Monday 15 July 2024

Firebird Caged by Maya Chhabra

Ashley didn’t mean to get pregnant her senior year in high school. She didn’t mean to scare her hardworking and financially struggling mom, or to hide the truth from her awkward ex, Danny. She also didn’t mean to illegally take her well-off friend Madi’s prescription Xanax to cope with the stress—and she definitely didn’t mean to do it more than once.

When a doctor reports Ashley to the State of Wisconsin as a drug-addicted threat to her own unborn child, she is forcibly detained under the obscure and secretive Act 292 civil detention system for pregnant women, stranded in the county juvenile shelter home, and stigmatized by authorities who assign her fetus a lawyer but not her. It’s a struggle for Ashley just to get medical care for the pregnancy supposedly being protected—never mind fighting for her own freedom and making sure her baby isn’t taken away by social services after birth. Who’s going to protect Ashley herself? But Ashley is stronger than anyone knows, and she has allies on the outside who believe in her. This is a fight Ashley can win—but only if she stops drifting passively, starts believing in herself, and chooses not to give in to despair.

Characterized by exciting, fast-paced plots and themes that are relevant for high school students, Horizon’s Hi-Lo books are both engaging and easy to read. Short chapters, simple sentence structures, and an accessible format make these books perfect for teen reluctant readers. Horizon books are written at a 2nd- to 3rd-grade reading level with an interest level of ages 14 and up.

Saturday 13 July 2024

Someone's been Messing with Reality by John Hearne

Martin’s parents have disappeared. Also, it turns out, they are aliens. Which makes Martin …?

Then Martin and Tina discover enormous light-emitting eggs in an abandoned mine. It is clear they are not going to be hatching out anything cuddly. And so the kids try to blow them up. But instead of blowing up, huge killer insects hatch, and go on a mission to destroy all human life on earth. Oops.

Friday 12 July 2024

The Beanstalk Murder by P.G. Bell

Trainee meadow witch Anwen is having a bad day - which gets much worse when a dead giant falls from the sky and destroys her village. But when she examines the body she discovers something interesting. This giant was murdered, which means a killer is on the loose! Tasked with sending a message to the giant kingdom via beanstalk, Anwen and her nemesis, trainee sorceress Cerys, accidentally find themselves whipped up into the sky and deposited in the giants' royal palace - where the king is missing. Using their perfect spy-size and witchy skills, the girls must track down his killer. But how can you investigate a murder mystery when you risk being stepped on by your suspects?

Thursday 11 July 2024

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Freaky Folklore by Darkness Prevails

Discover the history and culture of over 50 of the most fearsome mythical creatures to capture the human imagination in this startlingly illustrated compendium.

Accompanied by illustrations of each beast, Freaky Folklore is your guide to the world’s most terrifying beings, from ancient times to today. Hosts from Eeriecast, the leading horror podcast network, present the most frightening—and entertaining—tales of these mysterious creatures, revealing everything you need to know.

This beautifully creepy collection is filled with wicked monsters, including:

  • Chupacabra: A legendary monster that is said to drain the blood of livestock throughout Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the US Southwest.
  • Jersey Devil: Said to have been created due to a mother's curse upon her newborn in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey, USA.
  • Kelpie: A shape-shifting water horse told of in Celtic folklore. Whatever form it takes, it is said to lure its victims to their watery graves.
  • Moehau: A cryptid from Māori mythology, it stands up to 8 feet tall and can be very aggressive when encountered.
  • Kuchisake-onna: From Japanese folklore, Kuchisake-onna is a yokai with deep gashes that forms a haunting smile across her face. Should you happen to meet her, she will ask you a question--and you had better answer it correctly.
  • Dogman: A werewolf or werewolf-type creature first reported in 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan, Dogman sightings have been reported in several locations throughout Michigan, primarily in the northwestern quadrant of the Lower Peninsula.

Freaky Folklore has the stories, culture, and illustrations for you to be on the lookout for these beasts. Dive into the world of mythology and find what makes each creature unique.

Monday 8 July 2024

The Genius of Judy by Rachelle Bergstein

An intimate and expansive look at Judy Blume’s life, work, and cultural impact, focusing on her most iconic—and controversial—young adult novels, from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to Blubber.

Everyone knows Judy Blume.

Her books have garnered her fans of all ages for decades and sold tens of millions of copies. But why were people so drawn to them? And why are we still talking about them now in the 21st century?

In The Genius of Judy, her remarkable story is revealed as never before, beginning with her as a mother of two searching for purpose outside of her home in 1960s suburban New Jersey. The books she wrote starred regular children with genuine thoughts and problems. But behind those deceptively simple tales, Blume explored the pillars of the growing women’s rights movement, in which girls and women were entitled to careers, bodily autonomy, fulfilling relationships, and even sexual pleasure. Blume wasn’t trying to be a revolutionary—she just wanted to tell honest stories—but in doing so, she created a cohesive, culture-altering vision of modern adolescence.

Blume’s bravery provoked backlash, making her the country’s most-banned author in the mid-1980s. Thankfully, her works withstood those culture wars and it’s no coincidence that Blume has resurfaced as a cultural touchstone now. Young girls are still cat-called, sex education curricula are getting dismissed as pornography, and entire shelves of libraries are being banned. As we face these challenges, it’s only natural we look to Blume, the grand dame of so-called dirty books. This is the story of how a housewife became a groundbreaking artist, and how generations of empowered fans are her legacy, today more than ever.

