Archives for posts with tag: Chicken House

Chicken House Books - New reads: March 2020

Chicken House

Zoe is growing up surrounded by the love of her grandmother, mother and step dad. She’s into cooking, particularly anything with chocolate and she’s also interested in  music. Recently she has decided her best friend Trevor, is not someone she wants to hang around with any more. Not that anyone else seems to understand this.

She’s turning 12 – her other friends aren’t going to be around for the summer holidays and she is just getting used to the idea that this holiday will be different from all the others (as she’s not talking to Trevor), when she receives a letter from her father, presently incarcerated in Massachusetts State Penitentiary. He sounds nice. She has never received a letter from him before, but he mentions other letters he’s sent. He’s into music too – and she begins to write to him regularly…

Set in America with American references. The story of a young girl desperate to find out the truth, whatever that might be and hoping that just perhaps Marcus, her biological father, might just be innocent…

Chicken House Books - House on Hoarder Hill

Chicken House.

‘Simon rolled his eyes skywards and muttered, ‘O, the ignominy of death.’

Hedy and Spencer are left with their grandfather, when their parents leave to go on yet another archaeological dig. To stay with their grandfather whom they have never met. Who lives in a strange … not to say spooky house on a hill. He used to be a magician (of the usual every day variety), now he is retired, the house is filled with artefacts – magical and strange – that Hedy and Spencer have to promise to positively never touch.

His behaviour though is a little odd – and then there’s the question of what happened to their grandmother…and the marks on the floor…that seem to be moving…the peculiar messages…the pleas for help…Simon, the ghost and the head of a stag and the rug made from the pelt of a bear…that have the ability to talk, if not to argue…

A book to disappear into – brilliant!

 

 

 

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 the mask of aribella

Published by Chicken House.

January 2020

My favourite city has to be Venice, in Italy. Atmospheric, beautiful and somewhat dark. A place of intrigue and secrets. A city of many lives: people, seagulls, rats, without doubt ghosts of sorts, cats, and now dogs, and of course water. I have promoted Michelle Lovric’s The Undrowned Child now for a decade or so – it was published in 2009.

To find myself recently in receipt of a new Venetian book and a pre-publication volume was a joy.

This tells the story of Aribella, who suddenly finds that when particularly irritated, her fingers tingle and, if this isn’t sated, she is liable to set fire to anything within reach. She and her father live on an island outside Venice – they live on Burano. Her elderly father making intricate lace to support them both. He appears unsurprised when Aribella returns home to tell him what happened to a local bully when their paths crossed; that his throat had been burnt by her hands…he seems almost resigned… Then he doesn’t respond, as she expects, as she goes on to explain that their name may have been reported; placed in the Lion’s Mouth –  to the authorities along with those who might be subversive, dangerous, or even just a little strange. His attitude along with the day’s events disturbs her greatly.  The authorities arrive not long after.

She escapes with help from a friend, but as they row away in his small fishing boat under a red moon (an ill omen if ever there was one), a skull appears floating out from the mists of the water, that only she can see. It isn’t long though before Theo is made well aware of it, as it reaches their boat…

This is WONDERFUL! I am loving this – haven’t finished it – but am savouring it and enjoying it just before sleep – it’s fantastic to have another Venetian book to sink into – quite marvellous. It is of course, very different from The Undrowned Child. That book takes a nugget of the history of Venice and has a story wrapped around it, which doesn’t happen in this. Further, in some ways The Mask of Aribella is much less dark – though it definitely has veins of blackness flowing through it, as is right for any good story set in Venice. I have only read up to page 131 – but so hope that there will be more to this story than the single volume…

Finished this yesterday at work – I couldn’t leave it at home. Marvellous. Do order your copies as you come in for Christmas shopping, or order from W.com / or ring…nag your parents…or, if you are an adult – don’t be shy. Order one for yourself!

Then collect it on publication day: 2nd January 2020 – just under a month away!

 

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…

Image result for the way past winter kiran millwood hargrave

Published by Chicken House

A book for the winter. After the snow has come and it crunches under your feet. An element of Narnia with an endless winter. A winter that came and never left.

Since their parents have gone three girls and their brother have been left to survive on their own. Protected only by the rules their parents gave them. Oskar watching and looking out for his sisters – trying to be a little more than a big brother. Sanna the eldest sister sensible and doing the ‘right thing’. Or trying to. Mila listening to her sisters’ snores and snuffles in the night and missing her brother’s and last, but certainly not least, Pipa – the one whom everyone watches out for. As time goes past Oskar becomes more reticent. More impatient. Then they are visited by men on horseback. Late that night one sister sees her brother at the window. In the morning he’s gone too.

A story of a search though an unnatural winter. A tree cut down before its time and a mage – young and different – perhaps someone to trust…though perhaps too strange for that.

A story of families, siblings and sisters. Atmospheric and magical. A story to be read by a fire as Autumn turns.

Another Kiran Millwood Hargrave to enjoy.

 

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 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.