Marvellous Middle Grade Reads

I’m not quite sure where the first two months of this year have gone, time seems to have absolutely flown by. The books I read in January and February are sitting on my desk looking at me accusingly and wondering why I bothered to read them if I wasn’t going to share them on my blog. I’ve apologised for my terrible lack of manners and have forced myself to clear a space on my desk for my laptop and write the reviews. Anyway that’s enough about me, time to share with you some marvellous middle grade books that I have enjoyed amidst all the madness of the last two months.

The Boy Who Fooled the World – Lisa Thompson

A new book by Lisa Thompson is always something to look forward to. Lisa has a talent for creating stories that are wonderfully warm and wise and, ‘The Boy Who Fooled the World,’ is no exception. Cole stands out in school for all the wrong reasons, his trainers are tatty, he doesn’t have the latest phone and inevitably becomes the target for the mean kids at school. Until one day when a painting he created is talent-spotted by a famous artist and it changes his and his family’s life overnight. But there’s one small problem. Cole is hiding a secret and if anyone finds out the truth, the fame and fortune he has come to love could all disappear. This is such a brilliant and clever story, Lisa has excelled herself by weaving this incredible tale of a supposed boy genius and showed how easy it for small white lies to get completely out of control. The struggle that Cole’s family if facing is written thoughtfully and sensitively, so that we become completely caught up in their change of fortune. A truly stellar read, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Shadowsea – Peter Bunzl

It was with much anticipation that I read the fourth and final book in the Cogheart adventures. ‘Shadowsea,’ having loved all of the other books in this series I was sad at the though of saying goodbye to Lily and Robert. But fear not for their finale hurrah, Peter has pulled all of the stops out of the bag in this thrilling and incredibly dramatic story that will hold you in it’s grip to the very last page. A trip to New York leads to a chance encounter with a strange boy who is locked in his hotel room by his very strange Aunt, whose behaviour is causing alarm bells to ring. Determined to help this boy, Lily and Robert break into his room and discover a dark and terrible secret that he has buried within the depths of his mind. And once again they find themselves drawn into a dangerous world, can they risk everything to uncover the truth?  Their is a high level of excitement and peril that runs through Peter’s stories so marvellously and it makes it impossible to put his books down. He never fails to surprise me with his unexpected twists and turns and for me this is another triumph in storytelling.

The Highland Falcon Thief – M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Pagnelli

‘The Highland Falcon Thief,’ is the first book in an intriguing new mysteries series that I’m sure will be hugely successful. Harrison Beck is massively unimpressed when his parents pack him off with his travel writer Uncle Nat aboard the royal steam train, he can’t imagine anything more boring. However the journey takes an unexpected turn when precious jewels start to go missing. The suspect has to onboard the train and Harrison is determined to turn detective and uncover the identity of this sophisticated criminal. For me this book ticks all my boxes, it’s a classic who dunnit mystery which clues cleverly concealed along the way. I adored the setting it is just glorious, the attention to detail and lavish description conjures up the Highland Falcon so vividly in my mind that I felt I was truly onboard the train. I absolutely delighted in the scene involving fried eggs on the footplate, it’s wonderfully evocative and made me desperate to be there. Elisa’s delightful illustrations capture the excitement and drama of this tale perfectly.  A truly cracking and smart read, that will be completely irresistible to mystery fans.

Orion Lost – Alastair Chisholm

I would love to see more science-fiction in middle grade so I was delighted when, ‘Orion Lost,’ landed in my review pile. Orion is on a mission to set up a new civilisation on a distant planet and Beth is nervous but excited to start her new life. Four months out of earth, when they are a millions of miles from home, disaster strikes leaving them stranded in space. With all the adults trapped in Sleep, Beth and her friends find themselves in charge of a heavily damaged ship with no idea how to make contact with earth and get them all home. Survival seems impossible with a mysterious alien species and space pirates tracking them whilst Ship their AI guide seems to be hiding things from them. Can Beth uncover the truth and save their colony from destruction. This is such a compelling and dramatic adventure, it is packed full of twists and turns which managed to catch me unawares every time. Cleverly constructed with remarkable world-building, this will  be hugely appealing to fans of fast-paced and action-packed adventures.

