Little Witch: Hauntings & Hexes

Little Witch: Hauntings & Hexes is written by Australian author Aleesah Darlison and is published by Big Sky Publishing. Aleesah Darlison has written over 36 books and is an award-winning author. This book was illustrated by Christine Schiedel and wouldn’t have made it on the shelves if Aleesah or Christine wouldn’t have started on it.

Little Witch: Hauntings & Hexes is book number 2 in the LITTLE WITCH Series.

The summer holidays are ending, and it is time for Courtney to start at her new school in Mixton Bay. But making new friends, doing lessons, working on homework and practising her witchcraft might be a bit too much for her. All Courtney wishes for is that she doesn’t have to go to school and that the summer holidays won’t end! Courtney has been practising her witchcraft during the holidays and has been trying to make her own spells but they don’t work!

Fitting in at school might not be the easiest thing to do for Courtney, as she has way too many things on her mind, as well as trying to make friends and be a normal schoolgirl. On her first day Courtney has too many butterflies in her tummy and tries a spell to get rid of them, but… the spell goes wrong!

As Courtney’s powers increase, she learns more and more, and the challenges that she face are harder and require lots of concentration and the situations start to intensify.  When Courtney accidentally lets a bad, naughty and troublesome spirit into the world, things get out of control. When Courtney goes to the cemetery to visit her grandmother’s grave, she finds an unknown family crypt, while she is trying to get out of the rain. There she meets a ghost and gets scared out of her wits! Desperate to advance in the ways of witchcraft, Courtney pushes herself to her limits, that then lead to lots of mistakes.

Things start to get dangerous for Courtney and the people closest to her. It is up to Courtney, her grandmother’s magical cat, Ink, and her witch friends to save the day. Will things turn out alright after all? If you would like to find out what happens next, pick up a copy of this fantastic book and read to the end.

This book is a great read, exciting and full of adventure! I love this book because I was looking for something new to read, and I stumbled upon it in the school library, and couldn’t stop reading till the very end. Aleesah Darlison let her imagination run loose and wrote an AMAZING book, which builds a whole new world in our minds as we read through Courtney’s adventures.

If you would like to see the trailer for the LITTLE WITCH series, you can watch it below:

Alice-Miranda in Scotland

Alice-Miranda in Scotland is written by Jacqueline Harvey and illustrated by J. Yi.

It is book  number 17 from the ALICE-MIRANDA Series.

Alice-Miranda and friends are visiting Scotland to attend the Queen’s Colours Youth Leadership Program, and they will be joined by some old friends from earlier books. But, as you would expect, things don’t always go as planned. Alice-Miranda’s invitation gets misplaced and she isn’t sure she can attend, until her friend, Millie, saves the day and sorts things out.

However, as Alice-Miranda is making  new friends, enjoying her sight-seeing and participating in fun activities, she has a funny feeling nagging at her, and she is determined to find out what is going on. She is ready to learn new skills and conquer the challenges that they face, as well as settle a few fiery feuds between friends!

The youth program is being run by some interesting characters including, Miss Cranna, who has a mysterious and dark secret, Miss Stuart who is very bad tempered, and Mr Ferguson, who speaks a little funny sometimes. The tournament reaches its climax and tempers start to fray when the friends go on a scavenger hunt that turns out to be an escape situation!

While we read this book, we become even more curious to discover what Miss Cranna’s secret is and why/where she is going in the middle of the night. Is there maybe another reason that these particular children were chosen for the youth program? If you want to find out more, then pick up a copy of this amazing, glamorous story and read this exciting adventure today.

Jacqueline Harvey has gotten her readers used to Alice-Miranda’s resourcefulness by now. As the beloved character is easily making friends with her kindness, openness, generosity and bubbly personality, we also came to expect that Alice-Miranda is saving the day and setting things right. Will this be true for Alice-Miranda’s adventure in Scotland?

I very much enjoyed Alice-Miranda in Scotland as it is a captivating, action-packed and well written story, with a very satisfying plot and unexpected conclusion. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone between 8 and 14 (but my mum also sneak-peaked and read it when I wasn’t looking). Now I’m looking forward to Alice-Miranda’s next adventure in book number 18.

