friendship, found family and acceptance.  A delightfully captivating read for those of 9+.

Thank you to the Publishers and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Torak woke with a jolt from a sleep he’d never meant to have. The fire had burned low. He crouched in the fragile shell of light and peered into the looming blackness of the Forest. He couldn’t see anything. Couldn’t hear anything. Had it come back? Was it out there now, watching him with its hot, murderous eyes?

Any ideas?

Goodreads synopsis:

Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. In this page-turning, original, and spectacularly told adventure story, Torak and Wolf are joined by an incredible cast of characters as they battle to save their world, in this first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

I read Wolf Brother recently, and am hoping to read the rest of the series over the course of the year.

WWW Wednesday

I’ve just started Wilder then Midnight which is just gorgeous – lyrical and magical with a real air of mystery.

I finished DreadWood which is a fantastic middle-grade horror. I’ve posted my review. I saw a teacher on Twitter was inviting people to take part in a read/re-read of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series, reading one book per month. I have read Viper’s Daughter and Skin Taker, but have never read the first six books in the series, so I decided to pick up Wolf Brother. What a book! I was absolutely drawn into this pre-historic world when Torak first loses his father and meets Wolf. Utterly brilliant, and I’ll definitely to reading the rest of this series. I was so excited to be sent Firesong, the final book in the fantastic Brightstorm series. This is definitely a fitting end to the series. There were tears and smiles as I read. I will post my review soon. And – I read another adult book! I was a huge fan of the Joss Whedon Firefly series so have picked up another in the book series, Big Damn Hero which reads just like an episode, reminding me just how brilliant this series is! Finally, I read The Lucky Diamond which is a fun, fantasy quest adventure. You can read my review here.

I don’t go back to work until Monday, and I need to do some school work at some point before then, but I’m still hoping to read The Secret Wild and The Map of Leaves before then!

What are you reading? Have you read any of these?

Review: The Lucky Diamond by Valinora Troy 

Written by Valinora Troy
Cover Illustration by Elizabeth Eckstein
Internal illustrations by I. Murphy
Map Illustration by Dewi Hargreaves
Published by Disresponsible Nodpots Publications

The Lucky Diamond is a thrilling, fast-paced fantasy adventure brimming with magic, peril and monsters:  a gem of a read!

Five years after their uncle has been banished from Lowdar to face the monsters of the Great Forest outside the town walls, siblings Yvonne, Susan, Vicky, Cathy and Alan are surviving on their own, trying to avoid being caught by officials and facing the same terrible fate as their uncle.

When her twin brother, Alan, is ordered to lead a visitor, Colonel Thrand, to the governor’s house, his sister Cathy follows. Whilst doing so, she finds something the Colonel desperately wants, and he unleashes a terrible creature to give chase …

After making a narrow escape, the children discover more about Cathy’s discovery.  She is a magical living creature, a Princess of the Ancient Order of Diamonds, who are guardians of the land, and she needs the children’s help to return to her home.  Lucky gives the children a dire warning:  they must leave their home if they hope to live …

So begins an exciting, fast-paced quest adventure as the five siblings venture with Lucky by sea, through mountains and over marsh where danger is never far away as they are pursued by a frightening enemy; as they confront the monsters of the Great Forest; and are trapped by witches.  Will the children have the courage and resourcefulness to fulfil their quest?  Will they be able to save their new friend from an enemy intent on revenge, destruction and power?

This is a really imaginative fantasy with wonderful world-building, unexpected twists and revelations, likeable characters, and brilliant villains and monsters.  The action moves at a rapid pace which is sure to engage younger readers.  The five siblings have a close bond, and are courageous, resilient and resourceful, looking out for each other and their new friends.  I loved the use of magical items and how these form part of the story arc, but don’t want to say anything more for fear of spoilers.  My favourite character, however, was the talking canoe, Charlie – just adorable!

This was a super enjoyable, action-packed magical adventure, which is perfect for young fantasy fans of 8+.

Thank you to the author for providing me with an e-book in exchange for my honest opinion.

May anticipated children’s book releases …

It’s time for my May anticipated books – another fantastic month for children’s book releases. I have been lucky enough to get a pre-read of a few of these and am really looking forward to adding them to my class library.

I have taken the synopsis for each of these from the Waterstones website.