Thank you to Macmillan, Nosy Crow, Scholastic and Usborne for sending me gifted copies of these books. You can get your hands on these books online (click on the links in the title) or from you favourite local bookshop.

Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers, illustrated by Alex T. Smith

Demelza loves science more than anything in the world. Her fascination for inventing started at a young age when she made the Magnificent Belly Button Cleaning Machine at the tender age of four. And now she spends her nights, when she should be asleep, beavering away on her latest inventions desperate to perfect whatever contraption her wild imagination has conjured up. But when she hears unexplained noises one night, she discovers something very strange, she has a very special talent that defies everything she has ever come to trust and believe in. This talent is something that will put her and her grandma in incredible danger as the encounter the terrifying Snatcher who will stop at no lengths to use her powers for his own gains. It’s up to Demelza and her sickly friend Percy to find a way to save her Grandma and herself.

‘Demelza and the Spectre Detectors,’ is an intriguing and delightful debut from Holly Rivers that I devoured in a few hours.  Demelza is a heroine that you can really get behind with her scientific obsessions and her unwillingness to follow the rules if it doesn’t fit in with her ideals. You know she’s really used to getting in trouble when she invents a robotic hand that can expertly forge your writing just so you can avoid writing lines at school. Holly has assembled a delightful cast of characters from the eccentric Grandma Maeve to the terrifying Ms Cardinal and the unexpected bully Miranda, everyone is full of surprises. It manages to be quite unexpectedly fun yet still manages to be thoughtful in it’s dealing with grief and the afterlife. This is a book that will keep you on your toes right to the very end as with it’s seemingly never-ending twists and turns. Every time you think you’ve worked out exactly what is going on Holly throws in something to completely confuse you. It really is a wonderfully constructed and entertaining mystery.

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for reviews and guest posts from Holly.

Thank you to Laura and Chicken House for sending me a gifted proof copy of this book. ‘Demelza and the Spectre Detectors,’ is availabe to buy now online of from any good bookshop.

 

The Ice Bear Miracle – Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann

Marv Jackson’s life changes forever when he survives a bear attack as a small child. He and this extraordinary tale become a legend that is retold and reshaped by members of his close-knit community. However they are reluctant to accept his recollection, that on this fateful night he was drawn to a baby’s cry, an abandoned child left on the ice. As he grows up his scar is not the only thing that is a constant reminder of the night and he wonders what has happened to the child. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl and her ice skating polar bear brings this memory back to the surface, taking them both on an incredible journey that they’ll never forget. Exquisite storytelling meets sublime characterisation in this stunning tale from Cerrie Burnell. I was completely entranced by the Isle of Bears, a place in the deep frozen north, where the lives of bears and the community are inextricably bound together. The sense of community, friendship and the way those who are alone and vulnerable can find family in the most unexpected of places is totally joyful. It completely won over my heart with it’s beautifully, atmospheric and magical prose. Effortlessly diverse and incredibly thoughtful this is an absolute gem of a read.

It seemed entirely fitting that Cerrie launched this beautiful book at Somerset House ice rink, where she told us about her love of skating. Today on the blog she shares her thoughts with us…

Why I love to skate – Cerrie Burnell

There is a swift sweeping joy that comes from gliding across the ice- with out falling- face tilted up toward the sky, surrounded by other giddy skaters caught up in their own rushing excitement. You’re swept along on a wave of adrenaline, a cloud of ice air and feeling of childlike wonderment. Though it wasn’t quite like this at the beginning.