If you would like to see Jacqueline Harvey read a fragment of Alice-Miranda in Scotland during the book launch at Dymocks on June 2, you can watch it below:

Pippa’s Island: Camp Castaway

Camp Castaway is the 4th book in the PIPPA’S ISLAND series written by Belinda Murrell, a full-time author of wonderful books including LULU BELL, THE TIME SLIP series and THE SUN SWORD TRILOGY series.

In this book, Pippa and her class mates are going on a school camp, but Pippa has never been away on a camp before, at least never to a deserted island… Pippa and her friends are excited and in high spirits and can’t wait to spend five glorious days exploring Shipwreck Island’s wonderful lagoons, beautiful beaches and thick dark forests. But, when the teams get regrouped, Pippa finds herself in a group with Olivia who thinks she’s the boss. Can Pippa learn to cooperate with Olivia and the other girls, or will the camp become a disaster?

Their class teacher, Mrs Marshall, promised the class an exciting, and glorious camp with fun challenges and games, but what she didn’t mention was the tricks! The boys are playing their pranks, but the girls have decided to turn the tables on them, after way too many annoyances!

With mishaps, tricks, and fun Pippa’s camp was a time to remember. It was great to read the book and to find out about Pippa’s and her friends’ new adventures. And there is an incredible lemon pancake recipe at the end of the book for you to enjoy!

I loved this book because I really enjoyed book 1, 2, and 3 of the series, Pippa’s Island: The Beach Shack Cafe, Pippa’s Island: Cub Reporters, and  Pippa’s Island: Kira Dreaming. I was so curious to find out about Pippa’s new adventures, if she would cooperate with Olivia in the end, and if the girls would take revenge on the boys tricks. Belinda’s storytelling is captivating, exciting and draws you in to the very last page.

Read Pippa’s Island: The Beach Shack Cafe review here.

Read Pippa’s Island: Cub Reporters review here.

And read Pippa’s Island: Kira Dreaming review here



Pippa’s Island: Kira Dreaming

Kira Dreaming is the 3rd book in the PIPPA’S ISLAND series written by Belinda Murrell, a full-time author of wonderful books including LULU BELL and THE TIME SLIP series.

Pippa’s school is hosting a talent quest. When Cici and Charlie come up with the wonderful idea to try out for the auditions, Pippa is not so pleased. But her BBF’s couldn’t be more excited to perform! Pippa gets stage fright and messes up, but after a terrible audition the girls get a second chance at the VIP concert. But how can Pippa find a way to concur the butterflies in her tummy?

Meanwhile, at the Beach Shack Cafe, an unknown visitor is causing some chaos when no one is looking, Pippa’s younger brother Harry thinks that the mysterious visitor is a ghost, but Pippa is determined to find the truth. When she finds a clue, Pippa has decided to find out what is going on, and when the mischievous cafe thief is found, it turns out to be a super cute kitten.

With her friends having different ideas and interests, and other mishaps, it’s great to read the book to find out about Pippa’s and her friends’ new adventures. And there is yummy mango madness smoothie recipe at the end of the book to remind you of summer and the ocean cafe!

I loved this book because I really enjoyed book 1 and 2 of the series, Pippa’s Island: The Beach Shack Cafe and Pippa’s Island: Cub Reporters. I was so curious to find out about Pippa’s new adventures, how she was settling into her home, and what fun she was going to have in this book. Belinda’s storytelling is captivating, exciting and draws you in to the very last page.

Read Pippa’s Island: The Beach Shack Cafe review here.

And read Pippa’s Island: Cub Reporters review here.


Yay! It’s Library Day!

Yay! It’s Library Day! is a picture book written by Australian author Aleesah Darlison published by Wombat Books and illustrated by students from all over Australia, who chosen to work on this project after an illustration competition. Aleesah Darlison has written over 36 books and is an award-winning author. She is currently touring Australia to launch Yay! It’s Library Day! and hold creative workshops at various schools and venues.

In this newly launched book, Oliver and Ivy wake up one morning, run into their parents bedroom and wake them with shouts of joy, “Yay! It’s Library Day!” As he promised, their dad takes them to the library and they scour the shelves looking for the perfect books. As they pick up and start reading a book, they get so absorbed in it that they feel it real and their whole world transforms around them. They see dancing elephants in tuxedos, go to fairytale lands, have ocean adventures, and fly across the sky on a magic carpet.

