Friday, 27 May 2011

Helen Moss - The Mystery of the Whistling Caves - Book Review

book cover of 

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves 

 (Adventure Island, book 7)

by

Helen Moss

  • Pages  - 176
  • Publisher - Orion Books
  • Date -   7 July
  • Age - 10+
  • ISBN: 9781444003284 
When Scott and Jack Carter have to stay with their great aunt for the summer they steel themselves for the most boring holiday ever. But then they meet Emily Wild and her loveable dog, Drift. Emily shows them the lighthouse, the castle - and the amazing whistling caves. Legend has it that when the caves stop whistling the castle will be attacked - and that's exactly what happens! Priceless treasures are stolen and Emily and the boys are determined to investigate. But how was the treasure smuggled out of the castle? Why did the caves stop whistling? And can the friends solve the mystery in time to catch the thief? The first in an exciting new adventure series - with five more gripping mysteries to come!

As soon as I started to read this book, I was instantly transported back to my younger reading days. These were happy days, where I could be found with my nose buried in the adventures of the Famous Five or the Secret Seven, and loving every minute of them. I had this very same feeling wash over me as I was reading this book.


This is a great debut book for a new author, who in total has now penned six books, in this Blyton-esque series. The book is a fast-paced, detective adventure with a mysterious problem at its core which is required to be solved. Set in an idyllic back drop of castles, caves and a lighthouse for a hotel, the small town of Carrickstowe can be found situated by the coast. Three children and a dog turn adventure seeking into a full blown investigation. They each find themselves trying to locate the missing treasure of Carrickstowe, which disappears from the local museum.


This is a simple, but fast-paced story, packed full of fun and crazy characters. I particularly enjoyed the mad references from Mrs Loveday, which were intermingled throughout the story. Mrs Loveday, who is a poker gambling elderly lady, gets confused and muddles up a variety of sayings. One particular example that made me chortle was 'the windmill of opportunity' .


This book is a really enjoyable read, and with five more books coming out this year, there will be many more adventures to come our way. Nostalgic adventure stories are back once more, thrillingly enjoyable!


Adventure Island books.......


The Mystery of the Whistling Caves - July 2011
The Mystery of the Midnight Ghost -  July 2011
The Mystery of the Hidden Gold - Aug 2011
The Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece - Aug 2011  
The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby - Sep 2011
The Mystery of the Vanishing Skelton - Sep 2011




BIOGRAPHY

Helen Moss was born in 1964 and grew up in Worcestershire and Saudi Arabia. 
After a degree in psychology and philosophy at Oxford University, Helen went on to do PhD research at Cambridge University. She recently spent a year in Portland, Oregon with her family, and on returning decided to switch direction and devote herself full-time to writing. She signed up for some creative writing classes and was immediately hooked. 
Helen lives in a small village just outside Cambridge, with her husband, two young sons, two border collies, two guinea pigs, two dwarf hamsters, twenty hens and a cockerel called Wilfred
.

                                  

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

New Books Published - June 2011 (Part Two)

book cover of 

Black Ice 

 (Young Sherlock Holmes, book 3)

by

Andrew Lane
                          
Andrew Lane - Young Sherlock Holmes:Black Ice - Published by Macmillan - 3 June 2011
The year is 1868 and fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes faces his most baffling mystery yet. Mycroft, his older brother, has been found with a knife in his hand, locked in a room with a corpse. Only Sherlock believes that his brother is innocent. But can he prove it?
In a chase that will take him to Moscow and back, Sherlock must discover who has framed Mycroft and why . . . before Mycroft swings at the gallows.
Young Sherlock Holmes is a series of novels in which the iconic detective is reimagined as a brilliant, troubled and engaging teenager – creating unputdownable detective adventures that remain true to the spirit of the original books.

