If a government funded and built magical machine with the ability to make just about anything you desired landed in your lap, what would you as it toIf a government funded and built magical machine with the ability to make just about anything you desired landed in your lap, what would you as it to make? This is the dilemma the Fugue children face when, instead of a rabbit hutch for the yet-to-be-bought rabbits that Olly ordered from that auction site, an extremely expensive and top secret machine named Russell is delivered to the house.
Bird, Olly, and Stevie are soon up to their necks in trouble fending off things like robots and rogue drones, all while looking after their baby sister and making sure their mum isn't too sad after their dad suddenly left them.
The Everything Machine is a rip-roaring, hilarious ride from start to finish, side-splittingly funny on one page and sad on the next, with all the siblings desperately missing their father while still trying to cope with school, homework, football practice and Mum's big pant business. The relationship between them is so wonderfully written, a pesky big sister trying to boss them around but still looking out for them and Stevie & Olly's rough-housing is fun, sometimes a bit vicious but never mean.
With common themes such as Stevie's addiction to an online game that everybody in the world seems to play through to children coping with their parent's separation, The Everything Machine is a great read with some of the best characters I've read this year. This is the first time I've read anything by Ally Kennen but it certainly won't be the last....more
I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, Poppy Pym. Most children dream of running away to the circus but Poppy was actually brought up in oneI'd like to introduce you to my new best friend, Poppy Pym. Most children dream of running away to the circus but Poppy was actually brought up in one. Discovered in the magical top hat of Marvin the Magician Poppy narrowly avoids being called Tomato for the rest of her life and is adopted by Madame Pym and the rest of the circus gang. Fast forward ten years and it's decided that it's time for Poppy to give up her (circus) homeschooling and go to a proper school. Step forward Miss Baxter and Saint Smithens boarding school.
Whirled away from everything she knows Poppy is feeling lost and bewildered but soon makes friends in Ingrid and Letty, her roommates, and Kip, a boy of small stature determined to grow! Finding it hard to settle in completely Poppy's spirits are soon lifted by news of an exhibition of Egyptian artifacts coming to the school. Once owned by a former student the display naturally comes with a mystery built in. Fascinated by a children's detective series she used to read, Detective Dougie Valentine, when Poppy and the other children learn of a supposedly cursed ruby as part of the exhibit they all delve into what might be a mystery to solve!
Caos and mayhem ensue as there are disasters, accidents, and warnings of a mystical nature. Enter a proper policeman, Inspector Hartley, who seems to take a shine to Miss Baxter but warns against Poppy and her friends becoming involved anything criminal. Needless to say, they ignore his advice and are soon up to their necks in trouble! Poppy's circus family arrive just in the nick of time to help the intrepid heroine solve the mystery and they all lived happily ever after...
Poppy Pym and the Pharoah's Curse is an excellent start to a new series by Laura Wood. The characters are so well written and I defy you not to become attached to Poppy, Ingrid, Kip, and all the other fascinating characters. The circus is a wonder, I would pay to see Buttercup the lion or Fanella or even Marvin the (not-quite-so) Magnificent! Saint Smithens also seems like my sort of school and I can't wait to read more of Poppy's grand adventures....more
Every ten year old wishes their life was more exciting, not many of them has that wish granted. Ten-year-old Robin is just like every other ten-year-oEvery ten year old wishes their life was more exciting, not many of them has that wish granted. Ten-year-old Robin is just like every other ten-year-old until one day she sees something outside her house that shouldn't really be there.
The Midnight Chimes are people, people that were born as the clock struck midnight and within hearing distance of a Mortal Clock. Luckily Robyn is not alone, along with her best friend Aiden and another girl from their school called Nora they start training under the watchful eye of Miss Smiting (who is not exactly what she appears to be either) and the incredibly grumpy Mr. Cryptorum.
