A Street Dog Named Pup by Gill Lewis | Waterstones

Published by David Fickling Books.

…Rex sighs. ‘And dogs are so much better at that than man’…

There is something about the connection between dogs and wolves. At times it seems incongruous that the small Miniature Pinscher nestled in a customer’s arms could be related to the European Wolf (Canis lupus lupus). Then there’s that glint in the eye that says there is something more to this charming, not to say cute being.

Gill Lewis, an author for whom I have a great deal of respect has written this moving, touching tale about the connection between humans and dogs and more. There are times when I am ashamed of being of the human race – particularly when it comes to the cruelty we show not just to ‘our’ animals, but also to our young too.

It could be said that this is ‘just’ a story about a puppy, his life and what happens to him as he lives it. It is, however, so much more – a tale of bravery, friendship and love. Not just between man and dog, but between dogs themselves too. It is the story of dogs of character – an understatement there – not just Pup, but Frenchi, Saffy, Merle, Rex, and Lady Fifi to name just a few. It will make that all important connection. Whether you are a ‘dog’ person or cat – this is a book that will make an impression.

Miles, was a mild, kindly gentleman who was once stolen from my sister – he landed up with a human gang – where dog fighting was the ‘sport’ of choice. He was reported to the police, after neighbours stole him away – as they said that Miles just sat down and looked bemused at the aggression shown by the dogs that were set to fight him. He didn’t understand what was going on. Why they were so keen to fight. He was, as I said a mild, kindly gentleman of a Rottweiler – appearances can be so deceptive. His was a story that could so easily have been part of A Street Dog Named Pup, and could so easily have had a different ending. To say he was welcomed home with joy, is a very great understatement. I am pleased to say he lived the rest of his life in luxury and his ‘adventure’, apart from some scars on his feet changed nothing in his character. A gentleman to the end.

My sister has just acquired a new puppy, now a little older – perhaps more a young Doberman – who she is bringing down to London at the end of this week. I hope to make friends, to make that understanding. One thing I do know – Mia won’t have the life described so vividly in A Street Dog Named Pup – she has a home for life…

Please visit Gill Lewis’ Internet site: http://www.gilllewis.com/web/

This book was written to make us more aware:

We shouldn’t be changing the shape of the kibble. 

We should be changing the shape of the dog. 

We should be changing the conversation. 

Stories allow us to have empathy for another being. 

So let us imagine what it is to walk a mile in dogs’ paws. 

Let’s start a conversation – and begin that first step. 

Patrice Aggs (@PatriceAggs) | Twitter

Published by David Fickling Books.

I don’t usually review graphic novels – there have been one or two in the past – but they have to be good for me to get into them. For some reason I haven’t read many and too many I have started seem light, both in execution and in content.

This though is a story that everyone should read. Illustrated by Patrice Aggs, the text is by Joe Brady – a combination that obviously works. A story that is a reflection of so much of the world. A world torn apart by civil war. A story of one family and two sisters…

Parents are always trying to decide exactly who we are. But they don’t get to. That’s up to us, you know? Besides, I’m your sister. I know you way better than Mum, and even Dad and – sensitive, strong, different, whatever – I think you are awesome.


Of course I do.

Bold, modern and moving…it is, to quote the last page…to be continued… which was frustrating – now I have to wait.

The Incredible Talking Machine

Published by Simon and Schuster

A tale of a false eye.

An automata that isn’t quite what it seems. A haunting. Jealousy, bravery and a mystery unlike any other.

Something round, cool and smooth to the touch, like a new marble. She drew it out and held it up to the light. It was white with a nutmeg brown ring and a black spot. it wasn’t a marble.

Set in a haunted theatre in Manchester – this story is a tale of brotherly jealousy a ghost and all things theatrical….

It is Jenni Spangler’s second book – her first The Vanishing Trick if not already read – should be bought at the same time – both have a mystery with a little something else about them. They would make a wonderful pair of books to read over the summer holidays… They have a feeling of being a pair of sibling books…

David Fickling Books på Twitter: "'Utterly,' the waves were whispering. ' Utterly. . .' To celebrate #WorldOceansDay we're giving away 3 proofs of Utterly  Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip

Published by David Fickling Books

NYP – September 2021

A book for those holidays at the coast – with wide beaches and enormous skies and the sea stretching as far as the eye can see. This an atmospheric dark tale of duty, legends, sea witches and love…

I could almost smell the sea as I read this – superbly written, with a mystery running through it – a tale of promises, inheritance and a creature of the sea…

He was played there like a four-limbed starfish, with the absolute carelessness that only the deeply sleeping and the dead possess.

