Archives for category: For 8 and upwards

Demelza and the Spectre Detectors (Paperback)

Chicken House

Demelza is into inventing. In a big way. She can be found late at night, with a torch fine tuning her latest project, tinkering away until her grandmother hears her walking across the floor and demands she settles down. She’s being doing it for years. Then one night she is woken by weird noises. There seems to be something in her room, something live…

Demelza is not exactly the most popular girl at school – and her only real friend is a boy who is home schooled not far from her. He, though deemed delicate by his father encourages Demelza’s more wild escapades and they both set about investigating what is happening…

A fun tale of inventions, magic and the dead… I was entranced by this brilliant tale with a twist…


Image result for highland falcon thief leonard

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

NY Published: Thursday 5th March

M.G. Leonard – the author of the phenomenal Beetle Boy series has collaborated with Sam Sedgman for this new book – a proper adventure – of the old school. Just as good as Beetle Boy – but about steam trains. 

Stupendous – a crime / adventure story for all of  M.G. Leonard’s fans, but also for those out there who are ‘into’ steam trains… It is the start of a series of four books – and you really need to get on to this from the beginning.

Harrison’s adventure starts as he joins a royal train, taking its last run through Scotland, before being retired. He is the only child on the train – and initially he’s really not that interested.

All that changes as the journey progresses and a bracelet goes missing…

You can pre-order copies of this now. It’s brilliant.

Image result for highland falcon thief leonard


Image result for frostheart jamie littler

Published by Puffin Books.

Initially I was disappointed. Not by the story – which is full of adventure, bravery, excitement and friendships made (and lost) – but because of the binding. Somewhere a mistake has been made. This is a paperback with a double front cover. The outer with a hole to see through, to the second. Which can be a lovely device, however, the second ‘board’ is too thick, which means that unless careful, the spine and hinge can be damaged.

That said the essential thing is the story – and that is a rollicking piece of fantasy fiction – a place of ice, snow and lurkers

The creatures were wet, sleek and serpentine, longer than two men, with six frost-white eyes that blinked, slightly out of order*, and gaping jaws filled with ice-sharp fangs and drool-slick tongues…’

Our hero is Ash, young, alone and a Song Weaver…

The Fira, the people Ash had been left with are so scared of signing and Song Weavers in particular that singing has been banned.

All Ash wants to do is to sing – to develop his strange powers, that might just have an affect against the lurkers. Not being allowed to sing, however, means that he doesn’t know, can’t find out…and then, after his last bout of illegal singing Alderman Kindil persuades Tobu, the mysterious yeti-outsider, to take care of him, outside of the village. Away from everyone and his friends.

A brilliant wild adventure – a book that is the start of a series…as Ash joins the Frostheart – a type of ship crossed with a sleigh in the hope of finding his parents…

This is the book of the month for October. Visit Waterstones Finchley Road O2 – and I will ensure you will benefit from this promotion…

*I thought that was a lovely touch…blinking slightly out of order is even better than blinking out of order…wonderful.

Oh – I forgot – the book is illustrated throughout – superbly…

Image result for frostheart jamie littler



Image result for the dead world of lanthorne ghules

Published by Pushkin Press.

Two headed creatures with long investigating tongues…

The tongues explored Edwin’s legs slowly and carefully, peeling themselves away after each touch. They moved up to the hollows at the backs of his knees and then curled themselves around each knee, squeezing it tightly.

A baby kidnapped in the depths of the night.

A jealous sibling, furious and hurt.

Diets of raw and over-ripe food…

A dim world with little colour. Apart from shades of grey.

A people who have a taste for the unusual…especially at times of celebration…

This is a gloriously Gothic, but fun adventure.

A warning to those who think a pen-friend might be just what they want – they may get more than they bargain for.

I loved it – Edwin and Lanthorne are brilliant characters and Aunt Necra – well… I am glad she wasn’t an aunt of mine! I would love, though to have a tame snarghe – I suspect one would be a very useful addition to a household…

‘They can work things out. Good boy.’

One of the heads stopped snarling and fixed Lanthorne with an unfriendly stare.

‘ Good girl, too. Good boy and girl.’

The two heads went back to snarling…

Due to be published October 2019 – just in time for Halloween.

Place your orders now.




Image result for the land of roar

Published by Egmont

I think most people at some point in their lives, have dreamed about another world…some are famous and are often quoted in books – the idea of going through a wardrobe into another country…

This though is a little unusual – Arthur and Ross used to imagine another world – The Land of Roar, but they haven’t thought about it for years and it is only when they begin to clear out their grandfather’s loft that they begin to remember their imagined adventures. The old rocking horse in the corner…no a little battered and worn…and the fold-away-bed…

Or were they? Should imagination be just brushed aside, as some sort of ephemeral thing? Imagination is a very strong talent and is likely to get you into trouble as it is to get you high marks in English exams. That a whole world might be reliant on your belief, your imagination, is a little disturbing…though wonderful too.

