By: Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase Book Two
Magnus is still alive and is meeting Otis, an informant with a lead on Thor’s missing hammer. That’s the only good news and it isn’t much before Magnus is warned to stay away. It’s never that simple in Magnus’s world, what with Loki manipulating Randolph and plenty of others behind the scenes. Magic swords, elven realms, relics that can drive you mad, dwarves turned to stone and a wedding between a Valkyrie and a giant, what could possibly go wrong?
Oh that wasn’t rhetorical, so many things could go wrong, and all Magnus needs to do is make sure Thor gets his hammer back, and a couple of other things.
As with all Riordan books, the pace is breakneck the action constant. The characters varied and work well together, despite the times they clash, you know, personality wise. If you love Percy Jackson, then you’ll enjoy these.
Published: 4th October 2016
Key Words: Mythology, Action
By: RA Spratt
Book One Friday Barnes
Friday Barnes is eleven and incredibly smart. Her parents were incredibly smart but distant parents and Friday basically raised herself. There is one person she enjoys spending time with, Uncle Bernie, who is a private investigator, which is how Friday finds herself solving a bank robbery. With the reward she sends herself to an incredibly exclusive boarding school.
She thought she would just be going to school, somewhere away from her family. There though she finds the school is filled with crime and she finds she has a taste for investigating it. Then there is the boy who hates Friday for some reason and really likes playing nasty pranks. High school isn’t turning out to be what exactly Friday thought it would be.
This was a thoroughly entertaining book. Friday is possibly the kind of girl I’d have loved to have been. Mysteries make more sense than people and keep things interesting. The pace Spratt sets is brisk and the variety of things happening are enough to keep you turning the pages.
A fun mystery read that I would recommend without hesitation.
Published: 1st July 2014
Publisher: Random House
Key Words: Mystery, Crime, High School
By: Michael Pryor
Anton Marin has ghost-sight, it runs in his family, even though his father doesn’t have it. It is their job to send the ghosts out of this world. Their’s is a gentler approach to many of the others who pursue the same calling. Into his uncertain world crashes Rani Cross, her method involves a lot more slashing and sword work, needless to say they don’t see eye to eye. This is a moot point however when it becomes clear something is going on causing a massive spike in ghostly manifestations. In order to get the the bottom of things they need to find a way to work together. As things become more violent and crazy Anton needs to somehow find the time in this his gap year, to decide if this is the career he really wants.
In this book it is the girl who is more physical and this makes for a delightful extra dimension in the buddy hunting theme. Anton is a torn character, he knows ghost hunting is a family thing, and if he has the gift he should probably use it, however it is so not really what he wants to do with his life. He also doesn’t want to disappoint his dad. This story is not only intriguing and entertaining, it delves into some real family issues that people feel growing up and that makes Anton easy to identify with, even if his choices are beyond the bounds of what us normal folk experience. Anton and Rani balance each other well and keep the story moving at a good pace. A fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: 26th July 2017
Key Words: Ghosts, Ghost Hunting, Family, Intrigue
By: Gareth Ward
This book was sent to me by the publisher.
Sin is a street rat. A kid from a gang who survives by stealing. That is until the day he tries to steal from the wrong person. Cornered the strangest thing happens, Sin is offered a way out of his street life. He is offered the chance to join the Covert Operations Group and train to be a spy. This is a very different world for Sin, the people he is dealing with and learning with are very different from the world he knows, however some of the skills learnt on the street that helped him survive there are the very ones that help him now. Befriending the eccentric Zonda Chubb he starts to navigate his way through this new world, before discovering there is a traitor in their midst. Now he has to ally with the school bully to uncover the traitor, is there anyway he’ll get out of this alive.
Steampunk is fun. This world is one that is both familiar and yet not. There are elements that ring true in amongst a whole heap of things that are fresh, fun and just plain different. Ward’s world is intriguing, the differences draw you in deeper. Sin is a fun character, a classic diamond in the rough type, who is perfectly offset by the not so fit, and slightly left of centre Zonda. This is a story that is full of intrigue and action. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 1st August 2017
Key Words: Steampunk, War, Spies, Intrigue
By: Dyan Sheldon
This book was sent to me by the publisher
Loretta Reynolds and Giselle Abruzzio somehow became best friends. Somehow because the two girls could not have been more opposite in everything. This difference though drives them towards what seems like a silly bet but quickly becomes something far more. Who knew one bet could be so life changing. Loretta has to embrace the feminine side of herself, that part that she has kept hidden because she believes there is more to a girl than what she looks like. Giselle has to give up the make up and fashion, dress down and act smarter. The girls learn so much over the course of the summer.
This isn’t a book I would automatically be drawn to, having said that I was curious to see how it would play out, who would be the victor in this battle of gender stereotypes. I was wonderfully engaged and totally drawn into this social experiment. Witty, fun and achingly real, Sheldon’s telling of this story from both points of view was a great decision. Seeing things from both sides gives equal weight and emphasises the the fact of the title, there is ‘more than one way to be a girl’. This is the sort of book that will hopefully encourage people to see things from more than their own limited perspective. This for me was a delightful surprise. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of spoiling the fun.
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 1st September 2017
Key Words: Friends, Family, Relationships, Gender Stereotypes
By: Sarah J Maas
Throne Of Glass Series Bk 1
Celaena Sardothien is pulled from her imprisonment in the bleak salt mines of Endovier to enter a competition. She is offered a deal, represent the Prince (the son of a man she despises) in a to the death tournament, with the prize becoming the King’s Champion, if she wins she gains freedom if she doesn’t… death or the mines it’s all the same really. Celaena isn’t just anyone though, before she was sentenced to life in the mines, she was an assassin, the best of the best. There is more going on than just this competition though, once she steps into the palace walls she is drawn into a deadly game of politics. She will make friends, find enemies and start to understand her destiny.
Celaena draws you in, her past is murky, her drive not so much. She is strong, determined and far from perfect. She is what I like in a central character, layered. The world Maas has drawn for us is comes to life off the page. The central action is all that you’d expect, filled with hidden agendas and dirty fighting. The friendships Celaena developed tentatively bring a lovely dimension to the story. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and am keen to read the rest of the series.
Published: 1st Aug 2012
Key Words: Fantasy, Action, Politics
By: Aaron Blabey
Thelma only wants to be a unicorn. She believes everything would be wonderful if only that would happen. One day it does, a happy accident transforms Thelma into a magnificent unicorn and she becomes ever so famous. It doesn’t take long for Thelma to realise that maybe just being herself is better, that being a unicorn isn’t everything she thought it would be.
Aaron Blabey stories are always such fun and often have a good little gem of a message in them. This story is about being true to yourself and those who are good to the real you. Also how being famous may not in fact be the best or most important thing in life. This is a thoroughly enjoyable story, dealing with a big topic in an easily accessible way, accompanied by wonderful illustrations.
Publisher: Koala Book Company
Published: 1st August 2017
Key Words: Fun, Fame, Dreams