The first time I ventured on the ice as an adult was wrought with agony and woe. We were a squashed in a little out door pop up rink near the London eye, in a melee of other novices. My daughter age five, clung to me, screamed at me and all but dragged me down to a merciless frozen hell.

And yet through out the arguing and unsteady terror of falling, there were tiny moments of utter hilarious delight.

The next time a few years later we found ourselves almost alone in the middle of the afternoon on a surprise (read forgotten) inset day. It was a grey afternoon steeped in sea-light and we had the little practice rink at the Brighton Pavilion almost entirely to ourselves. As we moved around the small starry square, twilight gathering above us – her clutching a plastic savour in the form of a penguin, me amazed I hadn’t fallen, we let go of the boards and began – very gradually – to glide, and then a soft magic unfurled and a complete feeling of freedom took hold of us. We could not stop smiling.

We weren’t graceful or dazzling or daring, but we were upright and suddenly it felt like I was flying. I found myself letting everything else go. You can’t think about submitting your tax return, or wonder if you remembered the cheese for the packed lunch tomorrow, or consider anything more pressing when you’re balanced on a whisper thin blade that’s sharp enough to harm you. You have to give yourself over to the ice. Its a moment in time where existing is enough.

So we kept going, kept falling, kept clambering up, kept learning. Learning to overcome our doubt, learning to lace up our skates (that’s a whole other trilogy in itself) learning to love the shivering bone cold of indoor rinks. Through house moves, career changes, different schools, scorching summer days and deep winter nights we kept skating, and the quiet joy we felt was a little frosty miracle.

What astonished me about the rink was the community, the automatic welcome. A place where every one is expected to join in, all you have to do is be brave enough to step onto the ice. There are inclusive Ice hockey clubs, disabled skate sessions, people competing who didn’t find skating until they retired in their sixties. You can be any age, of any background, gender or faith, the ice is there for you.

Of course if you’re gifted or you want to excel then you can train with a coach – and that’s a much harder discipline. Watching the young figure skaters train takes my breath away, sometimes moves me unexpectedly to tears at the sheer fearless grace of them as they fly over the ice.

But if – like us – you just want to do something wonderful. Something gloriously fun. Something that frees you from all other ties, just for a rare few moments, you should give it a try. Skating by twilight on outdoor rink – is to me like magic.

Thanks to Cerrie for this lovely guest post and for encouraging me to get back on the ice after breaking my arm 30 years ago!

Cerrie Burnell

Cerrie Burnell is an actress, singer, playwright, children’s author, and television presenter, with a high profile on TV, in children’s publishing, and across social media. Her positive and engaging attitude across all platforms is incredibly inspiring for readers young and old. Her middle grade novel The Ice Bear Miracle, published by OUP, is available now for readers age 9+ .

Thank you to Liz and OUP for inviting me to the launch of ‘The Ice Bear Miracle,’ and for my gifted copy of this extraordinary book.

 

I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. by Emma Perry, illustrated by Sharon Davey

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Emma Perry’s debut, ‘I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever, The End,’ illustrated by Sharon Davey. Despite what the title may have you believe this glorious book is a true celebration of the transformative effect of reading in our lives. Poor Mabel really doesn’t like books, not one bit but nobody pays any attention. She gets books for her birthdays, books for treats and well just because… Mabel decides while books aren’t good for reading, they do in fact make excellent plates, sledges and stools much to the consternation of her books. One day the books revolt and change Mabel’s mind in the most unexpected of ways. I absolutely loved everything about this story, Emma is a natural storyteller. It’s so much fun to read aloud and is fit to burst with comic moments, it really did put a huge smile on my face.  Sharon bold and vibrant illustrations brilliantly captures Mabel’s frustration at the predicament she finds herself in, always surrounded by books. Wonderfully imaginative, it is a joy from start to finish.

To celebrate the publication of this marvellous book I have a special guest post from Emma on her journey from book blogger to author.