What follows is a hair-raising adventure for all involved, with weird and wonderful creatures (scree sags and grodders, bogguns and kobolds), competition from a fellow group of Chimes known as B.U.T.T. and learning to fight for your life at the grand old age of ten!. The Midnight Chimes has something for everyone, mystery and humor, fantasy and friendship. If you'd like to learn how to fight vampires using garlic butter and a baguette then this is the book for you. The Midnight Chimes is the first book in a brand new series and I for one cannot wait to plunge into more adventures with the Bat Club and hopefully see more of the stunning illustrations by Renee Kurilla. ...more
Oh Poppy Pym! If anything I enjoyed this even more than the first one and I thought that would be impossible! Now firmly settled into Saint Smithens POh Poppy Pym! If anything I enjoyed this even more than the first one and I thought that would be impossible! Now firmly settled into Saint Smithens Poppy and her friends, Ingrid & Kip, are still on the lookout for a mystery to solve so when the town hall burns down when the drama society are rehearsing that Scottish play it's the perfect opportunity for the trio to put their detecting skills to the test once again...
Between invading hordes of guinea pigs, wannabe movie stars starring in a vampire movie and cast members dropping like flies thanks to the curse of that Scottish play Poppy is soon up to her neck in the investigation. This time they're trying to solve two mysteries at once so things are even more hectic than usual. Poppy's circus family are soon called upon to help and the arrival of Fanella, Luigi, Pym et al lives the story up even more.
Poppy is a little bit more grown up in this book and thanks to her archnemesis Annabelle Forthington-Smythe is starting to wonder about who her birth parents really might be. There are some really touching moments between her and Madame Pym about this and I look forward to reading more about her search if she decides to go ahead. Although, I do have to say that bombshell dropped on page 293 left me with my mouth hanging open and cursing the fact that the book was finished! I sincerely hope that Laura Wood is writing book 3 now as I'm not sure how I'm expected to wait too long after that...
As per the first book there some great supporting characters and I have to say Letty, Poppy's other roommate, is my favorite. The girl belongs to so many clubs I'd like to know when she finds time to sleep between them and school. Miss Baxter, Fanella, Luigi, Marvin and the other circus members and teachers are all equally as good - but especially Fanella who I think had some of the funniest lines, and the Brimwell Bugle agrees with me!
A good solid middle grade adventure about friendship, family and how to be a good detective, this is the sort of book I would have devoured at that age and indeed absolutely adored at my slightly more advanced age now... ...more
The Dry is Jane Harper's debut novel and very much doubt it will be her last. The Dry draws you in from page one and doesn't let go until the very lasThe Dry is Jane Harper's debut novel and very much doubt it will be her last. The Dry draws you in from page one and doesn't let go until the very last word of the last page. The Dry is the story of Aaron Falk and his childhood friends, Luke, Ellie, and Gretchen. Ellie was found drowned in the river 20 years ago and after being suspected of her murder, both Falk and his father leave town. Twenty years later, Falk is back, this time as a police officer in town for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, and his wife and son who were all found shot to death in their farmhouse. The only reason Falk has returned is because Luke's father doesn't believe that Luke could be capable of killing his family and wants Falk to investigate.
Little does Falk know that he's about set a match to a powder keg, quite literally as Kiewarra is suffering from its worst drought ever. The townspeople haven't forgotten about Ellie or Falk's possible involvement in her death and the tension is palpable. Given the terrible state of the town, the suspicious nature of its residents, and their struggle to eke out a living it's not going to be too long before things come to a head.
With a motley cast of characters, you're never quite sure who to believe or who might have pulled the trigger. Was it Luke, desperate to find a way out of his struggle? If so, why did he leave his 13-month-old daughter alive and why can't his father let things rest? What follows is a twisty tale of greed, terror, and betrayal with a good old sting in the tail for an ending - and plenty of mentions of poisonous spiders too...
Jane Harper is definitely an author to watch, The Dry has one of the tightest storylines I've read in a thriller recently and her characters (in which I include the Australian countryside which is so forcefully brought to life you can almost feel the heat rising from the pages) are all multidimensional, complicated humans, each with their own secrets to hide. The best thing about The Dry? I didn't guess why certain things were happening until I was smacked in the face with a hefty dose of obviousness! If Ms. Harper's debut is this good I cannot wait to read her next effort. If you're at all a fan of intelligent, well-written thrillers then read this book and I guarantee you will not be disappointed!...more
Desperate for more is quite apt! I read The Sleeping Prince in one sitting and now I feel strangely bereft. Having read and enjoyed The Sin Eater's DaDesperate for more is quite apt! I read The Sleeping Prince in one sitting and now I feel strangely bereft. Having read and enjoyed The Sin Eater's Daughter I wasn't sure what to expect from The Sleeping Prince, I certainly wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. Rather than being a straight sequel it's a sort of companion/sequel hybrid so much of the action/storyline takes place at the same time as Twylla's story, coming together later in the book and then tying the two together.