The Midnight Palace
                           
Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The Midnight Palace - Published by Orion - 2 June 2011
The book begins with a chase through the streets of Calcutta in May 1916. Lieutenant Peake pauses for breath outside the ruins of the Jheeter's Gate station knowing that he only has a few hours to live. Inside his overcoat he is sheltering two newborn babies - twins, a boy and a girl. Pursued by his would-be assassins, Peake runs at full tilt to the house of Aryami Bose, to whom he entrusts the children. In 1932 we meet the boy, Ben, and his group of friends the night before they are due to leave St Patricks orphanage. They have formed a secret club, The Chowbar Society, that meets each week at midnight in the old ruin they have christened The Midnight Palace. Their final meeting is due that evening but then Aryami Bose turns up at the orphanage with Sheere, Ben's sister, and tells them the story of the parents they never knew. Their father was an engineer and writer who died in tragic circumstances at the inauguration of Jheeter's Gate station. But as the novel unfolds, there is more to this story than meets the eye and they are lured by a shadowy figure from the past into a final showdown in the ruins.

book cover of 

Enemy Invasion 

 (Superhumans, book 3)

by

A G Taylor
                            
A.G Taylor - Enemy Invasion - Published by Usborne Publishing - 2 June 2011
Superpowers and conspiracy collide in this unmissable action-packed sci-fi thriller, sequel to 'Meteorite Strike' and 'Alien Storm'. Sarah and Robert Williams are no ordinary brother and sister. With superhuman powers originating from the mysterious Fall Virus that left thousands of others in a coma, the two are now working with government agency HIDRA and other superhuman kids to find a cure. The powerful alien that first sent the virus to Earth, known only as 'The Entity', is ready to attack again, determined to bring humanity under its control for good. It is being aided by Sarah's arch-enemy, Major Bright, and malicious software expert, Marlon Good, who have their own plans for world domination - but the key to their plans is 14-year-old Hack and his technology-manipulating powers. Before Sarah and her friends can get Hack to safety, Major Bright abducts him and uses his power to create an army of alien spider-robots that will be able to spread the virus across the world. Wave after wave spiders are launched in a lethal attack on London. Can the superhuman team stop the disaster or have they finally met their match? This is the final chapter in the mind-blowing trilogy of mesmerizing heroes, superpowers and non-stop action by critically acclaimed author A.G. Taylor.
19700f7996f8e8492a7f99e13789b5c0.jpg
                              
Ben Molyneux - Arthur Archer and the Time Traveller's Chronicles - Published by Janus Publishing - 14 June 2011
Trees do not have pulses, he said to himself sternly ... he pulled a handful of the mistletoe out of the way and there, to his utter amazement, he saw a door. Arthur is a seemingly ordinary teenager with a seemingly ordinary life until he stumbles across a strange and mysterious tree in the grounds of his new home at Rose Cottage. Unable to contain his curiosity, he investigates and ultimately changes his life and perhaps the past forever. For Arthur has discovered a time portal and finds himself transported back to the year 1643 during the English Civil War. His only hope is his sister, Emily, who discovers the secret of the time portal and who must find and warn her brother that unless the two of them return home within twenty-four hours then they will both be trapped in the past. But can the two of them find their way home during one of England's most bloody and grotesque periods? Or will Emily and Arthur have to spend the rest of their lives in a world where witch-hunts, battles, beheadings and the Black Death are commonplace?

Monday, 23 May 2011

New Books Published - June 2011 (Part one)

                                      

book cover of 

Earwig And The Witch 

by

Diana Wynne Jones


Diana Wynne Jones - Earwig and the Witch - Published by HarperCollins - 9 June 2011


Everyone knows that orphanages are horrible places. But Earwig has a surprising amount of power over everyone else at St Morwald’s Home for Children, and loves it there. So the last thing she wants is to be sent to live with the very strange Bella Yaga…
Earwig was left at St Morwald's as a baby. Unlike the other children, she loves it there, mostly because she has the run of the place and seems to be able to persuade people to do as she wants. Then one day Earwig is chosen to live with a very strange couple: Bella Yaga, her new 'mother', is actually a horrible witch. Earwig will need all her ingenuity (and some help from a talking cat) to survive…


book cover of 

Moondance of Stonewylde 

 (Stonewylde , book 2)

