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Reading for Pleasure: 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers – Scott Evans, Published by Bloomsbury

I have always enjoyed reading to my classes but it was during the first Covid 19 lockdown that I truly became a ‘Reader Teacher’. This was almost entirely due to discovering Scott Evans on Twitter, being inspired by his fantastic book recommendations, and intoduced to an online book community through his ever-popular Primary School Book Club.

Scott shares his vast knowledge of creating and sustaining a positive reading culture in schools in the form of 100 tried and tested practical ideas that teachers can easily adapt to make a difference in their own schools.

Split into 11 parts, the book follows Scott’s reading roadmap focusing on ways to develop reading for pleasure in the classroom, how to use the school and local libraries more effectively, engage families and parents in reading and collaborate with authors and illustrators. Central to this is raising children who are able, active and accomplished readers.

Right from the outset, Scott makes it clear that reading for pleasure isn’t a once a week lesson or an off the shelf remedy and that it something that requires cultivating over time.

This is without a doubt, essential reading for teachers, reading leads and school librarians!

About the Author

Scott Evans is a primary school teacher, reading for pleasure adviser and enthusiast, and children’s book consultant, content creator, critic and influencer. He reads, reviews and recommends a range of children’s literature on his website and YouTube channel, both called The Reader Teacher, to help teachers, schools, parents and children find the best books to read. He also hosts #PrimarySchoolBookClub – a monthly Twitter-based children’s book club, chat and vote for anyone working in primary education and wanting to read the latest literature. Scott has been on the judging panels for numerous children’s book awards, including the Blue Peter Book Awards and the Lollies. Follow Scott on Twitter @MrEPrimary

100 IDEAS for Primary Teachers: Reading for Pleasure is published by Bloomsbury Education on 30th March.

Thank you to Enisha Samra and Bloomsbury Education for my review copy and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Henny is Stuck by Aileen Crossley, published by Little Door Books

They say good things come in small packages and that couldn’t be any truer than in the case of Henny the baby chick. Aileen Crossley’s adorable debut picture book is a cracking story of coming out of one’s shell, being true to yourself and living your best life.

Henny the baby chick is STUCK.

Her tiny legs peep out. Her tiny wings peep out.

But Henny is most definitely STUCK.

How will she ever get out?

Not only is Henny stuck in her shell (a common predicament for baby chicks!) but she’s stuck in a mindset that she’s different. Henny’s animal friends try to help, and chip away at her with kindness and practical solutions such as pecking her out of her shell. Sadly nothing works but when the chicks find themselves stuck in the clutches of a scary fox, it’s Henny’s own bravery that helps her break out and realise her inner strength and self-worth.

We all get a bit STUCK sometimes but good egg Henny is a reminder that you are enough. “No-one can do you, better than you!”

I can’t wait to introduce Henny to my Reception class in the run up to Easter. Teaching children to be true, happy and proud of themselves is so important so that they can be carefree like Henny too!

Henny is Stuck is published by Little Door Books on the 13th March.

With thanks to Little Door Books for the opportunity to review this gorgeous little book and inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

Into the Faerie Hill by H.S. Norup – published by Pushkin Children’s

Folk-lore, family, friendship and faerie mischief, H.S. Norup has woven her very own special brand of magic into this beautifully told tale – perfect for fans of The Chime Seekers, Harklights and The Clockwork Crow trilogy.

Alfred is taken to stay with his grandmother while his father works on a tunneling project through a local hill. As soon as he arrives at his granny’s cottage, he feels like he’s been watched. Surrounded by steep cliffs and dark forests, the landscape is teeming with unfamiliar life and it’s not long before he discovers the presence of mischievous faerie folk in the front garden that only he can see. He becomes entranced by his grandmother’s collection of mysterious carvings and figurines that appear to have a mind of their own and are charged with their own hypnotic energy.

Alfred is very much the loner. His mother died when he was too small to remember and there are many details surrounding her death that remain a mystery; little things don’t add up and his grandmother’s house and her eccentric collections make him determined to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is his life story.

When free-spirited Saga bursts into his life he makes his first real friend. Alfred’s dad is working on a project to dig a giant tunnel through the landscape for a motorway, threatening the wildlife. He joins local girl Saga in the community protests against the plan and draws ever closer to to the strange world of the faerie creatures, following a thread that seems to be leading him deep into secrets from his family’s past. But with malevolent forces, faerie trickery, magic and curses at the turn of every page, can the duo uncover the truth?…

H.S.Norup leaves the reader a cleverly laid trail of breadcrumbs for a tantalising reveal of the undercurrent bubbling beneath the main plot. With many secrets skillfully hidden in the layers of the story to unearth, I was completely enchanted, alongside cheering the children on in their quest to protect nature. It is well worth venturing into the faerie hill to find out for oneself.