From reviewer to author – how on earth did that happen?  – Emma Perry

It has to be said, inadvertently setting up My Book Corner, way back in 2011 did eventually lead to me writing fiction. But, it was never meant to be that way.

It wasn’t the plan.

It wasn’t my intention.

In fact, I actively RAN AWAY from the idea… several times!

However, looking back it was clear that delving headfirst into My Book Corner was the catalyst – I just didn’t know it at the time.

I set up My Book Corner back in 2011 while we were living in Australia. It was tricky finding work in a new country with a young family, and it was my husband who suggested I review books online “because you like them so much.” He also volunteered to build the website. Perfect. I rummaged through the kids’ bookshelves to review their favourites and merrily set about telling my 2 visitors (thanks Mum and Dad) why I liked them. I was amazed when publishers started offering me books to review, and I was even more gobsmacked when I started receiving books before they even appeared on the shelves. It felt (and still does) like such a privilege and honour to get to see these beautiful books so early.

As My Book Corner continued to grow I started to look at other ways to write. Never did it cross my mind to attempt to write the fiction that I loved reading. Absolutely not. I even went to writers’ conference in Melbourne, and when the keynote speaker started talking about crafting characters and plotlines, I shook my head – this wasn’t for me. No way. I was much happier enjoying the stories of others. I focused on landing a few freelance roles, writing for other publications in addition to My Book Corner. But I think a little seed had been planted that day, I just didn’t know it. In the meantime, I was becoming more and more immersed in the wonderful world of children’s literature and it wasn’t going to let me go!

Returning to the UK was time filled with finding schools and a house and catching up with old friends and starting to think… what’s next? It was one of my old friends (Carey xoxo) who listened to my story about My Book Corner and turned to me and seriously asked, “why aren’t you writing your own books?” My instinct was to laugh it off, but it stayed with me. Then the lovely Tania McCartney back in Australia launched her online creative guide and it just felt the signs were too much – I had to give this a go.

But. I’m a HUGE procrastinator (*cough* half a degree in Psychology *cough*) and knew that I had to go all in from the beginning. That year, for the first time ever, I set two** New Year resolutions with a deadline of Easter. Go for it, see what works – was my mindset. So in between supply teaching I researched ALL the books, I knew I wanted to write for children – but no idea what age to write for or what to write about. Then I came across Ann Whiteford Paul’s Writing Picture Books. It was the one that spoke to me, and the one that fired up that excitement in my belly. I put it down and began scribbling ideas.

A month later I proudly had my first picture book script (just the one!) and had NO IDEA what to do with it. I had NO IDEA whether it was any good. I’d seen SCBWI online but that was too big a step for the voice in my head that screamed ‘you’re not a proper writer – stay away!’ So, what to do? A school run chat with Ele Nash introduced me to the Golden Egg Academy. I looked up their website, which had a big flashy banner ‘Now Accepting Picture Books’… oooo! I closed my eyes, pressed send. It was a huge litmus test for me, the first time my writing had been outside the cosy four walls of my house… and I’m really not sure what I would have done if they had turned me down.

I’m so grateful to GEA for saying ‘yes’! It spurred me on. I had invaluable 121 feedback from industry professionals at GEA, I found the courage to join SCBWI (do it, they are amazing!) and I found the most brilliantly, supportive critique group – Scribbles & Doodles. At that point I was well and truly immersed in the world of writing for children, and I LOVED it.

The SCBWI slush pile competition was the next big gamechanger for me. The brief for the challenge, set by Helen Mackenzie Smith, fitted my latest WIP nicely so off it went. I could not believe my luck when I won it. I could not believe my luck when I trotted off to London to meet Helen for a 121. And I absolutely could not believe my luck when she offered to represent me.

Helen sold my first two picture book scripts to the wonderful home of David Fickling Books within a few months. Under the care of the incredible team there, two amazing illustrators were found for each of them and the books were created. Now we are in 2020 when both of them will be published. I’m still pinching myself, I’m still grinning from ear to ear and I’m still incredibly grateful for this amazing journey.

