Thursday 26 July 2018

ReaditDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup: July 2018

Hello and welcome to July's awesome book-packed Chapter Book Roundup. Strap yourselves in as we've got a massive stack of books to recommend to you. Hopefully the weather is still sunny where you are, but never mind if you're rain-bound and in a bit of a grump, there's plenty of variety here for everyone so let's kick off with something rather dark and spooky.

"Bone's Gift" by Angie Simbert follows the recent trend for spooky and dark middle grade adventures with the tale of 12 year old Bone.

Bone has an exceptional supernatural gift. She can sense the stories in everyday objects.

When she receives a note that says her mother's Gift killed her, Bone seeks to unravel the mysteries of her mother's death, the schisms in her family, and the Gifts themselves.

It's a tightly woven mystery that plays its cards pretty close to its chest from the outset, before twisting deliciously in on itself to deliver a breathtaking finale. We are hoping that this is just the first book in a series from Angie, it's really fantastic and original stuff with an exquisite coat of darkness about it.

"Bone's Gift" by Angie Simbert is out now, published by Highlights Publishing. 

Next we're catching up with Kristina Springer's effortlessly cool heroine, expert middle school matchmaker and yoga guru extraordinaire.

Yep, it's time for more fun with "Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker".

Middle school is a test, but Cici has ALL the answers.

She's the go-to girl for advice: cool, funny and enlightened (thanks to her mums yoga classes). 

So when her pretty BFF is too shy to speak to the boy she has a crush on, Cici goes online and does the talking for her. 

Then Cici starts to fall for him herself! For the first time ever, she doesnt have a clue.

With a rather nifty twist on the classic "Cyrano De Bergerac" this is middle grade awesomeness for girls like C who already adore series like "Dork Diaries" or "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". 

"Cici Reno: #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker" by Kristina Springer is out now, published by Sterling Publishing. 

Next, something sizzlingly original yet with a core message and voice that middle graders will readily be able to identify with.

"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay has to have one of the most original settings we've seen in a middle grade novel.

Set in the Phillipine jungle at the end of the 19th Century, it's the story of Samkad - a boy who lives in a tribe deep in the jungle, a tribe that has never encountered anyone from outside before. 

Samkad is about to embark on the rites of passage in his tribe in order to become a man, and while he's desperate to grow up, he's worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki. 

However, Samkad's world is about to change utterly. 

A strange man with white skin arrives in his village, and Samkad discovers the brother he never knew he had. A brother who tells him of people called `Americans'. Americans who are bringing war, and burning, to Samuel's home. 

Written in Candy's effortless and gritty style and weaving an amazing story of an indigenous population struggling to maintain a way of life that they have enjoyed for thousands of years against the onslaught from 'civilisation', this is absolutely gripping stuff. 

"Bone Talk" by Candy Gourlay is out on the 2nd August 2018, published by David Fickling Books. 

More scintillating fantasy now with a tale tinged with darkness and mystery.

"The Price of Magic" by Gavin Neale introduces Abby and her brother Chris who moved house four summers ago, discovered that magic exists, met a pair of witches that lived down the road and carried out a heroic rescue of their mother from the Land of Fairy.

But despite the discovery of their own magical talents, the memories of those events are beginning to fade. And even Abby, who gave up her magic to save her mother and carries the scars of a ghost sabre tooth tiger, is forgetting that eventful summer.

Then, while Chris is away and Abby is helping the witches during the Easter holidays, the Queen of the Land of Fairy comes back into Abby's life, looking for help. But can she be trusted?

Even though the witches try to protect her, Abby gets drawn into events with frightening consequences. She must face the results of what happened to her in the Land of Fairy, rescue her neighbour, and stop a magical war.

That's a lot of pressure for an eleven-year-old girl, even with a warrior's soul, but magic always has a price and a warrior's work is seldom done.

As readers begin to unlock her eventual fate, this is truly Abby's story - a fantasy novel that doesn't dumb things down for kids with inquisitive minds and perhaps even a smidge of a belief in magic themselves. Awesome stuff.

"The Price of Magic" by Gavin Neale is out now, published by Matador. 

More from a series we've absolutely loved to bits on the blog with the third book in Jennifer Bell's fabulous "The Uncommoners" series, with awesome covers by Karl James Mountford.

"The Frozen Telescope" picks up the adventures of Ivy, Valian and Seb right after "The Smoking Hourglass". Ivy, Seb and Valian think they've vanquished their enemies, and those of Lundinor, forever.

It turns out their adventure was only just beginning . . .

Ivy and Seb can't wait to join Valian for their first ever overseas uncommon adventure - they're meeting in Nubrook, the completely astonishing and totally-different-to-Ludinor trading market hidden underneath New York.

But there's no time to enjoy looking round all the incredible sights - they're on a mission to find Valian's long-lost sister, Rosie.

But it seems they're not the only ones looking for her.

Once again the Dirge rear their terrifying heads, and it appears they're after not only Rosie, but another enormously powerful Great Uncommon Good object. But what do they want it for? And can Ivy, Seb and Valianstop them from finding it?