Into the Faerie Hill is published by Pushkin Children’s and is available now!

With thanks to Pushkin Children’s and Vicki Berwick PR for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Also by H.S. Norup…

You absolutely must read The Hungry Ghost, an absolute favourite of mine. Click on the cover to read my review.

The Time Tider by Sinéad O’Hart, published by Little Tiger Books

When I saw that Sinéad O’Hart had a new book coming out I knew I had to read it! Skyborn completely gripped me and The Time Tider was no exception; a twisty, faced paced adventure with danger at the turn of every page!

Mara and her dad have lived in their van for as long as she can remember. Whatever her father does to scrape a living has kept them constantly moving and Mara has never questioned it. That is until she uncovers a collection of notes addressed to ‘the Tider’, an individual responsible for harvesting lost time from people whose lives were cut short.

But before Mara can question her father he is taken by a dangerous group who want to use his power for evil. With the very fabric of time and space at stake, it’s down to Mara and her new friend Jan to find him before it’s too late…

It’s with pleasure I get to share a guest post from Sinéad today – keep reading for some fabulous recommendations of Children’s books about time…

My Favourite Kids’ Books About Time

There’s nothing I like better than a good book – and one of my favourite types of book is one that uses ideas about time to tell its story. I love time-travel books, timeslip books (where a character falls through a hole, or looks into a mirror, or sets foot into the wrong part of the forest, and ends up in a completely different time to the one they’re used to), and books that are set in a different time, whether that’s the past or the future. There’s something really exciting about time; thinking about how it works, imagining how it would feel to slide out of your own era and into someone else’s. How would you dress? Would you be able to eat the food? As soon as you opened your mouth to speak, would you be found out as a time-traveller?

Lots of things are the same from one time period to another – people still have to get up to go to school, or work; kids are loved and protected by their grown-ups, whether that means their parents or some other caregivers; adults complain about the government (sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly); people want their families to live in peace. But, of course, lots of things change. Leaders change, clothes and fashions and foods and modes of transportation and laws and houses and technology shift and develop from one era to the next. And this is what makes writing about time so much fun – it’s easy, in one way, to imagine life in the past, or the future. People are still people; we need to eat, go to the loo (unless you can invent a way to make that unnecessary in your futuristic world!), go to school or work (which, of course, might look very different in your futuristic or long-ago fictional world to how it does in the present), but everything else is open for imagining. Will your characters use money? How do they pay for things? In the past, before money was invented, there were systems like barter, where people would trade one thing for another – so, you could take inspiration from this and invent a futuristic society where barter is the way business is done. What sort of food do they eat? How is it grown? And how do they cook it?

And most importantly of all: what sort of stories are they reading? And are books still a thing?

To help celebrate the publication of my new book, The Time Tider, I’ve put together a non-exhaustive list of some of my favourite books that do interesting things with time, whether that’s using time travel as a plot device, or having characters slip (perhaps temporarily) into the past or the future, or simply setting a book in a past era and bringing it to life really well, or reimagining the past – putting characters into an alternative history, and imagining how that would have felt, and how it might have changed things in the modern world. There are no shortage of brilliant timey-wimey books, but I hope these get you off to a good start!

Firstly: if you’re interested in time as a theme in books, then you could do worse than follow the Time Tunnellers, a group of children’s authors (Ally Sherrick, Susan Brownrigg, Barbara Henderson, Catherine Randall and Jeanie Waudby) who write blogs about historical settings, taking you through their meticulous research and some of the cool things they discover – and, of course, who’ve all written fantastic books!

The Buried Crown by Ally Sherrick (of Time Tunnellers fame) is a brilliant novel about the Anglo-Saxon past intertwining with the ‘present day’ (the book is set during World War II, in the 1940s). The story brings the past to life in such brilliant colour, and is a very moving and interesting look at what life was like in wartime Britain.

For books that do mind-blowing things with the concept of time and time-travel, look no further than Patience Agbabi’s The Infinite, The Time Thief and The Circle Breakers, a trilogy about children born on Leap Day (February 29th, which only comes around once every four years). Some of these children, including Elle (the books’ protagonist) also have the Gift, which allows them to leap through time as Leaplings – and so begins a crime-solving, brain-bending series of adventures!

