Archives for category: 2019 April


Published by Nosy Crow.

Our eldests are heroes.

Our eldests are special.

Our eldests are brave.

Shame upon any who holds back an eldest

And Shame upon their kin.

Most of all,

Shame upon the wanderers.

Let Peace settle over the Quiet War,

Truly and forever.

‘My big sister, is bigger than me’… I am sure there is a poem that starts with that phrase. This is a story set around where you stand in the family: Oldest, Youngest or a Middler. My big sister was a Middler. I don’t think she felt the same way as Maggie does in this fantastic tale of deceit. I have never asked her. Perhaps I should.

Jed, is an Eldest – so a hero. He’s special. He’s brave. Trig is four years Maggie’s junior, the Youngest and Maggie?  Well she’s not important at all. She’s a Middler. She won’t be doing anything interesting. She’s not important. She will live safely. Her life will be secure, quiet…unlike her brother’s.  She isn’t brave (she’s a Middler), she’s not special (she’s a Middler) and she certainly isn’t a hero. Eldests are heroes, special and brave. They go to camp…

Maggie begins to realise that things aren’t quite as she has always been led to believe. Perhaps it isn’t so wonderful to leave, seemingly never to return, to fight the Quiet War. Perhaps there’s more to this then she thought.

Fennis Wick is protected from the Quiet War by the Boundary; protected by all the Eldests who go to fight, to keep their families safe. Beyond the Boundary – there’s wilderness, lawlessness and there are the dirty, dangerous and deceitful Wanderers

I’m not sure I am as brave as Maggie. Though thinking about it, I am certain that my big sister (you know, the one that is bigger than me), would certainly have done something of a similar line as Maggie and on reflection – I hate inequality and lies…and I have been known to say what I think and to stand up for what I believe in – so perhaps we two would fight for what is right…certainly to protect my brother…siblings are so important, so special.

A dystopian story about lies, deceit, families, friendships and siblings…

Eldest. Middler. Youngest.

Dirty, dangerous and deceitful wanderers.

A stupendous book about malfeasance,

thinking for yourself and

standing up for what is right.

A book for now.

Simply one of the best books I have read in ages…



NB. I have just looked up that poem – and find it’s by Spike Milligan and entitled: My Sister Laura. I haven’t read it in years…




Image result for midnight at moonstone flecker oxford university press

Published by Oxford University Press.

I was supposed to be reading another Pushkin title, however, I finished the book I had taken to work the day before yesterday, in my lunch break, and minutes after a parcel was put in my hands: two new proofs for me to read from OUP. This was one of them.

I can’t claim to know anything about fashion. I love old fabrics though – those with embroidery, interesting patterns to the weave – and colour. I do like good design too – though sadly I spend most of my time wearing trousers / jeans and t-shirts. More practical for lugging totes of books about…

This is a rather gorgeous and flamboyant story set in a museum of fashion – a miniature Victoria & Albert if you will. Kit is artistic – she is interested in colour and art. Her father isn’t. Can’t see the use of learning to sew…and would like her to attend the William Siddis Memorial School in London, an academic establishment with little time for the arts. Kit would not. She would prefer to study at St. Leopold’s…a school with a different emphasis. She runs away…

One reason I loved this so much was the other dimension to the story…Lara’s expertise is that of a costume expert at the V&A Museum in London (she’s been a senior textile conservation display specialist at the V&A for 15 odd years) and this colours the story beautifully. If anything I would have liked more input about the history of fashions and fabrics, however, it may be that it would have taken away some of the flow of this rather fun story.

You will have gathered that I loved it. The cover of the proof has a lovely sketch of a rather cross looking character with a fan and a dress with a rather large hooped skirt with the sort of decoration I love…with flowers sewn on to it. There’s an illustration on the back, of what is proposed as the cover that the book will have – which is a development, I think of that of the proof.

I would love for the book to have been covered with a photograph of some old 17th c / 18 c fabric…but perhaps that wouldn’t be so enticing for younger readers… The book, though, promises to be illustrated with fold out flaps – showing the costume detail in ‘full-colour’ detail…

I am hoping to have Lara and Trisha (the illustrator) to come for an event at Waterstones O2 – keep an eye on the Waterstones web site….all the detail will be there – if they say yes!

I do hope they do!

Image result for the tunnels below nadine

Published by Pushkin Children’s

Another brilliant book from Pushkin Publishing. I am London born and bred and so you would think that the tube has little to concern me. On the whole this is true, though sometimes when travelling in the deeper tunnels late at night, perhaps in a carriage with no one else around and you look out, you can see disused stations, areas underground that seem to go nowhere…dark places…that just might be places like The Black of Beyond…

This is a story of The Black of Beyond. An area where ‘legend has it that if you just keep walking you can end up walking from somewhere to nowhere.’ 

A story of wanderers, who are ‘confused inhabitants, ordinary dwellers, that have ‘wandered off’ and been lost in the Black of Beyond.’ 

Cecilia drops the gift her sister gave her and it rolls away and onto a train, and when she follows it, to grab it quickly and make her way back, she finds the train doors slide across and the train moves off trapping her, until it stops…and the doors open once more onto a (seemingly) deserted platform…

Eerie and clever this story is reminiscent of The Midnight Hour (Laura Tinder & Benjamin Reed) and another title, whose name that keeps escaping me – which is very irritating. That said the characters in this are very different. There is more than a little element of anthropomorphism about this – very cleverly done. A reflection of Nazi Germany  too – a tale of resistance.

I read a proof of this – it has charming chapter heading illustrations which I hope in the final version will be larger – more of a feature…it’s a book for those who have travelled on the tube, who have, perhaps, lost their relations, have gone one to somewhere else.



Image result for swimming against the tide butterworth

Published by Orion Books

I have two siblings, both older than I. A sister and a brother. Both in their separate ways have (I think) at various times felt ‘responsible’ for me. I remember a skiing holiday – which was perhaps the best skiing holiday I have ever had. Not that I have had many, but it was special for so many reasons. A highlight was skiing between two valleys with my brother so I could para-glide down from one of the mountain ridges later that morning.

I hope I didn’t often worry them as Avery does in this book of mystery, sisterly love and alligators.

Avery and Eliza live in a fishing village in Louisiana. Their lives revolving around the seasons of shrimping and the rising waters. An area filled with birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and the legendary loup-garou. An area of storms. A place not to go after dark. Particularly with a possible hurricane on the way. Certainly not a place to disappear into, to trace strange footprints in the mud.

Atmospheric. Captivating and a story of siblings, friendships and bravery. A book for everyone. Jess Butterworth’s third book, perhaps her best…but that is for you to decide.


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.