Archives for category: Chicken House

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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Image result for the midnight hour benjamin read

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 the truth about martians

Published by Chicken House.

Is there anyone out there? Since the universe is ever increasing (so Dad tells me), I can’t really see any reason why there shouldn’t be. Whether anyone intelligent would want to make contact with us is another matter. After all, I’m not sure how much intelligence there is here on Earth, and I feel that there is even less common sense.

I do understand, though,  if they want to come and study the wildlife. After all how can you not be fascinated by chameleons?

This story centres on a specific alien visit that was reported to have occurred in America in 1947 – there are numerous reports of UFO’s and entities over the years. Many questions haven’t been answered.

This is a story of lies told. Rumours. Strange entities and the State and what they would like people to believe. A book of finding yourself. Friendship. Brotherhood, and what that means. Responsibility. Superman. The story of finding that bit that contains courage, that bit that sometimes gets lost…mislaid.

A book of hope.

 

Image result for the secret deep lindsay galvin chicken house

Published by Chicken House

I’m not sure what is happening this year – there seems to be a number of books set in water recently. Some ‘straight fiction’ others are a little different, fantasy would,  I suppose, cover most of those.

Fish, mermaids, pirates and the sea are reoccurring themes.

None though are like this one – this is unique.

A book about trust. Who do you trust? Your parents? Friends? Uncles, cousins or aunts? I suppose most of us would trust our aunts or uncles, particularly if they were close to one of our parents. Wouldn’t you? Would you trust your aunt with your little sister? Would you ignore your sister’s seemingly irrational concerns? Would you trust your last relative to care for you and your sister?

This is a story of trust, sisters and …well, you will need to read it to find out. To say water has a lot to do with the story is an understatement. This is a remarkable story – I want to tell you more, but don’t want to spoil this brilliant tale.

Enough to say it was stupendous and I found myself annoyed when I had to stop reading to return to work – time ran out…read remarkably quickly, but then, good books always are.

Image result for warrior boy clay

Published by Chicken House

Related imageReading this was a little peculiar. My Mum was born in Kenya, on the Laikipia Plains (central Kenya), and the Maasai (amongst other watu) worked on her father’s farm. Her cousin was Dame Daphne Sheldrik, the Kenyan/British conservationist who worked in Kenya and ran an elephant sanctuary, raising and rehabilitating orphaned elephants. Which though she has now sadly died, continues with its work.

It was rather lovely to read this tale of a young Kenyan visiting Kenya from England for the first time.

Would his Maasai family welcome him, or not? Some of their traditions and social life are very different from that Ben is used to. Would he be able to deal with those? Then there’s the threat of poachers, against whom his mother is working.  Will she be safe? Will he? What about his cousin? The tribe and village itself?

I loved it. It reminded me of my visits to visit my uncle and cousins too – though their lives are so different from those of the tribes that are entwined in their lives.

I may not have been born in Kenya. I have only visited. Africa though has seeped into my blood and is part of me – there is something about the red earth…

A book of respect. Of different cultures. A book of elephants and the importance knowing and the acceptance of who you are, whether partly one thing, and part another, or wholly one culture.

Its a tale of friendship. Bravery. Africa and elephants…

Wonderful.

Image result for a tangle of magic zinck

 

Published by Chicken House.

Translated from the German.

This is a story of inheritance. Magic. Knowing who you are. It’s a tale of dastardly kidnap, and a story of hair. Grey, Icelandic Earth Intense brown and red hair – gloriously red hair. It is also the story of a cat. You must not forget the cat. A sentient road and flying…

It’s a rather wonderful story to read, somewhere cool, with a cup of tea… in the shade.

Everyone will enjoy this one…

One of my shortest ever reviews. None-the-less this is a book to buy and revel in.

 

Image result for polka dot shop

Published by Chicken House

Andy’s mother runs ‘New to U’ a second hand clothing shop in the village. She has taken to bringing home new items for her daughter to wear. Second-hand new. Andy meanwhile dreams of dresses. New dresses. Handbags. Shoes and underwear that’s not ‘pre-owned’…

She’s the only pupil in her school who continues to come to school in uniform. Recently they have been encouraged to show their individuality by choosing their own clothes for school.  Most pupils spend their weekends buying new clothes – trying to find that something no-one else has seen.

