• Book Review,  Reviews

    The Queen of Dreams – Peter Hamilton (illustrated by Adam Stower)

    “‘Just go away,’ Taggie Paganuzzi whispered fiercely at the grey rainclouds that we’re drawing together across the bright summer sky. She and her sister were returning from a holiday with their mum to spend a fortnight with their dad. The drive had taken hours and Taggie was seriously bored.” Taggie and her sister Jemima are on their way to their dads for summer when Taggie makes the rainclouds disappear. She doesn’t realise then that she is the cause of their sudden disappearance but its just the first of the very weird things that happen to them over the next couple of days. By far the weirdest thing though is seeing…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Doll Bones – Holly Black

    “Poppy set down one of the mermaid dolls close to the stretch of asphalt road that represented the Blackest Sea. They were old – bought from Goodwill – with big shiny heads, different coloured tails, and frizzy hair.  Zachary Barlow could almost imagine their fins lashing back and forth as they waited for the boat to get closer, their silly plastic smiles hiding their lethal intentions.” Poppy, Zachary and Alice have been playing together for years, playing with the dolls their parents have bought them and loving them as if they were real people. But as they get older things are changing, they are changing and when Zach decides he…

  • Guest Post

    The Waking World Blog Tour – The films that inspired The Waking World by Tom Huddleston

    In my daily life, when I’m not writing books, I write about film for Time Out magazine. Since early childhood I’ve been obsessed with films, I used to collect sticker books and soundtrack albums and posters, and was always begging my mother to take me to the cinema. So it’s hardly surprising that, when I came to write ‘The Waking World’ I took inspiration as much from movies as from books. Here’s just a few of the films I thought about while I was writing. Excalibur John Boorman’s epic retelling of the King Arthur stories is quite violent and not really meant for children, but it’s without doubt the film…

  • Guest Post

    Guest Post: Top ten influences from Tabitha Sazuma

    Today I have Tabitha Sazuma, author of the very well known and loved Forbidden and new book Hurt, on the blog sharing her top ten influences when it comes to writing. These are fantastic and I can really tell why they would have such an impact on her. For those of you who are not familar with Tabitha please check out my reviews of Forbidden and Hurt, and check out her website. 1. Personal experience: For example; my lifelong battle with depression, an abusive childhood, leaving school at 14, bringing up my little brother… 2. Music.  I have quite an eclectic taste. Classical, especially Mozart and Rachmaninov. Film soundtracks to…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Hurt – Tabitha Sazuma

    “He opens his eyes and knows instantly that something is terribly wrong. He senses it through his skin, his nerves, his synapses, even though, spread-eagled on his back, all he can see is the frosted light-fitting on his bedroom ceiling. The room is white, violently bright and he knows that it is a sunny day and he forgot to close the curtains, just as he knows, from the belt cutting into his side, the denim against his legs, the clammy cotton sticking to his chest, that he slept in his clothes.” Mathéo wakes to find his room in tatters. It is like something from a nightmare and he can’t remember…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    Cross My Heart – Carmen Reid

    “10th May 1940 Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the terrible news.  I was in class. My teacher, Monsieur Durance, was trying to tell us about William Shakespeare but no one could concentrate. We were all straining to see out of the high windows because people were running into the schoolyard, shouting, even crying.  ‘Let the children out! We want our children!’ ‘The Nazis are coming!'” Fifteen year old Nicole is in turmoil. The Nazis have invaded Brussels and her father has been taken. Things carry on mostly as normal, she goes to school, goes home, and meets up with friends. Yet things are far from normal with…

  • Book Review,  Reviews,  Uncategorized

    The Spook’s Battle – Joseph Delaney

    “The witch was chasing me through the dark wood, getting nearer and nearer by the second.  I ran fast, frantic to escape, weaving desperately, with branches whipping into my face and brambles clutching at my weary legs. The breath rasped harshly in my throat as I drove myself harder and harder towards the edge of the wood. Beyond that lay the slope leading up to the Spook’s western garden. If only I could reach that refuge, I’d be safe!” It is close to a year since Tom became the Spook’s Apprentice. Now that he has mastered the art of defence against boggarts, its on to witches, and there has been…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    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…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    The Child’s Elephant – Rachel Campbell-Johnston

    “The sound of the rifle shot rang through the air. For a few moments it seemed as if the whole world had stopped. The cicadas fell silent, a bush rat dived for its burrow, the cattle paused in their chewing and looked upwards with wide empty stares; and Bat, the lone herd-boy who up till then had been dreaming, swishing at bushes with a long whippy branch, let the switch fall and dropped suddenly down on his haunches. His head was quite hidden by the tall, yellow grass.” In the African savannah heat Bat witnesses poachers at work, they shoot and kill a magnificent elephant and then take its tusks…

  • Book Review,  Reviews

    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…