Release Date: 5th May

The exciting conclusion to the Brightstorm twins’ adventure-packed story!  Arthur, Maudie, and the rest of the Aurora crew are going on a mission to the Volcanic North, where years before their parents discovered the moth that is their family symbol. But their scheming, ambitious aunt, Eudora Vane, is still dedicated to destroying the Brightstorm family name, and the further north the Aurora travels, the more long-buried secrets are revealed…

Is Oakmoss Hornbeam the unluckiest boy in the world? Or has someone cursed him? When a black cat crosses his path, mysteriously blown in by a storm, Oakmoss believes it’s his worst omen yet. But Nightshade, a cat of considerable talents, knows when it’s game on or game over. With the help of newshound Veena Vale and magical crime investigator Dexter Stormforce, she sets out to become a lucky charm for one very unlucky boy.

A fantastical, botanical adventure about friendship, bravery – and finding home in a new place. Fern has spent her whole life in the rainforest, and loves nothing more than climbing, exploring and talking to the trees. When she suddenly has to leave all that behind and move to London, with only an eccentric uncle for company, Fern feels entirely uprooted. But when she meets a little plant that can understand her every word, it seems that things are looking up! That is until strange things start happening in the city: giant lily pads on the Thames, monkey vines on the London Eye, and now her new friend is starting to wilt… Can they solve this growing mystery together – before it’s too late?

Set in a world where plants talk, friendship is hard-won and adventure is around the bend of every river… Orla has lived on her own since Ma died, with only her beloved garden for company. When sickness comes and nature is blamed, Orla knows she must find a cure. Armed with her mother’s book of plants and remedies, she steals away on a river boat with two other stowaways, Idris and Ariana. Soon the trio must navigate the rapids of the Inkwater to a poisonous place from which they may never return…

Years ago, the Emperor used dark magic to steal all the colour from the world. Now he keeps it for himself, enjoying its life-giving power while everyone else must exist in cold shades of grey. That is, until a miracle baby is born – everything she touches turns to colour. But the child’s life is in danger from her very first breath. Soon the Emperor’s murderous Ripper Dogs and Black Coats come hunting.  Can the girl and her adopted father survive in the forest – and what will it take to return colour and hope to the world?

It’s not every day that you find a famous weather woman bound by magic to a tree deep in the woods. Or discover that the weatherwoman is in fact Sunna, the Norse Goddess of the Sun, and one of the seven day guardians who keep time in order. But that’s just what happens to new friends Buzz and Mari–and it’s only the start of their adventure. Now, as humanity are forced into a lockdown called the Unmorrow Curse and are forced to repeat the same Saturday over and over again, Buzz and Mari must journey to collect the Runes of Valhalla and awaken the other day guardians, before vengeful god Loki can get to them first.

Arthur, Ren and Cecily are transported hundreds of years into the future once again, where a brand new in-reality adventure game, featuring famous legends from around the world, is the new gaming obsession. But the friends soon uncover a sinister plot by a mysterious raider called Deadlock, who wants to re-create dangerous time-way technology. With the fate of the universe in their hands, the friends must enter a dangerous iSports tournament, that will take them from the lost city of Atlantis to Viking battlefields and subterranean Incan tunnels. Can the friends stop the evil Deadlock and play their way home before time runs out?

It is 1940 and Britain is at war with Germany. Robert has been evacuated from London to his grandparents’ farm in Scotland. While exploring the rugged coastline, he finds a boy living in the caves. The boy is called David and he is a Kindertransport child. David had to leave his mother and grandmother behind in Berlin, and has now run away from his cruel foster family nearby. Meanwhile, at the Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin, it is discovered that an Enigma codebook has been hidden in David’s suitcase. A Nazi secret agent in the UK is instructed to find David, retrieve the codebook and kill the boy …

Release Date: 12th May

Zeina Starborn spends her days dreaming of adventure in the sky and escaping the smog-filled city of Ravenport. So, when she wins the chance to visit the famous Willoughby Whale Hotel – a ginormous structure built on the back of a flying whale – Zeina grabs it. Even clashing with Jackson, spoiled heir to the Willoughby fortune, can’t dampen her excitement. But a series of clues makes her question what she’s been told about this dazzling world of inventors, explorers and mighty sky whales. Zeina and Jackson must put aside their differences to uncover the secret plot around them as they embark on the journey of a lifetime.

On a small island off the Scottish coast, Isla and her family are grieving the loss of her older sister Flora, who died three years ago. Then they’re offered the chance to be part of a top-secret trial, which revives loved ones as fully lifelike AI robots using their digital footprint.  Isla has her doubts about Second Chances, but they evaporate the moment the ‘new’ Flora arrives. This girl is not some uncanny close likeness; she is Flora – a perfect replica. But not everyone on their island feels the same. And as the threats to Flora mount, she grows distant and more secretive. Will Isla be able to protect the new Flora and bring the community back together?