Saturday 6 July 2024

Sisters of the Moon by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Suzy Button is grieving. Grieving for her dead mother, but also for the friends she’s left behind, the father who no longer laughs and the life that she once had. In desperation she finds herself in the garden in the middle of the night, under the light of a supermoon, wishing everything would change.

And suddenly, it does.

Into school walks Rhiannon, a fearless new girl who makes Suzy her instant best friend. And Rhiannon seems to make things . . . happen. If Suzy wants something, somehow Rhiannon can make it so: friends, beach parties, midnight photoshoots under a moonlit sky . . . Suzy’s life is finally moving forward again.

But where did Rhiannon come from? She doesn’t seem to live in Sallycove. Why can’t Suzy go to her house? And why does she never have any stuff?

Suzy might be her best friend, but does she really know who Rhiannon is?

Friday 5 July 2024

The End Crowns All by Bea Fitzgerald

Love caused this war. At least, that’s what the stories will say.

When Cassandra’s patron god, Apollo, offers her the gift of prophecy – and all the power that comes with it – she seizes the opportunity. But when she fails to uphold her end of the agreement, she discovers just how very far she has to fall. No one believes her visions. Which all seem to be of one girl – and she’s going to start a war.

Helen fled Sparta in pursuit of love – though that’s proving more elusive than she’d hoped. Far from home, Helen’s navigating all the politics and backstabbing of the Trojan court.

And one princess seems particularly intent on driving her from the city. . .

But when war finally strikes, it’s more than the army at their walls they must contend with. Cassandra and Helen might hold the key to reweaving fate itself – especially with the prophetic strands drawing them ever closer together.

But how do you change your future when the gods themselves are dictating your demise?

The Idle Stance of the Tippler Pigeon by Safinah Danish Elahi

Thursday 4 July 2024

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Murder on a Summer Break by Kate Weston

School outcasts-turned-detective duo, Kerry and Annie, are BACK – and after solving last summer’s menstrual murders, they’re now known as The Tampon Two. (Kerry is uncomfortable with this level of attention, Annie is refreshing her follower count every two seconds.)

When they attend the Festival of Fame, it’s the chance to meet their favourite feminist influencer IRL – along with a host of social media stars, including a tiresome prankster Timmy, super-glam beauty vlogger Celeste and Mystic Millie, who makes very vague predictions.

But then one of the influencers ends up dead.

The festival goes into lockdown, Annie is delighted that she and Kerry are trapped in a yurt with celebrities – Kerry is more concerned that there’s a killer among them. Will the Tampon Two find out who it is before they strike again?

Monday 1 July 2024

The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Kiela has always had trouble dealing with people. Thankfully, as a librarian at the Great Library of Alyssium, she and her assistant, Caz—a magically sentient spider plant—have spent the last decade sequestered among the empire’s most precious spellbooks, preserving their magic for the city’s elite.

When a revolution begins and the library goes up in flames, she and Caz flee with all the spellbooks they can carry and head to a remote island Kiela never thought she’d see again: her childhood home. Taking refuge there, Kiela discovers, much to her dismay, a nosy—and very handsome—neighbor who can’t take a hint and keeps showing up day after day to make sure she’s fed and to help fix up her new home.

In need of income, Kiela identifies something that even the bakery in town doesn’t have: jam. With the help of an old recipe book her parents left her and a bit of illegal magic, her cottage garden is soon covered in ripe berries.

But magic can do more than make life a little sweeter, so Kiela risks the consequences of using unsanctioned spells and opens the island’s first-ever and much needed secret spellshop.

Saturday 29 June 2024

The Secret Garden Rewilded by Anthea Simmons

Spoilt rich kid Mia's world is turned upside-down when she is orphaned and whisked away to Mis Tor Manor on the edge of Dartmoor to live with her uncle and cousin Christopher. Mia is appalled to find herself in the remote countryside, in a freezing, crumbling manor. Grieving and missing her old life, she takes an instant dislike to Christopher, who never leaves his bedroom due to illness. Yet little by little, Mia starts to discover the beauty of this wintry world, and befriends local boy Daniel, who loves animals and teaches her how to ride a Dartmoor pony. One day she discovers a hidden door, covered in brambles and ivy, which leads to a walled garden ... A special, secret place which needs someone's care to bring it to life once again so nature can flourish.

Friday 28 June 2024

Unbecoming by Seema Yasmin

Two Muslim teens in Texas fight for access to abortion while one harbors a painful secret in this funny and heartfelt near-future speculative novel perfect for fans of Unpregnant.

In a not-too-distant America, abortions are prosecuted and the right to choose is no longer an option. But best friends Laylah and Noor want to change the world. After graduating high school, they’ll become an OBGYN and a journalist, but in the meantime, they’re working on an illegal guide to abortion in Texas.

In response to the unfair laws, underground networks of clinics have sprung up, but the good fight has gotten even more precarious as it becomes harder to secure safe medication and supplies. Both Layla and Noor are passionate about getting their guide completed so it can help those in need, but Laylah treats their project with an urgency Noor doesn’t understand—that may have something to do with the strange goings-on between their mosque and a local politician.

Fighting for what they believe in may involve even more obstacles than they bargained for, but the two best friends will continue as they always have: together.

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Firebreak by Jennifer Phillips

High school junior Alia is good at sports but struggles with schoolwork, hindered by her learning disabilities. The latest history assignment on genocide is just more homework to be endured. That’s until a troubling conversation with her beloved grandmother reluctantly jolts Alia into action. Between the country’s shifting mood toward the elderly and new government programs championed as practical ways to deal with a burgeoning elderly population, Alia fears that senior citizens are being targeted for something more ominous. To rally others and challenge the growing oppression, Alia will need to step up and speak out. But people tend to doubt Alia due to her learning difficulties. Can she get people to listen to her? More importantly, can she believe in herself?