Important Footnote: well, reading back that it all sounds like plain sailing doesn’t it?! But. There were bumps along the road. Lots. There were plenty of ups and downs and rejections and doubt and waiting and more doubt. I think there always will be. And that’s ok.

**PS: in case you were wondering about my second resolution (skip this bit if you weren’t), it was to teach myself to crochet… I know, I have NO idea where that came from! Anyways, turns out that crocheting is rather handy when you are stuck on a plot point, lost for words… it lets your mind wander quite nicely. Plus, I now have a random collection of crochet blankets and crocheted alpacas (inspiration for Alfonso in ‘This Book Has Alpacas & Bears’ ill by Rikin Parekh – coming June 2020!) scattered around the house.

Emma Perry

Emma Perry can be found either writing books, reading them or teaching them. It’s always been that way. In fact, her first two picture books are about… yep, books.

The founder of MyBookCorner and organiser of International Book Giving Day, the book obsession shows no sign of slowing down.

Twitter: @_EmmaPerry

Instagram: @EmmaPerry

Website: www.emmaperryauthor.com

 

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts and reviews.

Thank you to Emma for writing this insightful blog post and to Liz and David Fickling Books for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted copy of the book. ‘I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.

 

 

Cover Reveal – The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Nearly three years ago I revealed the cover of the lovely and talented Andy Shepherd’s debut novel ‘The Boy Who Grew Dragons.‘ The first three books in this series have been brilliantly received with a longlisting for the Blue Peter Book Awards and shortlisting for the Waterstone Children’s Book Prize in the Young Fiction category.  I was thrilled to discover that there are two more books to come in this series for Andy and I’m exclusively revealing the cover for the fourth book, ‘The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons,’ today.

So without further ado here it is…

This is another stunning cover illustrated by Sara Ogilvie and designed by Nick Stearn. Yet again Sara has created a cover that captures all the warmth, magic and charm of this wonderful series. I’m really excited to discover what further adventures Tomas and Flicker have got themselves caught up in…

The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons

Eleven-year-old Tomas has a secret friend like no other: Flicker, a dragon with glittering eyes and scales that flicker from fiery orange to ruby red. But Tomas is having to get used to Flicker being away, now that his dragon’s home is back in the frosty North. Adventure is never far away for Tomas, though – as he finds out when another dragon hatches on the dragonfruit tree at the bottom of the garden, a dragon who quite quickly decides he is sticking firmly with Tomas! Zing is a tiny dragon with oversized wings, who causes havoc wherever he goes.

When new girl, Aura, starts at school, proclaiming herself to be a dragon expert, Tomas is thrown into confusion. He is the one with dragons and the dragonfruit tree, after all! Before he knows it, Tomas, has blurted out his secret to Auram and set in motion a chain of events which will lead to adventures and mayhem aplenty…

The fourth book in Andy Shepherd’s sparkling THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS series is published on the 11th June by Piccadily Press. You can pre-order your copy online now or from any good bookshop.

 

Thank you to Andy and Piccadily Press for inviting me to host the cover reveal, this book sounds so magical and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

 

The fourth book in Andy Shepherd’s sparkling THE BOY WHO GREW DRAGONS series.

Where the World Turns Wild – Nicola Penfold

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Nicola Penfold’s debut, ‘Where the World Turns Wild.’ Juniper lives inside a sterile world where nature has been banned after a deadly tick-borne virus has devastated the population. She struggles to breathe in this confined space where she is regarded with suspicion being one of the few who are resistant to this disease. Together with her brother Bear, they dream of returning to their mother – who lives in the wild – despite knowing the world outside is a dangerous place. Yet this dream seems impossible until the day they are forced to make a stark choice in order to survive and embark on an incredible journey that will change how they see the world forever.