Another rip-roaring adventure with a frenetic pace and a ton of originality.

"The Uncommoners: The Frozen Telescope" by Jennifer Bell and Karl James Mountford is out now, published by Corgi Children's Books. 

Something for older readers now as Tom and Giovanna Fletcher combine their amazing writing talents for a book for YA readers.

"Eve of Man" begins an eventual trilogy featuring teenager Eve.

Eve is like any other teenage girl. Except that the fate of the entire world lies on her shoulders.

She's the first girl born in fifty years.

She's the answer to their prayers.

She's the final hope.

Which means she has one function alone . . .

At sixteen, Eve must face her destiny and make a choice.

She will choose a man, one out of three carefully selected suitors.

But what about Bram? The man she truly loves?

The future of the planet hangs on Eve making the right choice but it's a lot to lump onto someone's shoulders. Will Eve choose love or the future of the human race?

It's a breathtaking dystopian debut for this writing team who have both enjoyed massive success in their own separate publishing careers. Tautly written and page-turningly tense, you'll be crying out for the sequel by the end.

"Eve of Man" by Tom and Giovanna Fletcher is out now, published by Michael Joseph Books. 

More for older readers now with a breathtaking new novel from Karen McManus.

In "One of us is Lying" five distinctly different students are sent to detention.

Shockingly only four leave alive.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule and is considered to be a goody two-shoes.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond. Short on brains and guile, how can Cooper concoct a conspiracy so complex?

Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. The black sheep of the family, and a prime suspect in the death - but is his guilt as cut and dried as it seems?

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. Secrets and lies have always bubbled away in her background so why would anyone trust her word now?

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again. Each has a motive for Simon's death - 24 hours before his big reveal of their deepest darkest secrets online.

Four suspects, mixed messages, alibis and stories that don't stack up. But who's the culprit?

This is an utterly gripping YA read from an author who can weave a complex and immersive tale with seemingly consummate ease.

"One of Us is Lying" by Karen M. McManus is out now, published by Penguin Books. 

Eerily along similar lines to our last book, here's "The Smoke Thieves" by Sally Green. This time it's a YA fantasy read with a well-tuned and gorgeously written story of a Princess, a Soldier, A Hunter, a Traitor and a Thief.

These five teenagers may hold the fate of the world in their hands, as their five nations engage in a gigantic conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner's block.

In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. 

In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town.

And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our five heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war.

Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

Like a slicker and more teen-engaging version of "Game of Thrones" this is YA fantasy at its best with peerless worldbuilding and utterly believable characters. 

"The Smoke Thieves" by Sally Green is out now, published by Penguin Books. 

More you say? MORE?! OH GO ON THEN!

The first part of a new book series is out now (with the next book following in September. You lucky people!) Let's delve into the seedy shadowy world of "The Curse of the Speckled Monster: Graverobbers and Gallows" by John Townsend.

Cephas Catchpole is a young orphan in 19th century England, apprenticed as a chimney sweep to a cruel master. 

When he is mistaken for dead after an accidental fall and buried alive, he is rescued from his fate by two unwitting bodysnatchers. 

Against his will, Cephas finds himself drawn into the shady criminal underworld and begins to uncover a murderous conspiracy involving medical malpractice, Cephas' own mysterious parentage and the dreaded speckled monster itself smallpox. 

This is a gripping and atmospheric Dickensian tale in two volumes for young readers, filled with suspense, humour and more twists than a hangman's noose. It's got a really cool dark smog-fuelled vibe to it that will please fans of all things Victorian (including us, of course!)

"Graverobbers and Gallows" by John Townsend is out now, published by Salariya with "The Twist of the Hangman" set to follow in September. Don't miss it!

An absolutely belting sequel now from a mistress of action and adventure. 

"Stunt Double: Jungle Curse" by Tamsin Cooke is the follow-up to her first frenetically paced "Stunt Double" novel. 

Following the adventures of young Finn, a fearless stunt double, the action moves firmly into the steamy jungles of Thailand as work begins on the new Rio Dinoni blockbuster movie.

Finn thinks he has a dream job, but most of the cast and crew are haunted by the rumours that the current movie is cursed - and as things start to go wrong for Finn he begins to believe the rumours himself. 

Scraping through by the skin of his teeth in several near misses, Finn decides it's time to investigate what's truly at the heart of the mishaps as secrets and lies threaten to bring filming to an abrupt - or fatal - end. 

As superbly paced as the original, once again Tamsin writes up a storm with a cinematic masterpiece that's good for girls or boys who love adventure stories. 

"Stunt Double: Jungle Curse" by Tamsin Cooke is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next up, a fab reprint with an all-new and up to date cover for an amazing mythical tale from Julia Golding. 

"Secret of the Sirens" is book 1 in the "Companions" series from Julia, reprinted by OUP. 
Connie's story begins when she's sent to live with her aunt. She knows it's going to be one more place where she doesn't fit in. But soon she realises how wrong she is. The seaside town is full of adults and children who have strange links to creatures. It's the heart of the secret Society for the Protection of Mythical Creatures, a group of people sworn to ensure that mythical beasts are kept safe.

