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Waterstones has a Children’s Book of the Month (CBOTM) and these are promoted to customers nationally throughout the year.

Since I have such a loyal following of customers in my store I have been given permission to choose my own Children’s Book of the Month – in effect a CBOTM specifically chosen for customers visiting Finchley Road O2.


This then is the launch of

Sue’s Children’s Book of the Month: SCBOTM



is Lucy Strange’s new book

Our Castle by the Sea

a phenomenally good adventure story set at the beginning of the Second World War. Full of intrigue, secrets and traitors. I have already reviewed it – but will be marking it as SCBOTM along with the others for the rest of the year.

Lucy Strange has said that once we have sorted a date between us, that she will come to sign copies!

Details will be posted on, and on Twitter.

An opportunity not to be missed.

I hope to see you all in the new year.


Image result for super cats rees bloomsbury

Published by Bloomsbury

This is due to be published on the 4th of April – so a review from another proof (very gratefully received), but not a book for Christmas.

This is for all young readers who happen to love felines, books, adventures and SUPERHERO’S! This is wonderful – I loved it. Tagg finds out his parents are not the usual run of the mill Tom & Queen cats. Neither is his brother, from a previous litter.

Related imageA story of superheros and a super villain too – a real romp of a book. Not the usual run of the mill 5 – 8 story. A little more complicated, clever and intriguing.

One for the spring. One to keep an eye out for. This age group doesn’t have many new books that are good.

Filled with pictures (always a good thing) and an adventure with a twist or two.

Image result for our castle by the sea chicken house

Published by Chicken House

There really is something about Chicken House. They seem to publish good books. Well written with interesting plots. This is another such.

Set at the beginning of the ‘last’ war (the Second WW). Pet’s world is secure. She is happy living with her parents, & older sister in a lighthouse at the coast. Her father is responsible for the light – and as the war begins, for messages of national importance. Her mother, an artist, is originally from Germany. Things change as fears grow of the possibilities of submarines in their cove. As propaganda takes hold. Pet and her sister find themselves dealing with anti-Germanic racism at school, and then at home, when Mutti comes under verbal attack. Then she is taken away by the authorities…

This is full of mysteries and secrets, What was Mutti doing early in the morning and what was Pet’s sister doing, if she wasn’t overhauling her small boat? Is everything and everyone, as innocent as they seem, as they should be? Pet finds herself questioning the very basis of her relationship with her family.

I am in the middle of this (page 146 of 132) – a book I am now carrying around with me and reading with great pleasure at quiet times at work (not many of those at the moment), on the train, and just before I turn over to curl around the cat to fall asleep.

Brexit might be a problem. Is a problem, but we have as a Nation gone through so much more. This is a tale of one such time – one that I am relieved not to have lived through.

A book that asks the questions hardest to answer. Who are you, your family? Your nationality? Especially if born in one country, but with your own family living in another. Particularly at times of war.

This is Lucy Strange’s second book and is, I think, better than the first (The Secret of Nightingale Wood), which is always good – I love it when author’s writing improves…as they go on to their next book. Particularly if the first one is good too – it can only get better!

Read it. A superb book for Christmas.

I have just finished it. I am pleased to say it is one of those books that you have to put down, once in a while, as you become more worried about what is going to happen and are hoping it is all going to turn out as you would like. A stupendous book.


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Published by Harper Collins

I received this through the post, from my oldest friend who lives in Cork, Ireland. It is of Irish decent. I have always liked the Irish (particularly this one) – and this is a superb book. It reminds me a little of the Derek Tangye stories set in Cornwall, I think, that I used to read many years ago.

This though, is set in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland on a sheep farm ( Zwartbles). Bodacious is the chief feline who oversees the work of the farm, from the dosing of the lambs in spring, keeping the rats and mice at bay, ensuring the eggs are collected from the egg-makers, walking the fields with The Shepherd, and accompanying The Shepherd when she is travelling on the quad bike…amongst other occupations.

This is a rather charming wonderful book of a cat whose responsibilities are taken seriously, with an eye on the wildlife and the stories he has been told: Bodacious’ own story is one to bask in – like a heat lamp…

It is really rather special.

The cat on the cover is credited to the author (along with the black faced sheep on the left), and though it doesn’t state so on the flap, I think the feline sitting with such certainty on the post is Bodacious.