For me the mark of a great dystopian adventure is there has to be a real possibility that the events could actually happen in the future and terrifyingly this world seems very close and real. A world that is being devastated by over consumption of our finite resources and a total lack of understanding of the role nature plays in keeping our planet alive. As ecological movements become increasingly prevalent in society, the possibility of a group attempting to reclaim the ‘wild’ at whatever cost could be our future. Nicola explores how we are becoming disconnected from nature as things we have taken for granted become strange, like acorns and nettles to future generations of children. This theme strongly resonates throughout the book as we see Juniper and Bear exposed to nature in all of it’s beauty and we see how their lack of understanding limits their chance of survival as they face its brutality, out in the wild all alone.

I think with dystopian adventures we have often come to expect high-octane adventures filled with breath-taking thrills and spills but this isn’t that story. Instead Nicola cleverly introduces the life and death experiences  through the journey they undertake to try and find their home as they struggle to survive in a strange and stark world where the unexpected lies in wait for them. She has created an incredibly thoughtful and beautiful story that demands to be shared, it’s a wake up call for the way we live our lives and shows the true fragility of the world we live in. The characterisation is exceptional, she has crafted Juniper and Bear in such a way that you become inextricably caught up in their experiences. A tale of love, loss and the importance of finding our true home this is a stunning and beautiful debut.

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for reviews, guest posts and giveaways.

Thank you to Leilah and Stripes for inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘Where the World Turns Wild,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.

Cover Reveal – The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson, illustrated by Rob Biddulph

I’m really excited to be able to reveal for you today, the cover of Jenny Pearson’s debut novel the hilarious and big-hearted ‘The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates’, illustrated by Rob Biddulph which will be published on the 30th April 2020 by Usborne.

So without further ado here it is…

I love this vibrant and bold cover illustrated by Rob Biddulph with cover design by Will Steele. Full of energy and humour, it hints at the chaos and carnage that Freddie and his friends cause on their incredible adventure, I’m particularly intrigued to find out what part the sheep and police have to play! Let’s find out exactly what they get up to in this super miraculous journey.

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates

Freddie Yates loves FACTS. You can rely on facts. Facts don’t let you down. But the biggest fact staring him  in the face right now is that his super-sneaky journey is not going to plan. When he persuaded his two best friends to help him search for the dad he’s never met, he didn’t expect to set off a chain of miraculous events which have ended up with them all being on the run…

Worst of all, they’ve not even packed enough pants.

The holiday should have gone like this – Ben was supposed to go to America with his dad, Charlie was going to some vegan sanctuary with his parents and I was going to be loafing around the house. But none of this happened.

Three boys on the journey of a lifetime, discovering that sometimes what you’ve been looking for has been with you from the beginning…

A huge thank to you Fritha and Usborne for inviting me to host the cover reveal for this brilliant debut. ‘The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates,’ is available to pre-order now online or from any good bookshop.

The Girl Who Stole An Elephant – Nizrana Farook

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Nizrana Farook’s stunning debut, ‘The Girl Who Stole an Elephant.’ Chaya is a thief but a thief with a good heart, who only takes from those who have excess to rescue those in dire straights. So she feels strongly that she’s perfectly justified in her behaviour and refuses to accept censure. But her desire to help goes too far the day she steals the Queen’s jewels. Unwittingly she risks the life of her best friend and puts her family and whole village in danger. Escape seems to be the only way out and she leads her friends into the unknown jungle on the back of a stolen elephant, ready to be embark on the biggest adventure of her lifetime.

Nizrana has an incredible talent for writing the most atmospheric story, This book is rich in intricate details that effortlessly transport the reader to Sri Lanka, to experience a lush and vivid world filled with excitement of the unknown. All of our senses are stimulated, we can feel the sun beating down on us, taste the crunchy, fried sweets and imagine the dense forests and silvery rivers. And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you to read this book then be assured that she has created a most thrilling and delectable adventure, filled with just the right amount of peril to delight and entice. Nizrana has assembled a wonderful cast of characters, from the headstrong and passionate Chaya, to the unexpectedly bold Nour and the loyal and brave Neel, who make for an unlikely bunch of bandits. It truly is the most glorious, rich and captivating story that I have read in a long time.

