New Year middle-grade releases Part 2

This is the second part of my anticipated children’s book releases for January. I’ve already posted the books I’m looking forward to which are being released on the  first Thursday in January which is going to be a bumper release day for children’s fiction. This post includes the books I’m looking forward to which are being published during the rest of January (apart from one which is also 7th January!)

I have included the Goodreads or Waterstones Synopsis for each book.

Published by Faber & Faber on 7th January

I’ve adored The Five Realms series, and am so looking forward to reading Uki and the Swamp Spirit. This is also a really popular series in my class. I love that when children read The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, they always ask for the next one!

Uki had the sensation of a sickly green light, spreading out through the networks of water. Of tendrils connecting all the creatures of the marsh in a web . . . Linking itself so it could poison it all and destroy it. Uki and his friends have two more spirits to find and capture. After defeating Valkus, they make for Clarice, who is spreading disease through the swamps. Can Uki and his friends outwit him – all whilst they themselves are being chased by the Endwatch and Jori’s clan of assassins? 

Published by Nosy Crow on 14th January

I LOVE The Dragon in the Library Series. This is the third book in the series, and I was so excited to see that I don’t have too long to wait until its release! I can’t wait to join Kit, Josh and Alita on their next adventure.

Kit, Josh and Alita are heading back to school – and they’re excited to discover that they’re getting a brand new library, which also means getting their own wizard librarian… and a dragon! But when something VERY BAD happens at the new library, it’s up to Kit and her friends to save the world one more time. 

Published by Nosy Crow on 14th January

I loved Nizrana’s first book, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant, and read it to my class last year. Her new book sounds like it will be another fantastic adventure.

Razi, a local fisherboy, is watching turtle eggs hatch when he sees a boat bobbing into view. With a chill, he notices a small, still hand hanging over the side… Inside is Zheng, who’s escaped a shipwreck and is full of tales of sea monsters and missing treasure. But the villains who are after Zheng are soon after Razi and his sister, Shifa, too. And so begins an exhilarating adventure in the shadow of the biggest sea monster of them all…

Published by Harper Collins on 21st January

I read The Kid Who Came from Space at the beginning of this year and absolutely loved it, so I’m very keen to read Ross’ next book. I have a child in my class who is a big fan, so I’m looking forward to sharing this one with him.

When 12 year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb become the owners of a “Dreaminator”, they are thrust into worlds beyond their wildest imagination. From tree-top flights and Spanish galleons, to thrilling battles and sporting greatness – it seems like nothing is out of reach when you can share a dream with someone else. But… impossible dreams come with incredible risks, and when Seb won’t wake up and is taken to hospital in a coma, Malky is forced to leave reality behind and undertake a final, terrifying journey to the stone-age to wake his brother… 

Published by Egmont Books on 21st January

I’ve already been lucky enough to read a proof of this supernatural fantasy, and am looking forward to getting a final copy for my class library.

Amari Peters knows three things. Her big brother Quinton has gone missing. No one will talk about it. His mysterious job holds the secret … So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon. Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous. With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton …

Published by Pan Macmillan  on 21st January

My class study the Vikings as part of their history, and I’m always looking for books to link to the topic. I think this one will be perfect for my Year 4 class.

A no-good viking thief. The worst-ever trainee valkyrie. An ungodlycase of mistaken identity. When failing trainee valkyrie Lotta mistakes an unconscious viking thief, Whetstone, for a fallen hero and takes him triumphantly to Valhalla, things are definitely not turning out to be epic or glorious. Having lost a precious talking cup, Whetstone is also desperate to cover up his mistake and the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to find it and regain their heroic status. But Loki the trickster God is desperate to get his hands on the cup with a plan to unleash chaos across the nine worlds. Can Whetstone prove himself a hero after all when it matters most?

Published by Simon & Schuster on 21st January

I read Check Mates when it was first published and loved the relationship between Felix and his Grandfather. I’m definitely looking forward to reading The Perfect Parent Project which I’m sure will include laughter and tears!

All Sam wants is a family of his own, a home instead of a ‘house’ and parents he knows will still be there when he wakes up. Because Sam has been in and out of foster care his whole life and he can’t imagine ever feeling like he truly belongs. Then his best friend Leah suggests that rather than wait for a family to come to him, he should go out and find one. So begins The Perfect Parent Project … But Sam may just discover that family has a funny way of finding you. 