It is a charming tale of an extraordinary cat. I too had an extraordinary cat, which is probably why the book was sent to me. Pakka and I would walk the common, and hunt together…though I think I was probably more of a hindrance.  Particularly when she might have caught a vole / shrew – which I would gain from her and then release. She went down rabbit holes too, whilst I waited ‘up-top’, so I do understand Bodacious’ appreciation of The Shepherd stopping and watching quietly. My new familiar is young still, so our relationship is in the early stages, but we are beginning to understand one another.

Image result for zwartbles crampton

Relationships such as these are to be celebrated. The author, though, seems to have taken this a little further: she has an appreciation and special relationship with most of the creatures that she has come across – this is a joy and a must buy for Christmas.

Though having read about the breed, I’m not sure that I don’t need a Zwartbles rug… Actually I know this to be the case…and Sakka would like it too, I’m sure!







Waterstones Finchley Road Book Festival 2018

The following authors and illustrators are due to visit Waterstones Finchley Road O2 (O2 Centre, Finchley Road, London NW3 6LU) to sign copies of their books.  Both their new publications and some of their back list on Sunday.

CHRISTOPHER WILLIAM HILL / What Manor of Murder / 9 – 12 /     Between 11 & 2 pm

TRACEY MATHIAS / Night of the Party / YA / Between 11 & 2 pm

MAYA LEONARD & CARIM NAHABOO / The Beetle Collector’s Handbook / Author & Illustrator / 9 – 12 / Between 11.15 & 2 pm

CHRISTOPHER SKAIFE (from the Tower of London) / The Ravenmaster / Adult / Between 12 & 2 pm

LINDSAY GALVIN / Secret Deep / YA / Between 12 & 2 pm

CATHERINE BARTER / Troublemakers / YA / Between 1 & 3 pm

JEANNE WILLIS / Frockodile / PICTURE BKS / Between 1 & 3 pm

VERONICA COSSANTELI / The Extincts / 8 & UP / B’ween 1 & 3 pm

DAVID SOLOMONSMy Arch-Enemy is a Brain in a Jar Doctor Who – The Secret in Vault 13 /  9 – 12 / Between 2 & 3.30 pm

MINI GREY / The Last Wolf / PICTURE BOOKS / Between 2 & 4 pm

YUVAL ZOMMER / Big Book of Blue / PICTURE BKS / Between 2 & 5 pm

ANNA JAMES / Pages & Co / 8 UPWARDS / Between 3 & 5 pm

I am sorry this is such a plain post. WordPress have changed my settings – so that it is much too complicated and so this has taken me about three hours to do this. That said, the basic information is here. Though without pictures and not the way I wanted it. Good thing I use the basic system of WordPress. I suppose you get what you pay for. I don’t, but would be very annoyed indeed if I did.

Come and see us on Sunday – it should be superb – lots of authors to talk to and there will be chocolate!

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Published by Simon & Schuster

Adventure awaits the audacious!

Prisoner 513. Prisoner 449. Prisoner 531.

A set of nesting dolls. An empty carpet bag. A mirror.

An ancient curse.

Three Windershins sisters: Fliss, Betty and Charlie.

The Sorrow Isles, three islands: Repent. Lament. Torment.

The Poacher’s Pocket, an inn.

A collapsing tower.

A legend.

Mists, marshes and dampness.

An ‘a bit of an upset‘.

An pipe-smoking inn keeper. A keeper of secrets.

A prison…

Hidden mysteries and boundaries.

A cat named Oi.

A… rat named Hoppit.

Perhaps a turn of a run…a run of bad luck…and

a pinch, just A Pinch of Magic.

This is Michelle’s latest and perhaps her best yet.

Stupendous, dark  and enticing… another fantastic book from

Michelle Harrison.


Another book due out early next year…order your copy now.





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Published by Chicken House

Have you ever heard something drop through the letter box late at night? Noticed someone slipping away into the darkness?

Do you care about hedgehogs? Better known as hedgepigs?

Though often flea ridden, this book proves how valuable they are.

After both her parent’s disappear after a late night delivery, a strange man arrives at their door…

‘Helloo? This is very inconvenient for me, y’know?

I  made certain commitments, regarding the delivery of this message.

Under fierce duress, I might add.

She’s a vicious mare, she is. Begging your pardon obviously.’