Elsetime by Eve McDonnell is a time-slip adventure with tons of heart. Mudlarker Needle finds a strange object on his travels one day – an object that’s warm to the touch. Usually, he can tell a lot about the objects he discovers, but this one is different. It brings him through time, to a girl named Glory, for a very special purpose. Can they work together to save the day?

The Ice Whisperers by Helenka Stachera is a tale of two sisters born 40,000 years apart – and if that tagline doesn’t make you want to read this book, I don’t know what will! Meet Bela, a girl sent to live with her uncle in Siberia after her father’s disappearance and her mother’s death. There, she discovers an incredible secret – a doorway to the Ice Age, and to the sister she never knew she had.

The Storm Keeper’s Island trilogy by Catherine Doyle is a rich and beautiful series of books which weave magical time-travel, where the characters go down through the layers of an island’s history, with Irish mythology and history in thrilling and unforgettable ways.

Wonderscape and Legendarium by Jennifer Bell whisk the reader way into the future – and into a massive multiplayer game which must be solved in order for the characters to make their way home. Full of invention and adventure, these books are brilliant.

Elemental Detectives by Patrice Lawrence is a thrilling story set in an alternative eighteenth-century London which brings the city, and its rich, multi-layered history, to life in fascinating ways. Marisee and Robert are our heroes, who must stop the Shepherdess from putting London to sleep – forever!

The Wild Way Home and The Way to Impossible Island by Sophie Kirtley are classic time-slip novels, where characters from the modern day interact with characters from the distant past. Funny, moving, gripping, scary, and a fascinating window into ancient prehistoric civilisations.

Or how about Race to the Frozen North or another excellent historical novel from Catherine Johnson, who tells stories from the past in a way we might not have encountered before? In Race to the Frozen North, Johnson tells the story of Matthew Henson, a Polar explorer who is not as well known as he should be.

There’s also Time Travelling With a Hamster by Ross Welford, which sees our hero, Al, have to travel back in time to his own father’s childhood for a very special purpose…

…and books like She Wolf by Dan Smith, which imagines the life of an incredibly brave Viking child, Ylva, hunting the people who murdered her mother…

…and the charming The Spell Tailors by James Nicol, in which magic brings Henryton back through the past, into his own family’s history, to uncover a mystery which might save them in the present…

…to classics like Moondial by Helen Cresswell, Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle. Like I said, in true time-travel fashion, when it comes to brilliant books about time, there’s no end to the possibilities!

With thanks to Little Tiger Books for inviting me to be part of the tour for this fantastic book.

The Time Tider is out now!

Like A Curse by Elle McNicoll – Published by Knights Of.

I thought all my Christmases had come at once when a copy of Like A Curse arrived in the last of the post just before the big day itself. This was the best early Christmas present! I am a huge Elle McNicoll fan and was eagerly anticipating the return of Ramya Knox in the spellbinding sequel to Like A Charm.

If you need to get up to speed with how this compelling fantasy duology begins, click on the cover below to read my review of Like A Charm.

Enter a world of secrets and spells with mythical creatures and magic aplenty.

When we pick up the story again, Ramya’s beloved Edinburgh has fallen into the deadly grip of the Sirens. With her newly discovered powers, Ramya desperately wants to protect her friends – Edinburgh’s mystical ‘Hidden Folk’ – but her family flee the city to Loch Ness and the safe haven of her Grandparents’ home. The house has a magical forcefield around it meaning Ramya, her mother, aunts and cousin Marley are undiscoverable. But it’s not long before Ramya’s feisty personality gets the better of her and in trying to prove herself, she is tricked by the most powerful Siren of all and unwittingly gives away the family’s whereabouts.

Ramya and Marley are under strict orders from her Aunt Opal – the imfamous and supremely powerful Heartbroken Witch – not to leave the cottage. Instead, under Opal’s watchful eye she must study her craft and learn how to hone her skills to use her magic properly. Ramya feels like a constant disappointment to Aunt Opal and emails from her friend Freddy confirm her worst fear; the crisis in Edinburgh is worsening as the city slips further under Siren control. Frustrated by her elders’ apparent lack of action, Ramya once again takes matters into her own hands. With the help of cousin Marley and many mythical creatures, she returns to the city. But with her magical ability still at an emergent stage, Ramya has to fight with every ounce of her resolve to outwit The Fae and take on her family’s arch enemy…

Elle’s signature compassion and her pursuit of representation for neurodivergent young people shines from the pages. Like Elle, tween protagonist Ramya Knox has a diagnosis of Dyspraxia, a condition that affects motor skills and processing, but she refuses to let this define her and she absolutely won’t be told what she can and can’t do!