 

Blog Tour

Want to win an AMAZING The Girl Who Stole an Elephant prize pack? Follow the blog tour this week to find 7 hidden letters that create our MYSTERY word – then DM the word to @NosyCrowBooks for your chance to win!

Thank you to Rebecca and Nosy Crow for sending me a gifted copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘The Girl Who Stole an Elephant,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.

Cover Reveal – The Ghost Garden Emma Carroll

I’m really excited to be able to reveal for you today, the cover of the Queen of historical fiction, Emma Carroll’s first novella for Barrington Stoke, ‘The Ghost Garden,’  which will be published on the 15th July 2020. The lovely team at Barrington Stoke have created this incredible animated cover for the reveal today so you’re in for a huge treat!!

So without further ado here it is…

This exquisite cover has been illustrated by the brilliant Kaja Kajfež who also has created the glorious interior illustrations. I love how the animation hints at the darkness and secrets hiding in the garden,  giving the reader a real sense of foreboding about this this spine-tingling story.  Let’s find out what Emma has instore for us in this powerful and evocative read.

The Ghost Garden – Emma Carroll

June 1914. When Fran unearths a bone in the garden of Long Barrow House on the same afternoon that Leo breaks his leg, it triggers a series of unsettling coincidences that leave Fran cold. Roped into keeping wheelchair bound Leo company, Fran is forced to listen to his absurd theories about the looming threat of war in Europe. But as the pair uncover more secrets, the garden seems to be showing them threatening shadows of the future and Fran begins to fear what they’ll discover next …

I was lucky enough to have an early read of, ‘The Ghost Garden,’ and can confirm that like all of Emma Carroll’s books it is wonderfully atmospheric, bringing the reader a real sense of time and place, whilst completely delighting us with its marvellous storytelling. Barrington Stoke have once again brought one of our finest writers of children’s books and they have together they have a created a story that is truly accessible but ultimately captivating.

Emma Carroll

Emma Carroll is the bestselling and award-winning children’s author of Secrets of a
Sun King, When We Were Warriors and the BAMB Readers Award winner Letters from the Lighthouse. She previously worked as a secondary school English teacher and has an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath University.

 

Thank you to Emma and Barrington Stoke for inviting me to host this cover reveal.

Cover Reveal – Blood Captain by Justin Somper

Today I am delighted to reveal the cover of book three of the revamped new editions of the bestselling VAMPIRATES series, ‘Blood Captain.’ Following on from the reveal of book one, ‘Demons of the Ocean,’ by Justin Somper and book two, ‘Tide of Terror,’ by Authorfy, it’s a real treat for me to share this with you on the blog. It will be published on the 5th March 2020 by Uclan Publishing.

So without further ado here it is…

I just love this stunning cover illustrated and designed by Crush Creative it hints at the dramatic turns of events that await Grace and Connor. The books contain brand new high-quality artwork, interior illustrations and a cutaway diagram of the pirate ship, plus new content including secrets that have never been revealed before. Let’s find out what Justin has instore for us in the third instalment.

Can Grace save Lorcan, as he once saved her?

Orphaned twins Connor and Grace are leading very different lives.
Connor, still aboard the pirate ship Diablo, is faced with a life-changing
decision from which there is no return. Meanwhile Grace is aware that
tie is running out for her vampire love, Lorcan, and she must fid a
way to save him. This means undertaking a quest to the highest
mountain to seek out vampire healer and guru, Mosh Zu. But doing so
reveals the real secrets of the vampirates. What is the truth, and can
anyone actually handle it..?

Thank you to Uclan Publishing for inviting me to host the cover reveal. You can win a set of the first three books by heading over to my Twitter page.