Archives for posts with tag: Chicken House

Published by Chicken House

I have been lying in bed this morning (04.30) reading this and have become immersed in a Tudor England that never was. Well, probably wasn’t. The book is like one of those chocolates I used to ask to try when I was small. Adult chocolates that looked so inviting after an evening meal. Dark and glossy in the box. Invariably I would take a bite and find myself wishing I hadn’t, but Dad would always do the honourable thing and eat the rest for me. This is a dark chocolate book, rich and powerful, with adult flavours. A chocolate none the less, but perhaps not for those younger readers.  I am loving it.

The proof came with a detached cover/cardboard sleeve. Many proofs come with a standard proof cover – one that is used for all proofs from a particular publishing house. The title and author being the only things that change. Sometimes these come with a separate card with the proposed cover printed on it, as this one has. Sadly they are often damaged; they are a nice addition to the parcel. I am pleased to say the one that came with this book is not only in mint condition, but is stunning – and reflects the rich tones of this wonderful volume. The illustration above doesn’t indicate the beauty that will be the final version. My cardboard sleeve has gilt letting. I trust this will be the case on the finished book.

This is glorious mix of Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, (both of whom display extraordinarily different dimensions to their lives than that are currently recorded as accepted history), John Dee, (similarly), witchcraft, witch-finders,  an acting troop,  and a young gentleman called Walter Raleigh. Within the story is a personal tale of growing love…but how that develops, I can’t say – I haven’t finished this one yet.

For those who know a little of Tudor England and the players within that chapter of our history, this is a joy. For those who know a little less, this will be a joy of another flavour all together, but a joy none the less. A little like the difference between good Madagascan chocolate with all the berry flavours and strength and those Belgium chocolates that Mum’s friend Mark Severin used to buy my mother. Both glorious, but very different.

 

I am not quite sure what is happening, but several books recently have had the theme of witches and witchcraft – this is the most intricate and in some ways, most fun, so far. Then again, each has its own value and this certainly isn’t for younger readers… Each book is a different type of chocolate – and so can’t really be compared. The Tudor period was not a safe or happy one for many, and people who were different weren’t treated in the way they should. This is a wonderful twist to my favourite period of history.

This book has the depth, colour and flavour that one might expect from an experienced author, with many volumes ‘under their belt’. It is, however, Nicholas Bowling’s debut. This is an author to watch.

I forgot – the book isn’t out yet (I have a proof), it is due out in November as a paperback. This could so easily have been put in a hardback – it would have sold easily. Buy it. Definitely a book for the winter evenings.

 

 

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Published by: Chicken House

Since I wrote my post about this volume one of my customers has been in touch and sent me the following email:

Firstly, I’m very grateful that you recommended The Girl of the Ink & Stars to me. I found it REALLY interesting and wanted to tell you some of the parts I most enjoyed.

Next, what really pleases me about this book is that it hooks you in as you read along. Karen Millwood Hargrave (the author) is brilliant in the style she writes in – it’s funny but also sad and terrifying! All mixed into one book! This is only the first book I’ve read of Hargrave’s and I think I will start to read more!
 
And like I said before, I really am grateful that you recommended the book.
 
Kind regards,
Anya Daniels
I asked Anya if she would be happy to have her name and review quoted on my blog and following her confirmation I am now posting it here for her.

Published by Chicken House

This is the second book written by Kiran Hargrave – the first The Girl of Ink and Stars has just won the Waterstones Book Prize for 2017 – it was good, but not as good as this.

Ami lives on an island with her sick mother. She does most things for her as her condition worsens, however, life is good – the island is beautiful, there is fresh water, fruit, butterflies and they are together. When Ami is taken from her island to an orphanage as a result of a directive, she worries about her mother, but soon finds herself also worrying about the other children. They also have been taken from their parent’s and families to protect them; as their beautiful home is designated as a leper colony.

Moving, and rather beautiful this is the story of love, friendship, bravery and ultimately people. It is a much better book than The Girl of Ink and Stars – though that one shouldn’t be missed either. It is just that this one has much more depth.

Enjoy both – they are not connected (apart from being written by the same author), so it is no matter in which order you read them.

 

Published by Chicken House

There are not many books where you can visit the skeleton of one of the main characters in a museum. This is the story of Maharajah who walked from Edinburgh to Manchester in 1872 and whose remains are to be found in Manchester Museum.

This fictional account of a true story relates the adventures of a young boy who becomes involved in a wager which has far reaching consequences for this urchin of the streets. It is a story of friendship, rivalry, bravery, and a tale of treachery too.

This is the story of an Indian Elephant – the elephant whose remains are in the museum. The story relates the story of an African pachyderm – but otherwise, in all essentials, the story is a true one. Jane Kerr has just added quantity of good quality adventure into the mix.

This is a wonderful book – sensitively and well written – a must buy. Then we must all travel up to Manchester to visit the original Maharajah.

NB. Just a small note – the wonderful elephant illustrated on the cover was done by Chris Wormell – a superb artist who has ‘done’ many other books too – and this one is one of his best… See also George and the Dragon / Two Frogs….to name just two beautiful picture books written & illustrated by him.

