The Mulberry Tree

Author – Allison Rushbyxthe-mulberry-tree.jpg.pagespeed.ic.lS1n_Kk90Y

Age – 10+

Immy has moved from Sydney Australia, to a small village in the UK. It’s a new start for them after something happened at her father’s work.

After seeing a few houses with a rental agent, they choose a cute little cottage with a large tree in the back lawn. But this isn’t just any tree.

The agent tells them of the tree’s history. A history where two girls who lived in the cottage mysteriously vanished on the eve of their 11th birthday. The entire village blames the tree. But that’s ridiculous – isn’t it?

Immy tries to make friends but the tree’s history affects everyone around her – even Jean, the kind old lady who lives next door. She says her best friend Elizabeth was one of the girls who disappeared many years before.

Immy has been hearing a creepy rhyme being sung – even when there is no-one nearby. Could there be some truth in the legend? While she keeps her fears to herself, she is also dealing with her dad’s depression, and the feeling that the tree is watching her and mirroring her feelings. She is determined to learn the truth – which means staying home on the eve of her 11th birthday…..

I loved this story! It was sad and beautiful, and intriguing and creepy.  I couldn’t read the last few pages fast enough. I closed the book with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. Fans of Emma Carroll will love it too.

(Mystery, School, Magic, Secrets, Friends, Depression, Nature)

 

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The Price Guide to the Occult

Author – Leslye Walton35879387

Age – 13+

Nor Blackburn likes being invisible. As much as possible anyway. She never joins teams or groups at school and doesn’t have lots of friends. She likes to run alone on the island where she lives with her grandmother and her aging wolf hound Antiquity.

But her island isn’t any old island. It has a long history of witches who bore only daughters to bewitched island men. Nor is a fifth generation witch, keeping her skills a secret – even from her grandmother.

Nor’s memories of her mother are cruel and pain-filled and she is just as shocked as the rest of the island to see her mother (Fern) on TV talking about her new book – The Price Guide to the Occult. Suddenly Fern is everywhere, casting amazing spells, healings and fortunes to anyone who will pay. And pay they do. But Nor knows her mother well. She knows what skills her mother has and that someone else is ‘paying’ in blood for them.

A thrilling tale of family, black magic, good witches and bad. Although Nor is keen to blend into the background, she must face up to who she was is born to be – a nemesis to her powerful mother. Loved it.

(Witches, Thriller, Romance, Action, Curse, Island, Control, Family, Conflict)

 

The Wild Magic Trilogy (1) Begone the Raggedy Witches

Author – Celine Kiernan

Age – 10+36131823

Mup’s great-aunt told Mup she must tell her if she ever sees any witches. She is not to say a word to her parents about it.

But Aunty has just passed away, Mum is grieving and weary as she drives them home from the hospital, and Dad is far away working on an oil rig.

When Aunty appears on the end of Mup’s bed as a ghost, Mup tells her what she saw – and their entire world is changed forever. Mup’s mum is someone special. Someone taken from another realm as a young child, to save her from her own mother, Mup’s grandmother – an extremely powerful witch who rules her lands with hate, suspicion and cruelty.

The raggedy witches Mup saw following them home from the hospital have been sent to take her mother back with them now Aunty isn’t around to prevent it. But Aunty’s ghost is still powerful. When the witches’ plan to take Mup’s mother fails, they snatch her father instead, to use him as bait.

Mup’s mum is shocked to learn the truth about herself, but is determined to get her husband back. Mup’s family is thrown into an epic battle of good against evil, with crows that must talk in rhyme, women who morph into cats and witches who revere their evil queen.

This story grabbed me very quickly and held on until the end. Mup is a brave and kind character, determined to find her father and increasingly proud of her mother. Mup not only looks out for her younger brother (who has been transformed into a young dog), but also stands up for a boy called Crow who has lost his own father to the queen. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

(Morphing, Magic, Family, Determination, Bravery, Courage, Witches, Action, Conflict)

The Hazel Wood

Author – Melissa Albert35997403

Age – 13+

Alice and her mum have always been on the move. Bad luck seems to plague them wherever they try to settle, and it’s only now that Alice is 17 that she realises there is something eerie about their particular bad luck.

Alice’s grandmother was famous for a book she wrote of very dark fairytales. This book is now impossible to find so she never got to read it. She’d hoped her entire childhood that she would meet her grandmother but it never happened. Her mother was adamant about never returning to The Hazel Wood where her mother lived.

