Archives for category: Chicken House

Image result for granny magic elka evalds

Published by Chicken House

Will’s gran knitted. All the time. After she dies Will’s is given a rather decorative jumper that she made and though initially it seems small, he pulls it over his head to find it fits perfectly.

Then her knitting group arrive. Five strange elderly ladies, their hands clutching their knitting bags and wondering if they could have anything that Gertie had left – they would be very pleased to have anything at all.

It’s not long after that when things begin to be more than a little peculiar, not to say odd.

A man who left the village years ago, returns claiming to have known Gertie in his youth and not long after he leaves Wills house, Sophie, Will’s little sister, can’t her knitted dog, that Gertie had made.

Things are definitely not what they seem.

A story of…well knitting. Grannies. Magic. Jumpers. Woollen dogs. The Isle of Man TT races…of motorcycles…adventure.

Great fun.

Should have been published with a ball of wool and some needles…

Image result for the pearl in the ice chicken house

Published by Chicken House

Marina is the daughter of a Naval Commander and is sent away to boarding school as he leaves to take command of his ship once more. Wanting to say goodbye one last time and seeing a train at the station due to go to Portsmouth, just as she is about to take her train to school – she runs across and joins the sailors embarking to meet their ships.

What should be a relatively easy journey is complicated when she can’t find her father on arrival at Portsmouth. Worse his ship has no record of him…

This is a brilliant adventure story – with friendships made, some not what they seem to be, and promises made and broken. A tale of spies, ice, bravery and dogs…

A book to be read by the side of a fire…

Jelly

Published by Chicken House

This is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read.

Another dystopian novel, this one set after the waters have risen. A group of people are left surviving – floating on the back of an enormous jelly fish. That in its turn seems to be farming them, throwing fish onto its mesoglea, so that they can survive. Protected somewhat from the elements, wind, sun and salt by the plastic that they have pulled from the sea to make a small shelter. They are on their own. The sea lapping at the edge of the jelly fish, dark shapes rising and falling beneath their feet.

In the distance they can see a small coastal village, nothing and no-one moves around the buildings and the fields above, apart from sheep high above the cliff and enormous crab like creatures, possibly the relations of those little crabs found in rock pools, are seen scuttling around the houses, large and formidable.

This is as I said quite the most peculiar book I have read, in a very long time. A quirky strange tale – almost a fable – and very different…a most extraordinary book…

Something to be read by the sea…

Image result for Peril en pointe lipscombe

Published by Chicken House

I had a ballet lesson or two in my extreme youth. My career was similar to that of Helen’s – as she states in the Acknowledgements at the end of this wonderful book – ‘Tragically, my own ballet career went down the plug-hole, age six, but that’s another story.‘ I think mine went down a similar hole…

This though, is a wonderful mix of ballet and espionage! An interesting mix – which works well as though Helen’s career may have been short, she made sure that the feel of a ballet school and the intense work that is put in to producing a production is soaked well into these pages. I thought that her life must have been in and around dance and ballet. So for those of you who know what it is to go ‘en pointe’ – you should’t be disappointed…and in all other respects this is a brilliant adventure story.

I have to say (I have a friend who is a Trekkie) that when discussing a mole (not the sort with a velveteen jacket – the other sort), our heroine says –

‘It can’t be Merv,’ I say. ‘He’s got a Star Trek thermos.’

Which made me laugh…

Into ballet? Read it. You like books set in schools?  Into mysteries and espionage? More reasons to read this…Thoroughly good.

 

 

Image result for the fire maker jones

Published by Chicken House

There are at least two versions of magic out there. There’s the fictional magic of the Harry Potter sort. Then there’s the magic, which is more a question of illusion and tricks and of the more regular sort.

Alex is into the latter – fascinated by slight of hand. He’s good at it – but knows that practice is the way forward. He’s a little different from his peers to say the least…and escaping from one of his class mates – bent on having another go at him, he backs into a garden and sees something that he shouldn’t…

This is rather brilliant – not all heroes are what we expect. Perhaps there is a little Harry Potter magic out there, if we only know where to look –

I loved this – a tale with a magical twist…

Brilliant.

Image result for milton the mighty teeniest superhero

Published by Chicken House

Size isn’t everything – Milton could be the biggest super hero ever. Particularly if Emma Read’s book has as much influence over our interest in spiders as Maya Leonard’s books have had with beetles.

You will be aware that spiders are not insects – as arachnids, they have eight legs and eight eyes. They are pretty amazing creatures, often miss-understood. Especially by us.  We often don’t seem to take the time and trouble to find out about something before we scream and run away.