This book is a good read, exciting and easy to relate to. The experiences described in the book are those of every day readers, as we tend to let our imagination loose and build a whole world in our minds as we read.

I enjoyed being part of the launch event, hearing Aleesah talk about the way she writes, and looking at the students’ illustrations in the book. Our school is lucky to have one of our former student’s drawing featured in Yay! It’s Library Day! 


Kensy and Max: Breaking News

Breaking News  is the first book in KENSY AND MAX series written by the Australian author, Jacqueline Harvey, and illustrated by J. Yi.

Kensy and Max Grey are 11 years old twins who have been travelling all their life, always moving to a different place after a few months. They are taken to London by their manny only to find that their parents are missing and that they are in quite a pickle. Their life will never be the same again. As they go on a quest to find their parents there are so many things that don’t add up: their school friends, the people on their street, the coded and encrypted messages they keep finding, their continuously buzzing watches, and they feel like there are secrets all around them.

When Kensy and Max are nearly kidnapped, they know that things are going to get stranger. When Kensy sees what she thinks is one of the bizarre grandmas doing flips, splits, handstands and cartwheels one night, then a robbery a few days later, she knows something isn’t quite right. As things become stranger and stranger, they start to find more and more bizarre newspaper clippings and messages, and they think that there is a chance for their parents to be alive!

Kensy is very competitive, really good at science and knows her way around any machine, while Max is very perceptive, and has an amazing photographic memory. The twins pair these skills with Kensy’s ability to pick locks and Max’s ability to crack codes in order to get out of trouble and find their way to the other side of this mystery.

Will Kensy and Max uncover the truth about their parents and what all this madness is about? You’ll have to read the book in order to find out!

I can tell you I loved reading the adventures of the two new characters, Kensy and Max. The great thing is that they are siblings and we get to see some of the issues they need to learn to work through: sometimes they fight, get upset with each other, but they also take care of each other, they help each other and put their heads together to solve the mystery of their missing parents.

I found the first book of this new series a bit more intense and exciting then Jacqueline’s previous two series. But there is one constant: the characters are very resourceful, determined and willing to go to great lengths to do the right thing and accomplish their goal. Also, Jacqueline’s writing is captivating and witty, drawing you in the new adventure we all embarked on when Kensy and Max were introduced to the world.

KENSY AND MAX series is geared to slightly older kids as well, but my younger brother has been waiting for me to finish reading it so he could sneak away with it, too. I think it will be a great success with both boys and girls across middle and upper primary school years.

Penguin Books Australia also put together a fun video trailer for this exciting spy story:

If you like this book, be sure to read the others written by Jacqueline Harvey: Alice- Miranda series and Clementine Rose series.

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence, is the first book in THE UNCOMMONERS series written by the U.K. author, Jennifer Bell, and is illustrated by Karl James Mountford.

Ivy and Sebastian Sparrow know there is trouble ahead when their Granma Sylvie has just been rushed to hospital and when they arrive home, they find her house had been raided by intruders. There is also a warning message encrusted on the kitchen wall. Plus there are two funny looking police officers on the house doorstep in weird looking uniforms waving around what seem to be toilet brushes. The officers wish to interview the children, but Ivy and Seb feel something is not quite right.

The children manage to escape with the help of Valian, a strange looking boy who hides them in a suitcase. From now onwards, they are transported to the magical city of Lundinor, under the streets of London. Nothing is quite what it looks like, common objects have magical powers, help comes from the strangest and most unexpected places and people. Ivy and Seb face the challenge of getting out of Lundinor, while they also uncover their family’s hidden past and are threatened by a very powerful but evil group.

Ivy and Seb have obstacles to face and scary fantasy creatures ahead of them as they try to escape Lundinor safe and sound. Will Ivy and Seb be able to go back to their London home?

I really enjoyed reading this book and finding out what happens to Ivy and Seb, discovering their adventures, the hidden family secret and part of the truth about Granma Sylvie. The pace and rhythm of the story is fast, things change quickly and everything is unpredictable. You just need to keep reading to find out what happens next!