• Book Review

    The Dreamsnatcher – Abi Elphinstone

    “There are footprints in the snow, sudden marks picked out by the moonlight. They weave a path through the forest, round the ring of ancient oak trees and on towards the wooden hut. But there they stop, and the smoke curling out of the chimney is the only sign that anyone is inside.  Seven cloaked figures sit round a table, their hoods pulled up despite the fire crackling in the grate. At first, they whisper together, their voices low and guarded. And then the whispers fade, heads drop and lips curl back.”  Moll has been a member of Oak’s camp for as long as she can remember. Having no parents…

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    Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret – DD Everest

    “Sardines. That was the mystery ingredient in Loretta Foxe’s chocolate cake, and both her children knew it. This particular cake was covered in blueberry icing and had twelve candles on it. It was sitting on the kitchen table in the Foxe family’s house in Oxford.  As well as the cake, there were heaped piles of sandwiches, smothered with pickled spreads. bowls of colourful crisps and a number of small, unmarked glass pots”  The Foxe family children have no idea its Archie’s birthday, they don’t even know who Archie is, and he doesn’t know them. But when a mysterious package arrives for him on his birthday with strict instructions to take…

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    Little Celeste – Dawn McNiff

    “I was only out of my room for two minutes, I swear it. But when I got back, there she was.  A baby.  Lying on my duvet, crying her head off.  A real, true-life baby. Come from nowhere.” When a baby turns up in her room Shelley believes she may have gone mad, this is confirmed when she realises only she can see said baby but it can throw things, knock stuff off shelves and hit people, all the while everyone around thinking it wasShelley herself. Shelley knows she cant just ignore the baby and walk away and with her mum off in cloud cuckoo land since Scott the Toadstool…

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    Ghoulish Song – William Alexander

    “The last day of Kaile’s life did not start well.  She was up before the sun bothered to be, and fumbled a bit with her beside lantern. The flint sparked, the wick caught, and she blinked herself awake in the sudden, violent light. Then she wound up the case and watched it turn.  The lantern was a music bow, a shadow puppet show, and one of Kaile’s very favourite things. Animals marched around the bedroom walls as it turned in a slow circle. She stared at the shadows while slowly remembering what day it was.” On Inspection Day at her mother’s bakery everything had to go perfectly. So when Snotfish’s…

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    Unhinged – AG Howard

    “My art teacher says that a real artist bleeds for her craft, but he never told us that blood can become your medium, can take on a life of its own and shape your art in vile and gruesome ways. I shove my hair over my shoulder, puncture my forefinger with the sterilised safety pin i had tucked in my pocket, then position the final glass gem on my mosaic and wait.  As I press the translucent bead into the wet, white plaster, I shudder at the seeping sensation. It’s like a leech at the tip of my finger where I touch the glass, sucking and siphoning my blood to…

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    Splintered – AG Howard

    “I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; its the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.  Some of my victims line the walls in shadow boxes, while others get sorted into mason jars and placed on a bookshelf for later use. Crickets, beetles, spiders… bees and butterflies. I’m not picky. Once they get chatty they’re fair game.” Alyssa Gardner can hear plants and insects. She can hear the things they are trying to say. It is a gift, or a curse, that has been passed through the women of her mothers family for years, ever…

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    The Spook’s Mistake (Wardstone Chronicles #5) – Joseph Delaney

    “Carrying my staff, I went into the kitchen and picked up the empty sack. It would be dark in less than an hour but I’d just enough time to walk down to the village and collect the week’s provisions. All we had left was a few eggs and a small wedge of County cheese. Two days earlier The Spook had gone south to deal with a boggart. Annoyingly, this was the second time in a month that my master had gone off on a job without me.” Following the escape from The Fiend, Tom’s master had become very protective, taking to going out on jobs alone rather than taking his…

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    The Spook’s Secret – Joseph Delaney

    “It was a cold, dark November night and Alice and I were sitting by the kitchen fire with my master, the Spook. The weather had been getting steadily colder and I knew that any day now the Spook would decide it was time to set off for his ‘winter house’ on the bleak moor of Anglezarke.” As Tom and his master make their way to the Spook’s winter house, Tom can tell that the winter is going to be a long and hard one. Once there he realises it would be worse than anticipated. Alice is exiled to a family who aren’t pleased to have her and the Spook’s involved…

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    The Spook’s Curse – Joseph Delaney

    “When I heard the first scream, I turned away and covered my ears with my hands, pressing hard until my head hurt. At that moment I could do nothing to help. But I could still hear it, the sound of a priest in torment, and it went on for a long time before finally fading away. So I shivered in the dark barn, listening to the rain drumming on the roof, trying to gather my courage. It was a bad night and it was about to get worse.  Tom Ward has been the Spook’s apprentice for just over six months now. He has learnt a lot at the hands of…

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    The Spook’s Apprentice (The Wardstone Chronicles #1) – Joseph Delaney

    “When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail. It had been a long, hard day and I was ready for my supper.  ‘You’re sure he’s a seventh son?’ He asked. He was looking down at me and shaking his head doubtfully.  Dad nodded.  ‘And you were a seventh son too?’  Dad nodded again” Tom is the seventh son of a seventh soon and this makes him perfect as a Spook’s Apprentice. But how does he know that this is really for him, how can he scare off the things that go bump in the night when they scare him just as much as everyone else? For years…