Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

North of Nowhere – Liz Kessler

Posted in Children's Books on April 11th, 2014 by admin – 2 Comments

My 10 year old daughter is a big fan of Liz Kessler’s previous  novels, including the fantasy series, Philippa Fisher and Emily Windsnap, so I was keen to read her latest novel and see what all the fuss was about.

Targeted at children aged nine and above, this is the second of three stand-alone novels all of which have a connection with time-travel.  Whilst being more grounded in the “real” world than the fantasy novels, there is still that subtle element of the supernatural suffusing the story.

Our narrator is thirteen year old Mia (Amelia).  Her plans for a chilled out Spring half-term, hanging out with her friends, are dashed when her Grandad goes missing and she and her Mum have to join her Gran in the sleepy fishing village of Porthaven – with no mobile phone signal, no satellite tv, no internet – a teen’s worst nightmare!   Fortunately Mia makes a new friend in Dee, a local girl, although their friendship is somewhat unconventional given that they communicate via letters and diary entries.

This is a cleverly constructed, gripping tale blending time travel, mystery, family relationships and friendships and introducing realistic, very relatable characters.  The conversations between Mia and her family and her  peers hit exactly the right note.  The setting is perfect for a mystery with its windswept coast and taciturn locals – I found it reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic haunts.

An intelligent, fast-paced adventure story which, I’m pleased to report, was enjoyed equally by my daughter and me.  We’re both looking forward to the next stand-alone novel, Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins,which is due out on 14th August 2014 published by Orion Childrens.

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Better than Easter Eggs…

Posted in Children's Books on March 26th, 2013 by admin – 1 Comment

If you’re looking for something for your children for Easter why not buy them a book…much more nutritious for their brains! :-)

The following reviews are of sequels to books which my children and I loved so we had a feeling they would be good.

Source – from Net Galley

Random House Children’s Publishers UK

Pub Date: May 2 2013 for paperback release
Big Change for Stuart is the sequel to Small Change for Stuart and they both revolve around the adventures of 10 year old, short for his age, Stuart Horten (S.Horten..). Suitable for confident male and female readers from about 7 years and over, this makes a pleasant change from the sparkly, pony/unicorn/fairy/wizard, adventures which are usually targeted at this age group. The result is an intelligently written adventure story which has an old-fashioned ring to it but still translates well into the modern, technological era.

The characters are likeable and interesting. Stuart is a curious young boy, keen to investigate the legacy of his Great Uncle who was a stage magician. He is accompanied on his adventures by his intrepid companion April as they solve the mysteries surrounding each piece of magical apparatus used during his Great Uncle’s stage act. Another engaging character is Stuart’s father who has tendency to use multisyllabic words – his job as a crossword compiler tends to hinder rather than aid his communication skills!

The book is split into short, snappy chapters and set out like a series of puzzles which will appeal to many young children. Even though this is a sequel, it can be read as a stand-alone but of course you will immediately want to read the first book anyway!

Highly recommended for children with inquiring minds who enjoy a touch of magic.

Itch Rocks

Random House Children’s Publishers UK

Pub Date: Feb 28 2013
Considering my 12 year old son and I (late 40s..) both loved the first in this series we were keenly anticipating the follow up, Itch Rocks. We are delighted to report that it is a worthy successor and having devoured it over a few days we can’t wait for the next in the series.

Itchingham Lofte’s life has changed dramatically since his disposal of the “rocks” and he and his family are now under constant surveillance and even have security personnel living with them as well as next door! Any hopes of Itch making new friends are dashed by his living in the spotlight and he lives under the constant threat of being kidnapped as he has refused to tell anyone (even the good guys) about the location of element 126.

Itch Rocks is a really gripping, adventure story with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. As well as introducing some more elements and their more interesting properties, there are more characters to meet all adding to the fun! Never have caesium and bismuth been more appealing…

Oh and one for the girls from Eva who highly recommends Jacqueline Wilson’s latest novel, Queenie.


Hardcover, 410 pages
Published January 31st 2013 by Doubleday Childrens

Review courtesy of Eva aged 9.

Queenie is a heartwarming tale about Elsie Kettle, a girl in 1953, who desperately wants to see the Queen’s Coronation. She lives with her Nan in a little but cosy basement flat. When her Nan gets very poorly, Elsie’s life is turned upside down. Her Mum comes to look after her but when Elsie gets ill, she is taken away from everything she ever knew. Now she will have to make new friends and this leads to a friendship with a majestic white cat called Queenie but will Ever ever be reunited with her Nan?

This is one of Jacqueline Wilson’s historical novels which I especially enjoy. It has a twist in the tale and will keep you gripped until the last page.

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