We have taken a few short staycation breaks this past week, one into Lincoln and another camping. I was sure to take a few books with me and I am pleased to say I actually managed some time to read!
Aarti & The Blue Gods by Jasbinder Bilan, Cover Art by Margaux Carpentier, Published by Chicken House Books
Jasbinder Bilan has an inate talent for bringing worlds and characters alive with her writing. Aarti lives on a remote Scottish island with her sometimes cruel Aunt Amalie who took her in as a orphan when she was quite young. Aarti has so many questions for Aunt about her background and about the locked room, but daren’t ask for fear of repercussions and anger. Aarti finds peace within a book about Hindu gods and goddesses, and creates a place of peace for herself and Fox friend, Chand. When a tragic accident leaves Aarti alone, she begins searching for answers and asking for help from the gods within her book. One evening a boy washes up on the remote island and becomes a firm friend to Aarti, encouraging her to find a boat to get to an inhabited island to find the truths she seeks. This adventurous journey of self discovery is enchanting, mythical and full of secrets. I was completely enthralled with Aarti, Chand and Euan and was moved to tears with the truths that eventually emerge.
The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis, Cover by Petur Antonsson, Published by Bloomsbury
Cordelia, Rosalind and Giles are triplets and potential heirs to the throne but they are kept away from royal life by their mother and older brother. Heirs to the throne are pawns in a vicious game run by the tribes all vying for power. The triplets mother is harbouring a huge secret that will cause endless ripples of discovery for the triplets and Cordelia in particular. Each of the triplets has powers they can use to protect themselves as they run from their tower and away from the battles that aim to capture them. The forest and journey is perilous but the triplets stick together and work together to solve a legendary mystery and to figure out who the rightful heir is, all while ensuring the safety of their mother and brother. This is an epic book and readers 8+ will love discovering more about this royal family.
Diary of an Accidental Witch by Perdita and Honor Cargill, Illustrated by Katie Saunders, Published by Little Tiger
Bea and her father have moved to a new town called Little Spellshire and she must start school at Spellshire School of Extraordinary Arts. This school is not what she was expecting…with lessons on flying, potions and levitation, Bea is ill prepared for these as well as for fractions in maths class. Super popular girl, Blair, has taken a dislike to Bea and makes life in witch school even trickier but Bea is a wonder and makes a few friends who are on hand to help when needed. I loved the diary entries and Bea’s plan to write down all that happen to her, keeping these secrets from her Dad who has no idea his daughter attends witch school. Moments of hilarity, friendship and fun are well placed throughout this brilliant book and the illustrations are wonderful. This is a completely charming new book and I hope there will be more to come from Bea, Winnie, Puck, Fabi, Amara and Ash. Be sure to follow the blog tour that is currently running for more reviews and guest posts from Perdita and Honor Cargill.
GhostCloud by Michael Mann, Ilustrations by Chaaya Prabhat, Published by Hachette
GhostCloud is thrilling, adventurous and full of amazing characters, both good and evil! Luke, Ravi and Jess are shovellers at Battersea Power Station and have been since they were kidnapped from their families. Battersea is not as we know it but darker and being powered by children, all under the control of Tabatha Margate. She is the ultimate villain, cruel, cold and calculating. She treats everyone appallingly and is a dangerous person to cross! Luke is an admirable character, sticking up for Jess against Tabatha, and gaining a punishment in return. This punishment will provide Luke with a discovery about himself that will lead him on an epic adventure to save his friends, thousands of children and their families. There is a great plot running throughout this story and Luke learns the details as he travels through the vents, floats above in the clouds and makes dangerous decisions. Alma is a character central to Luke’s story and one who is as brave as Luke. I loved this story, and the characters leap off the pages and into your heart…except for the evil Tabatha, who has certainly earned her place in the villain hall of fame!