by

Kit Berry
                                 
Kit Berry - Moondance of Stonewylde - Published by Gollancz - 2 June 2011
he cracks are beginning to show in the idyllic Stonewylde community. As Yul and Sylvie's forbidden friendship grows into something deeper, Magus' true nature starts to emerge through his charming facade. Ever since Yul defied him at the Summer Solstice, his power has been waning, and his mood darkening. Yul is the problem - and Magus is going to deal with him. Nobody challenges his authority and survives. Sylvie is in danger too. Magus has discovered her secret and now, for all its beauty, her magical gift and Magus' desire to possess it is putting her life at risk. As each full moon rises Sylvie is made to suffer more, and the agony she endures as her magic is stolen leaves her increasingly exhausted, sapping her will to fight back. Unless Magus can be stopped, every full moon could be Sylvie's last. As glorious summer turns to golden autumn, the magic of Stonewylde is becoming a curse to the very people it should nurture . . . Are Yul and Sylvie the only ones who see the truth behind Magus' mask of kindness? Why is everyone so deceived by his charm - and why is Mother Heggy, the mysterious wise-woman the only one who will help them? The darkness of winter is coming, and as it does Sylvie and Yul's lives hang by a whisker. Either they will save each other, or history will repeat itself at the sinister standing stone above the cliffs.
book cover of 

Momentum 

by

Saci Lloyd
                                  
Saci Lloyd - Momentum - Published by Hodder Children's - 2 June 
London, the near future. Energy wars are flaring across the globe - oil prices have gone crazy, regular power cuts are a daily occurrence. The cruel Kossak soldiers prowl the streets, keeping the Outsiders - the poor, the disenfranchised - in check. Hunter is a Citizen: one of the privileged of society, but with his passion for free running and his rebel friend Leo he cannot help but be fascinated by the Outsiders. So when he meets Outsider Uma, he is quickly drawn into their world - and into an electrifying and dangerous race to protect everything they hold dear.

book cover of 

The Case of the Deadly Desperados 

 (Western Mysteries, book 1)

by

Caroline Lawrence
                            
Caroline Lawrence - The Case of the Deadly Desperados:Western Mysteries - Published by Orion Children's - 2 June 2011
When desperados kill a preacher and his wife in a small frontier town, their foster child P.K. is forced to go on the run. P.K. must get a valuable letter to the Recorder’s Office before anyone else can get their hands on it. It’s not easy: Virginia City in 1862 is a glorified mining camp on a barren mountain above a great vein of silver. Seething with miners below ground and hustlers above, it’s a dangerous place, full of gamblers, hurdy girls, saloon-keepers and gunmen, all of them on the make. When twelve year-old P.K. Pinkerton arrives there, homeless, penniless and hunted, things don’t look good. But armed with a Smith & Wesson seven-shooter and a knack for disguises, P.K. takes on the tricksters and desperados who are out to get him and he finds possible allies: Sam Clemens, the new reporter for the paper, a gambler called ‘Poker Face Jace’ who knows how to tell if someone is bluffing, a derringer-packing Soiled Dove, and a Chinese photographer’s apprentice called Ping. 

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Midnight Gate by Helen Stringer - Blog Tour Dates Week Two

book cover of 

The Midnight Gate 

 (Spellbinder, book 2)

by

Helen Stringer
                                      
Helen Stringer will be stopping by (next week) to post some of her articles for you to read as part of her second week of "The Midnight Gate" blog tour. You will find some delicious posts to whet your appetite. Follow along and have a peek!