Monday 24 June 2024

49 Miles Alone by Natalie D Richards

Cousins Katie and Aster decide to put a difficult year behind them by taking a forty-nine mile backpacking trek through the Utah desert—alone, no phones except for the GPS satellite phone for emergencies. Though they're experienced hikers, the trail proves much more treacherous than expected, with map problems, injuries, and a storm that leaves them short on supplies. So they're relieved to run into Riley a friendly young woman who shares food with them, though the guy she's with, Finn, is uncomfortably silent—brooding, even—and clearly the couple is fighting about something. In the middle of the night, Riley comes to the girls' tent, sobbing, saying, "Finn did something." Katie offers Riley their GPS satellite phone to call for help, and she flees with it. In the morning, there's no sign of Riley or Finn, their campsite is abandoned, and the GPS phone is found—deliberately smashed.

The nearest place to seek help is a two-day walk away, and if Aster and Katie lose the couple's trail, they're certain no one will ever see Riley alive again. Their only choice is to track Finn through the deadly desert—but he's already following them.

Saturday 22 June 2024

Harry Potter Afternoon Tea Magic

Indulge in an afternoon tea inspired by the Wizarding World with the favourite afternoon treats of wizards and Muggles from your favourite best-selling franchise. With more than 50 recipes, from 'Lavender Brown's Lavender Cake' to 'Professor Trelawney's Divination Tea' and stunning full-colour photography, as well as behind-the-scenes facts from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, this cookbook offers step-by-step instructions on creating a bewitching afternoon feast.

Friday 21 June 2024

Young Gothic by M.A. Bennett

Filled with deadly secrets and the monsters you thought only existed in your mind …

You’ve heard of Frankenstein’s monster, you’ve heard of Dracula, but have you heard of the Villa Diodati? Eve, Griffin, Hal and Ren embark on a summer they’ll never forget at the birthplace of all things Gothic.

The summer is beset by mysterious happenings, as the monsters they create begin to clamber out of their minds. Events rise to a horrible climax when, on a dark and stormy night, one of the villa’s guests is found dead and each of our foursome becomes a suspect in a gruesome murder.

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. But when the stuff of nightmares becomes their reality, will they make it out alive?

Perfect for fans of Wednesday and Stranger Things.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

A Better World by Sarah Langan

You’ll be safe here. That’s what the greasy tour guide tells the Farmer-Bowens when they visit Plymouth Valley, a walled-off company town with clean air, pantries that never go empty, and blue-ribbon schools. On a very trial basis, the company offers to hire Linda Farmer’s husband, a numbers genius, and relocate her whole family to this bucolic paradise for the .0001%. Though Linda will have to sacrifice her medical career back home, the family jumps at the opportunity. They’d be crazy not to take it. With the outside world literally falling apart, this might be the Farmer-Bowens last chance.

But fitting in takes work. The pampered locals distrust outsiders, cruelly snubbing Linda, Russell, and their teen twins. And the residents fervently adhere to a group of customs and beliefs called Hollow . . . but what exactly is Hollow?

It’s Linda who brokers acceptance by volunteering her medical skills to the most powerful people in town with their pet charity, ActHollow. In the months afterward, everything seems fine. Sure, Russell starts hyperventilating through a paper bag in the middle of the night, and the kids have drifted like bridgeless islands, but living here’s worth sacrificing their family’s closeness, isn’t it? At least they’ll survive. The trouble is, the locals never say what they think. They seem scared. And Hollow’s ominous culminating event, the Plymouth Valley Winter Festival, is coming.

Linda’s warned by her husband and her powerful new friends to stop asking questions. But the more she learns, the more frightened she becomes. Should the Farmer-Bowens be fighting to stay, or fighting to get out?

Monday 17 June 2024

Exes & Foes by Amanda Woody

When two ex-best friends decide to hold a competition for the new girl's heart, they don't expect to fall for each other instead.

Emma has been a thorn in Caleb’s side since middle school. Having tarnished their friendship in eighth grade, she’s now little more to him than an unkempt, unruly, disastrous bisexual mess. Over the years, she’s gotten in the way of every romantic relationship he’s attempted to settle into, using little more than mischievous charisma to lure them into her clutches.

To Emma, Caleb sets the record for World’s Largest Stick in the Mud. Uptight, unbearably tidy, and a rule-follower, he’s exactly the kind of boring person her mother wishes she was. When she discovers they’re both after Juliet, the new girl, Emma proposes a competition to nudge him out of the way. Whoever can get Juliet to kiss them first wins, and the opposition must bow out with the promise of never talking to her again.

But plans go awry when Juliet seems mostly interested in hanging out with both of them together. Emma and Caleb just have to figure out whether winning Juliet’s heart is worth the torment of constantly dealing with each other, and the risk of reopening wounds from a past they thought they had left behind.

Saturday 15 June 2024

Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

The provocative and hilarious summer read that will have book lovers cheering and everyone talking! Kirsten Miller, author of The Change, brings us a bracing, wildly entertaining satire about a small Southern town, a pitched battle over banned books, and a little lending library that changes everything.