Marty doesn’t have much. Unlike his mum, who has billions of things: newspapers, holey shoes, rusty lawnmowers, broken picture frames – she keeps EVERYTHING! It’s hard to leave the house. Marty does his best to look after her and wonders if anything will ever change. But on Marty’s birthday, Grandad, with a glint in his eye, gifts Marty a very special seed. Grandad hasn’t been this excited since he invented the bum scratcher 2000 or thought he’d brewed wonder fuel from rhubarb leaves! The seed grows bigger and bigger, and launches Grandad, Marty and his best friend Gracie on an impossible, wondrous plan fuelled by love, hopes and dreams.

Uprooted by her single mum along with her troublesome older brother, eleven-year-old Prune Robinson is trying to settle in a new town. She figures she can’t burden her hard-working mother with the fact she’s being bullied. Or the fact that her drawings have started coming to life. But with her brother soon in danger, Prune comes to realise that she can’t hide her power forever; in fact, it might just be the one thing that brings her family back together and saves them all.

Josephine Williams is a future-focused, internet-loving eleven-year-old who is desperate to explore the world beyond her cul-de-sac – and her browser. When she learns about Josephine Holloway – a woman who started the first Girl Scout Troop for Black girls in America – she’s certain she must start her own. Enlisting her friends Margot Anderson and Wesley Evans, the trio begin their quest for their Camping Badge. Drawn to an abandoned factory nearby, they stumble across something strange. A square, ancient television and two tatty armchairs. Beside it, a wooden sideboard with an old photograph of a young, happy couple. What is this? Who, or what, lives here – and why?

Release Date: 19th May

In a digital world it’s hard to know what’s real. Imagine a world where your only friends are virtual, and big tech companies control access to food, healthcare and leisure. This is Jess’s world. But when she turns fourteen, Jess can go to school with other children for the first time. Most of them hate the ‘real’ world, but Jess begins to question whether the digital world is ‘perfect’ after all. Back home, her sister Chloe’s life-saving medication is getting ever more expensive. Determined to help, Jess risks everything by using skills forbidden in the cyber-world, only to stumble on something explosive. Something that will turn her whole world upside down. It’s up to Jess to figure out exactly what is real, and what is fake – Chloe’s survival depends on it.

Release Date: 26th May

After a rather strange encounter with a seagull on her first day of boarding school, Alice Tonks is left with a lot of questions. Why does the bird need her help? And WHY can she talk to seagulls?  Alice is used to being by herself but she can’t solve the mystery alone. With new friends behind her, can Alice harness her magic powers and become the hero she never imagined?

The year is 1726 and the Royal Sorcerer of England is on the hunt for those who are magicborn. When Tempest is captured after accidentally unleashing a power she didn’t know she had, she is taken to Kensington Palace alongside a boy like her, Peter.  Trapped, Tempest and Peter find their magic flickering to life – and with it, long-buried memories. For they are the lost prince and princess of Fairyland, bound by a deadly curse… and now the fairies are coming to get them. A battle is building – one only they can end. But who will survive?

It’s 1939 and war has broken out. Everything has changed at Highbury House school. The pupils have to help cook, clean and wash up, for a start! Then a boys’ school is evacuated to Highbury House, and the girls have to share the building. Justice and her friends are delighted that there are still mysteries to solve, however. Like: why can they hear voices coming from an empty room? And how can there be a face at the window two storeys up?  Then Justice faces her biggest challenge yet. Could there be a spy in their midst?

Do any of these catch your interest? Have you read any already?

Review: The Rema Chronicles: Realm of the Blue Mist

Written and Illustrated by Amy Kim Kibuishi
Cover Design by Phil Falco
Published by Scholastic

The Rema Chronicles:  Realm of the Blue Mist is the first in an enthralling new graphic novel fantasy series and, oh my goodness, it is breathtakingly stunning and completely entranced me from start to finish.

Tabby Simon is a loner who spends her time lying under a tree that leaks a mysterious mist, a tree which has been labelled as a biohazard, and blamed for the death of her scientist father seven years before.  Tabby does not believe this and is determined to discover the truth behind her father’s death.

