Hello lovely blogging world. I cannot believe it’s been nearly a week since my last post – but I do have an excuse. I’ve had the worlds WORST cold and throat infection and although I have read a tonne of books, I have been way too high on a calpol/throat medicine combination to write anything coherent. So this post is gigantic book review/book haul (the buying books ban has been completely forgotten).
The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann Review
This book is amazing. Like out of this world good. Great world building, a interesting mystery and great characters – its hfgfjfoffj level amazing, if you know what I mean! Summary from Goodreads:
In the faery slums of Bath, Bartholomew Kettle and his sister Hettie live by these words. Bartholomew and Hettie are changelings–Peculiars–and neither faeries nor humans want anything to do with them.
One day a mysterious lady in a plum-colored dress comes gliding down Old Crow Alley. Bartholomew watches her through his window. Who is she? What does she want? And when Bartholomew witnesses the lady whisking away, in a whirling ring of feathers, the boy who lives across the alley–Bartholomew forgets the rules and gets himself noticed.
First he’s noticed by the lady in plum herself, then by something darkly magical and mysterious, by Jack Box and the Raggedy Man, by the powerful Mr. Lickerish . . . and by Arthur Jelliby, a young man trying to slip through the world unnoticed, too, and who, against all odds, offers Bartholomew friendship and a way to belong.
Part murder mystery, part gothic fantasy, part steampunk adventure, The Peculiar is Stefan Bachmann’s riveting, inventive, and unforgettable debut novel.”
I love a good story about fairies but what I hate more then anything is an underdeveloped world. This is not one of these books. Stefan’s world is so rich and believable and it’s set in England which is so cool! It also feels original – which is amazing considering the vast number of books about fairies out at the moment! It has definitely got a steampunk feel and I loved the fact that some of the story was set in a political atmosphere in London! Also the world building doesn’t stodge down the action (which often happens in fantasy books). I read this in two days, its one of those can’t-put-down books and I am SO excited for the next in the series.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is – there are no rules.”
I have to admit, it took me a long while to get into this book – which is a hefty read for its target middle grade audience. But once it got going, and the mystery and characters were developed it was a really good read. I loved the distinct feel of all the characters and the school was horrid and creepy and just erghhh. I will definitely be reading the next books in the trilogy and this had continued to fuel my obsession at the moment with middle grade books!
Gustav Gloom and the People Taker by Adam-Troy Castro
Fernie What finds herself lost in the Gloom mansion after her cat appears to have been chased there by its own shadow. Fernie discovers a library full of every book that was never written, a gallery of statues that are just plain awkward, and finds herself at dinner watching her own shadow take part in the feast!
Along the way Fernie is chased by the People Taker who is determined to take her to the Shadow Country. It’s up to Fernie and Gustav to stop the People Taker before he takes Fernie’s family.
Featuring a unique cover and beautifully dark full-page illustrations by Kristen Margiotta, Gustav Gloom is sure to be a hit with fans who love a little darkness in their lives.”
Continuing with my current MG obsession, especially with anything dark and creepy I moved on to this AMAZINGLY titled/illustrated book, Gustav Gloom and the People taker. I really enjoyed the originality of the whole shadow world and the mystery of who Gustav is. Fernie is a kick-ass main character – she doesn’t give up and is brave and curious and just wonderful. I loved that I felt that we knew her entire family as well – and they were all given distinct personalities. The people taker and his beast is scary and horrible – although I wished we’d found out more about him and what happened to the people he took – hopefully something that is going to be explained in the next of these delightful books – which I will DEFINITLEY be picking up.
On to my book haul. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m ill I comfort book shop. Its just something that makes me feel better! I’ve also been reading a lot more on my ipad recently (not that it will ever replace my beloved paperbacks) and books are just so easily brought on there. So, without further ado, here are the books I’ve brought recently.
“Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.”
So excited to read this – I started it today and am already loving the 20’s feel!!
WINNER OF A 2013 NEWBERY HONOR!
Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her sorcery to a Victorian gothic thriller — an enthralling, darkly comic tale that would do Dickens proud.
The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.
Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz’s Victorian gothic is a rich banquet of dark comedy, scorching magic, and the brilliant and bewitching storytelling that is her trademark.
Looks SO good!!!
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.”
This one is a very quick read – I read it in one sitting! I’m still collecting my thoughts about it though! Expect a review soon.
“Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.”
As you can see I’m going though a historical fantasy phrase!! 🙂 Finally, from the library I got…
“Days before his release from prison, Shadows wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm or preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. Youll be surprised by what and who it finds there…
This is the author’s preferred text, never before published in the UK, and is about 12,000 words longer than the previous UK edition.”
I can’t resist a bit of Gaiman ;).
“Lyn Smith uses the voices of over 100 contributors to tell the story of how pre-war life changed to one of persecution. From those who managed to avoid the horror of Belsen and Auschwitz, there are evocative tales of being in hiding and active resistance to the Nazi regime. And while the horrific death marches and eventual liberation of the camps mark the end of the Nazi’s attempted Final Solution, we see how the Holocaust didn’t conclude there. In the wake of the genocide, millions struggled to rebuild their lives only to find the process of returning to “normality” made all the more difficult by devastating family losses and complex feelings of guilt.”
This book, as I expected, is heart-wrenching.
I hope enjoyed my mammoth post and hopefully this week my ill days will be behind me!!