Published by Chicken House

This is a mix of a piratical escapade, science fiction, fantasy and pure adventure. The story of Bert who on a school trip to a museum finds himself drawn into the glass and then into a world of danger and intrigue. It is a story of a boy who goes ‘magic’ as his fellow pupils like to refer to those who believe in such phenomenon – it is Bert’s story and it’s a story of an unlikely friendship between him, a pirate and a girl with two metal legs. It is a wild adventure, with magic, a city in the clouds and airships…There is something for everyone in this extraordinary story.

Another good book from Chicken House…

Sadly the picture of the cover failed to stay…

 

Published by Chicken House

I have only relatively recently started my blog in earnest. I am, I suppose a cautious beast – particularly since some person destroyed my computer some while ago – which meant I lost a lot of work and photographs. What particularly angered me, though wasn’t so much the loss, I think, (though that still makes me grind my teeth), but the fact they got absolutely nothing from it. Nothing at all*.

This books is essentially about the responsibility we have when using blogs and similar social media. This time, its not the teenager who is abusing the social niceties – it is Scarlet’s mother. She is doing what all parents do – talking about her daughter. What she has done. What she hasn’t done. What she eats. What she doesn’t. The fact that she went out. That she didn’t. What her gym kit smells like at the end of a day of sports. The difference is that all of it is on Scarlet’s mum’s blog, along with photographs to make it more interesting.

Scarlet is beginning to retreat – to disappear, when she investigates a noise from the house next door and finds a cat, an empty house, a modern kitchen and a cook book…

This is a wonderful read about friendship, responsibilities and families…a lovely book to snuggle down with.

* I must admit though to having had two witches in my ancestry. I like to think that those who do such things are cursed – after all I must have inherited something from those two ladies.

I may never know what has happened to the computer abusers, but then again, they never knew the trouble and distress they caused me.

It still happened though, so you never know…

 

 

Published by Corgi early November 2017

This is a story of a day – an extraordinary day centred around Natasha and Daniel – two young people destined, perhaps, to meet. Is there such a thing as Destiny? This is one story of these two characters, there may be other stories about them, that don’t turn out as this one does, but this is this story…not one of those.

It is the story of emigration. The small things that happen, that are catalysts for larger life changing events.

It is a story of racism. Of hopes, dreams, fears, regrets and prayers. It is a roller-coaster of a story – a day in the life of two people and some others, along the way.

There are mini chapters, mini interludes if you like, covering subjects as

Fate – A History,

Half-life – A History of Decay,

Multiverses – A Quantum History,

Hair – An African American History, and

Eyes – An Evolutionary History, which are fun and curious, but mainly it is essentially a book about people, the interconnection between different people and how they relate to one another. It is a love story.

Nicola Yoon is also the author of Everything, Everything, already reviewed in this blog.

 

 

Published by Chicken House –

A slim volume, the story is only 156 pages, not including some notes about the blitz and the Second World War at the back.

Atmospheric, and historical. The story of a family both in the war and also in the 21st century. Rose sees her Great Aunt leave the house and follows her down into the Underground and finds herself back in the 1940s – and the beginning of the blitz, tracking and becoming quite involved with her own history.

It is a solid adventure – detailing some of the worst occurrences of the war. Rose seems, on the whole not to be overly concerned about how her involvement might affect history, or for that matter whether she will be able to return to her ‘own time’, however, that aside it is a very good read and a beautifully described introduction to this rather horrific time in our history.

Not yet published (Chicken House) – October 2016 –

Its just after the first World War. Henry (Henrietta) is living at home with her family.  All is not well. Henry’s mother is ill, and the doctor comes regularly, but she doesn’t seem to improve. ‘Piglet’ – the baby, is unsettled and cross, and Nanny Jane just has too much to do to spend much time with Henry. Her father is far away, working abroad and her brother, Robert…though encouraging, seems ephemeral…

The house is set in the shadows of a wood, in which periodically Henry has spotted the flame from a bonfire, glinting between the tree trunks. There is the smell of wood smoke in the air. Henry sinks into a time of reading, of stories, exploring the house, and an old attic, and watching the coming and going of the doctor and his wife.

There is mention of a place called Helldon, as Henry’s mother becomes less and less aware. Henry is unsure about what Helldon is, or why the idea of her mother going there bothers her. She just knows its not something she wants to happen.

This is an atmospheric story of families, secrets and friendship.

The proof I read was illustrated with simple line drawings – beautifully done – as chapter headings, which reflect the content of the story. It is a story to read in the evenings, preferably in front of an open fire…

 

Published by Simon and Schuster

This is a book about a journey into the past and future of a family. It is a story of secrets, some generations old, others just a few weeks / months. It is a story of life, survival and choices. Choices made with the best of intentions, with the knowledge that once made we can never go back and take that path again. It is also a story of love, for partners, and children. It is another remarkable story by Clare Furness an author who seems to be able to write extraordinary stories about people and relationships. (She is also the author of The Year of the Rat). This one, is a story of hope, and ultimately – about what is important in life. A touching and rather glorious story, which affected me more than many other stories have done – it stayed with me all day yesterday, as I finished it… A remarkable volume.