PENGUIN PROBLEMS – Jory John, Lane Smith

penguin problems5/5

Penguin Problems is SO GOOD!

What I love about this book is that it can be both hilarious and meaningful at the same time with a wonderfully grumpy penguin as the main character. His life is just full of problems…or so he thinks, because, whilst he may be having a difficult time, he’s got so much that isn’t a problem.

We start off meeting this fed up penguin and see him have a particularly trying day full of things that irritate him (which I’m sure many people can relate to!), but, after he meets a walrus who shows him how he’s exactly where he needs to be, he starts to see the positivity in everything…for a while anyway!

This is definitely one of my go to books to buy for all my friends and family just because of how relatable and entertaining it is, as well as Lane Smith’s beautiful illustrations which capture Penguin’s personality perfectly!

Thank you to Jo at Walker for sending me a copy of this book!

THE BANDIT QUEEN – Natalia and Lauren O’Hara

the bandit queen4.5/5

I went into this book a bit blind; I was literally going on the fact that it had a beautiful cover and is published by Puffin, and then I realised that it was from the pair behind Hortense and the Shadow, which explains why it’s so beautiful!

The Bandit Queen is a poetic story with morals intertwined that are subtle and open to interpretation. This makes for a really engaging story since you can get a lot out of it with each reread. I personally loved the message about needing structure and support in order to grow up, and how you can have everything that you think you want, but ultimately it’s family and friends who make the difference. That said, you could just see this as a fun children’s rhyming story, full of chaos and mischief!

Thank you very much to Puffin via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!



All eleven-year old Alex wants is to launch his iPod into space. With a series of audio recordings, he will show other lifeforms out in the cosmos what life on Earth, his Earth, is really like.

But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions.

Where do I come from? Who’s out there? And, above all, How can I be brave?

Determined to find the answers, Alex sets out on a remarkable road trip that will turn his whole world upside down . . .

For fans of Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.

see you in the cosmosThis book was completely out of this world; the voice of Alex was so innocent and entertaining and made it such a compelling read. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think. See You In The Cosmos is such an important read for many reasons, many of which become apparent as you make your way through the book and towards the end. As an adult reading it, it was so endearing to see the world through a child’s eyes and some of the things he was questioning were brilliant and so many things made me laugh out loud!

Alex is 11 years old (13 in responsibility years) and we are reading the transcripts of his recordings on his Golden iPod that this space-mad youngster is planning to launch into space so Aliens can learn about Earth. We join Alex on his adventure across the country, and ultimately his adventure to discover who he is.

See You In The Cosmos is hands down one of the best and most original 9-12 books released in recent years, and I can not recommend it highly enough for youngsters and grown ups!

Thank you very much to Penguin for sending me a proof copy of this book!

An Excellent Month in Publishing

Yesterday was Super Thursday, which saw hundreds of books released in anticipation of Christmas, all vying to be bestsellers. However, if you were to search Super Thursday, very few children’s books make it into the press as key titles to look out for, when in fact some amazing children’s books were released yesterday! Heck, the whole of October is a stellar month for children’s publishing. Here are some titles that I think you should definitely get your hands on this month!

Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens

Death in the Spotlight: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery

My Mum Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

My Mum Tracy Beaker

Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J Maas

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass)






Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow Book 2 (Nevermoor)

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig

The Truth Pixie

Grandma Bird – Benji Davies

Grandma Bird






The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty – Jessica Courtney-Tickle

The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty

Matilda at 30 – Roald Dahl

Matilda at 30: Chief Executive of the British Library

Grandpa Christmas – Michael Morpurgo, Jim Field

Grandpa Christmas






Skycircus – Peter Bunzl

Skycircus (The Cogheart Adventures #3)

Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief – Laura Ellen Anderson

Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief (The Amelia Fang Series)

The Train to Impossible Places – P.G. Bell

The Train to Impossible Places (Train to Impossible Places #1)






The Way Home for Wolf – Rachel Bright, Jim Field

The Way Home For Wolf

The Clockwork Crow – Catherine Fisher







Have you read any of these yet or are you looking forward to any of them? Have I missed any brilliant October releases?




The roarsome story of Leonard the lion going against the norm.

With a crunch and a chomp, this story of a poetry-loving lion will have you hooked as we learn that you don’t have to be what people expect you to be; it’s okay to just be yourself.

I can’t wait to see this book with the illustrations; I love Ed Vere’s work, especially Grumpy Frog, and I really want to see his story of Leonard come to life! However, just going on the text alone, this is a fantastic book that little ones will love. I can imagine that reading it aloud is great fun with all the rhymes!

I really enjoyed reading How To Be A Lion and am definitely going to be adding it to my collection of favourite picture books!




Our favourite schoolgirl detectives uncover another murder, this time whilst they’re in Hong Kong!

Robin Stevens has done it again! Another murder mystery that had me hooked right from page one with two murders and kept me guessing right up until the end. I absolutely adored A Spoonful of Murder!

I wasn’t too sure how I’d feel about the change of scenery to Hazel’s home in Hong Kong (my favourites in the series always take place at Deepdean – stems from my Enid Blyton fangirling), but I really enjoyed the setting and honestly felt like I was in Hong Kong with Daisy and Hazel!