When visiting her sanctuary, the tree, she sees a stranger with blue hair but, when she tries to speak to him, he disappears.  Drawn again to the tree by a strange light, Tabby finds herself unexpectedly pulled through a portal into another world, Rema, where she meets the stranger again.  Philip tells her that she is no longer on earth, but promises to help her return home.

So begins a thrilling, action-packed and explosive adventure as Tabby finds herself learning more about this magical, breath-taking world, a world that is filled with both wonder and peril.  Will Tabby be able to find her way home, or does she have a greater destiny to fulfil? What secrets is Philip hiding, and could they lead to danger for them both? 

I really liked how the adventure is written in four distinct parts:  Haunted, Geist, The Priestess and The Ghost which gave me a fascinating insight into this richly imagined world, and introduced me to the creation of the world, its political and religious systems, and both external and internal divisions.  I really enjoyed that this world-building was interspersed with plenty of fast-paced action, incredible revelations and character development. 

Tabby is a wonderful character:  curious, determined and courageous.  She finds herself pulled from a world where she feels alone into one where she finds friendship and, dare I say it, a dash of romance!

The manga-inspired artwork, with full colour illustrations, is incredibly beautiful and detailed complementing the mood and emotion of the narrative perfectly. 

This is a superb start to what promises to be a captivating series, and is one I am eager to continue in Kingdom of Water, especially after that ending! Perfect for those in Upper Key Stage 2 and beyond.

Thank you to Kiran Khanom and Scholastic for providing me with an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Write Reads Blog Tour: Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick

Thank you so much to Dave at The Write Reads for inviting me to be part of this blog tour, and to the publishers, Farshore, for sending me a copy of Dread Wood in return for my honest opinion.

Written by Jennifer Killick
Cover Illustration by Tom Clohosy Cole
Published by Farshore

Dread Wood is an absolutely gripping page-turner that kept me utterly engrossed throughout:  horror, humour and heart blended together perfectly.  I’m glad I read it inside in daylight as I’m not sure I would have coped if I’d been reading it outside for reasons that will become clear when you read it – and you really must read this edge-of-your-seat, action-packed deliciously spine-tingling delight!

Classmates, but not friends, Angelo, Hallie, Gus and Naira are forced to spend their Saturday morning in school as they have all been given detention.  Yes – on a Saturday!  What could be worse?  Well, their teacher also expects some team bonding and confiscates their phones! NOW, how could it get worse?  Well, there is the matter of the terrified scream, the strange substance and the missing teacher …

And then things take a turn for the seriously scary and weird as the group begin their search locked inside the school grounds with the groundskeeper and his wife who keep humming Incey Wincey Spider; as they witness their teacher being dragged underground; and, as they find themselves being hunted, but by who, or what?

Will the children be able to work together to outwit the horrors that lurk underground, ready to attack as soon as they touch the ground?  Will they uncover the real reason they have been brought together on detention?

Now this is how you do middle-grade horror!  Tense, thrilling, twisting and oh so very, very creepy.  It gave me Stranger Things vibes.  I loved the cliff hanger chapter endings; the sudden and unexpected occurrences that made me jump; the real sense of the danger and threat that faces the team; and, the slow realisation that they have been brought together for a reason.  I also loved the sharp humour shown by the children which feels so genuine and really helped to relieve the tension in more scary moments.  Definitely needed to keep my nails from being bitten off! 

Angelo, Hallie, Gus and Naira are brilliantly written protagonists, portrayed with a genuineness that I found really refreshing.   They all have different motivations, strengths and vulnerabilities, and are dealing with a range of difficult issues including parental pressures, poverty and disability.  As they find themselves facing terrifying danger, they learn the value of teamwork and, through that, open themselves to friendship.  I love how the four learn to trust each other enough to share their secrets, admit their mistakes, and to find real value and strength in their friendship.

Dread Wood is an absolute corker of an adventure, brimming with just the right amount of scariness, edge-of-your-seat tension and humour that is sure to keep older children engrossed, giggling and freaked out! 

Jennifer Killick

About the Author

Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.

Twitter: @JenniferKillick

MG Takes on Thursday

This is my new weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Skye McKenna
Cover Illustration by Saara Katariina Söderlund
Interior Illustrations by Tomislav Tomic
Published by Welbeck Flame

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

The warden wore a long black cloak, studded with badges, and carried a sword.

This book in three words:

ADVENTURE, BEWITCHING, FRIENDSHIP

Hedgewitch is a gorgeously bewitching adventure that completely enthralled me:  an adventure brimming with witchy delights, Faerie tricks and nature-inspired magic.