Published by Harper Collins on 21st January

I’ve really been enjoying reading mysteries recently so, when I saw the release of a new series, I immediately decided I wanted it – not too long to wait!

Violet Veil wants nothing more than to prove her worth and become her father’s apprentice at Veil Sons Undertakers. And one rain-soaked night she gets her chance when she meets a boy, Oliver, who is wandering around the graveyard. Only, the last time Violet saw Oliver, he was indoors and very much dead, waiting to be buried. Victoria has just found her first case, and it doesn’t get bigger than this: can she, with the help of her dog, Bones, help Oliver solve his own ‘murder’?

Published by Puffin on 21st January

Ever since reading The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, I’ve been keen to find and read more books which are both hilarious and heart-warming. I think I’ve found one with Uma.

Uma Gnudersonn has a head full of questions: How can I save my home from being sold? Will my dad ever start talking again? And how do alpacas get drunk? But since her mum died, Uma’s life has been short on answers. Then she finds a genius artificial intelligence called Athena who knows everything. Suddenly Uma has the answer to any question she can imagine – from the capital of Mozambique to the colour of her headteacher’s underpants – and she’s going to use them to save her home and her father. Along the way, Uma will have to confront the sinister inventor who will stop at nothing to get Athena back – and face up to the fact that not all questions have answers . . .

Published by Firefly Press on 28th January

The title of this poetry collection completely captured me and the illustrations look fantastic. I’m looking forward to reading the poems and adding this one to my class library.

From forgotten jellybeans to sparking daydreams, Alex’s poems, written for primary school age children, are both funny and thoughtful, and aim to spark familiarity and inclusion. And the illustrations from Katy Riddell will focus on the fun and dreamlike quality of the poems’ engagement with the natural world. These poems use rhyme, rhythm and free verse and are ideally suited to performance in a school setting, nurturing a love of language, reading, confidence and self-expression.

There you have it! There are some incredible middle-grade being released throughout January from authors I already know and from some who are new to me! Are there any of these you want to read? Have you any other recommendations?

Top Ten Tuesday

This is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Girl Reader.  This week’s theme is a Books I Hope Santa Brings. I do treat myself to a lot of books over the course of the year, but I still can’t help asking for some from Santa! I’m hoping I get some of these on Christmas Day!

I’ve read previous books by each of these authors, and am really keen to read other books by them. SO many people have been raving about October, October that I just had to put it on my Christmas list. I loved The Switching Hour by Damaris so am really looking forward to reading her next book, The Creature Keeper. I really enjoyed A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson and am really looking forward to going back into this magical world.

If I Were Other than Myself is a collection of poems filled with ‘magical fantasy and dreamlike inventions’ which sounds perfect! I really enjoyed The Children of Castle Rock, so am looking forward to Voyage of the Sparrowhawk which is set after the First World War. The Nowhere Emporium is the first book in this fantasy trilogy which sounds I’ve been wanting to pick up for a while now.

The wonderful Rachael at BellisDoesBooks brought Splinters of Scarlet to my attention, and it sounds like just my sort of book. As soon as I read the synopsis for Cold Tom, I knew I wanted it! Tom is both elfin and human and has been cast out from his Tribe to live amongst the humans – this one has really intrigued me.

I don’t often read adult books, but I’m hoping to get these two for Christmas.

Six for Sunday

I have signed up to take part in the Reading Rocks Secret Santa for the last couple of years. This is where you are given an idea of a book a teacher would like and then post a Secret Santa book gift. My Secret Santa this year asked for magical fantasy books! I mean – this suits me perfectly. I bought The Castle of Tangled Magic and Jungledrop as they are two of my favourite reads this year. Just hope my Secret Santa likes them!

I’m sure my husband never reads my blog so it’s safe for me to post these – also, he has requested them! 🙂 My husband is a gamer rather than a reader, so very rarely asks for books. Once a year, a new Lee Child book is released and it is about the only book he reads, although he is a few behind!

I’ve bought my niece one of my favourite ever picture books which I hope she finds just as magical and gorgeous as I found it.

It’s so hard to get a present for my nephew, but he does love World of Warcraft so I’ve bought him this new release – hopefully before he has managed to get a copy!

I’m hoping to be gifted lots of books for Christmas too. What books are you hoping to get for Christmas?

First Lines Fridays

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!

The Widdershins left Crowstone just after breakfast. Granny had popped her head in to wake the girls at sunrise, but Betty Widdershins was already up.

Any ideas?