May-23 Mundie Kids -  http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
May-24 Poisoned Rationality -  http://www.prationality.com/
May-26 Bookworming in the 21st Century http://www.bookworminginthe21stcentury.com/
May-27 The OWL for YA-  http://owlforya.blogspot.com/
May-30 Wicked Awesome Books http://www.wickedawesomebooks.com/
Jun-1 KidLitFrenzy http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/
Jun-2 Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books http://mrripleysenchantedbooks.blogspot.com/
Jun-3 The Joys of Reading http://thejoysofreading.com/

Book synopsis

It’s been two months since Belladonna Johnson discovered she was the Spellbinder, and she’s full of questions about her powers. When a ghost finds Belladonna and her classmate, Steve, and gives them a mysterious map, the friends don’t know if they should be looking for or hiding from the one person who holds the answers to Belladonna’s powers: the Queen of the Abyss. Throw into the mix that Belladonna’s parents, who are ghosts, have disappeared and that her brand-new and maybe even sinister foster family seems to know more than they’ll let on, and you have a sequel made of high adventure and intrigue, seasoned with affecting characters and topped with a dollop of wit.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Michael Rosen Donates a Poem to be Translated Into Braille for RNIB

                    
                            
A giant braille poem will form an integral part of the RNIB Garden for children with sight loss, unveiled at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. The poem was written by children's author Michael Rosen, entitled Hand on a Bridge. Rosen will also be going to see the display on Monday 23rd May.
Visitors will be invited to feel the braille poem which reflects the overall theme of sight loss and children. It is hoped that this will prompt thought and discussion about the simple tools blind and partially sighted people use in order to live a fulfilling life. As well as including braille, garden designer Hervey-Brookes focuses on touch, scent and sound by using materials that have textural qualities, left in as natural a state as possible such as planed green oak, reclaimed Cotswold stone and Aberdeen granite. 

The extract from Michael Rosen's poem:
Hand on the bridge
Feel the rhythm of the train
Hand on the window
Feel the rhythm of the rain
Hand on your heart
Feel the rhythm inside
Hand on your life
Feel the rhythm of time 

The RNIB Garden celebrates the redevelopment of one of the charity's most cherished services, RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning. The Centre provides individualised care, education and therapies to children with complex needs and sight problems, who inspired the theme of the garden - the experience of the senses.

After the show, the garden will form a central part of the outdoor space at the RNIB Pears Centre and will be enjoyed by young people with complex needs and sight problems day after day.
This is the second time that Paul Hervey-Brookes has designed a garden for RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In 2010 Paul designed a garden exploring the theme of biodiversity from Bradstone and was awarded a Silver Medal.



The 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 24-28 May 2011.
The RNIB Garden site number is RHW35
The RNIB Garden has been funded by generous donations from a number of RNIB suppliers including Zurich, Bates Wells & Braithwaite and Walters Office World.
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK's leading charity offering information, support and advice to almost two million people with a sight problem. It is estimated that at least 30 per cent of people with complex needs may have a sight problem. RNIB works to radically improve the life chances of people who are blind and partially sighted and have learning disabilities.
For more information about Michel Rosen visit  www.michaelrosen.co.uk
For further information on Paul Hervey-Brookes please visit http://www.paulherveybrookes.com/

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

BLOOMSBURY LAUNCHES POLL TO FIND FAVOURITE HARRY POTTER CHARACTER

                      
                          
BLOOMSBURY LAUNCHES POLL TO FIND  FAVOURITE HARRY POTTER CHARACTER

Wizard?   Muggle?   Dementor! - Who would you choose?

J.K ROWLING would choose: ‘Harry, although I believe I am unusual in this, Ron is generally more popular (I love him too, though) Now that I have finished writing the books, the character I would most like to meet for dinner is Dumbledore.  We would have a lot to discuss, and I would love his advice; I think that everyone would like a Dumbledore in their lives’

Bloomsbury Publishing is launching the first official global search to find the world’s favourite character from the Harry Potter books.

Over the course of seven bestselling books Harry Potter has met a huge cast of incredible characters. Bloomsbury has drawn up a list of 40 of those characters which can be found on the home page of www.bloomsbury.com/harrypotter where visitors can vote. If a character is missing, then there is also the opportunity to add your favourite.