Alice’s mum marries and they seem finally settled – until her mum vanishes. Was she kidnapped? Did she run away from an unhappy marriage? The strange things that have happened through her life manifest into even stranger creatures and events and the only person she can turn to is a boy from her school. Finch is ridiculously wealthy and also a huge fan of her grandmother’s tales.

After avoiding fans for years, Alice has no option but to ask for Finch’s help. He knows the tales inside out and she finds she is connected to one in particular. Despite a warning to the contrary, Alice knows she has to find and then search the elusive Hazel Wood if she is ever to see her mother again.

The writing is superb, the intrigue all encompassing, and the place Alice finds herself in – VERY Alice in Wonderland – but even weirder!

The Children of Blood and Bone

Author – Tomi Adeyemi

Age – 13+

Orisha’s lands are made up of Kosidan (nobles and non-magical people) and Maji (those with powers to heal, bring fire, move water or summon spirits.)

But the Maji with their all-telling white hair and sometimes strange eyes have had their magic taken from them by force with much bloodshed and murder.

Zelie lost her mother in ‘The Raid’ that extinguised Maji magic, leaving her with an intense hatred of King Saran and his regime. But one day she comes closer to his regime than ever before and is drawn into a quest to take three magical objects to an island. This island and these objects have the power to bring magic back to their people. With magic comes power, and a way to strike back at those that have repressed them with tyranny.

With her brother Tzain at her side, she is forced to overcome her prejudice of their enemy and she encounters many unexpected things on their journey – including love. Can she get to the island? Will her own new magic be powerful enough to stir the gods or will Saran defeat them once and for all?

An epic 1st part of a trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone is a gripping African Fantasy. Told in the viewpoints of three strong characters, the story has great pace, power and intrigue as to whether they will achieve their quest. Brutal in parts with much blood spilled, this book captured me right to the last page, which left me wondering and wanting more.

(Fantasy, Series, Africa, Quest, Magic, Siblings, Romance, Power, Kingdom)

Meet the Twitches – Teacup House 1

Author – Hayley Scott36990726

Illustrator – Pippa Curnick

Age – 6+

Stevie isn’t happy about moving from the city to the country to be closer to her dad. She is a dreamer and loves watching the clouds from her 18th storey apartment window and thinking about stuff. Will she be able to do that in the country?

Her grandmother gives her a moving gift – a teacup that opens up into a dolls house. Stevie is also given 4 rabbit figures for the house, but she knows this is a plan between her mum and grandmother to try and make her feel better about the move.

When they arrive at their new cottage, Stevie carries the teacup house and rabbits carefully inside and sets them up in her new room. But one of the rabbits is missing! While she’s frantically searching, something magical happens!

The first story in a sweet new series. Think Toy Story inside a teacup house. With colour illustrations throughout this is an ideal early chapter book.

(Magic, Moving, Adventure, Danger, Garden, Series)

 

The Mice of the Round Table – A Tail of Camelot

Author – Julie Leung34455819

Age – 8+

Two stories in one that entwine as the lives of two kingdoms are at stake.

Calib Christopher is a shy, quiet mouse – nothing like his father or grandfather who were brave mouse knights in battle, and strong rulers of their kingdom – under the floors of Camelot.

Calib wants nothing more to be a honoured knight and carry on the revered Christopher name, but courage is something he hasn’t found yet. When there is an attack on one of their leaders, their kingdom is quick to blame the Darklings – another band of animals they signed a truce with years before.

But the clues left by the assassin weren’t left by a Darkling. Calib tries to convince the knights, but no-one will listen. Can he stop a war with the wrong kind? Can he discover who the true assassin is?

Galahad is a young boy returning to Camelot without his famous father Sir Lancelot. He is scoffed at by the other pages and squires who know he has been living in a nunnery for protection. He is soon banished to the kitchens when unsuccessful at early knight training. When he discovers a mouse that seems to be trying to talk to him, he knows that something important is happening. Can they work together to save Camelot?

A fantastic story! A cross between Narnia and The Knights of the Round Table with a quest to achieve, courage to find and epic battle scenes. Loved it! 1st in a series.

(Series, Knights, Bravery, Magic, Courage, Camelot, Assassin, Revenge, War, Animals, Mice)