Archives for category: Genre: Harry Potter – esque

Published by Canongate

I haven’t finished this one yet – and must admit to being attracted to the book first, because of its cover. I do read a lot of ‘children’s books’ – and mostly ignore the dust jackets and covers, as often they have very little to do with the content. A good book can have an appalling cover; and the reverse, sadly is also true. This one though I picked up initially as it had a sticker on it saying it glows in the dark, which I suppose does indicate that stickers work…(though do see below). The dust jacket does glow in the dark – they haven’t given the boards the same treatment – but as far as that goes, it does. That is not the reason to buy this book.

This is book one of the Worldquake Books  – a new trilogy to rival Harry Potter, yes, to rival Harry Potter. It is a story about a library, another world, and books – books that can pull characters through into another world all together.

It is very clever – and without doubt a series that should be given more publicity than it has so far.

Effie Truelove goes to a school with a rather wonderful name: the Tusitala School for the Gifted, Troubled and Strange along with her friends, Maximilian, Wolf, Lexy and Raven – and the name of the school is reflected in her and her friends’ characters.  Effie inherits her grandfather’s library along with other gifts, but these are not handed down to her as they should be.  A book collector manages to get his hands on them – and that is just the start.

There are some wonderful vignettes in the book – one of the princesses, who has managed not to be eaten by the dragon…has a t-shirt with the statement ‘Badass Gristle’ on it – which I thought was a lovely touch –

This is a trilogy not to be missed…

Harry Potter has taken the world – there are numerous spin-offs from the original 7 volumes – the Red Nose & Beedle the Bard books, the 8 films, the books of the films, wands, time-turners, snitches, hats, cloaks, owls, board games, jewellery, maps, watches, snow globes, nodding headed manikins, events around the books, (at least on a six month cycle), notebooks, badges, a new film about one of the characters, a play, and the scripts from the new film and the play, toys – the list is never ending…but, fundamentally there were seven, just 7 books. Everything else hangs from those.

This trilogy could rival those books – without a doubt. They won’t have the paraphernalia attached to them or the fans yet, but hopefully they will in time.

If you don’t want to visit another Potter Event, or to have another edition of the same books you already have, and are perhaps, dare I say this, a little Potter-weary, whether temporarily or otherwise, you might do worse than to pick up this small volume and begin to follow Effie’s adventures.   If you are still enjoying Potter-mania – all to the good – you will without any doubt at all enjoy this new trilogy as well – buy it and read it.

My only slight reservations about this book are that the illustration on the dust jacket (that one that glows in the dark) – shows a girl in silhouette – who looks a little older than I feel is right and someone has decided to put a pink sticker on my dust jacket that states – This Book Glows in the Dark.

I  hate stickers on books -whether booksellers’ or publishers’.  With all the will in the world, they invariably can’t be removed easily – and are a distraction from the design of the books if left in place or worse, leave a mess behind if removed. A bookmark with a note stating that the dust jacket is a special edition and glows – or a note to the booksellers to make us aware, would have been better…but that is one of those bug-bears of my life… I have to admit, the sticker did bring my attention to the book – but mainly because it was there – I’d have much preferred a nicely designed bookmark…

Volume 2 The Chosen Ones is due out in April 2018, and volume 3, Keepers in April 2019 – keep an eye out, but be aware it may be that the titles change & / the publications dates shift…it does happen…


coverPublished by Puffin Books

We have all at some time or another wondered what ‘that’ is in the shadows. More often than not it’s just a shadow, cast by an old coat, a tree, sometimes by something more, an animal standing still and looking back, perhaps also wondering what ‘that’ is, that thing standing so still, casting a shadow that it can’t quite make out.

This is about shadows; the absence of light.

It is not about what makes shadows, but about them, the shadows themselves – those dark areas that shape our world.

It is about families and friendship, bravery, life and death…

As is the way of things, it is also about the opposite of shadows; it is also about light – and a boy Denizen Hardwick brought up in an orphanage without knowing anything at all about his history, apart from his birthday. Which at the beginning of the book he has recently celebrated – he is now 13 – an important age for many, but an extraordinary age for him.

A very clever and dark tale – which I loved –  not to be read by those of a nervous disposition in the twilight. Better to wait for the morning and sunshine. Perhaps in a garden in Tuscany…

You might be safe there…


Published by Chicken House / ISBN 978 910002575 / Not yet Published – June 2015

This is a story of a long promised miracle.   Friendship. A grandfather’s gift to his grandson. Bravery, a circus elephant, magic, a talking parrot, illusion and the circus itself.

Not just any circus though, this one is the most extraordinary.

Micah’s grandfather is dying and Micah would do anything to
prevent this from happening even if it means believing in things that don’t seem to be there. He hears music and sees things that ought not to be able to be seen.

The right things happen, but not necessarily in a way that is expected.  Micah hopes that the magic of the circus and a promised miracle will save his grandfather and he searches for ways to make this come true. Not all tickets to a circus are the usual paper and card. If you ever come across such a circus as this remember that an incan quipu might be just the thing to get you in.

A tale of what happens when you believe in magic – just remember never to look down…

Superb. I loved it.

As always – I can’t be sure that the above illustration of the cover is that which will be used by the publisher (as the book isn’t out till June) – to be honest, I hope they can do something a little better for it The design seems a little obvious and this has so much more in it that could be suggested in the cover and so encourage readers to pick it up. Still, it is the one that is being published on the Internet at the time of going to post.

Remember, never rely on a cover to give an indication of how good a book will be. Sometimes that can be so misleading….

Published by Scholastic / ISBN 978 1407155791 / Not yet published – 4th June 2015

I received a proof (pre-publication) copy of this book from the publisher at lunch time today. At the moment I am reading another two proofs for teenagers (Stone Rider / David Hofmeyr & If you were Me / Sam Hepburn), and finished this morning Dan Scott’s first Gladiator School volume (Blood Oath) on the way in to work and am trying to read about Madagascar as well. So there is a lot going on with my reading at the moment. I didn’t really need to start to read this one – but the cover was enticing and I read the Prologue (just four pages), very quickly and thought it was


So much so I actually exclaimed ‘Brilliant’ out loud. Luckily noone was around to hear me…

I have since read a further twenty pages and I am still of the same opinion. This book, if it continues to be as enticing and well written as these first 24 pages have been, should be a best seller.

The prologue details the story of an elderly sheep farmer investigating strange noises and goings on amongst her flock…and the results of her night time walk amongst them. The first 20 pages of the first chapter  introduces the reader to Alfie the eponymous character and…a raven.

The book is (at least in proof form) well printed, on good paper, and looks as though it will have a brilliant cover. I will of course review the book properly when I have finished it – which shouldn’t take long, but I wanted to let you know how good it is now… Get your orders in – I am certain this book will turn out to be one of the best. I am also pleased to report that it seems this will be the first of a trilogy – there is a note inside to say volume 2 will be out in 2016, and the third in 2017 – which is always good news.

I finished this late last night – I hate leaving a book with only a couple of pages to go, and yes this did fulfil its potential. Lots of danger, dark and twisted – I am certainly looking forward to the second volume, next year – since there is an ISBN you can order this now to ensure you get a copy…

Published By Harper Collins ISBN 0780007526901

This is a book of legends. The Luck Uglies are the stuff of legends. Depending on whom you believe they were either outlaws who once saved Rye’s village from monsters or they were as bad, if not worse. This book is superb. Dark and twisted with an end you won’t see coming, it is one not to be missed.

At the back of my copy I’m pleased to report that the publishers have printed the following: The Luck Uglies The Forked Tongued Charmers – Coming Soon.