The Sobeks 2018 – Part 1

Hello Everyone! I hope that you are having a wonderful festive season and welcome to the third annual Sobek Awards.

Named for this blog’s crocodilian mascot, this is a series of four posts that showcase the very best books that I have had the pleasure of reviewing in the past year. As I’m a bit stingy when it comes to giving “starred” reviews on Goodreads, I have selected my choices for each month based on the novels that I have awarded four stars or more. Hopefully, it will give you an idea of what to spend your obligatory Christmas book tokens on!

Anyhow, without further ado, here are winners for January, February and March:

 

January

Footprints in the Snow by Maggie Holman

Publisher: Run Jump Jive

Page Count: 140 pages

Series: N/A

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Ten-year-old Jamie goes to spend the Christmas holidays with his grandfather – his Grancher Pete – in the beautiful and atmospheric Forest of Dean, while his mother goes on a short trip to Paris. Grancher Pete has a new hobby, collecting evidence of an elusive black panther which supposedly lives deep in the forest, and he takes Jamie with him to search for clues. He also introduces Jamie to a traveller family who live in a nearby camp, and Jamie makes friends with their children, Caro, Finn and Molly. The children show Jamie their huge forest playground and he is intrigued by their alternative outlook on life, which includes learning the ‘old ways’ from their grandmother and talking to animals in strange and ancient tongues.

Jamie’s holiday seems perfect when he wakes up to discover that a heavy snowfall has covered the land, and he sets off alone for a snowy play date with his new friends. While he thought he knew the forest well, the landscape looks completely different and he soon becomes lost among the trees. To top it all, Jamie unwittingly puts himself in terrible danger when he accidentally walks into the path of the panther. The legendary animal is real after all, but a more immediate problem is that no-one knows where Jamie is. As the panther creeps towards him, how will anyone be able to find him in time?

 

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Publisher: Penguin

Page Count: 368 pages

Series: The Hazel Wood #1

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began…

 

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Page Count: 488 pages

Series: Timekeeper #2

Genre: Science Fiction / Steampunk

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path―one from which they may never return.

 

February

The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket

Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd

Page Count: 272 pages

Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #8

Genre: Mystery / Gothic / Humour

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

The Baudelaires need a safe place to stay—somewhere far away from terrible villains and local police. A quiet refuge where misfortune never visits. Might Heimlich Hospital be just the place?

In Lemony Snicket’s eighth ghastly instalment in A Series of Unfortunate Events, I’m sorry to say that the Baudelaire orphans will spend time in a hospital where they risk encountering a misleading newspaper headline, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped balloons, and some very startling news about a fire.

 

The Witch’s Tears by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Page Count: 416 pages

Series: The Witch’s Kiss #2

Genre: Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Can true love’s kiss break your heart…?

It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She’s drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven, drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack. But Merry is not the only one whose fairy tale is over.

Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So, when strangers offering friendship show them a different path, they’d be mad not to take it…

Some rules were made to be broken, right?

 

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson

Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd

Page Count: 384 pages

Series: The Extinction Trials #1

Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

In Stormchaser and Lincoln’s ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do ANYTHING to win. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – they can’t afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other…

 

March

The Witch’s Blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Page Count: 416 pages

Series: The Witch’s Kiss #3

Genre: Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Just who can you trust when no one around you is who they seem?

Life as a teenage witch just got harder for Merry when her brother, Leo is captured and taken into an alternative reality by evil witch Ronan. Determined to get him back, Merry needs to use blood magic to outwit her arch-rival and get Leo back. Merry is more powerful than ever now, but she is also more dangerous and within the coven, loyalties are split on her use of the magic. In trying to save Leo, Merry will have to confront evil from her past and present and risk the lives of everyone she’s ever loved. Given the chaos she’s created, just what will she sacrifice to make things right?

 

Threadwalkers by Joanna Volavka

Publisher: 50/50 Press

Page Count: 340 pages

Series: Threadwalkers #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

After her father’s death in a plane crash, Miranda Woodward’s life begins to unravel. On her sixteenth birthday, Miranda receives a mysterious gift: a small wooden box containing a needle and spool of gossamer golden thread, left behind by her father, which begins a chain of events that soon leave her life in chaos. Her pet cat is replaced with another, her teachers don’t have her on their roll call at school, even her closest friends forget who she is. When her mother vanishes into thin air, Miranda becomes desperate for answers. She follows clues to a meet a man known only as the Tailor. With his help, she must find a way to fix her life before it’s too late.

 

Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords by Laura Ellen Anderson

Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd

Page Count: 240 pages

Series: Amelia Fang #2

Genre: Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Amelia Fang is the biggest hearted vampiress you’ll ever meet. In this adventure, she and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST), Grimaldi the Death and Prince Tangine (reformed spoiled sprout), along with her pet pumpkin Squashy, must brave the journey to the terrifying Kingdom of the Light to try to find Tangine’s missing mother, Queen Fairyweather.

But with unicorns, fairies and angel-kittens lurking around every corner, who can they trust? And will they finally uncover the real villain keeping the kingdoms of Light and Dark as mortal enemies?

Join Amelia on her latest adventure. She won’t bite!

 

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Penguin

Page Count: 368 pages

Series: Creekwood #1

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / LGBT

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Page Count: 544 pages

Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1

Genre: Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us. 
Now we rise.

Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

 

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Page Count: 481 pages

Series: Nevermoor #1

Genre: Fantasy

Review: [Link]

Buy it here: [Link]

Synopsis:

Morrigan Crow is cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But, as the clock strikes midnight, she’s whisked away by a remarkable man called Jupter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor.

There she’s invited to join the Wundrous Society. Mystery, magica and protection are hers – if only she can pass four impossible trials, using an exceptional talent. Which she doesn’t have…

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