Christmas may be over and done with, but it is still bone chilling-ly cold in the UK. And although snow and biting winds may SUCK, there is nothing like curling up with a good book and a cup of tea to get you through the winter. Because I love a good theme, I LOVE reading books with winter themes in this season, and luckily in 2018 we have been blessed with some AH-MAZING new MG releases. Here are my pick of the best:
The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell
It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.
Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .
When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?
- This book was a hilarious romp through a magical world that was full of imagination.
- Our main character, Stella, was delightfully sassy, brave and determined. AKA, every thing I love in a heroine.
- I really, really enjoyed the magical elements–they were funny, original, and I’ll never look at a cabbage the same way again.
- I LOVED the world that this was set in–it was quirky and fabulous, and I want a pet dinosaur/baby polar bear.
- I want to be a member of the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club.
- This book in one word: fun. It’s fast-paced, witty and full of adventure. I sped through the pages, anxious to see where Stella and her friends ended up. I loved the friendships that developed, the commitment and the sheer joy that Alex Bell infused into this world. I am very excited that it’s getting a sequel!
Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone
‘Once an adventure digs its claws in, there is not an awful lot you can do about it. Especially when magic is involved . . .’
In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find. Because Erkenwald is ruled by a cruel Ice Queen and you must stay hidden or risk becoming another of her prisoners.
Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey together in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .
- This book was EVERYTHING. I really enjoyed Abi’s first trilogy, but Eska stole my heart from the first page. Eska is just a wonderful character, and her growth from prisoner stripped of everything to determined young person is astounding.
- Winter is so important to this story, it seeps through every page. Reading this whilst the January winds roared outside my bedroom, a cup of tea by my side, felt very apt.
- The one theme that permeates SKY SONG is friendship. The relationships between our main characters, and our MC’s and the animals is just so darn special. I especially gravitated towards Finn and Blu’s relationship–it was so caring and loving, but tough at times–realistic.
- SKY SONG is a classic in the making. It reads as an action packed fairytale, simultaneously familiar and brand new. It is magical in its purest sense, a quest of belonging that you can’t help but throw yourself completely into.
- This book is a celebration of bravery and friendship, and I would recommend it to everyone who loves fairytales, rich mythology and a heart-thumping-ly exciting plot.
The Eye of the North by Sinéad O’Hart
When Emmeline’s scientist parents mysteriously disappear, she finds herself heading for a safe house, where allies have pledged to protect her. But along the way, she is kidnapped by the villainous Doctor Siegfried Bauer, who is bound for the ice fields of Greenland. There he hopes to summon a mystical creature from the depths of the ancient glaciers, a creature said to be so powerful that whoever controls it can control the world.
Unfortunately, Bauer isn’t the only one determined to unleash the creature. The North Witch has laid claim to the mythical beast, too, and Emmeline along with a scrappy stowaway named Thing may be the only one with the power to save the world as we know it. Can Emmeline face one of the greatest legends of all time and live to tell the tale?
- This was a great, old-fashioned quest into the frozen north. I really enjoyed the mystery and secrets of Emmeline’s parents, the discovery of OSCAR, and the friendship and devotion between Emmeline and Thing (Can ya tell I love middle-grade friendship? I’ve only mentioned it in ALL THREE REVIEWS)
- This story felt timeless and classic, but at the same time it was SO exciting–it was action packed, in the best way possible.
- I adored the mythology–it felt fresh, and yet so rich, which is SO difficult to do well in MG fiction.
- I also really enjoyed the animal-human relationships–there was such kindness and understanding–especially between Emmeline and Meadowmane.
- Also, the villain, Doctor Siegfried Bauer, was scarily great.
- This was a great debut novel, and I am SO excited to see what Sinead O’Hart writes next (a sequel, maybe?) If you like brave girls, a secret society and magical creatures, you’ll love The Eye of the North.
What books do you like reading in the winter?