The Invasion (The Call 2)

Author – Peadar O’Guilan38592818

Age – 13+

Nessa may have returned from ‘The Grey Land’, but her battle isn’t over yet. She is instantly under suspicion. How could she survive with her bent and twisted legs? How could someone so weak return unscarred when bigger, stronger, better trained children and teens do not?

She is labelled a traitor – someone who has made a deal with the S’dhe in order to survive. There are now government agents searching for such traitors, and they will find them at any cost.

Something terrible is happening to Ireland. More terrible than The Call itself, with nothing to stop it.

Told in different viewpoints of Nessa, Anto, and others from the survival school Nessa attended, there is action at every turn, choices to make or believe and survival an even thinner thread than before.

Be careful what you promise, and who you promise to, as they are assembling out there, and coming for you….

(Fantasy, Violence, Fairy Folk, Legends, Myths, Ireland, Love, Friendship, Courage, Trust)

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King Flashypants and the Boo-Hoo Witches (4)

Author/Illustrator – Andy RileyBoo-Hoo Witches (King Flashypants #4)

Age – 6+

9 yr old Edwin is the King of Edwinland, and in this episode he learns the truth about Minister Jill’s past. (Minister Jill is the grown-up who helps him with all the boring stuff).

One evening, Edwin and his best friend Megan (the court jester) decide to break a few of Minister Jill’s rules, with hilarious but horrendous consequences. Suddenly Edwin is on his own without Jill’s guidance, (Who would have thought that breakfast doesn’t make itself) and Edwin knows what he must do. But only after he’s made a few laps of his castle in screaming panic!

Edwin and Megan set off (on the coolest rowboat ever, because the original was just too boring), to find Minister Jill.

No. 4 in this funny series, it is just as zany as the rest. With lots of laugh-out-louds, this would make an entertaining read aloud or be a fun step up for young readers into more substantial chapter books. Black & white illustrations inhabit every page spread in the book, adding even more crazy fun. I love this series.

(Series, Humour, Funny, Zany, Crazy, Appreciation, Taking for granted, Blended family)

Break Your Chains (The Freedom Finders – 1)

Author – Emily Conolan39890850

Age – 9+

It is 1825. You are a young Irish girl who has lost her Ma to small pox and your father to English gaol. He was an Irish rebel and you fear you will never see him again. But now living on the harsh streets of London, you face life and death decisions every day.

You are given a secret treasure for helping a wealthy lady, but have to try and avoid gaol yourself. You make a dear friend but have to choose whether to leave her behind or escape.

But then there is months of travel on a thunderous ocean. Will you survive or die in the bowels of a ship with hundreds of others?

This is a Choose Your Own Destiny book like none other I’ve read. The 1st book of four in a new series, you live the life of a poor Irish girl in the early 19th Century, making decisions that will impact not only your life but others you meet on your journey. It reads just like a novel, but with choices to make that lead you further.

If you wish you can read more about the time in the Fact Files at the end of the book. eg. Smallpox, Prisons, Pickpockets, Child Labour and Tasmanian Aboriginals, before you make your decision. I perished a few times before I reached the end. Look out for other titles in this series. Loved it!

(Historical, 19th Century, Victorian, London, Pickpocket, Irish Rebel, Van Dieman’s Land, Convict, Choose Your Own Adventure, Choose your Own Destiny, Pick-a-path)

The Ice Wolves (Elementals 1)

Author – Amie Kaufman35068585

Age – 8+

Twins Anders and Rayna live in a world of dragons and wolves – ice wolves to be exact. These wolves that can morph from human to wolf in a matter of seconds protect their city of Vallen from the dangerous dragons who also morph from human.

With Rayna’s savvy street smarts the twins live on the streets, pick pocketing and stealing to survive. But when something goes wrong they are caught up in a sacred ritual in front of hundreds of people. They find themselves on opposite sides of the age-old conflict, and Anders is alone for the first time in his life.

How will he find Rayna, let alone get her back? Anders has to learn to stand on his own two feet among people he’s not sure are friend or enemy.

This is the first in a new fantasy series by acclaimed author Amie Kaufman. It is chocka full of intrigue, action and wonderful world building.

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)

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package

Author – Kate DiCamillo

Illustrator – Chris Van Dusen

Age – 7+

Eugenia Lincoln is a no nonsense kind of lady, unlike her sister Baby Lincoln who loves fun and joy and music. When they receive a large unexpected package one day, all the neighbours come to see what it might be.

Eugenia is unhappy. She didn’t order it, doesn’t want it and will just about do anything to get rid of it! On her way to do just that, something unexpected happens.

Another tale from the multi-award winning Kate DiCamillo which will make a fantastic Read Aloud for Year 3-4’s (7-8 yr olds). Kate DiCamillo is the author of The Tale of Despereaux and the popular Mercy Watson series. This story involves characters from that series.

(Neighbours, Mystery, Music, Series, Humour)