I’m sure anyone who is a fan of Michelle Harrison’s A Pinch of Magic and A Pinch of Sorcery will have guessed this one! I’ve been avidly checking NetGalley in the hope that this would be available for request and, as soon as I saw it today, I immediately requested it and was approved almost as quickly as I’d requested it which is brilliant! I’m so excited to return to another adventure with the Widdershin sisters!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone knows that magic and trouble go hand in hand… A dangerous spell cast over an unsuspecting village. An enchanted painting locked in a hidden room. A desperate race against time to break the spell before it’s too late… It should have been a fresh start for the Widdershins. Finally free from the misty gloom of Crowstone and beginning a new life. But all is not as it seems in their postcard-pretty village. Their neighbours are acting strangely, and why do they flinch at the mere mention of magic? The Widdershins sisters have their own secret: a set of enchanted nesting dolls with the power to render their user invisible. The sisters must use their wits – and their magic – if they’re to break the dark hold over the village, and save one of their own . . . but have they met their match this time? 

Have you read this series? Are you looking forward to this one?

WWW Wednesday

I absolutely loved listening to The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett earlier this year, and definitely wanted to read more of her books. I’m currently listening to The Silver Donkey which is wonderful so far. At long last, I’m about to start my Christmas break, so I’m going to start North Child as my first Christmas read. This is one I’ve been looking forward to for a LONG time!

I’ve finished listening to The Girl Who Saved Christmas on Borrowbox. I enjoyed this one which I found both poignant and hopeful. I also finished reading Mistletoe and Murder which is my favourite in the series so far. I loved the Christmas setting in Cambridge and that the two detective society’s meet. I loved this cover too! I also finished Delivery to the Lost City which is the final book in Train to Impossible Places series. I absolutely loved this and thought it was a wonderful end to the series. Review to follow shortly.

As I’m off on holiday from tomorrow, I’m hoping to get lots of reading in over the Christmas break so I’m hoping to read The Forest of Moon and Sword, Dragon Detective: That’s a Wrap and The Miracle on Ebenezer Street before next Wednesday.

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

The Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour: Amari and the Night Brothers

Amari and the Night Brothers was one of my most anticipated reads for 2021, so I was super excited to be invited to join The Write Reads Blog Tour. Thank you to Dave at The Write Reads and the publishers, Egmont, for sending me a physical proof copy in return for my honest opinion.

Written by B.B. Alston
Illustrated by Brittany Jackson
Published by Egmont Books
UK Release date: 21st January

Amari and the Night Brothers was everything I was hoping it would be, and then some!  It is an exciting, action-packed, supernatural adventure with a tantalising dose of magic, danger, secrets and twists – not to mention razor-sharp humour – so much so that I was compelled to devour it in one sitting – a perfect reading adventure!

Amari Peters’ adored and brilliant older brother, Quinton, has been missing for six months.  She is convinced that he is still alive and is determined to find him and to uncover the secrets he has kept from her.  When she receives a delivery from her brother, she discovers a briefcase in his old wardrobe, and a message from him that sees her start the MOST incredible adventure to find him, and take her first steps to awakening her own magical powers, powers that put her in danger, but which may also be the key to saving her new world …

Quinton has left his younger sister a nomination to join a secret organisation, the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.  She accepts a place in its summer training camp, where she has to undergo try outs to become a trainee agent, in the hope of being re-united with her brother.   She is also filled with a sense of excitement as she has been given the opportunity to escape from the bullying school environment where she felt like an outsider.

The Bureau opens her eyes to a world filled with a myriad of diverse, brilliant supernatural creatures which must be kept secret from the known human world.  For starters, her roommate, Elsie Rodriguez, is a were dragon!  I loved that so many creatures that cross genres exist in this hidden world within our world from magicians to mermaids to hybrid creatures:  they are woven seamlessly into the narrative.  There is one thread in particular which I adored, and which kept me on the edge of my seat as I raced to find out how it would unravel– and it was SO worth the wait! 

In her quest to find her brother, Amari is determined to become a Junior Agent in the Department of Supernatural Investigations but, when she finds out that her supernatural ability is also an illegal one, she risks becoming an outsider again.  Is Amari unwittingly a danger to the Bureau, or will her talent help them overcome the threat which they face from the infamous Night Brothers who are determined to destroy the Bureau?