Beverly Underwood and her arch enemy, Lula Dean, live in the tiny town of Troy, Georgia, where they were born and raised. Now Beverly is on the school board, and Lula has become a local celebrity by embarking on mission to rid the public libraries of all inappropriate books—none of which she’s actually read. To replace the “pornographic” books she’s challenged at the local public library, Lula starts her own lending library in front of her home: a cute wooden hutch with glass doors and neat rows of the worthy literature that she’s sure the town’s readers need.

But Beverly’s daughter Lindsay sneaks in by night and secretly fills Lula Dean’s little free library with banned books wrapped in “wholesome” dust jackets. The Girl’s Guide to the Revolution is wrapped in the cover of The Southern Belle’s Guide to Etiquette. A jacket that belongs to Our Confederate Heroes ends up on Beloved. One by one, neighbors who borrow books from Lula Dean’s library find their lives changed in unexpected ways. Finally, one of Lula Dean’s enemies discovers the library and decides to turn the tables on her, just as Lula and Beverly are running against each other to replace the town’s disgraced mayor.

That’s when all the townspeople who’ve been borrowing from Lula’s library begin to reveal themselves. It’s a diverse and surprising bunch—including the local postman, the prom queen, housewives, a farmer, and the former DA—all of whom have been changed by what they’ve read. When Lindsay is forced to own up to what she’s done, the showdown that’s been brewing between Beverly and Lula will roil the whole town...and change it forever.

Friday 14 June 2024

The Boy to Beat the Gods by Ashley Thorpe

Kayode dreams of eating the forbidden fruit of the Orishas, so he can gain the power of the gods and stop them terrorizing his people. So when a fruit mysteriously appears in his path after the Orishas snatch his sister, he leaps on it.
Surging with new and difficult-to-control powers, he joins forces with a shapeshifting trickster god and a vengeful princess to save his sister and put an end to the mighty Orishas. But each has more fearful powers than the last - and Kayode's stolen half-god strength won't last for ever...

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Shipwrecked by Jenny Pearson and Nick East

This summer, take a trip to Sunrise Island in the latest laugh-out-loud adventure from bestselling author Jenny Pearson.

Sebastian Sunrise and his two best friends, Lina and Étienne, are in a bit of trouble. They are stranded on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, after a rowing race went very, very wrong.

The friends have no idea how long they might have to stay on the island, so they make a plan. They will try to survive, look after the island's baby turtles, and have fun, if they can.

But Sebastian's life has never gone to plan, and they quickly face jellyfish stings, burnt bums and an out-of-control goat. But when a boat arrives, bringing pirates who want to hunt the island's baby turtles, the friends face their greatest danger yet...

Monday 10 June 2024

Rules for Camouflage by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (spoilers in review)

Evvie Chambers is doing her best to skate through the last month of high school to graduation. The only thing standing in her way is a biology report on foxes—and her teacher, Mrs. Audrey Dearborn. The same Mrs. Dearborn who’s been a thorn in Evvie’s side for years, refusing to acknowledge or accommodate her neurodiversity. Evvie would much rather be doing her report on Aretha, the octopus she cares for when she volunteers at the Minnesota Zoo but deviating from the exact assignment isn’t allowed—and Mrs. Dearborn isn’t going to make following the rules easy.

Evvie’s only escape from high school hell is the Lair: a safe haven for kids whose brains need some time away. But when Mrs. Dearborn refuses Evvie’s pleas to finesse the final report assignment to her strengths, and persistent bully Vandal McDaniel directs his harassment toward Lair members, Evvie finds herself more desperate than ever for stability and support.

When a shocking act of violence pushes the whole mess over the edge, Evvie, with the help of her friends and the others who love her, will have to figure out how to find her place in the wide world, while remaining true to herself.

Saturday 8 June 2024

Break to You by Neal Shusterman, Debra Young and Michelle Knowlden

Adriana knows that if she can manage to keep her head down for the next seven months, she might be able to get through her sentence in the Compass juvenile detention center. Thankfully, she’s allowed to keep her journal, where she writes down her most private thoughts when her feelings get too big.

Until the day she opens her journal and discovers that her thoughts are no longer so private. Someone has read her writings—and has written back. A boy who lives on the other side of the gender-divided detention center. A boy who sparks a fire in her to write back.

Jon’s story is different than Adriana’s; he’s already been at Compass for years and will be in the system for years to come. Still, when he reads the words Adriana writes to him, it makes him feel like the walls that hold them in have melted away.

Friday 7 June 2024

Heir, Apparently by Kara McDowell

An American teen learns she may have accidentally married the King of England, only to end up stranded on a tropical island with him in this highly-anticipated sequel to The Prince & The Apocalypse.

Freshman year is stressful enough without accidentally being married to the King of England. Of course, Wren Wheeler can’t tell her Northwestern classmates about that; after surviving a narrowly-averted apocalypse over the summer, everyone’s had enough excitement for one lifetime. Wren knows she needs to move on from Theo, but she can’t forget the look in his eyes when he left her on that island in Greece—and also, he took her dog.

When an ill-fated attempt to rescue Comet the Apocalypse Dog turns into a chemistry-fueled reunion with Theo that’s caught by the paparazzi, Wren finds herself under the royal spotlight. Suddenly, she’s a problem for “the firm” to solve, and in order to be protected from the rabid press, she’ll have to fly back to London with Theo. Along for the ride are Naomi and Brooke, as well as Theo's siblings, including Henry, the brother he's spent his life being compared to. But because the universe can’t let these two maybe-newlyweds have one conversation in peace, their plane goes down over the Atlantic, crashing on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere.

