Archives for the month of: June, 2015

Published by Chicken House / Not yet published at time of going to post: September 2015

I have read 295 pages of the 368 that make up this proof and I can’t remember when I have enjoyed a book as much. Which is why I am reviewing it before I have finished it. There are books like that, that you want to read, but also that you don’t want to end, and this is one of them.

It is the tale of two stories plaited together, switching back and forth between the present day and 1867. Tales of Montana, and four characters bound together. Two love stories entwined. There is history, drama, horses, adventure and everything to hope for. I trust the last 70 odd pages are as good as the first 300 – we will see. A book to look out for and to savour.

I finished this on the train to work this morning.

I cried.

The ending is as it should be – a brilliant bitter-sweet tale of adventure and romance.


Published by Nosy Crow

This is a book for those followers of superheros, whether they be Batman, Superman or any of the others that regularly save the world from destruction. This is not a graphic novel. Initially I wasn’t sure about this one and felt it was perhaps too light. I have, since I finished it, however, changed my mind.

A younger brother finds his brother has been given super powers. With that comes responsibility and he finds that he gains responsibilities too, that both surprise and challenge him. A superhero needs not only support, a cloak, but a mask and secrecy too.

Further more, there is usually someone out there, who is trying to take over or destroy the world and sometimes a superhero can do with a little help. Well quite a bit.

This was great fun, it also dealt with some serious issues. If your brother is a superhero has been captured, what exactly do you tell your parent’s? Especially the day before the world is due to end…

Light, but fun and we can all do with a little of that!

Once more, I am unsure as to whether the cover will stay as it is advertised on the ‘Net’ – advertised for July.

2015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 0222015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 1402015 Madagascar Red Camera 2812015 Madagascar Red Camera 243 2015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 581 2015 Madagascar Red Camera 3022015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 253   2015 Madagascar Red Camera 340   2015 Madagascar Red Camera 051      2015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 073   2015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 229                            2015 Madagascar Red Camera 386     2015 Madagascar Big Camera Vol 1 029     
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Published by Scholastic / Not yet published: October 2015

I wasn’t sure about this. I am used to selling a ‘sub genre ‘ of  titles written by Holly Webb to young 5 – 8-year-old girls. Still, it is the new sequel to The Secret Garden, and for that reason alone, let alone Holly Webb’s prodigious list of published books it deserved to be read with due respect. I finished my last book last night and started this. Emmie is evacuated from her orphanage in London at the start of the Second World War and has to leave the stray cat she has befriended behind. Confused, frightened and very lonely she really isn’t happy even though she seems to have gained considerable freedom in Yorkshire. Initially it felt like a Holly Webb book, which isn’t a bad thing, but not necessarily right for this, however I strongly believe that a book that incites an emotional response is a good one, and I found my self extraordinarily moved by this tale as I came home this evening. I shall take to Yorkshire and give my proof to my sister to read – she always loved The Secret Garden and I’m sure she will love this too!

The language may not be as detailed and descriptive as Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic, however, the story is none the less a solid, well-rounded story and is certainly one I can recommend. A note – you don’t have to have read The Secret Garden to enjoy this – it can easily stand alone. Further there is a listing on the Internet for another book under the same title by a Susan Moody. This is not the same. Once again, the cover may change before publication.

Published by Scholastic / Not yet Published September 2015

To be honest I am unsure in which age group I should put this small volume. Essentially it is about a young boy who believes he is actually a girl. The female pronoun is used for George throughout the book, which is a clever touch, but also slightly confusing. It is possibly the reason for using it.

George seems very young to me to be dealing with transgender issues. Which isn’t something I have had to experience, either for myself or as a friend of someone who has. So perhaps I am naive about this. The story of George and how he begins to let the world know is a touching one, though it also seems a little simplistic, but as an introduction to the idea, perhaps it is something that should be ‘out there’.

It is set in America, with American references and spellings etc. I don’t know whether these last will be changed for the English publication, but it might be worth noting for those who will be examined in English in the UK.

As always with proofs that haven’t yet been published, the cover may be subject to change…

January 2017 –

I have been asked to review my last post about this small volume by a customer who has direct experience of the subject; her son, born a daughter. He expressed his belief from a very early age and so, I have made a note that it should be within the 9 – 12 age group.