Family dynamics, friendships and a tiny touch of romance make this such a heartwarming story alongside fast-paced twists, turns and gasp-out-loud moments. I can’t wait to see what Elle writes next!

Like A Curse is published by Knights Of and is out on the 2nd February 2023.

With thanks to Knights Of and Annabelle Wright at ed Public Relations for giving me the opportunity to read this much anticipated book in advance of publication.

Elle McNicoll is an award-winning Scottish Children’s author. Her debut novel, A Kind of Spark won the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s book prize. A TV adaption of A Kind of Spark from BBC Children’s and 9 Story Media will be airing in Spring 2023 which I absolutely cannot wait for!

The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour – a celebration of festive stories

Temperatures have plummeted these last few days and with some places receiving a covering of snow, I couldn’t think of a more apt story to choose for my stop on the 12th day of what has been a fantastically festive blog tour.

Whilst there are many feel good festive reads out there, you can’t beat a thriller to get pulses racing. And what could be better than dashing through the snow and furiously turning the pages of the latest trademark Hitchcock Whodunit – Fleur really is the Queen of Middle Grade Murder Mystery.

Bodies, baddies, bitterly cold weather and a tangled web of lies and deception to unravel – once I started reading, this was absolutely impossible to put down.

When Lucas and Ruby find an abandoned trunk in a layby covered in snow, Lucas says there’s bound to be a body inside. Ruby laughs but what if he’s right? Nervously she starts to open it, and immediately wishes she hadn’t…

The step-siblings uncover the identity of the deceased and a small object Ruby recovered from the layby – initially dismissed by the police – reveals its significance. As the teens get closer to solving the mystery, the murderer is skating on thin ice. Determined to silence them, a perilous chain of events occur, all under the cover of heavy snowfall – but can it smother the truth…?

This is the perfect read to cosy up with when it’s feeling frosty outside. There’s a grand winter wedding ceremony, a Christmas Market with twinkling lights and hot chocolate a-plenty! In her signature style, Fleur throws more than a red herring or two that will keep you guessing right until the final chapter – it’s so thrilling!

Secrets Set in Stone by James Haddell, published by Emira Press

We have a trilogy!

I’ve been highly anticipating the third book in James Haddell’s Tales of Truth and Treasures series and after reading, I’m now desperate for book 4!

Once again, the pages are literally packed with history, mystery, magic and adventure and there’s excitement and suspense around every corner. Prepare to be caught up in thrilling chases with old enemies as our protagonist (The Lost Child) Tia, sister Meghan and best friend Pasco get closer to the truth and treasures.

This was my favourite book of the series yet! I got some series Goonies vibes as the trio explore the secret smugglers tunnels beneath Stormhaven. There’s booby traps galore and the children must negotiate trap doors, falling boulders, giant spikes and trip wires, all whilst being pursued by baddies. There’s also a definite Indiana Jones feel with giant rock faces rolling back to reveal hidden chambers and secret caves.

For those of us already invested in The Lost Child’s Quest, James Haddell does a great job of quickly summarising the previous two books and placing the reader immediately back in the action. However, if you’re new to the series, it might help to quickly get a feel for how Tia’s epic quest begins – click on the covers below to read my reviews of books 1 and 2. It’s absolutely a series worth investing in for children in Year 4 upwards.

As with the previous two installments, book 3 reached a satisfying conclusion, but I’m literally desperate now to uncover the mysteries of Tia’s past that have still been deliberately left unresolved. The children are tantalisingly close to solving the mysteries and I can’t wait to join them on the next stage of their quest in Dagger, Spear and Sword which I am crossing my fingers that we won’t have to wait too long for.

Visit James Haddell’s Tales of Truth and Treasure website, for samples of some of the fantastic supporting activities that accompany each chapter of the book, developed for teachers, parents and home-educators. 

Click on the image below for the link to FREE supporting Twinkle resources.

With thanks to James Haddell to Emira Press for providing me with a review copy of the book in advance of publication and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Secrets Set in Stone and the previous books in the Tales of Truth and Treasures series can be purchased here

The Song Walker by Zillah Bethell – Usborne Books

Zillah Bethell has done it again! Never did I think I could love a book as much as The Shark Caller but The Song Walker is another triumph, a truly special book. My heart sang whilst reading this extraordinary story of two girls’ incredible journey across the Australian Outback.