We start off at Deepdean when Hazel receives the sad call from Hong Kong to inform her that her beloved grandfather has passed away and she must return to Hong Kong to visit. Of course she takes Daisy with her (we see a very soft side to Daisy in this book which is very endearing!) However, upon arrival, things start going wrong and it’s not long before the girls are faced with their first murder of this case…

This is one of the first books in a while that I simply haven’t been able to put down and have been totally absorbed in, which is testament to Stevens’ fantastic storytelling ability. I do have to reference one of my favourite quotes from Daisy in the whole book – “It’s always frightfully annoying to have relatives isn’t it? If I could I’d have come out of an egg.” It was little things like this among the seriousness of a murder case that make the Murder Most Unladylike series such a joy to read. I can’t wait for the next installment!



THE SACRIFICE BOX – Martin Stewart


Stranger Things and Stephen King’s IT’s distant cousin.

It’s very rare that I DNF a book…but I simply had to with this one for my own sanity and to keep me reading. I had such high hopes for The Sacrifice Box, and whilst it wasn’t terrible, I just couldn’t keep forcing myself to turn the page. I was actively counting the percentage, hoping for it to miraculously be going up a lot so I knew I was closer to finishing but no! I made it to 25%, just!

We start off by meeting five, for want of a better term, friends who all place an item in the “sacrifice box” and swear an oath to never open the box. That’s about as far as my interest in the book went because after this point the characterisation got so confusing that I just couldn’t keep up with it! One minute it’s Sep, then it’s September, then it’s Hope. It. Made. No. Sense. I just couldn’t warm to a single one of them! I think the only character who I like has to be Mario, who seems to just be in the book for comic effect as he comes out with some great words of “wisdom”.

I had such high hopes for The Sacrifice Box – I adore IT and the idea of this book sounded very promising. I just don’t think that the story was executed effectively and that it was so slow and muddled for the reader that it just wasn’t engaging. This is a shame because it’s been very highly anticipated by so many readers, and Martin Stewart’s previous book Riverkeep has been very highly praised and, whilst I haven’t read it, it’s one that sounds brilliant. I don’t want to slate Stewart’s writing entirely – I don’t think he’s a bad writer as such (The Sacrifice Box hasn’t put me off giving Riverkeep a go in the future) and I’m hoping that it was just a case of this book simply wasn’t for me.

Thank you to Penguin via NetGalley for an eBook of this title.



A beautiful story about the magic in not giving up.

You know that a picture book is something special when you can read it prior to publication without the illustrations and still simply adore it! Almost Anything is hands down Sophy Henn’s best book to date with its simple message of the magic being within ourselves to be able to do almost anything; we don’t need a magic hat in order to do things that our friends can do – all we need to do is to believe that we can do it. This book is perfect for little people (and older ones!) to teach the very important lesson of trying and not giving up.

*UPDATE: I have now seen the illustrations and THEY ARE ADORABLE! I stand by everything I said above; it’s a beautiful book!

Almost Anything is publishing on 1st March 2018

Thank you very much to Puffin via NetGalley for the eBook of Almost Anything!

THE HAZEL WOOD – Melissa Albert


A gripping page-turner of a book where the lines between the fairytale world and our world are constantly being questioned.

“Books want to be read, and by the right people.”

The Hazel Wood is one of those books that simply demands to be read; it’s intriguing, well-crafted and impossible to put down. Alice and her mom Ella are constantly moving around, trying to escape from the trouble that just seems to follow them everywhere. Alice suspects that it’s something to do with her mysterious grandmother and the world created in her book Tales from the Hinterland. But is the Hinterland really as far away from reality as Alice believed? When her mother goes missing, Alice is thrown into the world of these elusive stories as our world and the Hinterland collide.

Melissa Albert has crafted an intricate fairytale that keeps you hooked from the very beginning as you are sucked into this world where nothing is quite what it seems. I would thoroughly recommend it for Grimm’s, fantasy and thriller fans as it’s simply unputdownable!

“Stay the hell away from the Hazel Wood.”

Thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for sending me the eBook of this title!



A well written book that keeps you hooked with a fascinating main character.

I simply adored The One Memory of Flora Banks, so squealed with delight at being able to get hold of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black early! One thing I commented on loving in particular with Flora Banks was Emily Barr’s writing style and I’m glad to say that her next YA offering is another well written story with a fascinating character.

The book starts with us meeting Ella Black and quickly introduces us to her darker side Bella. Having not read much about this book, I did think that there would be more focus on Bella and the mental health side as it started off that way, but quickly we are taken on a journey literally far away from that idea – I don’t want to give it away though! There is a bad case of instalove which I know lots of people won’t like, but personally and luckily for my rating of this book I don’t mind as it just added that little bit of fluffiness to a pretty heavy topic that this book covers.

Overall I did enjoy The Truth and Lies of Ella Black once I’d got into it – there are twists and turns that you won’t see coming. I do think that I expected slightly more from it because of Flora Banks being a 5* book for me, which probably isn’t fair, but it did let me down a bit with it being so slow to get into. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth a read as something a bit different and one that does keep you hooked once you’re stuck in.

“Live every day as if it were your last, because one day it will be.”

Thank you to Penguin via Net Galley for sending me the eBook of this title!