Oh my goodness!  This is such a heart-racing, exciting read that I couldn’t put it down.  I loved discovering the origins of the Night Brothers and the danger they posed to the Bureau.  The twists and revelations kept me on the edge of my seat; I was kept on tenterhooks as I was trying to work out who to trust and who had an ulterior motive:  absolutely enthralling!   The ending was unexpected but also PERFECT!

Amari is an incredibly courageous young girl with an admirable inner strength and determination. She’s a real fighter:  she stands up for herself as she goes on a journey of self-discovery, taking risks along the way as she comes to believe in her own ability and her intentions to use her powers for good, despite temptation and uncertainty.

I absolutely LOVED this magical and exhilarating story set in a vividly drawn, fascinating world; after that ending, I can’t wait to go on another adventure with Amari.

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!

Ebba Rose was the name of our last-born child. Except it was a lie. Her name should have been Nyamh Rose. But everyone called her Rose rather than Ebba, so the lie didn’t matter. At least, that is what I told myself. The Rose part of her name came from the symbol that lies at the centre of the wind rose – which is fitting because she was lodged at the very centre of my heart.

Any ideas?

This is one I’ve had on my TBR for so long. I’m determined to enjoy reading it over a day during my Christmas break, cuddled up on the sofa with hot chocolate and Kit Kat!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home… but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever. So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it–in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family–she readily agrees. Rose travels on the bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart– and finds her purpose–and realizes her journey has only just begun.

Have you read this? What did you think?

WWW Wednesday

I’m currently reading Mistletoe and Murder on Borrowbox. I think I’ve manged to save this one for the perfect time to read! IU haven’t got too far into it yet, but I am enjoying it. Daisy and Hazel have gone to spend Christmas in Cambridge with Daisy’s older brother – I’m sure I won’t have long to wait until there’s another case for the Detective Society to solve. I’m just about to start listening to The Girl Who Saved Christmas on my way to and from work, and I’m so looking forward to it! I’ve also started Delivery to the Lost City, the final book in the A Train to Impossible Places Adventure series. I’m really enjoying being back with Suzy and her Trollville friends although the problem they have to deal with this time is my worst nightmare: an overdue book is draining all the words from the books in the library. I’m not sure I’ll cope if these books aren’t restored by the end of the story!

I’ve now finished listening to The Amber Spyglass on Borrowbox. I absolutely loved this one which is my favourite of the trilogy. Both Lyra and Will are such courageous, resilient and resourceful characters, and I really, really enjoyed their story arcs, even though the ending was so poignant. I found their journey to the Land of the Dead fascinating as was the emotional journey her mother took. I’m going to move on to watching the BBC series over Christmas .

I’ve wanted to read Scavengers for ages, so decided to pick it up at last. Oh my goodness! It is the most amazing and powerful story, and one that I absolutely devoured. Landfill lives in Hinterland (effectively a dump) with old Babagoo who found him abandoned as a baby and cared for him. Babagoo has given him a strict set of rules, including that he must not venture to the Outside as it is dangerous. There is such a sense of threat and unease in this story as Landfill begins to uncover difficult truths, and questions his reality as he strives for understanding. Some twists absolutely made me gasp and I was desperate to uncover the truth. My heart ached for Landfill who loses his innocence as he is awakened to the world around him. His relationship with Babagoo is complex and difficult and was, at times, hard to bear. This is such a powerful and emotive coming-of-age story that I can highly recommend.

I’ve decided to read a few Christmas-themed books next, starting with The Night I Met Father Christmas.

What have you read this week? Have you read any of these?

Six for Sunday

The December theme for Six for Sunday, hosted by A Little But a Lot is Festive Goodness and today’s prompt is for Red and White books. 

THE ONE I’M READING TO MY CLASS: I read this one a while ago, and absolutely loved it – a perfect read for Christmas. It’s also my current class read and is one the children are loving.

THE ONE I’VE BORROWED: This is my current read from my library on Borrowbox. I started this series earlier this year, not quite sure what to expect, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It was perfect timing that I got to this one in December! I’ve just read the first section and think I’m getting close to the murder!

THE ONE I WAS GIFTED: I enjoy reading a scary book at Christmas and I think this one, which I got for my birthday, will be perfect.

THE ONE THAT REALLY GOT TO ME: I read a lot of books every year, mostly middle-grade, but I also read a few adult and young adult books. This one has been one of my absolute favourite young adult books of the year. It is an incredibly powerful fable through which 75-year-old Matilda tells her life story to her teenage visitor. She has endured great loss and grief – just thinking about it brings tears. Matilda is also incredibly resilient and strong and takes control of her life to find the answer to a question she wants to put to the love of her life who has left her: “How can you know love, and lose it, and go on living without it, and not feel the loss for ever?” I think it’s been one of those years when a book like this has such an impact.