The poll opens on Monday 16th May 2011 and runs until Friday 26th August 2011. The winning character will be announced on Tuesday 30th August 2011. The poll will be supported by regular Facebook updates.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Arthur Slade - Draugr - Book Review

                                               

Cover of DraugrGrandpa was going to murder us. Not with an axe. Not with a shovel. But with words."When Sarah, Michael and Angie arrive from the US to spend summer vacation with their grandpa in Gimli, Manitoba, they are prepared for his scary stories based on Icelandic mythology. But they are anything but prepared when events from the story about a draugr -- a man who comes back from the dead -- begin to happen around them.


I have been a big fan of Arthur's work ever since I first read his great steampunk adventures "The Hunchback Assignments". I then went on to read "Dust", which was equally as good but in a totally different style. 


However, recently, I have managed to acquire and read Arthur's first book 'Draugr'. Even though this was originally published in 1998, it still feels and reads like a recent story that has only just been written. 


The main character, Draugr, is a form of ghost or someone who walks again after death.  At least this is according to Norse mythology folklore, of which this story is based around. He breeds a dark atmosphere which is deliciously readable. Possessing superhuman strength, which also can increase in size and at will, a Draugr walks the earth again to seek revenge on a family generation. However, the unmistakable stench of decay that he carries around with him, is certainly not what three children out on a holiday vacation expected to encounter late at night, at their Grandpa's home.


This is a really gripping story, with a very high fear factor, that will make your heart race. It's got pace and is full of action. In fact, when I took this book to the park to read the Canadian geese voiced their approval of my reading choice by not leaving me alone to finish it! However, after finally finishing this thrilling book, I'm now hungry for more. I'm hoping to track down Arthur's next book - I wonder if the geese might be able to offer their help . . . . . .  
Also in the Northern Frights series:
The Loki Wolf


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Jeyn Roberts - Dark Inside - Mr Ripley's Most Wanted Book 2



                           
book cover of 

Dark Inside 

by

Jeyn Roberts

Four teenagers on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found. DARK INSIDE is a stunning, cinematic thriller: 28 DAYS LATER meets THE ROAD.

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…. Now it’s our turn.
Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even worse is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, hooking on to weakness, turning the unwary into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason:  His mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground. Everyone he knows is killed.

Aries: A school bus, an aftershock and a crash. Pulled out of the wreckage by a mysterious stranger, she’s about to discover a world changed forever.

Clementine: An emergency meeting at the town hall that descends into murderous chaos. Outside the rest of their community encircle with weapons. How can those you trust turn into savage strangers?

Michael: A brutal road rage incident. When the police arrive on the scene they gun down the guilty and turn on the by-standing crowd. Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? 

Published by Macmillan Children's Books 2, Sep in the UK and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing November 1, 2011 in the US

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Steve Feasey - Changeling Zombie Dawn Blog Tour - Favourite Horror Book and Movie

Changeling
                                           
It's the final curtain call for one of the best new horror series to be published for some time. It's been great following Trey and his adventures and in the final book we are in for a cracking read. So thanks to Steve for rushing this post over to me,I know how busy you are. I'm glad to see your still stealing books from family members,do they steal yours?


At events, I often get asked what are my favourite horror book and movie. I pretend to umm and ahh whilst knowing exactly which film had the greatest impact on me, and which book turned me onto horror from the usual feast of sci-fi and fantasy that I’d devoured as a youngster up until that point.


Alien is my favourite horror film. And it’s old – 1979! “But that’s ancient!” I hear you say. But in this instance, it’s a case of an oldie being a goody. In a time when there was no CGI to summon up an on-screen monster with, the monsters in horror movies of this time were all too often, well…lame. How many times was a great premise destroyed by bad make-up and costumes, leaving the audience unfulfilled and cheated? Far too many. If the guy in the latex suit looks like a guy in a latex suit, something is wrong. Alien was different. For starters, the monster was unique – no reconstituted horror tropes here, oh no. Not only unique, but you get THREE monsters for the price of one. Facehugger is the first incarnation of the Alien: the thing that adheres to John Hurt’s face and implants something into his stomach. When the Facehugger drops off, all seems well, but there’s much worse to come. The next embodiment of our monster is the most shocking, and provides the film with its most memorable moment, as Chestburster erupts from the still-living body of the unfortunate space traveller and whizzes off across the room, the audience squirms in its seats. The last incarnation of the monster is also brilliantly imagined, and the fact that it is only seen in glimpses (terrifying glimpses, yes) lends to the tension and fear that the film evokes in me, even now (and I’ve seen it countless times). I love the originality of Alien, and it still outranks almost every other horror movie for me.