Stranded with no sign of rescue, the group will have to band together against poisonous animals, catastrophic injuries, a brotherly rivalry, and an ill-timed volcano if they’re going to make it out alive. And, scariest of all, Wren and Theo will have to face their feelings for one another and decide what they want their futures to look like—and if that future will be heartbreak, or happily ever after.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Tuesday 4 June 2024

The Silence In Between by Josie Ferguson

Imagine waking up and a wall has divided your city in two. Imagine that on the other side is your child...

Lisette is in hospital with her baby boy. The doctors tell her to go home and get some rest, that he’ll be fine.

When she awakes, everything has changed. Because overnight, on 13 August 1961, the border between East and West Berlin has closed, slicing the city - and the world - in two.

Lisette is trapped in the east, while her newborn baby is unreachable in the west. With the streets in chaos and armed guards ordered to shoot anyone who tries to cross, her situation is desperate.

Lisette's teenage daughter, Elly, has always struggled to understand the distance between herself and her mother. Both have lived for music, but while Elly hears notes surrounding every person she meets, for her mother - once a talented pianist - the music has gone silent.

Perhaps Elly can do something to bridge the gap between them. What begins as the flicker of an idea turns into a daring plan to escape East Berlin, find her baby brother, and bring him home....

Based on true stories, The Silence in Between is a page-turning, emotional epic that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Saturday 1 June 2024

Last Seen Online by Lauren James

When Delilah meets Sawyer Saffitz (son of the Anya Saffitz, aka Hollywood royalty), she becomes hooked on a decade-old scandal. In her quest for the truth, Delilah uncovers blogposts written by the mysterious “gottiewrites” and is soon caught up in a world of greed, fandom conspiracy theories … and murder. And the deeper Delilah digs, the more dangerous it becomes – because someone is willing to kill to hide the truth.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

The Last Dragon by Polly Ho Yen

Yara has only glimpsed the last dragon on Earth twice in her twelve years. She’s got other things to worry about: her sister is in hospital, her parents are panicking, and her new teacher has labelled her a troublemaker and wants her out. But one evening, in the glow of the lights of the shopping centre in Milton Keynes, Yara finds herself being watched by the last dragon and, before it departs, it leaves her a gift: its only dragon egg.

Entrusted with the care of the last dragon egg, Yara discovers it is more powerful than she could ever have imagined. But there are others who want the egg and they’ll stop at nothing to steal it for themselves…

Monday 27 May 2024

I am Rebel by Ross Montgomery

“I’m Tom’s dog, and he’s my human. We belong to each other.” 

Rebel is a good dog, and he loves his simple, perfect life on the farm with his owner Tom – until one day the war comes too close… Now Tom is determined to join the rebellion to defeat the king’s men. But Rebel knows war is dangerous, and he will stop at nothing to save the human he loves. Rebel must bring Tom home before it’s too late.

Friday 24 May 2024

Blog tour: Ghosts of Mars by Stuart White

Mars. 2045. 13-year-old Eva is the first Martian.

And world famous on two planets!

Fame, Type 1 diabetes and a sarcastic AI companion haunt her, but when her dad goes missing on the red planet, she must overcome the 'Ghosts of Mars' to save him.

The Martian for middle-grade, full of science, friendship and adventure, with elements of The Sword in the Stone.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Two Sides to Every Murder by Danielle Valentine

Most people’s births aren’t immortalized in a police report.

Olivia was born during the infamous Camp Lost Lake murders but, when she begins questioning the events surrounding her birth, she finds there’s a lot more to that tragic night.

Most people don’t spend their childhood on the run.

Reagan’s mother might be considered guilty of murder, but Reagan knows she’s innocent. Tired of running, she returns to Camp to clear her mother’s name.

Only, someone wants the past to remain buried – and will kill again to do so. If they’re to stay alive, Olivia and Reagan must work together fast to uncover the truth. . .

Monday 20 May 2024

Ohimgod! by Aaron Asadi

It’s Tuesday and god has come back to earth. This all seems very well and good but Sam Dalton could really do without the anxiety – there are a lot of jobs to do and his garden is finally being sorted.

As god makes his presence felt, sending the world and Sam’s mum into a panic, life begins to do the one thing our homebody hero really doesn’t change.

With the media, governments, and the local townspeople forced to adapt to the return of biblical shock and awe, is Sam able to survive the peril and keep his utter sham of a life together?

Saturday 18 May 2024

The Only Light Left Burning by Erik J Brown

THEY FOUND EACH OTHER. NOW THEY MUST RESCUE WHAT THEY LEFT BEHIND. The highly-anticipated sequel to the queer genre-bending dystopian romance All That's Left in the World.

Against the backdrop of a ravaged world, Andrew and Jamie have settled in a new community, more in love than ever. Finally they've reached safety and have each taken on roles and responsibilities in this new life. But it's soon clear they want different things:

Jamie is ready to move on and take to the road, just the two of them.

Andrew wants to remain in the safety of numbers.

With a storm brewing up the coast they have no choice to head back into the wilderness where old enemies roam and they don't know who to trust. Can they find their way back to safety and each other?

Wednesday 15 May 2024

I Hope This Finds you Well by Natalie Sue

As far as Jolene is concerned, her interactions with her colleagues should start and end with her official duties as an admin for Supershops, Inc. Unfortunately, her irritating, incompetent coworkers don’t seem to understand the importance of boundaries. Her secret to survival? She vents her grievances in petty email postscripts, then changes the text colour to white so no one can see. That is, until one of her secret messages is exposed. Her punishment: sensitivity training (led by the suspiciously friendly HR guy, Cliff) and rigorous email restrictions.