He disappeared from view.

A grimy-fingered hand lifted up the letter-box flap, and a beady eye was pressed to it. She gasped and jammed herself back into the coats. 

‘Would that be the wee lady  of the house?

Are ye the daughter? Is that it?’

Keen to find her parents and to discover what has been delivered through the post and even more keen to avoid the strange man who had appeared at her door, Emily leaves home initially to try and find her Dad. He works at the post office, so how hard can that be?

Emily’s mum has always been artistic. Eccentric even. A little odd perhaps. Certainly not usual. Her dad, well he’s quieter, more prosaic, possibly even a bit dull.

Emily mean while is known for many things, including a mouth that sometimes runs away with her…and a love of hedgepigs.

The World of the Midnight Hour and the Night Folk is due out early next year….and looks to be the start of a new and brilliant series…

This is stupendous. EVERYONE should read it…

Not yet published, I’m afraid – but it will be soon. Nearly Christmas now…

Image result for doctor vault 13

Published by BBC Books/Penguin/Puffin

I haven’t finished this one yet – and its a bit of a bother. I have masses of rather dull jobs to do and keep being distracted.

I am a fan of Doctor Who. Always have been. I was of the generation that hid behind the settee. I am that sort of age…My Doctor, was an early Doctor. I won’t tell you which.  None-the-less I do enjoy the new incarnations – though Matt Smith, I’m afraid wasn’t one of my favourites. Just looked too young.

This book is about the most recent Doctor.  Once again the galaxy is in danger. Once again the Doctor has been summonsed.

I am thoroughly enjoying this horticultural space odyssey and adventure. There are as always little gems that make me smile in good books, and there are more than enough in this…it is a book to revel in. I would suggest reading it in the garden. It’s too cold, however, so do as I did yesterday, last night and this morning…curl up inside with a mug of tea and the Doctor…

One negative. There is a disadvantage about reading stories of Doctor Who. You don’t get the sound effect of the T.A.R.D.I.S. – which is such a comforting sound.

The Doctor may be from Gallifrey, but I feel that we in the UK, have perhaps more of an affinity with him. We only need one Doctor.

I forgot – David Solomons is coming to Waterstones Finchley Road on Sunday 25th November to sign copies of this and My Arch Enemy is a Brain in a Jar.

I don’t believe the Doctor will be in too – but you never know. She just might, perhaps turn up – wouldn’t it be marvellous if she did!


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Published by Hodder Children’s Books

This slim hardback was published in commemoration

of the end of the First World War, in 1918.

The story of John, whose father is away in the trenches,

whose mother works in the munitions factory.

A simple tale of the confusion of war. Of decisions half understood,

of intolerable situations, of the confusion of man.

Its the story of a boy who thinks. A child who wonders,

thinks about other boys like him,

who happen to live in Germany.

Its a book to make you wonder. I don’t know what I would have done.Image result for litchfield war is over

I have been lucky. I have never had to make those choices.

Its a small volume about war.

What we ask of ourselves and what we ask of our children.

Its a remarkable tale.

Illustrated by David Litchfield – this is a very powerful slight volume.

A book of rose hips, a book of hope.


Image result for The secret lives of colour st clair

Published by John Murray

Another book with colour as a central theme. This one, more so than the others I have recently been writing about. This a non-fiction exploration…

This is a wonderful wedge of a book. A lexicon, if you will, of colour. There are chapters on Colour Vision, Light, Artists & Pigments, Colour Mapping, Politics of Colour and the use of language and that’s just the start.

The book is split into colour segments and within that the different shades that make up each colour – White for example has essays about White, Lead White, Silver, Whitewash, Isabelline, Chalk and Beige… That for yellow…includes Orpiment, a highly poisonous substance…

‘A delightfully named German merchant called Georg Everhard Rumphius recalled seeing a woman who had taken too much in Batavia (now Jakarta), in 1660, in his book The Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet.  She had become mad, ‘and climbed up the walls like a cat.’

Each essay is a delight, a mix of history, science, and art –  this is positively a cornucopia of a book.

Image result for The secret lives of colour st clairI should I suppose have read the introduction chapters first, however, I was tempted into the substance of it, enticed by the colours that run down the edge of each page…and so will have to read it, I suppose in reverse…

This is a book not to be missed.