Stuck for present ideas? Look no further! A book is a thoughtful, pleasingly weighty and easily wrapped gift. It says, I’ve thought about you. I’ve considered what you might like. I’ve invited you onto a journey, nay, adventure, through these pages I have purchased for you. I believe that you can read.
And here I’ve done the thought and research for you. Pick the most appropriate gift for the person you love, tolerate or are obligated to buy for and get wrapping! Plus my top book of the year is hidden in there too…
Here are my top tips for:
Morrigan Crow has always known when the end would come. As a cursed child, she is destined to die on her eleventh birthday, but instead at midnight Morrigan finds herself apprenticed and semi-kidnapped by an extraordinary figure called Jupiter North and taken into a land that she never knew existed, and where she finds she has been entered into a contest to join the mysterious Wundrous Society, despite her apparent lack of a qualifying ‘knack.’ But on the journey through her trials she finds freedom, fun, loving family for the first time and hopes desperately that there is something she can do to let her stay…
This book was just so good. It put an almost constant smile on my face the whole way through. It begins with the maudlin and melancholy of Morrigan with her family, but moves into such a fantastic blend of warmth, crazy fantasy and humour that I was completely enchanted. It’s probably a book for 9-12 year olds but I’ve been recommending it to anyone who loves this sort of thing anyway – and I can’t wait for the next in the series.
In case you don’t keep up to date with all the latest in book news, here it is: PHILIP PULLMAN IS BRINGING OUT THE BOOK OF DUST, an ‘equel’ to HIS DARK MATERIALS. Guys, we get to adventure again with Lyra!!!!
I love Northern Lights so much, and the rest of the series not much less. Lee Scoresby. Iorek Bryrinson. The fantastic evilness of Mrs Coulter. The wonderful world Lyra lives in, then colliding with our world and others. I read and re-read these books so so many times as a teenager.
So I should be just over the moon about this, right? But my excitement is definitely tinged with some concerns… here we go:
“You can’t have adventures on an empty stomach,” reasoned Dick.
Enid Blyton is the queen of fictional food. I set out to write a post about the four fictional feasts I would love to eat, but quickly realised that everything that I was writing about was from Enid. Why does she love food so much? How does she make it sound so magical? I just don’t know. But here are the things that stick in my mind as the foods I’d share with my small, plucky crime fighting gang.
I find Kezia playing with books so so much of the time, and when we sit down to read a couple of times a day she absolutely loves it. As do I! It seems so mysterious: what is it that makes them so exciting? I’ve done a quick run down and this is what I reckon:
Alice’s friend Ada is tasked with finding the fallen child, and finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole to find familiar faces and new adventures. Meanwhile the search for Alice continues, as her big sister and governess search fruitlessly, and their father receives a visitor with a foreign ward. The worlds above and below turn to chaos as everyone tries to find or leave home…
Hmmmmm. I was super excited to read this, though my excitement was tempered by the fact that LOTS of people had told me that Maguire’s Wicked was boring. Now, this book wasn’t boring at all. The plot was interesting, the characters intriguing, the concept brilliant. And there was a lot of Carrollian absurdity, invention and wit. But I think that the problem people have with Maguire’s writing is his elitist prose.
Maire is happy in her small village, baking treats infused with emotion, strength and other qualities that she’s not quite sure how they got in there. But when her village is captured by marauders and she is captured by the sinister, cruel and strangely infantile and familiar Allemas, she is forced to confront the provenance of her gift and what it means about her past. As she completes challenging jobs for Allemas and survives his violence, a strange ethereal being called Fyel appears and gradually the story comes out…
After reading The Paper Magician series I was really keen to read more by Charlie Holmberg. This was totally different and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other, but in itself it was a worthwhile read. I think because there wasn’t that much described setting, and because Maire herself didn’t really know what was going it, it read a bit more like a fable than a normal story, but it was enjoyable for all that.
Lily has been trying to adjust to normal life after her gorgeous supernatural, ancient Egyptian boyfriend Amon disappeared to save the world from chaos, but it’s just not working. It comes as a slight relief when the god Anubis turns up at her grandmother’s house to say they need her help again – Amon is trapped in the Netherworld and Lily is the only one who can save him. But it’s not an easy process, and involves becoming a sphinx, a huge change that will affect Lily forever…
I knew exactly what to expect from this book having read and enjoyed the first book. A action packed teen adventure packed with drama and spirit, plus a load of gorgeous gods and a plucky heroine. It didn’t disappoint, and I think I actually enjoyed this one more. It felt more confident, and focussed more on Lily as a character rather than Amon, which I really enjoyed.
I’m a massive fan of Lauren Child and have been since way before I had a baby and therefore a legitimate reason to read her books. But when I first read this book I was disappointed. It seemed to be a list of clothes, not a story at all, which is always a terrible terrible thing – but soon I realised that actually, the pictures were telling the story.
When Wulliam’s father, the Riverkeep, is attacked by a monster from the deep which takes over his body, Wulliam is desperate to save him. Abandoning the piece of river his father has kept his whole life he starts to journey down the river through land he has only heard of to find the Mormorach, the legendary and magical beast that could cure his father. But he’s not the only one looking for it, nor the only one on a journey, and William’s trip turns out more colourfully than he ever would have imagined.
For me, this book seemed to have two very clear sections. The start was fairly slow, fairly tedious world building, telling us much too much information about the Riverkeep and the river etc etc etc. It was fairly dull, dark and dense. Then suddenly Wulliam embarks on his quest, and everything starts being faintly ridiculous and completely bizarre. In an enjoyable way – but it was just totally unexpected!