When an IT mix-up grants her access to her entire department’s private emails and DMs, Jolene knows she should report it, but who could resist reading what their coworkers are really saying? And when she discovers layoffs are coming, she realizes this might just be the key to saving her job. The plan is simple: gain her boss’s favour, convince HR she’s Supershops material and beat out the competition.

But as Jolene is drawn further into her coworker’s private worlds and secrets, her carefully constructed walls begin to crumble—especially around Cliff, who she definitely cannot have feelings for. Soon she will need to decide if she’s ready to leave the comfort of her cubicle, even if it means coming clean to her colleagues.

Crackling with laugh-out-loud dialogue and relatable observations, I Hope This Finds You Well is a fresh and surprisingly tender comedy about loneliness and love beyond our computer screens. This sparkling debut novel will open your heart to the everyday eccentricities of work culture and the undeniable human connection that comes with it.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Blog Tour: The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel.

Each one of them has three choices:

Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel,

Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free,

Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free.

The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder.

Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her?

Will she outmaneouvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat?

There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel.

Will it end in twelve selfish deaths?

Monday 13 May 2024

Attached at the Hip by Christine Riccio

Orie Lennox has spent her entire life prepping for her happily ever after -- and now that she’s graduated, she’s low-key wondering, when the heck is it gonna hit. Her love life, her new job, her relationship with her sister: none of it is quite what she envisioned it to be.

One evening, on a whim, she applies for a reality show where she’ll be stranded on an island, with a bunch of strangers, to play a game of human chess for a shot at a million dollars. What better way to force herself to break up with the things that aren’t bringing her joy, than to abandon them all on short notice to live off the grid on a beach in the South Pacific!

Orie's shocked when she ends up cast in an experimental romantic edition of the show: and even more surprised to find that her old high school crush, Remy, has been cast as well. Orie's one of ten contestants, set to compete in formidable challenges, while speed dating, in the wilderness: without deodorant, toilets, shaving cream, or showers. (How!?)

She finds herself tied up — literally — in a game of risky alliances as she navigates ever-growing feelings for her one that got away, alongside an exciting array of budding new relationships.

Saturday 11 May 2024

Better Left Unsent by Lia Louis

A woman accidentally reveals all her secrets in this witty and charming novel from the author of Eight Perfect Hours.

Two years ago, thirty-year-old receptionist Millie Chandler had her heart spectacularly broken in public. Ever since, she has been a closed book, vowing to keep everything to herself—her feelings, her truths, even her dreams—in an effort to protect herself from getting hurt again.

But Millie does write emails—sarcastic replies to her rude boss, hard truths to her friends, and of course, that one-thousand-word love declaration to her ex who is now engaged to someone else. The emails live safely in her drafts, but after a server outage at work, Millie wakes up to discover that all her emails have been sent. Every. Single. One.

As every truth, lie, and secret she’s worked so hard to keep only to herself are catapulted out into the open, Millie must fix the chaos her words have caused, and face everything she’s ever swept under the carpet.

Friday 10 May 2024

The Word by Mary G Thompson

After her parents' divorce, seven-year-old Lisa's father convinces her to leave home in the middle of the night. After all, according to their radical religious beliefs, she belongs to him, and it is her duty to obey him. Ever the dutiful daughter—at least outwardly—and confused by the sinful changes in her mother, Lisa complies.

For the next nine years, Lisa and her father go from place to place—hiding out in a rural town populated by the cult, living on the streets, and preaching the Word. She is taught that her mother, who divorced her father and left the cult, is deemed "dead" by the Word's doctrine—a shell without a soul. The only school she's allowed to attend is one run by one of the cult's community leaders. They forbid reading books or watching television. She has to be small, quiet, and modest.

When the police finally catch up with them, Lisa returns to her mom's home in Oregon—a home with freedoms that Lisa has never really known. But her father has a plan to take back what's his—a plan that was set in motion the moment the police arrived at his home. Now Lisa must make a decision: follow the plan and go home with the hope that she'll see her father again, or risk everything to figure out what life could be when she makes her own choices.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Blog tour: Who Watches This Place by Amy Clarkin

‘Would you kill someone to survive?’ he asked.

‘It’s not survival when you’re already dead,’ she replied.

Paranormal Surveyance Ireland – PSI – are on the hunt for ghosts. When The Merrion Hub, a fancy new start-up, is gripped by strange and disturbing happenings, the owners ask Archer and his team to investigate.

The gang are determined to prove to the world that ghosts are real, but tensions are running high: Éabha clashes with Raven over her new clairvoyancy gift, Fionn feels isolated by the team and Davis is frustrated by the journalist who’s determined to expose them as frauds.

None of that matters when there’s a startling disappearance. Can PSI remember how to work together in time to save their friend from a horrific fate?

Monday 6 May 2024

Blog Tour: This Book Won't Burn by Samira Ahmed

From the New York Times bestselling author of Internment comes a timely and gripping social-suspense novel about book banning, activism, and standing up for what you believe.

After her dad abruptly abandons her family and her mom moves them a million miles from their Chicago home, Noor Khan is forced to start the last quarter of her senior year at a new school, away from everything and everyone she knows and loves. Reeling from being uprooted and deserted, Noor is certain the key to survival is to keep her head down and make it to graduation.

But things aren’t so simple. At school, Noor discovers hundreds of books have been labeled “obscene” or “pornographic” and are being removed from the library in accordance with a new school board policy. Even worse, virtually all the banned books are by queer and BIPOC authors.