There are three questions I need to find the answers to: Where am I? What am I doing here? And…Who am I?

When a young girl wakes up in the middle of the desert, she has no idea where or who she is. She’s wearing one shoe, a black silk dress and she is lugging a strange, heavy case. She strains for a flicker of a memory of… well… anything, but there is nothing. Lost and alone, without any vital supplies, she wanders aimlessly in the searing heat becoming more and more disorientated. So it’s inevitable that she eventually collapses…

…sometime later she regains consciousness to find she is being force fed water by another girl who introduces herself as Tarni. Tarni is also alone yet fiercely determined and self-sufficient. Coming from Utopia, a small Alyawarre town she is a competent navigator of the bush. The fact she is wandering alone out there is purely of her own choosing – Tarni is on a personal crusade and with no other hope of survival, the girl in the black dress is forced to tag along.

The desert is an unforgiving and dangerous place. Sandstorms, snakes and hunters are just some of the threats the girls encounter on their way, as well as the constant exposure to the sun and dehydration. The constant threat from various sources makes The Song Walker a compulsive read, that and the tantalising flashes of memory the girl in the black dress experiences. She grapples to piece together the jigsaw of the snippets of her life that she receives momentarily, wrestling with her amnesia and willing herself to remember. It’s a long frustrating road but Tarni is increasingly there to support her and friendship begins to blossom. Except both girls are hiding secrets…

I became so invested in the girls’ quest and them acheiving their individual end goals, I simply could not tear myself from the story. I felt as if I was there with them every step of the way -setting up camp nestled behind rocks, building fires as nightfall approaches and snuggling into a blanket under the stars. Zillah Bethell has a way of stealing a little piece of your heart with each book she writes. In her signature style, she completely moved me with the clever unravelling of the girl in the black dress’ story and the raw emotion that builds to to the big reveal. It’s a story that will stay with me for a long time to come.

The only other book I have read that includes the spiritual beliefs of First Country Australians is Lisa Fuller’s Young Adult novel Ghost Bird and it was lovely to return to the outback and explore some more. If you’ve read the Shark Caller you’ll know that Zillah Bethell grew up in Papua New Guinea. In her author notes, Zillah explains the significance of the ‘songlines’ (sometimes called dreaming tracks) of First Country Australians she first heard about as a child living in PNG. A navigational tool or ‘map song’ for travelling across the land, walking the songlines is also believed to keep the land alive.

The Song Walker will be published by Usborne Books on 2nd February 2023.

With thanks to Usborne Publishing for sending me a proof copy of this wonderful book.

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour organised by Kaleidoscopic Tours.

Also by Zillah Bethell…

Read my reviews by clicking on the covers below:

The Other Ones by Fran Hart,published by Chicken House Books

This has to be one of my favourite Young Adult books of 2022! Heartstopper meets Halloween where a spooky ghost story is intertwined with a gorgeous gay romance. This is THE perfect read for this time of year and has all the Autumnal feels – it’s a proper chunky sweater, pumpkin-spiced latte of a book that wraps you up in a big hug.

From early reviews I knew I loved it before I read it and was counting down the days until my pre-order arrived. To say it was worth the wait was an understatement and I devoured it in one sitting, reading late into the night as it is so fast-paced and I couldn’t bear to tear myself away from the spooky mystery of the hauntings combined with cozy feel-good vibes of Halloween, Bonfire Night…just sheer gorgeousness!

Sal lives in a small village in a notoriously haunted house. He’s used to unwanted attention from people curious about the house and its spirits, so when weird wannabe ghost-hunter Pax turns up on his doorstep one afternoon he’s not best impressed.

Pax has just moved to the village’s graveyard cottage and is due to start in the Sixth form the very same week. His outlandish knitwear and obsession with ghosts is initially irritating to Sal and he avoids him at all costs but after a chance night-time encounter in the graveyard, he then begins to find himself inexplicably drawn to Pax until he can’t seem to stay away. The two boys begin to hang out together at Pax’s house and Sal susses out from his first meeting with Pax’s mum that she thinks they are dating. He casually shrugs this off – he and Pax have become good friends and he realises he is really enjoying his company but that’s it, right…?

Before long, Pax starts hanging out with Sal and football-loving, laddish best mate Dirk at school. They are joined by once popular girl Elsie, now estranged from her former friends and the four borderline outcasts find their new normal with each other.

