The Sobeks 2017 – Part 1

Hello Everyone!

As Christmas has now passed, perhaps you have found yourself in possession of the greatest of gifts – the book token. As I appreciate that you might be struggling to decide which brilliant book to buy, I figured it was time to post up this year’s winners of the coveted Sobek Award. These are the novels that I read over the course of the year that I awarded 4 or 5 stars to on Goodreads – the ones that I would definitely recommend that you go out and buy.

As I’m a very picky reader, take it from me that these books are something really special. Let’s take a look at my hot picks from January, February and March:

January

Fish Boy by Chloe Daykin

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Page Count: 304 pages

Series: None

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Magical Realism

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

People call me Fish Boy. My skin goes up and down like the waves. My mind goes in and out like the sea. They say I’ve always got my mouth open, that I ask too many questions. But what’s wrong with that?

Billy’s got a lot on his mind – that he’d rather not think or talk about. So he watches David Attenborough, because Sir David’s asked all the questions and got all the answers, and swims in the sea, just letting his mind drift …

So when new boy and nature fan Patrick Green starts at school with ‘fingers like steel, strength of a bear’ and a mackerel swims up to Billy’s face, blows bubbles into his Vista Clear mask goggles and says: ‘Fish Boy’, Billy knows he can’t keep it secret, because…a crazy talking mackerel changes EVERYTHING.

 

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Page Count: 352 pages

Series: Shades of London #1

Genre: Paranormal / Horror

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old American girl Rory has just arrived at boarding school in London when a Jack the Ripper copycat-killer begins terrorising the city. All the hallmarks of his infamous murders are frighteningly present, but there are few clues to the killer’s identity.

“Rippermania” grabs hold of modern-day London, and the police are stumped with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. In an unknown city with few friends to turn to, Rory makes a chilling discovery…

Could the copycat murderer really be Jack the Ripper back from the grave?

 

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Publisher: Walker Books

Page Count: 496 pages

Series: Lady Helen #1

Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her curtsey to Queen Charlotte and step into polite Regency Society. Unbeknownst to Helen, that step will also take her from the glittering ballroom of Almack’s and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of demonic creatures, missing housemaids and deadly power.

Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of dubious reputation and infuriating manners. He believes Helen is destined to protect humanity, but all he can offer is danger, savagery and the possibility of madness. Not the kind of destiny suitable for a young lady in her first London Season.

 

February

Boudica’s Daughters by Sheridan Winn

Publisher: Sheridan Winn

Series: None

Page Count: 246 pages

Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

A hard-hitting, coming-of-age novel from the author of the bestselling Sprite Sisters series, set on two timelines – one contemporary, the other Iron Age.

14-year old Lilla’s psychic power sets her apart from others. Often doubted, she is the clumsy younger sister to Janey’s swan. In the sweltering July heat the Harrison family move to Grove End, an old farmhouse deep in Norfolk’s Breckland. Two thousand years ago the area was home to the Iceni tribe and their Warrior Queen, Boudica. Now, Nighthawks – illegal metal detectorists – are searching the woods for Iceni treasure. When Lilla sees the ghosts of Boudica’s daughters, she learns the trees hide an ancient mystery.

Janey’s arrival brings upset as she reveals her own dark secret. Overwhelmed by a sense of failure, she no longer knows who she is or what she wants. Shocked and struggling to cope, her parents try to help but are wrestling with their own feelings.

It is Lilla who must find the strength to help her sister. With Boudica’s daughters as her guides, her journey takes her into the ancient past and tests her sense of self-belief to the limit. Can Lilla save her sister and lay the Iceni bones to rest?

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Series: None

Page Count: 324 pages

Genre: Science Fiction

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? SQUIRRELS! Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of…a squirrel! After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born! She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go…NUTS?

 

March

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Series: Strange the Dreamer #1

Page Count: 544 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

 

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Publisher: Penguin

Series: None

Page Count: 320 pages

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.

Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.

But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.

Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

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