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a-monster-calls.jpgMovies of books, don’t always go so well and I firmly fit into the category of person who believes mostly books do it better. I like the way I create a movie in my head as I read and sometimes the films, for the sake of action and time, change things up that are, to a reader, just wrong.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this movie. Patrick Ness, the writer of the source material, had a hand in the film and I think that showed, not just in the storytelling but also in the tone.

As a book it was moving, intense as you would expect from the subject matter; broken family, mother critically ill, bullying. The whole tale is about some of the dark places life can take us and ways to cope through them. The film echoed that.

It is not a faced paced film, it is slow as it weaves a story in several parts; Conor’s real life, the interactions with the monster (voiced with gravitas that only Liam Neeson can bring), and the stories the Monster tells. It is an emotional tale, filled with painful truths, bought to life in a touching and very real way.

The cast did an amazing job. Lewis MacDougall (Conor) is vulnerable, defiant, broken and ultimately finds strength though the journey the ancient tree monster takes him on in the search of truth, Conor’s truth. Felicity Jones does a great job of playing a mother who knows she is ill but struggles to hide it from her son, whilst giving him the love he needs. Conor’s Grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is stern, distanced from him but tries as she understands they are all each other has, she delicately plays that balance of love, sadness and frustration.

It is a film that pulls at the heartstrings. As a mother I identified on many levels. As someone who has intimate knowledge of bullying, it strums a note. As a reader who loved the source material it is a film that doesn’t disappoint.

If you get the chance go see the film, even if you don’t pick up a copy of the book, I highly recommend it.

 

the-dark-prophecy.jpgTrials of Apollo bk 2

By: Rick Riordan

Apollo is still a human, still Lester and has to find the second oracle. This one has a strong personal connection to him, one he is reluctant to look too closely at. This oracle is not only part of Apollo’s dark past, it also has the potential to drive him, or anyone who uses it, mad. To make matters worse this Oracle is guarded by the second member of the Triumvirate, a mad emperor who also belongs in the darker parts of Apollo’s past.

Accompanied by Leo and Calypso they find themselves at the Waystation, a place of refuge run by two ex-hunters of Artemis. Apollo has not just one thing to do in order to find the Oracle, he has several mini quests that need to be undertaken, one is rescuing a young girl who may be family. Along the way he reconnects with Meg and even though she betrayed him, it is clear the two are destined to continue forward together.

The action as always is swift and fun. Apollo himself gets a bit annoying for me, there is only so many times he can say how great is or was as a god, when really he was a bit of an idiot. Other characters do a great job of balancing him out. Leo is brash, like Apollo though he isn’t as pompous and is therefore more appealing. The relationship between Leo and Calypso is hesitant and lovely. Emmie and Jo who run the Waystation add weight to the story, that being told through Apollo’s eyes has a tendency to become rather flippant. These two characters weave humanity, love and family through the adventure. Meg is the perfect foil for Apollo’s pomposity. These books are a lot of fun, but I find Apollo a much harder character to enjoy following than either Jason or Percy.

Becoming

So my book is due out next week and it fits into that crossover area between Fantasy and YA. I have just revealed the cover art on my FB Author page and because this is my blog I figure there is no reason I can’t plug it here too.

And yes it has a kick ass female central character, as if that should surprise anyone.

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This is the cover for the new Michael Pryor book. I know very little about it except to say this looks incredibly cool.

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By: Alex Rat & Jules Faber

Brian lives on Stinky Street, his best mate is Nerf and they get into all sorts of trouble that often revolves around smells, in one way or another.

There is no overarching story here, it is more like a collection of short stories revolving around the two boys and bad smells. The stories and silly and often gross and as such very likely to appeal to the demographic it is directed at. The stories are fun and easy to read, and are accompanied by black and white illustrations.

If you know a boy, or girl, in the 6-9 age group who has a fondness for silly stories then put this book in their hands.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan                                                                                                  Published: 28th March 2017                                                                                                                                         Key Words: Smells, Humour                                                                                                          ISBN: 9781743539026

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By: Eliza Wass

Castley Cresswell is sixteen and has five siblings. Castley wants to fit in better, she wants to be like other teenagers. Her father has a very different idea of what his children should be like and what they should do with their time. Castley’s Father says they are going to always be together, in heaven, not just here on earth. He believes the sooner they get their the better. He doesn’t want outside involvement in their lives, and if he didn’t have to send them to school he wouldn’t. Life inside their house is complicated, outsiders wouldn’t understand, and they must certainly never find out about their secrets.

This is a dark book, structured around a dark and difficult topic. What happens when the adults around you aren’t well, and control every little thing you do, down to telling you exactly what you should think. For all it’s darkness it is a fascinating read and you desperately keep going along because you want to know what happens to the Cresswell’s. Well worth a read.

Publisher: Hachette                                                                                                              Published: 14 June 2016                                                                                                                     Key Words: Cult, Isolation, Teenager, Fitting In                                                                   ISBN: 9781784299910

Freeks

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By: Amanda Hocking
A travelling carnival is a strange place to grow up in but it is the only home Mars Besnick knows. The carnival though is a place of mysteries and secrets, filled with people with hidden, or not so hidden powers. Mara doesn’t think she has any powers but she gets along. In this last stop though she meets a boy, Gabe Alvarado and chemistry happens. He’s not the first boy she’s been drawn to but he is the first to reach her so deeply. The more time they spend together the more Mara realises she isn’t the only one with secrets and Gabie’s family legacy could destroy her world. As carnival folk go missing, get attacked or even wind up dead Mara is determined to figure out exactly what is going on.
Set in 1982 this world is close to the one we live in, making characters and settings familiar. The mystery of the carnival draws us in, the many characters add wonderful colour to a tale that could be much bleaker without them. Mara is likeable and her hesitation about getting involved with Gabe is believable. Her determination draws you along as the darkness expands and the story unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed the blend of mystery and supernatural.
Recommended if you like those genres.

Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Published: 31st January 2017
Key Words: Supernatural, Mystery
ISBN: 9781509807659

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