Archives for category: For 8 and upwards

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.

 

 

 

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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.

Brilliant.

 

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.

 

 

Image result for The Beetle Collector's Handbook (Beetle Boy

Published by Scholastic.

This could be described as just an ‘extra’ book – one to accompany Maya Leonard’s Beetle Boy trilogy, that has swept the world over the last few years. Similar to those slim books that are published along side the Harry Potter series.

I would though, have to disagree. This is so much more.

It is a reference book (a real one) for all those newly inspired lovers of all things coleoptera and also for those who have known and loved beetles all their lives.

It is, frankly, beautifully illustrated by Carim Nahaboo.

That is a bit of an understatement.

It is full of interesting facts, figures and as I said, some superb illustrations.

It seems to have been owned by Darkus (from the Beetle Boy trilogy for those of you who still haven’t read the books) – and so there are some ‘soiled’ and, or pages that have been ‘written on’. I am glad to say that these additions haven’t affected the illustrations…

One thing to note, for some reason that I can never understand, the publishers have (as so many do) decided that the book requires a sticker on the cover to advertise the Beetle Boy connection. When removed, this damages the cover, lifting the red colour. Which is a pity. The sticker wasn’t necessary. I have a first edition tucked away for me at work (I haven’t had time to buy it yet), but hope that perhaps some will be published without this. It may mean I have to buy two. One first edition, the other a later one.

On the positive side I can confirm that

Maya Leonard is coming to Waterstones O2

on Sunday the 24th of November

to our Christmas Book Festival.

She will be signing copies of this gorgeous book.

Come and meet her and talk all things beetle!

 

I have just looked up Carim Nahaboo and have found the following site:

https://www.carimnahaboo.com/?lightbox=imageog

Purchases can be made of postcards of everything from mammals to – yes invertebrates including beetles…and there are some silver examples that are sometimes available to buy, by discerning coleoptera lovers…

 

 

 

Image result for what manner of murder christopher william hill

Published by Orchard Books.

I am in the middle of this – having started it just last night and, as always with Christopher’s books, I am loving it.

This, I hope, is to be the start of a long series of detective novels. Funny, well written and frankly, brilliant.

The Bleakley twins have returned once more to their Aunt and Uncle at Bleakley Manor along with their new friend Oliver Davenport – the Poor Unfortunate, to stay for the Michaelmas break. There they meet up with their cousin Loveday, back from school…

‘But what if a girl doesn’t want to hire a copy for a shilling?’ asked Horatio.

Loveday smiled serenely and sliced the air with her hockey stick. ‘I generally menace them until they do,’ she said. ‘It’s supply and demand. I supply the magazine and then I demand money for it.

The mysteries begin on arrival: The much favoured butler has gone, as has the old footman and the replacements don’t come up to scratch, then there is (of course) a murder…

The characters are eccentric and rather wonderful – as are their descriptions….

‘The specimen on display was hunched at the shoulders and his large eyes seemed to stick out like organ stops…’

The Great Aunt, is in someways perhaps the best supporting character…though I’m not certain…

‘I suppose you must be the Poor Unfortunate.’

‘Yes ,’ replied Master Oliver Davenport.

and a little later…

‘I have written Poor Unfortunates into my books,’ said the Great Aunt .

‘They always die.’

and then…

‘If you call me Auntie again I will write you as a character in my next book and I will make quite certain that you die a slow and painful death.’

A mystery of the old fashioned English sort…unconventional characters, a  a clutch of heroes and a determined heroine a snake, an Indian scorpion and pineapple cubes!

I had forgotten pineapple cubes…used to love them…

For those who enjoy Robin Steven’s books. I hope and trust this new series will have as much success as hers. If this first book is anything to go by – it certainly will.

The cover, I’m afraid, doesn’t ‘do it’ for me…however, as you know, you shouldn’t judge any book by its cover…certainly not this one.

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.