Philip Reeve is one of those authors – he has an ability to use language to paint a picture – in just a few words that says everything…

…because the sea was roaring so, the wind was wuthering around the stones, and from the west, like a roll of kettledrums, came the first long grumble of thunder as the storm cleared its throat…

Utterly engrossing and entwining – to be read on a headland, perhaps, with the wind around your ears and the sun shining, and the birds cutting through the air above you. Perhaps, not to be read close to the shore at night, or when the rain begins to clatter against the tiles and the sky turns a peculiar yellow-green…


Robin Scott-Elliot (@RobinScottEllio) | Twitter

Published by Everything with Words

A Jewish family in Paris, 1942. A young girl plays hide and seek with her family. Hiding deep in a wardrobe, her special place. Only to hear the sound of boots, a hammering on the door. Voices. The sound of feet approaching the wardrobe door, only to move away and the house falling into silence. All pervading, all encompassing silence. A tale of betrayal, bravery and a ‘game’ of hide and seek.

She didn’t need mothers fussing over her, treating her as a child.

Not when Amelie Dreyfus was going to war.

The tension in this book is such that I think it is similar to that which is all pervasive in a country over run by the enemy – whoever they might be. I’m not sure how I would have managed in the last war. Even ‘safely’ in England as my father was. Let alone in an occupied city.

The less you know, the braver you can be.

Stephen Grady

This is a book I didn’t put down.

It’s an important book – that stays with you long after you have finished it.

Another superb story from Robin Scott-Elliot…

Finn's Garden Friends - Finn's World (Paperback)

Published by Pikku Publishing

Initially I was contacted by Rachel Lawson and she asked if I would stock this picture book. Usually I find, authors who are promoting their own books have a wildly different belief in the commercial aspects of their work, than I do. Only once before have I agreed to stock an author’s book (Nessie and Me by Samia Rida) – so this is rather special.

Finn’s Garden Friends is a charming story about Finn, who has moved into the city with his family. Things are very different compared to where he used to live – and one of the worst changes is that the flat doesn’t even have a garden. It does, however, have an allotment – well to be more accurate Grandpa Sid, has an allotment.

A gentle book about change and nature. With beautiful illustrations by Lia Visirin. It is a paperback and is retailing at £8.99 – a little more than the usual, however, it does have French flaps – which is a nice touch.

The Secret Detectives - Nosy Crow

Published by Nosy Crow

“Nor do I, now,” said Isobel. “She died too.”

Mrs Colonel Hartington-Davis shot her an alarmed glance…

Passed on, I think,” Mrs Colonel Hartington-Davis said to Isobel…

“Died like the chicks died when the snake got them?” said Horace, suddenly from the floor.

“If she died,” said Isobel, “why can’t I say died?”

A sentiment that I wholly understand. I am not one for people or animals ‘passing’. They die. From page 11 I realised that I was beginning to like Isobel. She and I are of like mind…I also appreciate Horace. Direct and to the point. Perhaps not tactful, but then ‘they’ will tell you that I’m regularly not.

This is a story of Isobel, returning to England after her parents have died, under the care of Mrs Colonel Hartington-Davis. She is not like Mrs Colonel H-D’s daughter – as unalike as the traditional chalk and cheese. So it seems.

Isobel disliked Letitia form the very start.

This was not because Letitia disliked Isobel, although she probably did.

Everybody disliked Isobel, perhaps because she herself disliked almost everybody.

This is a murder mystery set on a ship – where not only is the identity of the murderer unknown, but so is that of the lost body. It seems there can’t have been a murder…but the murder was seen – so who was the unknown body – and why isn’t anyone else searching for the missing passenger?

