Mix & Match 13
Start by making yourself a Bee's Knees cocktail, then choose any one of these awesome books to accompany it! Add the following ingredients into a shaker with lots of ice: 60ml gin, 25ml lemon juice, 15ml honey syrup, 10ml orange juice. Shake and strain into a glass.
The Mesmerist by Claire Luana
Adrijana has always dreamed of leaving her small village and going to the palace, where her best friend Simeon is one of the princess's guards. However, when she and her father are persuaded to spend the evening there, they are embroiled in the murder of the queen and considered suspects.
Jana seems to have a special ability, but how rare and unusual is it? With everything that happens, it seems that only one of the Mesmers, can help her. So much mystery and intrigue, everyone seems suspicious and like Jana, I never knew who to trust.
There's just something so delightful about Claire Luana's writing, it's easy to fall straight into the worlds she creates. They are so rich and colourful, with such wonderful characters.
The Friendly Mammoth by Anna Terreros-Martin
Mansi shares my love of museums, but what she really wants is a friend to share things with. While drawing in the museum she finds herself in the past. The illustrations are beautiful and as much part of the story as the words are. Hopefully this can inspire lots of children to care about animals and the world around them. I learnt a few things myself, including that there was an elk whose antlers were each longer than I am tall!
The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold
Rio has been sent to stay in California, with the grandmother he hardly knows, while his mother is in hospital for 4 weeks. At first he's scared of this new life, Rio has been the responsible adult in his family his whole life and doesn't really know how to let go and be a kid. But when he meets the ocean, everything changes.
I could share Rio's excitement and astonishment at learning about the whales and particularly White Beak, the first whale his mother ever saw. I felt like I was growing with Rio as he discovered more about the whales and the ocean, and also about himself. It was quite an emotional ride! I also loved the touch of magic in the book.
Without being at all preachy, this book gives a strong message to kids (and adults) to try to be more thoughtful about the world. It's scary how much humans are damaging the world and I want to do more to help. It has definitely inspired me to step up my efforts and make a few more changes in my life.
Willow Moss and the Lost Day by Dominique Valente
I really enjoyed the writing and the characters. Willow is an adorable character who you can't help loving. Quite downtrodden at home by her more powerful sisters, she's actually so brave and determined and ready to save the day.
It was a really lovely story. I liked the ending, though I feel it was a bit unfinished in some aspects, I suspect they may get picked up in later books. I've already bought book 2!
The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read & Laura Trinder
The midnight hour is a time and place where all the magic has been contained and the magical creatures and monsters can live safely, away from normal people. But this one place isn't enough for some of them, who want the daytime realm for their own too.
Emily has always thought she was too normal, if anything. Apart from having a totally bonkers, embarrassing mum, her Dad more than makes up for it by being the most boring person in the universe. However, Emily is very wrong! Her parents have been keeping some huge secrets from her and when they both go missing, she finds out about this amazing other world.
This book is written with such a wonderful sense of humour, I loved Emily and the Gob, which seems to have a life of its own.