fantasy

All posts tagged fantasy

The Name Of The Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) – Patrick Rothfuss

Published October 9, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’

What did I think?:

If you’re a fan of fantasy and haven’t heard of this book, I really would be quite surprised. This book has been EVERYWHERE and compared to the greatest fantasy series out there, including Game Of Thrones (which I still have to read, I know…don’t judge me!). I’m not the biggest connoisseur of fantasy I have to admit, I’ve just been dipping my toe (or should that be nose?) into the genre in recent years but everyone I follow on book tube who enjoys fantasy have been simply raving about this world and its charismatic main character, Kvothe. However, the biggest problem with this series is that die-hard fans have been waiting for a long time for the next book in the series to come out. The first book, The Name Of The Wind was released in 2007 and the second, The Wise Man’s Fear was published in 2011 but as yet, there has been no whisper of when the third novel, thought to be entitled The Doors Of Stone will be released. That’s an awful long time to wait!

This is one of the reasons that I’ve been putting this series off. It irks me slightly when I get fully invested in a story and I have to wait an unspecified time to get my next fix – call me impatient but that’s just the way I feel! I think when you’re a blogger or a voracious reader like myself, because we read so much, if we have to wait too long between books in a series, there is a risk that certain aspects of the previous novel may be forgotten or indeed, the whole impact of the narrative itself will fade. It’s one of the reasons why I was so pleased that all the books in The Dark Tower series by Stephen King had been released by the time I got round to them. I don’t think I would have had any nails left if I had been forced to wait for the next instalment!

Patrick Rothfuss, author of The Name Of The Wind, the first novel in The Kingkiller Chronicles.

I took it as a sign when the lovely booksellers at Mr B’s Emporium Of Reading Delights in Bath recommended The Name Of The Wind to me when I attended a reading spa with my sister and fellow blogger, Chrissi Reads. Yet still, I delayed reading it for months afterwards until recently, I finally caved and simply had to see what all the hype was about. I don’t want to tell you too much about the synopsis but as the above quote from Goodreads doesn’t give ANYTHING away I can tell you a few things. This is the story of an innkeeper called Kvothe whom when our story begins, is telling the story of his life over three nights to a travelling chronicler who is recording it. Kvothe has led a highly intriguing life and even the mention of his name provokes rumours, legends, criticism and acclaim far and wide both locally and nationally. I think it’s safe to say that he’s had quite a few adventures in his relatively short time on the planet so far and faced many adversaries, one of which is connected to a terror stalking the land in the present time and Kvothe might be able to shed some light upon as soon as his tale is told.

A beautiful illustration from the tenth anniversary edition of The Name Of The Wind by award-winning fantasy artist, Dan Dos Santos.

Image from: https://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/05/patrick-rothfuss-name-wind-gets-10th-anniversary-edition/

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this work of fantasy but it certainly wasn’t what I ended up getting, personally speaking. I want to try and explain what I mean without sounding like I’m criticising it because in truth, there’s really not much to criticise! Firstly, if you’re a fan of epic fantasy, world-building and mesmerising, intense passages where sometimes, not much happens, you’re going to love this book. However, if you’re more interested in a fast, action-packed plot this may not be the book for you. I’m a huge fan of both literary and genre fiction as you might know and recently, am becoming much more of a mood reader. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something quite pacey and plot heavy, other times I want beautiful, lyrical writing with character development that I can just get lost in. The Name Of The Wind for me, felt much more literary in its quality but perhaps that could be because I’m not used to epic fantasy? I’d be happy to be corrected on this fact if all fantasy is quite slow and methodical in this regard!

There really is nothing bad I can say about this novel. I loved that we got to see Kvothe from a very young age as his talents, intelligence and capabilities are just beginning to take root and then the reader gets to see him grow into a man as the story continues, facing such hardship, devastation and personal struggles both emotionally and financially but with each challenge, he somehow manages to claw himself out to the other side. He has been irrevocably changed by what he has seen and experienced but because you get to see his journey from such a young boy, you really feel like you know him as an individual and I found myself constantly rooting for him to triumph in any given situation. Nothing is tied up with a neat little bow (which I appreciated) and he does go through incredibly tough times but this all serves to make him the man he is in the present time, telling his story to the chronicler.