Great fun – as I said I liked Isobel – she has a wonderful imagination…though that is surprising for someone who doesn’t read…

…a thousand poison ants crawling into Letitia’s long hair and the collar of her sailor dress, stripping the flesh from her bones, even –

So – one for those who enjoy the Murder Most Unladylike series (Robin Stevens) & Violet Veil Mysteries (Sophie Cleverly) – and hopefully the start of a new series about Isobel

Head of Zeus / Zephyr Books

There is no fate. No destiny. Everything is a choice.

The Scarlet Pimpernel books (Baroness Orczy). were fun, I remember. They didn’t compare, however, to these two books encompassing a brilliant tale of adventure, betrayal and intrigue.

I don’t on the whole read many YA titles – young adults tend to know what they want to read and often aren’t that interested in suggestions. Dangerous Remedy, however, is a book not to be missed and Monstrous Design (out now in hardback and paperback in February 2022) – is as engrossing…

‘Hate isn’t the worst thing someone can feel. The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s apathy.’

Dangerous Remedy was sent to me by the publicity department of Head of Zeus and I couldn’t put the thing down. Nearly missed my stop on the train yesterday, desperately trying to finish it before I had to stop to drive home…

On arrival I went to my large pile of ‘books to read’ – and found the second in the series, a proof of Monstrous Design …and I disappeared into that last night, on the way to work, through my lunch, and travelling home again…

The choices we make are all we have that define us.

This is the French Revolution with a very distinctive twist. Well, actually several twists. A fantastic tale set in 1794 in Paris. A story wrapped around two central heroines, an aristocrat and an army deserter. Not to mention the girl they have just saved from the guillotine… a tale of treachery…love…betrayal and science. With elements of Alexander Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask, grotesque and fantastic – so atmospheric…Frankly they books are brilliant.

To betray someone, first you must begin with trust.

SO glad I remembered receiving the proof of Monstrous Design…to be able to finish the first and go on to the second has been a joy.

Witch (Hardback)

Published by the wonderful Zephyr, imprint of Head of Zeus

We were witches. And she would know it.

A tale of sisters. I have sister. I also have two witches in my ancestry – as does she. Somehow this felt like a story about them…

A story set in the time of the English Civil War – a time of turmoil, fear, bigotry and prejudice. A dark period of our history. This is a tale for YA or those with a dark side to them – it is not always a pleasant tale. How could it be? Though there are parts that made me laugh. It is a tale of vengeance, revenge, and power. It’s also a tale of magic of the old sort. A tale of witches. A glorious story of sisters too.

So this then, is a book for all sisters, a book of understanding – it is stunning.

I gardened this morning for three hours, then sat on a bench under my apple tree, with my Abyssinian familiar lying across the top of the gate, whilst I finished this. Somehow that was right.

In hardback at the moment, it was published last year – October 2020, the paperback is due out this October – but don’t wait. It is worth every penny.

I forgot! I must mention the stunning illustrations throughout this book. The chapters are small slices and each has an illustration to tempt and entice. This was written and illustrated by the author. A stunning volume. For reasons only they will know Zephyr chose to have the dust jacket designed by Edward Bettison. Atmospheric and beautifully dark.

The end papers, both stuck and loose are a grand orange, as is the headband and tail too. Which is a lovely touch. Further the hardback edition has an orange ribbon book mark. Which my familiar played with as I lay in the sunshine this morning reading…she on her back attacking it with vigour. Sadly one page is slightly torn as a result. I wasn’t paying attention.

Published by Harper Collins

This Wonderful Thing (Paperback)

They weren’t called teddies. They were called ‘Soft toys’, which is SO wrong.

And so it is.

Cinnamon the Curly Hair Brown Teddy Bear by Aurora | Teddy bear plush, Teddy  bear stuffed animal, Teddy bear doll

This, then, is a tale of bears. Teddy bears, both fluffy and otherwise. A tale too of families and siblings. Specifically the merging of two families. A mystery and the Tudors… Funny – yet again another fantastic story from the Baron stable.

‘Families what?’

‘Don’t all have to look the same to be families, you know?’

And I did know.

I was a little disappointed by the cover of this. It didn’t quite reflect the story – which was a pity. It should too have been sold with a soft ‘cute’ teddy. Failing that – I should have been sent a prepublication / proof copy, with a teddy in the box…

You know, however, to never judge a book by its cover. I never do. Well, apart from the odd occasion. This one, not to be missed.