Archives for posts with tag: Usborne Books

Image result for the house with chicken legs

Published by Usborne

This reminded me of Diana Wynne Jones’ book Howl’s Moving Castle – after all there aren’t many buildings that move about in literature and I certainly recommend both.

A tale with a Gothic flavour – a young girl is in training. She lives a life almost alone, with just her grandmother as a human companion, and she is never allowed to move far from the sentient house, the house with chicken legs, which keeps an careful eye on her. Her only friend is a jackdaw – however, Marinka dreams of changing her destiny. She doesn’t want to follow her Grandmother and continue her life and help the dead. She wants her own, and she wants to have friends, live friends who aren’t just there for one evening -before they move through to the world beyond.

Clever, well written, and a story of dreams and hopes…marvellous.

Enjoy it!


Published by Usborne Books

I believe that books that result in an emotional response, are the good books. The books that make the reader worry about the characters, the books that make you cry.

This a story with many threads / ribbons running through it. Essentially it is the story of a young girl whose family ‘doesn’t do normal’. Her brother is sick, and she suffers from Selective Mutism (SM), which powerfully affects her life. It is also about the good and the bad that is the Internet. It is about communication in all its forms, (word of mouth, written and social media), a story of sibling love, about super powers, and friendship.

I finished it this morning, lying on my bed (it was very hot last night) when I should have been up and getting organised. I cried. This is one of those good books, those good books that are so much more than the single ribbons or threads that run through them. I also laughed –

She said, “Bernard is having a difficult day too, dear,” and we both looked down at Bernard rolling around with one of her fluffy slippers. She tutted, shook her head and said, “He’s sex-mad that cat. I’ll get you one of my current buns, dear.”

Read it and cry…


Published by Usborne

I am regularly asked to find scary books for young gentlemen who visit the store. This can be a difficult request to fulfil. Many of the young adult books are certainly not suitable for 9 – 12 years, whether because of language, plot or because they are fundamentally not just not appropriate.

This has a wonderfully creepy and scary cover with a young Victorian girl and boy, a mummified cat (part unwrapped) and of course a depiction of a mummy leaning over the title towards them.

The book is set in that ‘wonderful’ period when the Victorians were returning home from their travels with Egyptian artefacts, which they then either kept in their private museums. The Egyptian mummies suffered further indignities, not to say sacrilege. It became the fashion to hold events where the bodies were unwrapped in front of guests who came to see the performance.   The idea that an Egyptian from Ancient Egypt might object to this – seems to have been ignored. I have often thought that they would have preferred to have been left in the sands…but there you go.

Andrew Beasley has taken this idea and developed the story from that – and it’s a very good, beautifully scary volume – with a little more edge than is usual.

There were one or two wonderful vignettes one relates to a ruffian named Tosher, who’s method of keeping body and soul together is by masquerading as a lady selling beauty products. When our hero starts to ask him some questions, there is this rather wonderful passage:

Tosher shrugged his broad shoulders and reached down into the front of his dress. He pulled out an apple, leaving his chest oddly lopsided. He took a bite. “Want one?” he asked. “I’ve got a spare.”

The heroine, a youngster who has had polio and moves around mainly with a wheel chair is feisty and a brilliant. She has been educated as a young lady. His education has come from the back streets.

I am pleased to note an advertisement for S.C.R.E.A.M. The Carnival of Monsters in the back of the book, which is also due to be published, if it hasn’t already – I am certain a brilliant companion volume to this.

Adam Beasley also wrote the Ben Kingdom Trilogy, (The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The Claws of Evil, The Feast of Ravens and The City of Fear) also set in Victorian times – which I thought were brilliant. He is obviously an author to watch and to follow.

Published by Usborne

This a steam-punk of a book! A real joy to read – and I’m loving it. It starts with three stories, slowly being woven together, that of Lily at the beginning of the book, unhappy in a finishing school, and after her Dad goes missing she finds herself under the care of his housekeeper who is not to be trusted… Then there is Robert, the clockmaker’s son, taught by his father to mend anything that is broken, brave and resourceful, especially when it matters and lastly Malkin a sentient and rather glorious character, a fox made of cogs and wheels.

This is set in London in 1896. Servants are mechanicals, known for not having feelings, the objects of derision. If left too long without attention mechanicals can wind-down, to stand stationary – until metal fatigue takes them.

This is glorious – I have only read a third of it – and can’t put it down.

It is something special for the summer.

As I can’t seem to get the cover to import, or whatever the word is, I did some more investigating at home (this post was written in my lunch hour) and found the above – a part illustration from it. As a bonus it seems to be moving. Taken from Peter Bunzl’s site – amazing…if it will continue to work after I have saved it, I will be so pleased…a brilliant illustration for a brilliant book. We will see….the cover is superb…



I mentioned at the end of my post about this book that I intended to make some paper cranes to give out as bookmarks at work.

I am pleased to report that I have completed 300 cranes – some them it has to be admitted are better than others, however, should you wish to have a free crane with your copy of The Boy Who Sailed the Ocan in an Armchair, then please visit the Waterstone’s branch in the Finchley Road O2 Centre where you can choose your crane whilst stocks last.

Not as many as would allow me to be granted a wish, but probably enough for those of you who would like a hand crafted crane…