Hello everybody! Today, I’m so so excited to finally be publishing a post that I’ve been doing to get to for AGES, which is a group of books all somehow linked to meteorology, that I’ve spent the past couple of weeks reading in preparation for reviewing them. On top of loving the idea, I’m also pretty sure this is the most 5 star reviews I’ve ever had in one post, which is pretty cool! Onto the post!
Rainbow Grey by Laura Ellen Anderson (recieved a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
I haven’t read many of the Amelia Fang books, much to my shame, but I’ve really enjoyed the ones I have picked up so I was delighted when a proof copy of this landed on my doorstep, especially because it’s literally the MOST stunning proof I’ve ever seen. It’s the story of a girl named Ray Grey whose life is changed forever after a trip to Earth finally gives her magical ability, even though she was thought to be the one of only Weatherlings without it. It’s hard to tell you a lot more that won’t spoil the plot, but it’s so fast paced and fun that I read it in a single sitting one weekend, smiling and chuckling throughout. The main characters are all absolute darlings, especially Rainbow and her cloud cat, and the names are so much fun (my favourite is Coo Lar Lar, which is just genius!). My very favourite thing, though, was the amazing worldbuilding- I loved learning about all the different types of weather magic and the traditions and customs of the Weatherlings’ world. I also want to mention that the illustrations, done by Laura herself, are so gorgeous and really enhance the story! The ending has left me desperate for book 2, and I hope to go on many more adventures with Rainbow and her friends after that too.
Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury
I’m a huge fan of Melinda Salisbury’s Sorrow duology and I’d heard so many amazing things about this, that I knew I’d have to pick it up even though it’s a gothic horror story and I’m a complete and utter wuss. Unsurprisingly, I was terrified and genuinely thought the monsters in this had broken into my house at one point (in my defense, it was very late at night and pouring with rain…), but nevertheless, I loved it. It’s the story of a girl named Alva who lives in a small Scottish village with her father, who looks after the local loch and is believed to have murdered Alva’s mother seven years before the book begins, which means the two of them are the outcasts of the village. Alva plans to escape, but her efforts are thwarted when monsters start attacking the town and she feels duty bound to stay and try and work out who they are and how to stop them. Alva is an absolute badass; I admired her so much and I loved how militant she was, she was nobody’s damsel and her strength was just incredible. Ren is such a sweetheart, and I also had a huge soft spot for Gavan, but Alva very much steals the show and I couldn’t have loved her any more, even though she doesn’t fit the traditional mould of a likeable heroine. The ending broke my heart, but it was ingenious and I don’t think there could have been a more fitting ending for this deliciously unsettling gothic fantasy, which is like a darker version on Frankenstein with the main theme it explores of what is truly monstrous in society.
The Storm Keepers’ Battle by Catherine Doyle
I’ve really enjoyed both books in this trilogy to date, but the third is just such an epic finale that it very quickly became my favourite of the three. One of my favourite things about this series has been its ability to have me cackling with laughter one minute (some of the one liners are ABSOLUTE GOLD) , and in floods of tears the next (I defy you not to cry at least 5 times during this), and I think this was the installment that did that the post. The plot is so action packed yet no scene ever felt rushed, and I think the battle sequence is by far one of the most thrilling and moving that I have ever read. I adore so many of the characters that if I named them all I’d be typing so many names, but I loved Fionn learning how to wield his power, Sam provided amazing comic relief, Shelby is so cool and I adore her relationship with Fionn, Tara is such an amazing big sister even though they definitely fight a fair bit, and Rose was just incredible. Some of the supporting cast and new additions who come from the mainland to assist in the battle were brilliant as well. I loved the way the magic of the candies was interwoven into the story too, and it was so fun learning even more about the history of Arranmore and the original battle between Dagda and Morrigan. I’m so sad that this was my last trip to Arranmore, but I’m equally excited to see what Catherine writes next, and will undoubtedly be picking it up.
Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray
I picked this up in a Waterstones buy one get one half price deal back in the days where you could actually go inside an actual real life bookshop without COVID rules (they feel so long ago!!), and after hearing some very positive things from some people I trust loads, I was pretty excited to finally get to it. The plot is insanely clever and so hard to explain, but I’ll give it a try- it’s about a place where everywhere in the world bar the City has been drowned by the Enemy, who takes over people’s minds to cause chaos and destruction, and what happens when a boy washes up on the shore and everyone, except for an inventor named Ellie, is convinced he is the Enemy’s first Vessel in over 2 decades. Ellie is such a brave, brilliant protagonist, and I loved her relationships with Anna and Seth, and how caring and kind she was, no matter the personal cost to her. Finn… although I can’t say much about him, is very interesting, and I loved some of the adult characters as well. The worldbuilding is so unique and interesting and well-developed, and I loved the diary extracts threaded throughout which merge with the main plot in a really clever way. Also, there is a twist in this I ABSOLUTELY did not see coming, and I’m fairly sure my jaw literally dropped when it was revealed. I bought the sequel like two days after finishing this, and I’m making plans to read it as soon as possible because I need to know what happens next!!
Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean and illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
Benjamin Dean’s debut is honestly one of the most delightful, fun things I’ve read all year, possibly ever, in fact. It’s the story of a boy named Archie whose dad comes out as gay, and him trying to adjust to his family’s new normal while also trying to support his dad, which culminates in a trip to London Pride. Archie’s narration was just an absolute joy, I loved the way he kept addressing the reader, and he was such a fab character all round really. His best friends Seb and Bell were also brilliant, I especially loved Seb’s tendency to panic, and Bell’s love of crime novels. Their banter was so funny, and I loved how supportive they were of each other. I also loved Archie ‘s relationship with his parents, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a (very young) adult but I found the dynamic between them very interesting. The scenes set at Pride and the people they meet there are incredible (it made me want to go so much!!) and I loved the overall message that you can be whoever you want to be. I can’t wait to see what Benjamin writes next, for another slice of bookish sunshine with lots of humour and heart!
The Weather Weaver by Tamsin Mori
Tamsin Mori’s Shetland-set debut is so reminiscent of E. Nesbitt, that I honestly wouldn’t have believed you that it was only published this year if I hadn’t been eagerly anticipating its release for months. That’s how much it feels like a beloved classic, in my mind. So, believe me when I say that if you’re looking for a gentle yet thrilling fabulism story, you absolutely can’t go wrong with this! It follows a girl named Stella who has to go and stay with her grandfather in Shetland during the summer holidays while her parents are working, and discovers that she has the power to control weather when she meets a mysterious woman named Tamar. I loved the magic in this so, so much- if you know me, you might know that I’m obsessed with clouds, so I honestly can’t imagine anything better than having my very own one, like Stella does with Nimbus. I also adored Stella as a character individually, as well as her friendship with Nimbus and her rather complicated relationship with her grandfather. Despite being Scottish, I’ve never actually been to Shetland, but this has made me really want to go, but until that day comes in real life, I’ll settle for visiting again in Stella’s next adventure.
The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty
I cannot possibly tell you how brilliant Jaclyn Moriarty is, but I need everyone to read everything she’s ever written (which is one of my main reading goals going forward!) because she’s just incredible. The 3rd book in the Kingdoms and Empires follows Bronte’s little cousin Esther, a middle child who is convinced she’s nothing special, who must navigate dealing with a subtly cruel teacher who loves making her the subject of her jokes and jibes, while also protecting her school from the dark magic surrounding it. Make no mistake, I love Bronte and Alejandro, and Finlay and Honey Bee SO MUCH, but Esther is my favourite protagonist in the series. She is so thoughtful and lovely and observant, and she didn’t deserve to feel as unvalued as she did even slightly. In fact, I found myself getting quite angry with some of the people around her who didn’t appreciate her always being there for them, especially her mum and Mrs Pollock (her new teacher, who is rumoured to be an ogre, and behaves much worse than one in my opinion). Speaking of her, I think this book explores the feeling of being mistreated by an adult when you’re young, and although it isn’t necessarily common in schools, as someone who went through this, I can’t tell you how much this book would have meant to me a couple of years ago. I was very very teary at points, although I was laughing loads too because Jaclyn’s writing is HILARIOUS. The world and magic systems this series explores is ridiculously fascinating and super multifaceted, and I honestly don’t think I’m ever going to have read too many, so this is my formal request that the series carries on forever. On that note, whenever the fourth book is released I’m dropping EVERYTHING to read it.
Into the Volcano by Jess Butterworth
If you’ve ever read my blog before, you’ll very likely know that I’m a big fan of Jess’s writing, and Into the Volcano was no exception to this. It’s a dual-narrative story narrated by Seb, whose best friend is injured in a gas-station shooting, and Vivi, whose grandmother dies due to the same crime, coming together to visit Yellowstone national park to make a wish in a rainbow pool, even though the journey is perilous and on top of a super-volcano. I loved both Seb and Vivi so much, and it was really interesting to see how the shooting impacted them both in different ways. The way their friendship developed as the book went on was so lovely, and I was massively shipping their parents as a couple even though Seb and Vivi weren’t quite so keen! As ever, the setting is depicted so incredibly, and described so beautifully, that I felt like I really was there, and almost makes me want to risk my life by visiting Yellowstone and making the same journey someday. The book navigates the themes of grief and anxiety beautifully, in my opinion, and I don’t think there’ll ever be a book by Jess Butterworth I don’t fall head over heels with.
Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
I’ve not read too many of the Rick Riordan imprint releases, but every time I do it makes me want to read them all, because I love learning about mythology that is underrepresented in popular culture. This focuses on Native American mythology, and tells the story of a girl named Nizhoni Begay, who can see monsters, and the journey she, her brother Mac and her best friend Davery, must undertake in order to save her father, who has been kidnapped by his (literally) evil, monstrous new boss Mr Charles. It was so fascinating to discover some of the stories and figures who appear in Native American mythology, all of which were so clever and cool, and I loved the way that Rebecca Roanhorse balanced the modern plotline with the stories of the past that influence it. Nizhoni was such a fun character, who was very easy to empathise with and I loved her brother Mac’s incredible power and Davery’s cleverness. The plot zipped along at a great pace, with plenty of intriguing twists and turns, and I especially enjoyed the four trials the friends faced on the Rainbow Road. I kind of wish this was just the first in the series, but it was a very satisfying standalone, and I’d love to pick up more Rebecca Roanhorse in the future.
City of the Sun by Aisha Bushby and illustrated by Rachael Dean
I really enjoyed the first book in the Moonchild duology last summer, but I think I might have enjoyed the second even more. The series takes place in the Sahar Peninsula and follows Moonchildren, whose jinni companions enhance a certain one of their emotions. This installment follows Farah, who was a supporting character in Amira’s story, and simultaneously explores the consequences of the ending of book one and how Farah’s past has shaped her and made curiosity her dominating emotion. I really loved Farah as a character, and it was so lovely to see her become more sure of herself and her power as the book went on, despite people in her past persecuting her for being different. It was also wonderful to see a bit more of her friendship with Amira, I really enjoyed her bond with Hamad, and her jinni Layla is so sweet.I’m still so obsessed with the concept of jinni in general, and I loved meeting the new ones who appeared in this book, as well as learning about their primary emotion. The style of narration is so wonderful as well. I really wish this wasn’t the last book, but I think the ending was great for the story and I’m very excited to see what Aisha Bushby writes next.
Storm by Nicola Skinner
Every time I read a Nicola Skinner book, it becomes my new favourite Nicola Skinner book, because every single time she just blows my mind a little bit more. This is the story of a girl named Frankie, who dies in a freak tsunami along with her entire village, and then wakes up 102 years later as a ghost to discover her house is being turned into a tourist attraction. Even before the accident she had a temper, which is quite reasonable given that she was born in a storm, but she finds a LOT more to get angry about in the afterlife, which has very interesting results. Frankie narrates her own story and if you don’t adore her, I honestly can’t understand why. She’s so spiky and funny and witty, but she also has so much kindness and love within her, and I think it’s a show of Nicola’s talent that the book is so funny and touching at the same time, through navigating Frankie’s very complex emotions. The humour was so on point and I hardly stopped laughing while reading, but the plot was so exciting too and I couldn’t put it down because I was so desperate to find out what happened. Also, I can’t say much about why they come into the book, but I was so fond of all the other ghosts Frankie meets, and I thought the way her journey ended was beyond perfect.
The Girl with her Head in the Clouds by Karen McCombie and illustrated by Anneli Bray (recieved a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
Karen McCombie’s latest Barrington Stoke novella is a fictionalised account of the life of famous aeronaut Dolly Shepherd, who I hadn’t heard of prior to picking this up, but loved learning about her extraordinary life while reading it. Her journeys up into the sky were thrilling and I loved her bravery, her determination to be kind to everyone as she didn’t know the ins and ours of their lives, and how passionate she was about parachuting, no matter the extreme amount of danger it put her in. I also really liked the way Karen imagined Dolly’s relationship with her family and their reactions to her dangerous new job, her aunt’s were particularly entertaining! The historical setting was great, and I especially enjoyed the inclusion of the suffragettes and a discussion of the importance of their movement. I also really enjoyed learning more about how Dolly’s life turned out; what she did during the first world war, the fact that her mother and daughter followed in her footsteps, and that she lived a long, full life.
Thank you so much for reading! What books connected to weather or meteorology would you recommend? Have you read any of the ones I’ve reviewed? I’d love to hear in the comments!