We're introduced to new characters, Errin (Lief's sister) and a mysterious hooded stranger named Silas Kolby and of course the Sleeping Prince, Aurek. I found it much easier to warm to these characters than I did Twylla and Lief although I happily admit to being a Merek fan and wanting more of him. Errin is so different to Twylla, she's independent from the start, headstrong, loyal, stubborn and a dozen other things all of which get her into trouble. Silas is, well, Silas. He's nothing like Merek or Lief, he's mysterious and obviously very attached to Errin in ways which are difficult to read. It's so hard to gush about this book without being completely spoilery!!!
I loved the mythology of this book too, it was fascinating to hear more about the story of the Sleeping Prince, Aurek and his sister Aurelia and the origins of his myth. There was alchemy, healing, golems. mystery, romance, action, all of which created a fantastic second novel by Salisbury. The writing seemed much more mature and so detailed again, especially the parts about the alchemists and the religions of the world, about the fairy tales and myths. It all felt so real and the characters were so well developed. I literally could not put the book down until it was finished.
With The Sleeping Prince we now have a much more solid setting, everything felt so authentic and rose off the page to completely entrance the reader and immerse you in Errin's world. I was for the most part completely spellbound! The only things I hated? There were a couple of events that I can't mention for fear of spoilers but one of them completely broke me. The other thing tied into this and was that ending... What a cliffhanger! I'm now off to stalk Melinda on Twitter and anywhere else she goes to ensure that she is writing my third book :) ...more
Rush Jobs follows on from The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf. Choi is in her second week of interning and has no idea how to say to Hobson that she'd like to sRush Jobs follows on from The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf. Choi is in her second week of interning and has no idea how to say to Hobson that she'd like to stay but on the other hand it does look like she might have an actual date with Will the receptionist. Hobson has burnt his bridges with Ellie, his ex-wife and is floundering a bit. Instead of one case our dynamic duo take on several, including a kidnapping involving an accountant and a shady recruitment agency, a drug mule dog who might just be the newest recruit and a favor for Benny, the chap from the first book who sits outside the tube station promoting the word of God, and actually turns out to be an estate agent!
In my opinion Rush Jobs is the better book, maybe because we see Hobson & Choi working on more cases, but I love the dynamic that's developing between them and I'm thrilled that they will be returning in Case Three: The Hardest Bargains In Town. It's quite hard to know how to categorize these books, there is massive crossover appeal I think but given that there is a lot of profanity (the F-word is a favorite of both Hobson & Choi) I would be wary of giving them to a YA reader. ...more
Adult/YA crossover but there's lots of swearing, especially the F word.
If you like your crime solving private eyes with a dash of humor, a lot of cynAdult/YA crossover but there's lots of swearing, especially the F word.
If you like your crime solving private eyes with a dash of humor, a lot of cynicism and one of the oddest parings in history then the Hobson & Choi books are definitely for you. John Hobson is a one man detective agency stuck firmly in the 20th century and really doesn't know how he's ended up with a sixteen year old intern for two weeks. It's not like he actually does much... Angelina Choi is is sixteen and wondering how she can use her her internship for Hobson and turn it into something for more permanent. In setting up a Twitter account for technophobe Hobson, she inadvertently gets them caught up in a murder case where the bodies are piling up quickly!
The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf sees the unusual duo solving murders that seem to involve some sort of giant hound. As Choi has just tweeted about Hobson fighting a wolf if their twitter account gets to 400 followers the timing all seems to be a little too handy for their first case together. What follows is the sort of crime caper you don't get to read very often, the story is more about the characters rather than the plot and I absolutely fell in love with them. The case almost takes second place to some of the funniest characters I've read in a long time and we're introduced to a lot of them - Choi's adoptive mother, Hobson's ex-wife who just happens to be a serving police officer and gets them out of more than one scrape, the hipster receptionist Will who Choi takes a shine to, Benny, the Pimp and the staff of the Inspiration Gestation Station (yes, really...)...more