Noor can’t sit back and do nothing, because that goes against everything she believes in, but challenging the status quo just might put a target on her back. Can she effect change by speaking up? Or will small-town politics—and small-town love—be her downfall?

Saturday 4 May 2024

Dead Happy by Josh Silver

Friends. Welcome to Elmhallow.

Seb, along with a select group of participants, finds himself washed up on an isolated island called Elmhallow, under the guardianship of a mysterious couple. As the experiment steps up another level, Seb is forced to team up with Eleanor once more.

But where is Finn? And what does HappyHead have in store for them next?

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Magicalia: Race of Wonders by Jennifer Bell

From the internationally bestselling author of Wonderscape and The Uncommoners, comes a spectacular new fantasy series inspired by astronomy, science and Pokémon, irresistible to fans of Nevermoor, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

When her dad is kidnapped, Bitsy and best friend Kosh are swept into a secret world of ancient meteorites and strange beasts called magicores, each conjured using a different emotion. Using a powerful beastiary called Magicalia, the friends must quickly become conjurors themselves, before following a trail of clues that will take them from London to India to Paris, in a race to rescue Bitsy’s dad from a mysterious villain…

Monday 29 April 2024

Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly (minor spoilers in review)

What makes a girl "beastly?" Is it having too much ambition? Being too proud? Taking up too much space? Or is it just wanting something, anything, too badly?

That's the problem Arabella faces when she makes her debut in society. Her parents want her to be sweet and compliant so she can marry well, but try as she might, Arabella can't extinguish the fire burning inside her -- the source of her deepest wishes, her wildest dreams.

When an attempt to suppress her emotions tragically backfires, a mysterious figure punishes Arabella with a curse, dooming her and everyone she cares about, trapping them in the castle.

As the years pass, Arabella abandons hope. The curse is her fault -- after all, there's nothing more "beastly" than a girl who expresses her anger -- and the only way to break it is to find a boy who loves her for her true self, a cruel task for a girl who's been told she's impossible to love.

When a handsome thief named Beau makes his way into the castle, the captive servants are thrilled, convinced he is the one to break the curse. But Beau -- spooked by the castle's strange and forbidding ladies-in-waiting, and by the malevolent presence that stalks its corridors at night -- only wants to escape. He learned long ago that love is only an illusion.

If Beau and Arabella have any hope of breaking the curse, they must learn to trust their wounded hearts, and realize that the cruelest prisons of all are the ones we build for ourselves.

Friday 26 April 2024

Blog Tour: The Merciless King of Moore High by Lily Sparks: Selected quotes

When the adults of Brockton, Connecticut, morphed into gigantic, bloodthirsty monsters nine months ago, the students at Jefferson High barricaded themselves inside their school.

Now eighteen-year-old Kay Kim is one of the Student Council members trying to keep her classmates from starving. Kay has no poker face and can’t keep her mouth shut when she knows she’s right, so when she accidentally learns a secret that threatens the delicate power balance at Jefferson, she’s dragged out of the school in the dead of night and dumped in the middle of town in a secret assassination attempt.

But when a raiding party of cheerleaders from crosstown rival Moore High comes to her rescue, Kay finds herself among ruthless, hard-partying road warriors who have adopted the feudal trappings of a once-popular video game. Life at Moore is violent and cliquish, but everyone is thriving. Everyone, that is, who survives the kingdom’s periodic monster hunts.

For Moore’s beloved King Max demands only two absolute fealty and that everyone at Moore help kill the “dragons.” If Kay wants to survive, she must be granted asylum at Moore–which means slaying dragons, not asking the wrong questions, and navigating the rival factions, love triangles, and political intrigues at court.

But when Kay discovers a deadly secret that reaches all the way to Jefferson, her inability to hide the truth might spark the revolution that burns both schools to the ground.

Content Warning: murder, violence, death, gore, body horror, starvation, suicidal ideation

Thursday 25 April 2024

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Spotlight: Blog tour, Guns and Almond Milk by Mustafa Marwan

An adrenaline-fueled journey into war-torn Yemen, this novel is the perfect read for fans of fast-paced fiction.

Luke Archer, a British Egyptian doctor, runs from his problematic past in the UK and becomes a war surgeon. When he is taken hostage by Western security contractors in a besieged hospital in Yemen, he realizes that after spending years saving the lives of others, he needs to face the demons of his past in order to save his own.

Guns and Almond Milk is a study of identity, war and redemption. It is The Sympathizer mixed with M.A.S.H by the way of Ramy.

Born to Egyptian parents and raised as a first-generation British Muslim, Luke Archer struggles to be from two worlds at the same time. He is working in a humanitarian mission in Aden, at the height of the Yemeni conflict. Max Gorsky, Luke's new patient, is a security contractor working for the government forces. Rebel forces have taken over the city, and Max's team is now taking refuge in the city's hospital, in preparation for their final stand. Luke and his team find themselves caught in a deadly clash between the ruthless rebel group and the desperate security contractors. At the same time, Max and Luke need to settle debts from their shared past in the UK where they joined forces in fencing a multi-million-dollar stolen artifact operation that went wrong.

Guns and Almond Milk is a fast-paced story of love, murder, and thrill that provides readers with a fresh perspective on humanitarian work, religion, assimilation, and Middle Eastern politics.

Look out for other stops on the tour using the #GunsAndAlmondMilk hashtag!