THE ONE THAT’S BEEN ON MY TBR WAY TOO LONG: I still remember where I purchased this one – on a day trip into London in Foyles. I couldn’t resist the gorgeous cover, and the synopsis definitely intrigued me:

Our story begins on a frosty nightLaylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was the left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore her own ever increasing loneliness and the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair. But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appear, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

I mean, this is SO my kind of book. And it sounds like a perfect wintry read!

THE ONE I’M RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED TO READ: I’ve absolutely adored the first two books in the Widdershins Adventure series and absolutely cannot wait to read this one which is due to be released on 4th February so not too long to wait.

New Year Middle-Grade Releases

The first Thursday in January is going to be a bumper release day for middle-grade fiction. Luckily, Christmas is a perfect time to catch up on lots of reading so that I can clear some bookshelf space for these new additions. By clearing bookshelf space, I mean that, once I finish a book at home, I take it in to school to add to my class library for the children to enjoy.

I have included the Goodreads or Waterstones synopsis for each of these. Here goes …

Publisher: Chicken House Books

1835. Cabin boy Syms Covington is on the voyage of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with the world-famous scientist Charles Darwin. But when Syms falls overboard during a huge storm, he washes up on an unexplored island. Stranded there, he makes a discovery that could change the world … Now it’s not just his own survival at stake – the future of an undiscovered species is in his hands. How to Train Your Dragon meets natural history – with real science!

Publisher: Little Tiger

When Holly and her family fly to LA for a holiday, it promises to be the trip of a lifetime. On her first day exploring the city of dreams, Holly befriends a movie director, who’s captured something suspiciously dragonlike on camera while filming out in the desert. But before she can examine the tape properly, it goes missing… Holly asks her partner-in-solving-crime, dragon detective Dirk Dilly, to join her on the hunt for clues in Hollywood. Will they be able to find the film before it falls into the wrong hands and exposes the existence of dragonkind to the world? 

Publisher: Piccadilly Press

Tomas is a fully-fledged expert dragon grower and protector of the dragonfruit tree. He has eyes in the back of his head for watching over those sneaky dragons, awesomely fast reflexes for putting out sparks and dodging the diving antics of whirling newly hatched dragons. He’s got it all down pat – and managing his little lightning bolt dragon Zing, too. But he’s not quite prepared for the adventure that awaits him when a huge secret is revealed about his new friend, Aura. A thrilling secret that will take Tomas and Aura on a journey of discovery that will finally unlock the last mysteries of the dragonfruit tree. A journey of discovery that all the dragons will be in on – and just what will happen when lightning bolt dragon Zing and storm dragon Flicker get together? 

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

Join the brave friends Patch, Wren and Barver for another adventure of magic and music! Thrill as they meet the Pirates of the Eastern Seas! Marvel as they venture to the only city where dragons and humans live side by side! Gasp as they journey high into the snowy peaks, where the greatest secret of the griffins lies hidden! And tremble as they come face to face once more with the increasingly powerful and evil Hamelyn Piper…

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Jessica is playing with her family at the river when she finds a dirty, bedraggled teddy bear in the water. She has no idea that it will change everything, forever. Meanwhile, Cymbeline comes home from school to find that his mum’s house has been broken into – and the thieves seemed oddly focused on his toys. Thank goodness he had Not Mr Fluffy, his Bear of Most Extreme Importance, with him. Soon, Jessica and Cymbeline find themselves swept up in a mystery that spans decades, threatens their families, and turns their lives upside down. But sometimes, just maybe, a new life can be a really wonderful thing…

Publisher: Chicken House Books

Morgana loves robots and longs to attend robotics school in the city. But she’s a witch, living in a magical woodland community: the closest she comes to technology is petting her ancient mechanical familiar, Kitty. She simply doesn’t belong. But when she finally finds a way to the City, she learns of a troubling secret hiding beneath its gleaming surface: a secret that threatens the balance of civilization. Caught between two worlds, only Morgana has the power to find a solution … 