Andy though, is given a pile of pre-loved clothes, a muddle of clothing, vintage that doesn’t suit…certainly clothing that no-one else would give wardrobe room…

Then Andy finds a bag of quality designer clothes, stuffed in a bag at the back of the shop and then Andy’s mum takes a break to see her mum and her sister and Andy takes the chance to change everything…

This is a touching story about fashion, friendship, depression, love and business acumen!

Image result for the book of boy murdock

 

Published by Chicken House

The key to Hell picks all locks.

A tale of Heaven and Hell. This is a story of medieval intrigue. Priceless relics, good and evil and an hunch-back goat herder. Oh and some goats, a stroppy donkey, a pack of dogs, geese, wolves and a phlegmatic and rather sleepy cat, amongst others. Boy is taken from the only home he can remember, leaving his herd behind, to travel with a pilgrim to Rome. The year is 1350 a year of change, devastation and fear. Things are not as they seem and Secundus seems abrupt and frightening when Boy begins his journey. As he goes he finds that people are not what they seem either. Ashamed and fearful he keeps his hump hidden, never touching it, and keeping himself out of the way. Secundus wonders at Boy’s relationship with the animals they meet, but is driven to reach St Paul’s Church before he dies; determined to gather Saint Peter’s relics as he travels. Determined to reach heaven the only way he knows how.

The different animal characters in the book reflect the those you might come across – the cat, confident that all will be well, the hounds, the pack of hounds working together as one entity…

This is a super book. Its perfect – the language is just that bit medieval, to give the story colour, whilst at the same time the mysteries that surround Boy and Secundus entice the reader into a superbly written small volume.

Each chapter is headed with wonderful illustrations (I’m not sure if they are wood engravings), that look the sort you might just find on a medieval manuscript – just right for this, and the map at the beginning is perfect, with an angel and devil supporting the scroll at each corner.

This is a beautiful medieval tale.

My only disappointment, I’m afraid, is the cover of this paperback. The book was first published in America – with the cover shown below – which reflects the illustrations in the text and the story. The new cover, doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.  I wish they had stuck with American version here. I will have to try and see if I can get a hardback copy from the States. Though I’m afraid I won’t be buying it from Amazon…. Perhaps my aunt in California will be able to get me a copy…since Waterstones doesn’t recognise the hardback’s ISBN. Sigh.

Truly a  wondrous book.

Lastly – a small note, my colleague Amabel, who works with me in Finchley Road O2, really must read this – I think she and her children would love it…

.Image result for the book of boy murdock   Cover image - The Book of Boy

 

 

Image result for the extincts veronica cossanteli

Published by Chicken House.

Following on from my ‘main’ post/review of this, I have to say that there are no axolotl in the book, nor are there any mammoths. Which is a pity as both creatures are depicted on the cover of this book. This is I gather something that the author raised with Chicken House. They never-the-less stuck with the design on the cover, which shows both creatures.

The dodo, precariously sitting on a small twig of the tree would not have been very secure. They were flightless (sadly, otherwise they might have survived), and so would not have been able to reach such heady heights.

Those facts not with standing, this is a book to read and enjoy – so don’t let it put you off – perhaps the author will write another book, with axolotls and mammoths in it too!

 

Image result for the last chance hotel thornton

Published by Chicken House

I may have only reached page 184, of a book that is 324 pages long, but I think I can safely say that this is brilliant. I am staying at my parent’s house at the moment as my water tank has decided to leak everywhere and, trying to live without water on tap, as it were, was proving difficult. This has been a wonderful distraction.

Seth is The Last Chance Hotel’s pot-scrubber. He has a nose for spices and herbs. He is a very good chef, just like his father, however, he doesn’t get much chance to practice due to the owners of the hotel and their daughter  Tiffany.

This is part mystery, part crime, and part magical fantasy. When a rather important guest is murdered Seth finds himself the main suspect, as it was after eating his rather special pudding that the deceased died. The repercussions of his death are far wider than Seth realises. His only friend is his black cat, appropriately named, Nightshade…without whom the story would have had a very dark turn indeed.

This is a book to savour. To enjoy sitting with your cat beside you in peace – for once not climbing bookcases or disappearing into the backs of open drawers. It is marvellous with many different elements, or, if I may, flavours.

Buy it, find a corner in which to read it and disappear into a whole new world…

Stupendous:

‘The traveller flung back the hood, revealing a dark domed head, the skin hatched with wrinkles like a raisin and a monstrous scar running from the corner of his bulbous nose to the corner of his lip so it was lifted as if in a permanent sneer. It was much the same look as Tiffany achieved without needing the scar.’