Monday 22 April 2024

The Weather Girls by Sarah Webb

It’s 1944. Twelve-year-old Grace Devine lives at Blacksod Lighthouse and weather station in County Mayo with her parents and little brother. When a German plane crashes nearby, she and her best friend Sibby risk their lives to save the young pilot. Grace’s family take him in, but their neighbours are horrified at having an ‘enemy’ in their midst.

Meanwhile, the Met Office in England suddenly asks Blacksod to send them weather reports every hour. But why? As the wind and rain howl outside, Grace begins to understand that something important is happening, something to do with the war – and she is right in the eye of the storm.

A tale of bravery, adventure and a remarkable friendship, inspired by true events from World War 2.

Saturday 20 April 2024

Apocalypse Cow by O.R. Sorrel

Mel loves Sasha and dreams of a day that Sasha might reciprocate her feelings (even though she's straight) - so the fact that it's thirty degrees outside in January and hasn't rained for a year simply passes her by. Mel is just about coping with being the only 'out' lesbian in school and all the sniping that Janis and Ella aim her way, as well as her dreary Saturday job with the stupidly posh Dorian... But when domestic animals suddenly lethally turn on the human race, and Mel finds herself stuck in a mansion with Dorian and Ella, her love-life suddenly turns on its head in the most extraordinary way.A screamingly funny LGTBQ+ love story from a brilliant new talent.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Wednesday 17 April 2024

A Magical Girl Retires by Park Seolyeon

A millennial turned magical girl must combat climate change and credit card debt in this delightful, witty, and wildly imaginative ode to magical girl manga.

Twenty-nine, depressed, and drowning in credit card debt after losing her job during the pandemic, a millennial woman decides to end her troubles by jumping off Seoul’s Mapo Bridge.

But her suicide attempt is interrupted by a girl dressed all in white—her guardian angel. Ah Roa is a clairvoyant magical girl on a mission to find the greatest magical girl of all time. And our protagonist just may be that special someone.

But the young woman’s initial excitement turns to frustration when she learns being a magical girl in real life is much different than how it’s portrayed in stories. It isn’t just destiny—it’s work. Magical girls go to job fairs, join trade unions, attend classes. And for this magical girl there are no special powers and no great perks, and despite being magical, she still battles with low self-esteem. Her magic wand . . . is a credit card—which she must use to defeat a terrifying threat that isn’t a monster or an intergalactic war. It’s global climate change. Because magical girls need to think about sustainability, too.

Park Seolyeon reimagines classic fantasy tropes in a novel that explores real-world challenges that are both deeply personal and universal: the search for meaning and the desire to do good in a world that feels like it’s ending. A fun, fast-paced, and enchanting narrative that sparkles thanks to award-nominated translator Anton Hur, A Magical Girl Retires reminds us that we are all magical girls—that fighting evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight can be anyone's game.

Translated from the Korean by Anton Hur.

Saturday 13 April 2024

A Cork Fairytale by Amy Louise O'Callaghan

The Three Bears can't agree on the perfect presents for a special friend. Can Goldilocks help them find gifts that are JUST RIGHT?

Join them on a fun-filled trip around Cork’s best-loved locations.

Shandon Tower – Fitzgerald’s Park – English Market – Everyman theatre

Blarney – Cobh – Blackrock Castle

Friday 12 April 2024

A Blooming Great Day by Úna Woods

We go down the steps and ... What’s happening here?

Why’s everyone wearing this old-fashioned gear?

Eccles Street looks like it did years ago.

A lady in a big poofy dress says hello.

It seems like just another ordinary day for Rosie and her grandad. But as soon as they step outside, they find themselves on a blooming great adventure around Dublin on the 16th of June, 1904!

Thursday 11 April 2024

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Loyally, Luke by Pepper Basham

A flannel-wearing man’s man inexplicably finds himself living out all the rom-com movie tropes as he falls in love with a true-blue princess. 

Luke Edgewood isn’t a romantic. Or, at least, he’s always felt certain things like rom-coms were invented as punishment for average guys. Besides, he’s always preferred to be a behind-the-scenes guy who lives a quiet life being a good friend, neighbor, and brother. So when he travels to the island of Skymar to work a few months on restoring abandoned buildings, he never expects to find himself directly in the middle of a romantic, trope-filled story. From a meet-cute that was anything but cute and an aging orphanage in need of as much tender care as the children it houses, Luke begins to wonder if he and his heart may be victims of some sort of hidden-camera movie moment. 

Only a few years out of university and attempting to find her feet in royal adult life, Aliana Roselynn St. Claire, youngest daughter of the king and queen of the Skymarian Islands, pours her energies and talents into charities and art throughout her beloved Skymar. Her parents do not seem very interested in her love of interior design but lavish her with praise over her support of Skymar’s largest orphanage and place her in charge of the renovations of the dilapidated building. Happy to escape her mother’s strong encouragement of building a romantic relationship with Ally’s lifelong acquaintance, the earl of South Waithe, she escapes to the secluded mountains to take charge of the orphanage’s renovations. 

When Ally learns the man she’d literally run into at the coffee shop is the one who has been hired to help with the orphanage’s repairs, she’s determined to keep her royal status as secret as possible. From fundraisers to fake dates to sleigh rides and snowball fights, Ally and Luke begin to discover that the wrong first impressions may lead to a romantic possibility with rom-com flavored magic included. But when Ally’s true identity is revealed and royal expectations bring Luke out of his preferred anonymity into the spotlight of the royal life, will their budding relationship fall prey to a very unhappily-ever-after ending?

Please note this summary comes from Goodreads, but the female character is Elliana, Ellie, not Ally in the novel.