The use of the ‘correct’ pronoun for suffers is important – and within this story, though initially confusing for those of us who haven’t come across sexual dysphoria directly, is right and proper – and not just a device.

This is an important volume – it is not a subject that is covered in fiction for children, it is a unique children’s book in my experience. As such may be of help to those who are affected by this.

Having looked on the NHS site dealing with sexual dysphoria they suggest that anyone who has or has a child who may be showing signs that they have it, that they should contact their GP who may well refer them on to a specialist Gender Identity Clinic.

History Press Ltd / ISBN 978 0750955850

E. F. ‘Teddy’ Norton was a member of the 1922 & 1924 Everest expeditions. He set the then world altitude record (without oxygen) of 28,126 feet and is regarded as one of the greatest Everest leaders.

This volume of his private diaries and sketches is an extraordinary account. His water colours are atmospheric and beautiful; particularly of the mountain. These really should be reproduced as postcards or prints to be sold along side this slim but important landscape volume, or perhaps included with the book. This is the first time these diaries, sketches and watercolours have been published and they detail the trials and tribulations of early expeditions to Everest. It really is a lovely tribute.

Published by David Fickling Books

ISBN 9781910200674

This was astonishingly good. Garvie Smith has the highest IQ and the lowest grades, ever recorded in his school. He is a young man who goes his own way. Applies his own logic and stands out a little from his friends and those around him. He knows about imaginary numbers (I don’t) – and applies the logic of mathematics to the daily conundrums that happen around him. Exams are on the horison, and getting closer, and his mother is worried.

Then an ex-girlfriend is found dead, and he finds himself drawn into the investigation. His curiosity is sharpened and he starts looking at the crime in his own inimitable way. In the process he meets DI Singh with whom he has a rather antagonistic relationship. The story is complex, the characters are superb – and I really rather ‘fell’ for Garvie. Which is strange as my brother would tell you; I have never been one for numbers. Perhaps he (my brother) can explain imaginary numbers to me. If he can’t it won’t matter, it adds to the ‘seasoning’ for want of a better phrase, of Garvie’s character.

This is a marvellous book. Another book for the Crime genre for young readers. It is extraordinary and I was sorry when the book came to an end, though pleased to see there is at least one more book about Garvie to come. I shall buy it.

Published by Catnip ISBN 9781846471636 / Not yet Published (‘June’)

Crowham Martyrs boarding school is not for the faint hearted. Maddy has seen ghosts all her life, but when she starts at her new school she starts to have visions and blacks out. There is a strong smell of burning. The sounds of flames and screaming….

I have always quite liked witches and I have always enjoyed stories about them. For younger readers – The Worst Witch series (Jill Murphy), and the Wickedest Witch books (Martin Howard)…then there are the ‘Potter’ books too. None though have covered the persecution of witches, and certainly not quite as vividly as Jane  has done in this. It is quite extraordinary and just a little, well more than a little, disturbing. Full of witches and demons….’There is one more monstrous than the rest…’

Not to be read just before sleep…

The cover shown on the Internet is that above – which to me looks a little dull…Perhaps something by Arthur Rackham would be more interesting…

Published by Little Brown / ISBN 978 0349124551 9 – 12

Not yet Published

Written in the form of a diary, this relates the story of Joe, left home alone by his mother and her boyfriend. It is a tale of hope, bravery and friendship. It is also one of responsibilities. A story that I suspect isn’t as rare as you might think. The world is made up of strange stories and this is a peculiarly enticing rendering of just one of them.

It is also the tale of someone’s paradise…

Published by Egmont / ISBN 978 1405276177

I loved this – a traditional crime mystery. This seems to be a new genre for the 9 – 12 age group, and a small number have been published. This though is the most atmospheric and also intricate tale. Set in an emporium much like Selfridges, or Harrod’s. I worked in the Waterstone’s branch in Harrods for 15 odd years and it was remarkable how this tale of theft, murder and general mayhem took  me back – I felt that Katherine Woodfine had probably worked there.

Brilliant fun, and a beautifully complex murder story – the best of this new genre for younger readers so far. I am pleased to report that there is to be a second in the series, to be published this September (2015) – The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth. If it is anything like as good as this I think Katherine Woodfine is on to a very good thing. I will look forward to reading that too.