Publisher: Walker Books

Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped ornament from a mysterious woman’s purse, she knocks on its tiny door and watches it grow into a huge, higgledy-piggeldy house. Inside she finds a host of magical and brilliantly funny characters, including Flabberghast – a young wizard who’s particularly competitive at hopscotch – and a hideous troll housekeeper who’s emotionally attached to his feather duster. They have been placed under an extraordinary spell, which they are desperate for Nine to break. If she can, maybe they can offer her a new life in return… 

Publisher: Egmont

A spellbinding new middle grade series crackling with magic and adventure. I am Spel. Daughter of witches. The only one who can step between worlds. The only one who can save my sister. If I can find her before the witch hunt begins … Thirteen years ago, magic was banished and the witches were hunted. Sisters Spel and Egg are the daughters of witches, but they grow up in Miss Mouldheel’s School for Wicked Girls with no idea who they really are. Until the day the message arrives telling them to run … The message sends them to a funeral parlour in a far away village – and their new guardian, the Undertaker, has a secret. Beneath the funeral parlour is a portal to the Other Ways – four worlds that lie parallel to ours. When Egg vanishes through the portal, Spel knows she must try to save her sister. But no one can step between the worlds – or can they?

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

P. G. Bell’s Delivery to the Lost City is the thrilling conclusion of the Train to Impossible Places trilogy, a magical middle-grade adventure. When the Impossible Postal Express is charged with returning an overdue library book, Suzy Smith looks forward to a nice, simple delivery–just the thing she needs to convince her anxious parents to let her keep her job on the train. So she’s less than thrilled to discover that not only is the book alive, it’s full of a growing and dangerous magic. Worse still, the world to which it belongs is missing, and Suzy and her friends will have to use all their ingenuity to find it. Suzy must help a fledgling rebellion seize power, return the book to its rightful owner, and get home before her parents ground her for life. The conclusion to the Train to Impossible Places trilogy promises to be the most adventurous yet. 

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

September 1939. When Jimmy is evacuated to a small village in Wales, it couldn’t be more different from London. Green, quiet and full of strangers, he instantly feels out of place. But then he finds a skull hidden in a tree, and suddenly the valley is more frightening than the war. Who can Jimmy trust? His brother is too little; his best friend has changed. Finding an ally in someone he never expects, they set out together to uncover the secrets that lie with the skull. What they discover will change Jimmy – and the village – forever. A mesmerising mystery about bravery and brotherhood from an outstanding new voice.

Publisher: Chicken House Books

Science and laughs combine in this out-of-this-world adventure, featuring illustrations by Ben Mantle! You might think that this story is going to be an intergalactic adventure filled with UFOs, black holes, killer robots and some very foul-smelling aliens. And you’d be right. But it’s mostly about a boy called Jake, his embarrassing dad, and the mind-boggling question . . . are we really alone in the universe?

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

SUMMER 1914. When Fran unearths a bone in the garden of Longbarrow House on the same afternoon that Leo breaks his leg, it must surely be just a coincidence. But Fran can’t shake the uneasy feeling that the events are somehow connected, and there is a shift in the atmosphere that leaves her troubled and anxious. Roped into keeping wheelchair-bound Leo company, Fran is forced to listen to his foolish theories about the looming threat of war in Europe. But as the pair start to uncover more secrets buried beneath the garden, they dredge up threatening shadows of the future, and Fran begins to fear that Leo’s dire predictions might be coming true …

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

When Art’s mother is accused of witchcraft, she is determined to get her back – at any cost. Twelve-year-old Art lives in a small village in Scotland. Her mother has always made potions that cure the sick, but now the townspeople say she is a witch. One cloudless night, Art’s mother is accused of Witchcraft, arrested, and taken from Scotland to England. Art mounts her horse, taking a sword, a tightrope, and a herbal recipe book, and begins a journey through wild forests to find her mother before summer solstice, using nature’s signs and symbols to guide her. On her journey, Art will discover what sacrifices she will need to make to be reunited with her mother – and to alter the fate of women everywhere. But will she reach her, before it’s too late?

Publisher: Scholastic 

Melody Bird has discovered an old abandoned house in the corner of the graveyard, and a mysterious boy hiding out there… Hal tells her that he’s a spy-in-training, using the house as a base for his undercover surveillance of a known local criminal. Her friends Matthew and Jake don’t believe that a teenager would be entrusted with this mission and turn the tables to spy on him, uncovering secrets and unravelling a mystery as they go.

There you have it! There are some incredible middle-grade being released on 7th January! Are there any of these you want to read? Have you already read any of these?