The Land of Roar. Things are different and not for the better…

Image result for boot shane hegarty

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Boot: Silvery-green and shaped like a light-bulb. Belly round and tough, yet soft to touch or hug. Four chunky fingers. No toes. Head an oval with a small screen along the front with colourful dots that flow together to make a face. Boot is a robot.

This is a lovely positive tale about a robot who has, it seems, lost his owner. He has only three memories to help him find her, and those aren’t exactly the most detailed or helpful. Whilst obviously a story of friendship and determination, with a brilliant villain in the piece, it also touches on memory loss and dementia, but without that taking over the book. On the way to finding his young owner Boot meets various other robots, some of whom have taken refuge in a fun-fair…

This is lovely – a great story about why we hold on to things and what is important.

Shane Hegarty is also the author of the Darkmouth series for older readers.




Image result for The Boy who flew hitchcock

Published by Nosy Crow

Athan Wilde has a habit of running around roof-tops – leaping from one building to another. Much to the annoyance of the people trying to sleep in the buildings below. He’s also a friend of Mr Chen and between them they are designing and making a flying machine. A delicate and difficult project at the best of times…and these aren’t the best of times.

A story of bravery. Treachery. Lies, deceit and friendship. It’s a proper, traditional tale – a tale of murder and mayhem.

A story of hopes and dreams.



Image result for starfell willow

Published by Harper Collins –

A tale of magic. There’s lots of different sorts of magic. There’s the ‘Whizz-BANG!’ sort, and the sort that goes ‘Whooosh!’ and there’s the other sort, it seems, that’s a little less exciting, a little less dramatic. Perhaps even a little dull, if worthy. Willow Moss comes from a family with magic. Her sisters they were born with talent. They take after their mother. They have magic – proper magic. They have a talent that you can see, that you can do things with – something out of the ordinary.

Camille, Willow’s older sister, can lift things with her mind. Juniper, her eldest sister, well, her power involves being able to blow things up, including the odd person. Whereas Willow, with her brown eyes (unlike her sister’s emerald green), her talent, enables her to find things. Most things…as long as they are lost. They come to her. Not exactly exciting. On the whole she takes after their father.

Whilst her mother and sisters visit the local Travelling Fortune Fair, Willow is left behind. By rights she should be finding things that her customers (such as they are) had lost, but on turning back, she finds the queue has disappeared and one lone woman stands in their place.

‘Moreg Vaine,’ said the woman with casual nonchalance, as if declaring yourself the most feared witch in all of Starfell was an everyday occurrence. Which, to be fair, for Moreg Vaine, it probably was.’

This is the start for the search for Tuesday – the previous Tuesday has gone, disappeared. Then Willow realises she doesn’t remember what happened – her mind slips from Monday to Wednesday. You would think it wouldn’t matter. How wrong you would be.

This is glorious – wonderful. A book for everyone, especially those who don’t believe they have a talent – who aren’t anything special. Its a book about magic, finding yourself, magic, a kobold from under the bed, a granny, a dragon, a boy with visions…The book is stuffed full of delightful stuff…and adventure.

It will be published at the beginning May and I hope to be able to have Dominique Valente to come and sign copies in store sometime that month. Either way I have decided to make this one my SCBOTM for May. This is not a book to be ignored.


Image result for tuck everlasting babbitt bloomsbury

Published by Bloomsbury.

It is most inconvenient, if not to say irresponsible for authors who have written a book that is so good that I would like them to come and have an event at my branch of Waterstones, to be deceased. It doesn’t happen that often – there are many books being promoted written by authors who are still in the land of the living, so that this is, to be honest, a rare occurrence. When it does happen, and I am not aware, it is, as I said, an inconvenience, if not highly irritating.

This is one such. Charming beautifully written and a gift of a book. A spring in a wood that can give ever lasting life. What could be so wrong with that? Initially you wouldn’t think there was, until you give the idea some consideration. 

This is a story of a wood. A kidnap, blackmail and murder. A story of love. It is both charming, whimsical and rather wonderful.

It has the right ending. 

Published by Bloomsbury who have given it some rather enchanting and whimsical boards. It is a hardback, a gift for Christmas and is also rather charming and wonderful too.

It is also inconvenient that WordPress have changed their systems – I can no longer add pictures to the blog which is particularly annoying. I suppose somewhere there is a way to do it – but as yet I have failed, so this post is rather boring. I will work it out one day, but at 21:29 at night it is too late. Just know that this has some rather beautiful boards. Illustrated on the back of the book as well as the front. Beautiful chapter heading illustrations too…

Buy it for Christmas.

NB. I am pleased to say I have managed to get back to the old editing – system and so have been able to illustrate the book – just the front cover, but I feel much more relaxed now. Changes for changes sake, aren’t always the best!


Image result for war is over almond

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.