My favourite horror book is not the best horror book I’ve ever read (and perhaps I’m stretching things a bit to describe it as my favourite), but it is the one I think had the most impact on me at a young age. I read it at the age of about twelve or thirteen, and it was the first ‘proper’ horror book I ever picked up. Carrie by Stephen King is about as far away from Alien as you could get. Set in an American high school, the book is written in an epistolary style, using diary entries, newspaper articles and interviews to explain how whole parts of the town and many of its inhabitants are eventually destroyed by the shy and bullied Carrie White, who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to wreak havoc on those that have made her life so miserable. I picked this book from my sister’s bedside cabinet, drawn to it by the gruesome cover of a girl with blood running down her face. I stole it and read it in secret in my room, and it scared the wits out of me. I have never been as scared as when I read that book in my room over the next two nights, and I realised that I quite liked the sensation. I was hooked and I’ve always enjoyed horror since. Although I read across a huge range of genres, I still dip in and out of horror when I need a ‘fear fix’.
So that’s it. My fave horror movie and book, and the reasons I love them so much. If you haven’t checked them out, do so. 


Next port of call is Friday at My Favourite Books so check it out.
And for more information on Steve and his books pop over to http://www.stevefeasey.com/

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Alex Keller - Why I decided to write a steampunk series: Guest Post

Blacknwhiteface
I'd just like to thank Alex again for spending time writing another blog post.  I hope this insight of his journey into writing a steampunk genre-esk novel may tempt people to read it. Especially for those people who may not have read either of the first two books in this exciting new series.

I had never intended to write a “steampunk” book when I started to plan what eventually would become Haywired.  I think at the beginning I wasn't even aware of what steampunk even was!  What I wanted to do was write a story that, at least for me, felt different to other children's books I had read.

When I began writing, my aim was to write a fantasy novel but not include some of the more common ideas you find in fantasy stories.  I didn't want a boy with some kind of prophecy attached to him as the main character, or a system of magic that required simply the uttering of some words for miraculous things to occur.  I don't have any problem with these ideas in general, but they have been used a lot and I didn't think I could do anything with these ideas that would make my stories different from what what already out there.  

So instead I decided to have magical elements appear in my stories in the form of machines and technology.  I had always liked the idea of the mad scientist and using machinery meant I could have some incredibly strange and wondrous things happening while the characters remained very much human.  The inspiration for this came from authors like Philip Reeve, but at the time I had no idea what genre I was writing in.  It was new and different for me and that was good enough. 

As time went on I learned that the type of story I was writing sometimes came under a genre called “steampunk”. When I learned this, I did a bit of research into what steampunk was and I liked what I saw.  I didn't change the book particularly to make sure it fitted the “steampunk” genre (there are no airships and it's not an alternative history), but I was more than happy to have Haywired placed in this genre if others were happy to label it as such. For me, Steampunk is elaborate, intricate, weird, and ridiculous all at the same time and I think Haywired reflects those themes well. 

                              
Please check out the author's new web site for more information on the Haywired books and signings http://alexkellerbooks.com/

book cover of 

Haywired 

 (Haywired, book 1)

by

Alex Keller

Friday, 6 May 2011

Alex Keller - Re:Wired - BK2 - Book Review

book cover of 

Rewired 

 (Haywired, book 2)

by

Alex Keller          
  • Pages - 166
  • Publisher - Mogzilla
  • Date - 7 April 2011
  • Age - 10+
  • Isbn - 9781906132347 
An old family, torn from power, wants to rule again. But their heir is dead, and only one man can give them a new one: Mandrake von Guggenstein. In the thrilling sequel to Haywired, brothers Ludwig and Hephaestus are once again drawn into their father's machinations as they hunt for "Grilsgarter", a strange creature and harbinger of a nightmare future. It has come to collect on their father's promises. As the ghosts of von Guggenstein past catch up with the present, the brothers find themselves at the ends of the earth, desperate to stop a terrible war that will tear their home apart.