There are so many special moments in this story which I’ve written about and then deleted as I don’t want to spoil any of them for any of you – I wish I could go back and read this book for the first time! I just loved seeing Sal discovering his true feelings for Pax. It just kind of sneaks up on him and until meeting Pax, he’s never really realised that he could be attracted to another boy.

But as the two grow closer, the true nature of the hauntings is gradually revealed. It’s up to Sal to find the courage to conquer his ghosts, or risk losing Pax for good.

Sal and Pax are such a cute pair and are up there with Nick and Charlie (Heartstopper) and Pete and Cooper (Wranglestone) They say opposites attract and this couldn’t be truer; Sal and Pax are polar opposites but perfect for each other. I’d love to see their relationship develop and strengthen and see Dirk and Elsie’s stories extended – please Fran Hart write more of The Other Ones!

The Other Ones was published by Chicken House Books on 13th October and is available now.

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes – published by Usborne

Her Uncle gone.

A house abandoned.

Answers none.

To say I’ve been counting down the days to reading this is an understatement…Aveline Jones is my absolute favourite Middle Grade spooky series and since the summer holidays, I’ve been obsessively checking Netgalley daily for an early copy having been uploaded. So when the news broke on Twitter that it had gone live, I was SCREAMING!

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones was without a doubt my most anticipated read of 2022 and I could not have loved it more! As with the two previous volumes, I devoured it in one sitting completely unable to tear myself away from the spooky mystery and atmospheric setting. And as The Fae are at work in The Vanishing, Aveline’s latest adventure is perfect for fans of Ross Montgomery’s The Chime Seekers and Catherine Fisher’s The Clockwork Crow series.

Aveline’s Uncle Rowan mysteriously disappeared without a trace over 10 years ago. With no sightings since or fresh evidence as to his whereabouts, the trail has gone cold. His body has never been found but Aveline’s mum and Aunt Lillian have reluctantly decided that it’s time to sell his house.

It’s the start of the Christmas holidays and not ones to miss out on a mystery, Aveline and trusty sidekick Harold travel with Sarah and Lillian to the lonely village of Scarbury, determined to find out the truth of what became of Uncle Rowan. It seems unlikely his house will yeild any clues – sparse and unlived in for years his few possessions lay abandoned gathering dust. The Police allegedly searched the house years ago, yet his study stands locked and the key nowhere to be found.

But supernatural forces follow Aveline and Harold around and they’ve barely had time to unpack before things start to go bump in the night. An unsettling encounter on the stairs in the dead of night leads to the key to the study being revealed. Aveline and Harold begin to sift their way through the stacks of information stored in there (at 3am of course!) and make the shocking discovery that a number of unexplained disappearances haunt the village of Scarbury, locals vanishing into thin air never to return. And they appear to be linked with the Scarbury Long Barrow, an ancient burial ground not far away – a site of interest it seemed for her archaeologist Uncle.

More digging through Rowan’s possessions reveal a collection of cassette tapes. Upon listening to them, Aveline and Harold come to the chilling conclusion that Rowan was researching paranormal activity and the tapes are actual audio footage of séances – Most Haunted eat your heart out, these are seriously scary scenes!

The creepy recordings are enough to scare anyone senseless but the pair are determined to keep searching for answers and the next day, they set out to investigate the Scarbury Long Barrow. Aveline remembers a spooky blog post about Scarbury Harold found on the internet on the train journey up and they decide to email the blogger – hopefully a local person – to see if they know anything. They get a reply back in seconds, sending a grave warning not to visit alone and agree to meet Sammy Adamu-Taylor AKA Spookyblogspot in the village. Sammy tells them a terrifying tale of malevolent, magical forces at work and implores them to stay away, but as Midwinter Night approaches, The Fae draw Aveline ever closer to a dark underworld that awaits…

Autumn has become synonymous with the release of a new Aveline Jones adventure and I’m truly hoping that there will be more supernatural mysteries in the pipeline with our favourite duo Aveline and Harold. I really love how their friendship has developed and strengthened, from shy, akward beginnings in a Malmouth bookshop in book 1 to the paranormal in-bestie-gators they are now 2 books on, they really trust one another and have each other’s backs.

Spooky Season wouldn’t be the same without Aveline and as the promise of another installment has neither been confirmed nor denied, I am going to treat myself to a re-read of the original adventure in the lead up to Halloween.

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones will be published on 27th October by Usborne books.

Click to read my review
Click to read my review

With thanks to Usborne and Netgalley for approving me to read an early copy of this brilliant book in advance of publication.