Normally the creatures and their chosen humans work in harmony. But something abnormal is happening here. 

The Sirens, who for generations have kept their deadly song to themselves, are once again luring humans to their deaths. It doesn't take long for Connie to realise that the victims are oil workers. The Sirens are fed-up with their seas being polluted, but should the Society protect the Sirens or the oil industry? 

Connie doesn't think she has a role to play, until it becomes clear that she's a Universal - the first person in over a century who can communicate with every type of beast on earth and in the air. Her power is immense. It corrupted the previous Universal . . . and now he's back. And he'll use any means he can - from violence to the terrifying Storm Giants - to turn Connie to the dark side.

It's an eco tale with a thumping heart and a dazzling mix of magic, adventure and mythical creatures so it's definitely right up our alley. 

"Secrets of the Sirens (Companions Book 1)" by Julia Golding is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

This next one's something really special so pay attention at the back there!

"The Cradle of All Worlds" by Jeremy Lachlan is the sort of sweeping and mesmeric fantasy adventure novel we just can't get enough of.

Dubbed as "Stranger Things meets Pullman's Northern Lights" (which is more than enough to garner our interest), this is book one in what we hope will be a huge series for Egmont.

Fourteen years ago, Jane Doe and her father arrived on the steps of the Manor – the entrance to a dangerous labyrinth connecting the island of Bluehaven to many other worlds. 

This dangerous portal is the only safe haven for Jane and her father, as the world is rocked by mysterious earthquakes 

When the strongest quake yet strikes and Jane's father disappears back into the Manor, she embarks on a perilous adventure to find him and save her world before the tremors grow far worse. 

Jeremy's many fantasy influences are tightly woven into a breathtaking story that establishes an amazing bookworld to explore along with the fantastic character of Jane, a mighty girl who will discover her own strengths and weaknesses as the novel unfolds. 

Utterly sublime and unmissable stuff. 

"The Cradle of Worlds" by Jeremy Lachlan is out on 9th August 2018, published by Egmont UK. 

Next, it looks like another one of our favourite comedians is establishing himself as something of a children's book legend. Not content with playing a nefarious Imperial Officer in "The Last Jedi", Adrian Edmondson (who shall forever be Vim Fuego to me) leaps from the success of his awesome "Tilly and the Time Machine" to "Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked" - Again with fab illustrations from Danny Noble.

Jack is a very small and bendy boy. So small and bendy, that he can hide inside his own school bag! A useful skill when you get picked on a lot. 

Other than bending and hiding, his favourite thing to do is to go to Old Mr Mudge's junkyard and ride the horses, Lightning and Boadicea.

It's definitely better than going home to his drippy Aunt Violet, smelly Uncle Ted and evil cousin Kelly.

But when he (accidentally) runs away, he finds himself on an adventure to free his mum from prison- with the help of a lot of talking animals!

Filled with excitement, fun and far too much horse poo it's a hilarious and perfect summer read.

"Junkyard Jack and the Horse that Talked" by Adrian Edmondson and Danny Noble is out now, published by Puffin Books. 

Time for a fantasy tale that takes its cues from classic fairy tales. 

"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik tells the story of Miryem, the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders. Miryem's father is too kind-hearted to collect his debts so they face poverty, until Miryem hardens her own heart and takes up his work in their village. 

Her success creates rumours she can turn silver into gold, which attract the fairy king of winter himself. He sets her an impossible challenge – and if she fails, she’ll die. Yet if she triumphs, it may mean a fate worse than death. And in her desperate efforts to succeed, Miryem unwittingly spins a web which draws in the unhappy daughter of a lord.

The girl is called Irina and her father schemes to wed her to the tsar and he will pay any price to achieve this goal. 

However, the dashing tsar is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of mortals and winter alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and Irina embark on a quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power and love.

A tempestuous and exquisitely crafted novel once again thoroughly establishing Naomi as a supreme talent to watch. "Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik is out now, published by Macmillan Children's Books. 

One last one before we go, from a classic author whose timeless stories are still hugely popular with everyone today (including us). 

"Summertime Stories" by Enid Blyton is another stunning collection of her shorter tales, perfect for dipping into over the long summer holidays with 30 tales of adventure and excitement.

From picnics in the sunshine to daring outdoor adventures, celebrate the fun and magic of summertime with these fun-filled short stories.

Ideal for newly confident readers, these entertaining tales are the perfect length for reading aloud at bedtime or in the classroom.

Enid Blyton remains one of Britain's favourite children's authors and her bumper short story collections are perfect for introducing her to the latest generation of readers.

"Summertime Stories" by Enid Blyton is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Goodness me! Where does the time go when we dip into our book bag? Tune in again in August when we'll be gearing up for a new school year with another selection of awesome chapter books to keep you busy in between homework. Have a fantastic summer!