This month is not going so well when it comes to blogging either. Somehow I feel like I’ve lost my groove a little. On the other hand, it was Christmas and I spent that with my family and that is more important than anything.
I do wanna write and show you a post before the year runs out, though. It’s one of my favourite posts of the year and I can already guarantee that I will love writing it. (I also have some ideas for post that I wanna share next year and hope I can ride that new year-new me-wave that sweeps all of us away with the turn of the new year. So that’s something to look forward to.)
To be honest, my reading year was pretty darn good. Never before have I read so many books – 116 to date – and never before did I like so many of them. Here are some of my favorites and highlights.
Jungledrop by Abi Elphinstone
Eleven-year-old twins, Fox and Fibber, have been rivals for as long as they can remember. Only one of them will inherit the family fortune and so a race is afoot to save the dwindling Petty-Squabble empire and win the love of their parents. But when the twins are whisked off to Jungledrop, a magical Unmapped Kingdom in charge of conjuring our world’s weather, things get wildly out of hand. An evil harpy called Morg is on the loose. And if she finds the long-lost Forever Fern before the twins, both Jungledrop and our world will crumble. Suddenly, Fox and Fibber find themselves on an incredible adventure in a glow-in-the-dark rainforest full of golden panthers, gobblequick trees and enchanted temples. But, with the fate of two worlds in their hands, will the twins be able to work together for once to defeat Morg and her dark magic?
Let’s just make one thing clear – all of Abi Elphinstone’s books are amazing. I love them so much and it’s a joy reading every single one of them. I’ve waited hard for the release of Jungledrop this year and will probably be waiting hard for the next book that is released in May. It was a journey reading this and I absolutely loved it.
Shadowsmith by Ross McKenzie
Are you brave? When mysterious Amelia Pigeon turns up at Kirby’s bedroom window in the dead of night, this is the question she asks him – immediately before they tumble into a world of ancient malevolent spirits who have torn their way into Kirby’s sleepy seaside village. Ross MacKenzie weaves a world of magic and adventure, which twists and turns magnificently and will keep thrilled young readers guessing right to the end.
I almost forgot how much I enjoyed Ross MacKenzie’s writing until I picked up this book. It’s amazing and creepy and I loved reading it. I will definitely read more books by Ross MacKenzie next year.
The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan
When Arthur and Rose were little, they were the heroes of Roar, a magical world they invented where the wildest creations of their imaginations roamed. Now that they’re eleven, Roar is just a distant memory. But it hasn’t forgotten them. When their grandfather is spirited away into Roar by the villain who still haunts their nightmares, Arthur and Rose must go back to the world they’d almost left behind. And when they get there, they discover that Grandad isn’t the only one who needs their help.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. There was so much to explore but also to think about.
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man”. Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”
A wonderfully creepy book that I read with my bookclub. I had so much fun reading it and trying to figure out the mystery.
The Poison Diaries by Amy Alward
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn. Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?
One of the few YA books I have read this year. I totally fell in love with the world building and the characters and how it all fit together.
Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James
Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories. One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life. With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.
A lovely book for veteran bookworms and new readers alike. This book is a loveletter to books and a wonderful adventure that I loved reading.
Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .
The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need. Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.
I fell fast and I fell hard for Jake Burt’s writing. He’s turned out to be one of those rare nuggets you find every once in a while and makes you wanna read all his books. I don’t have a review for that one yet but it’s coming.
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
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 . . .
After a little rocky start, I totally fell in love with the world and the writing. I can’t wait for the next book in the series – and the first book is not even released yet.
So? What do you think? Have you read any of the books on my list? Has anything piqued your interest? Come and chat with me!