Twelve-year-old Cassandra Morgan is not allowed outside the boundary of Fowell House, a boarding school where she is unpopular, bullied horribly and alone.  Cassie’s mother had left her there seven years previously, asking her to wait for her return.  When she is called to the Headmistress’s office, Cassie is informed that she is being sent to an orphanage the next morning as her mother is presumed dead.

Booklover Cassie has always found adventures from between the pages of her secret library of books, but is now determined to seek her own adventure by escaping from Fowell House and finding her missing mother.  However, could she be entering a world of danger as children from all over London, including a first former from Fowell House, have gone missing?

It is not long before trouble finds Cassie when she is chased by a gang of creatures carrying knives and nets.  Just as she is about to be kidnapped, she hears a voice telling her to get on the broom she has lifted to defend herself.  Imagine her surprise when she discovers that the voice comes from a cat who has been sent to find her, and that the broom is a witch’s broom which flies them both to safety.  Montague informs Cassie that he has been sent by her aunt, Miranda who has only just learned of her existence.  Oh – and her aunt just happens to be a witch.

Cassie soon finds herself in the village of Hedgely where her aunt is the current Hedgewitch, protecting humans from the faeries who live on the other side of the Hedge, the largest and oldest wood in Britain, situated at the edge of the village.  Whilst Cassie is welcomed by the friendly housekeeper, Mrs Briggs, her aunt Miranda is unfriendly and cold and sets out some rules she is expected to follow, including not entering the Hedge alone.  When she asks about her mother, it is clear that her aunt is not willing to help, so Cassie determines that she will search for her mother on her own.

So begins an incredibly exciting, action-packed adventure as Cassie is drawn inexorably towards the Hedge which holds both nature-filled magic and mesmerising danger.  She finds both friends and enemies in the local coven where she begins her witch-training.  In her search for her mother, will Cassie uncover the truth behind the missing children?  Will she find something that has been missing in her life:  a home, friends and family?  In searching for what she has lost, can she find herself?

Just wow!  This is an utterly captivating story that completely entranced me, reaching the tendrils of its magic from the pages and drawing me into a world that felt irresistibly real.  I adored that the magic was imbued with the beauty and wonder of nature; and, I loved that the Faerie creatures were tricksy and deliciously dark. The unexpected twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat; the danger and deceit gripped me; and, the revelations – oh my goodness:  the revelations!

Cassie is a wonderful young protagonist.  She is determined, curious and courageous.  She is prepared to break the rules for what she believes in, and take risks to help others.  Her kindness towards others is rewarded when she needs help.  I loved the friendships that she forms with her coven friends, Rue and Tabitha. And what can I say about Montague – tetchy, sarcastic – and brilliant! 

The chapter header and interior illustrations are absolutely stunning and really capture the symbiosis between nature and magic, complementing the story perfectly. 

Hedgewitch is a thrilling, magical adventure that is sure to become a firm favourite with readers of 9+.  I absolutely cannot wait for Cassie’s next adventure, Woodwitch.

Thank you to Toppsta and the Publishers, Welbeck Flame, for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

WWW Wednesday

I’m just about to start Dread Wood which I’m really looking forward to as I’ve loved Jenifer’s Crater Lake books. Not so sure about the spiders though!

I finished listening to The Wee Free Men just as we broke up for the Easter holiday. I absolutely loved this, and have reserved A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith ready to listen to when I go back to work. I also finished The Lost Apothecary which is an adult book which I really enjoyed. The tension between past events and present day is incredibly well portrayed. Even though I was away for the weekend, I just had to keep picking this book up. I found it utterly gripping and powerfully written with a wonderfully satisfying ending. I also read The Hunt for David Berman which is an exciting historical adventure set in Scotland during World War II where a young evacuee has been sent to live with his grandparents, and discovers a Kindertransport boy living in a cave who is unaware that he is being hunted by the Nazis. I will be taking part in the Blog Tour later this month. I also couldn’t help picking up The Ogress and the Orphans and I am so glad I did. I absolutely adored this and loved the writing style which felt magical and left plenty of food for thought. The joy of story-telling, of books and their importance in holding a community together and in making connections really shone through and I loved it for this!

I was so excited to come home today to find I had been sent an early copy of the final book in the Brightstorm trilogy, FireSong. It has immediately jumped to the top of my TBR as I’m so looking forward to seeing how Arthur and Maudie’s adventure ends.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these?