It's another book packed full of explosive encounters and fast paced action. It has lots of exciting twists and turns to keep any reader hooked. The author slowly reveals all of his cards by the end of the story. However, he doesn't always take the easy options - he certainly makes some major decisions towards the end, but at this point I'll say no more.

As I was reading this book, I got the sense that the author was particularly well read. I felt that the imaginative plot line that he has developed may have been influenced by some of the books that he has read over time. The author has a great foot in the fantasy world door with each book blossoming into a real winner. However, I would really like to see the author write a longer novel - maybe around the 300 page mark and not the current 160 page mark, so that the reader can really get their teeth stuck into it. Whilst I recognise that the writing is aimed at the 8-12 year age bracket, I feel a longer story would also enable more detail to be included and a greater complexity of plot to be experimented with. This would then appeal to an older audience, although many young and old fans are already enjoying this series.

For anyone who enjoys a good story with an abundant amount of imagination and some of the most interesting characters you'll find, then this is the book for you. It incorporates some great action and 'crazy' fighting scenes, and some fantastically strange machines that will keep you intrigued right to the very end. Please pick up a copy of this book, read it and then pass it on to your friends - you won't be disappointed. 

Watch out for the guest post coming soon from Alex. In the meantime, check out my book review for the first book 'Haywired'. Thanks for reading this post, and as always, I look forward to your comments.                          

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Feiwel and Friends - Spring Book Picks 2011

book cover of 

Enclave 

 (Razorland, book 1)

by

Ann Aguirre
   
Some magical books published by Feiwel & Friends this spring in the US. The first book on this list is on my reading pile now!    
                      
Ann Auguirre - Enclave - 12 April 2011 
The world is in chaos: war, plague, global ecological collapse. Seeking sanctuary for their children, parents enrol them in the elite Clothos Academy. Run by a mysterious man known only as Sarge, set in a former monastery atop a sheer cliff on a tiny island, Clothos will admit only one hundred children before it is sealed off perhaps permanently from the terrors outside. These precious, protected children are hardly the best and the brightest: empty-headed, anorexia-thin starlets ; troublemakers barely one step ahead of the law; cast-off junior royals too embarrassing to be let out in public. The staff isn't much better, from the alcoholic doctor and lovelorn guidance counsellor to a teacher with a lust for power and an ancient monk with secrets of his own. The dangers from which these castaways are being protected? Stored on hundreds of DVDs, ready to be trotted out whenever Sarge needs to terrify his little flock. And yet.... Two boys discover there are real dangers beyond Clothos thick stone walls when they hack the Academy's self-contained computer network and connect, for a brief but disastrous moment, to the outside world. Worse, a stranger has penetrated the Academy's defences. And he has brought Death.
               
book cover of 

The Midnight Gate 

 (Spellbinder, book 2)

by

Helen Stringer
  Love this book cover it may find it's way into this years book cover was,what do you think?                         
Helen Stringer - Midnight Gate -  10 May 2011
It’s been two months since Belladonna Johnson discovered she was the Spellbinder, and she’s full of questions about her powers. When a ghost finds Belladonna and her classmate, Steve, and gives them a mysterious map, the friends don’t know if they should be looking for or hiding from the one person who holds the answers to Belladonna’s powers: the Queen of the Abyss. Throw into the mix that Belladonna’s parents, who are ghosts, have disappeared and that her brand-new and maybe even sinister foster family seems to know more than they’ll let on, and you have a sequel made of high adventure and intrigue, seasoned with affecting characters and topped with a dollop of wit.


book cover of 

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland 

In a Ship of Her Own Making 

by

Catherynne M Valente
                         

Catherynne M. Valente - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - 10 MAY 2011



Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.
With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.