Image result for milton the mighty teeniest superheroYes, there are spiders out there that are venomous. In this country we don’t have any venomous spiders that would cause us any problems (that is unless you happen to be a fly – if so you are, you are a rather intelligent one), that said all wild animals should be given respect whether they are venomous or not.

This is the story of Milton who happens to look like a Black Widow spider. That’s because he is a spider, and does look similar, but actually he’s a False Widow spider – which is a very different kettle of fish.

This is a story of mass hysteria, bravery of the eight-legged and two-legged sort and a celebration of all things arachnid.

For younger readers, this is an adventure for those who aren’t sure about these extraordinary creatures that eat all those flying creatures that bite…and it’s also for those of us who are all too well aware of how fantastic spiders are.

Image result for lily and the rockets chicken house

Published by Chicken House.

I cannot claim to be a football fan. If pushed, I might say I prefer rugby. Though I have no idea of the rules for either; there is a fluidity with rugby that I don’t see in football.

This though is a history of a sort The tale of women’s football – with a little colour added to make the story personal. You don’t have to be a fan of football, whether men’s or women’s to enjoy this – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

1917 – most young men were at the front. Women were working in munitions factories – but in their lunch-breaks they were getting together to play football…a kick-about…from there it was a short step towards proper teams and a league.

It is a story of comrades, friendship and promises made, broken and the start of something even bigger.

Things were very different then…

Image result for in the shadows of heroes nicholas bowling chicken house

Published by Chicken House

I am so excited by this book and I have only reached page 36 out of some 376 of my proof.

I received it a little while ago – and brought it home. Did my usual thing of dropping new proofs on the piles on the stairs, when I noticed the author – Nicholas Bowling and knew there was a good one in the stack. He wrote Witchborn some time ago – also reviewed on this blog.

Last night I threw away a book which wasn’t up to scratch and grabbed the next by my bed and I can tell you, this is a good one. It already has the smell, the tantalisation of a good story well told.

You won’t be able to buy it yet – comes out at the beginning of May – but already there’s mystery and intrigue…it is set in the times of Nero (54 A.D.) and the main character seems to be a young educated slave boy…a rare circumstance in ancient Rome.

It’s going to be a good one. I’m supposed to be doing jobs – the house is a tip – but all I want to do is read…I love books like this.

I have no doubt I will add to this when completed…but for now – this will have to do…

Related imageI have now finished this – so, to continue:

Jason and the Argonauts…that golden fleece…Nero…and the burning of Roman. A book for those who enjoy the Classics – and a book for those who have little or no knowledge. A brilliant adventure set in ancient Rome – stupendous. I loved it – particularly the relationship between an ancient Britain and a small dormouse. I hope and trust that this is the start of a series. Cadmus and Tog are superb characters – there is definite potential for this to be developed… it’s brilliant.

One of the lesser ‘highlights’ of my school career was to receive the extraordinary result of 11% for a Latin exam. On reflection, I feel that this was more of a failure of the teacher concerned (she was to be honest, quite terrifying), however, that said I regret it. Not least as I now have to look up the odd Latin quote – which halts the flow of the odd book in which I find them. I always like to have notes, preferably at the bottom of the page with a translation. Sadly the proof I read of this does not include these – and it would have been good to have had them. I read it on the train – and didn’t have resource to a dictionary. Further to look up a phrase would have broken the line of the story. Perhaps, though Chicken House will provide…you can never tell when reading a proof.

Buy this – check for the notes and if not there at the bottom of the page, buy a small Latin dictionary at the same time… It is certainly worth the trouble…and small expense.

 

 

 

 

Image result for pog kenny

 

Published by Chicken House

We looks at things and holds them close.

Things what remind us of family.

Powerful they become.

Memories of those who have gone before, laid down they are,

like layers of silt on riverbeds – and they sway,

this way and that with the current, and we hold,

and we remember.

T’is our duty to remember.

Pog. Padraig Kenny’s previous title was Tin – I rather like the fact that his books have titles that are one syllable: simple, but almost profound. I hope he continues with this – it could be quite a feature of his books. They are both brilliant (I reviewed Tin on this blog some time ago) – I loved Pog.

This is the story of Pog of the Burrows to the North, before the far reaches, Keeper of the Necessary, Guardian of the Dark, Pog of the First Folk. It is also the story of Penny and David who have recently moved with their father to their new house. A house with a difference. A house that seems to have more about it than it first appears.

This is an adventure with an endearing wonderful hero (we should all have a member of the First Folk in our lofts) that deals with grief, responsibility and bravery.

Them that’s dead is never gone.

 

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.