For so many readers, The Name Of The Wind is a five star read and now that I’ve finally read it, I can definitely see why. The only reason I can’t give it five stars is that I found the pace to be slightly slower than I would have liked at certain points in the narrative but this was only occasionally at times when Kvothe is a student at the University. However, I am delighted to say that I will be continuing on with the series but I may leave it a little while until the next book in the series is finally released – for if I read The Wise Man’s Fear and there’s a cliffhanger at the end, I might not be able to contain my frustration at not being able to get my hands on the next in the series immediately!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss was the forty-eighth book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!

 

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The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) – Stephen King

Published October 6, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The Third Volume in the Epic Dark Tower Series…
The Waste Lands

In 1978, Stephen King introduced the world to the last gunslinger, Roland of Gilead.  Nothing has been the same since. More than twenty years later, the quest for the Dark Tower continues to take readers on a wildly epic ride. Through parallel worlds and across time, Roland must brave desolate wastelands and endless deserts, drifting into the unimaginable and the familiar. A classic tale of colossal scope—crossing over terrain from The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman, Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, ’Salem’s Lot, and other familiar King haunts—the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page. And the tower awaits….

Roland, The Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares—as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah.

Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes—both more and less than human….

What did I think?:

As this is the third book in Stephen King’s epic fantasy series, It’s always going to be a bit tricky to review things without giving too many things away. However never fear readers, I will do my very best to be as annoyingly vague as possible as I would never want to ruin a series that you may not have started yet. If you’ve read my reviews for the previous two books in the series, The Gunslinger and The Drawing Of The Three you might remember I had a rocky road when starting my Dark Tower journey initially. I didn’t get on with The Gunslinger at all first time round and had to be heavily persuaded by a good friend to carry on and read the second book in the series. Luckily once I did, I fell head over heels in love with the world, the characters and their adventures and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Stephen King, author of The Waste Lands, book three in The Dark Tower series.

After the dramatic events in The Drawing Of The Three, finally things are starting to make a little bit of sense. Well, just a little bit as believe me, our travellers: Roland Deschain, Eddie Dean and Susannah have a LONG way to go, a difficult road and a lot of surprises ahead of them. In fact, their journey is just beginning and Roland is in the process of training them both to be competent gunslingers. He is fully aware of the dangers they are about to face in the quest for The Dark Tower and is desperate to adequately prepare them so they can approach anything with courage and steely determination. Luckily, they are naturals. However, their group is not yet fully complete and is missing two very crucial figures – Jake and his animal companion, Oy who both join the travellers in The Waste Lands and finally complete the “ka-tet.” Now the group must follow the path of the Beam, search for the elusive Dark Tower and take the necessary steps to deal with anything that might stand in their way, even if that adversary wouldn’t be out of place in the darkest fairy-tale or nightmare.

The best depiction of Oy I’ve ever seen – this is exactly what he looks like in my mind’s eye! 

From: http://darktower.wikia.com/wiki/File:Oy_Stephen_King_Wiki.jpg

Even though The Drawing Of The Three is tied for top spot as one of my favourite books in The Dark Tower series, The Waste Lands comes a close second and, I have to be honest, it’s because of the appearance of Oy. I adore Oy with every fibre of my being, he’s a wonderful animal side-kick with a personality all of his own and who definitely has a crucial part to play in the series as a whole. Before I get too carried away with a fictional animal character however, I have to also mention the world building which continues to improve as the series continues with the plot layers becoming even more intricate page by page. Not only is each character fantastically developed (King has a real eye for creating unforgettable personalities) but it feels like even though it’s a fantastical world, with make-believe creatures, it’s something you can both really believe in and invest your time in. Does that sound strange?

Stephen King has been creating the world of The Dark Tower for many years and it really shows. He may have taken an enforced break from it for a while after The Gunslinger but thank goodness he did because what he came back with was pure magic. Roland and his gang, the world that he has developed and the challenges that our characters face is a story that obviously got under his skin and has definitely got under mine too. The imaginative twists and turns never fail to blow my mind and as The Waste Lands ends on such an astounding cliffhanger, you’d have to be crazy not to want to pick up the next book in the series immediately.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP SOON: Wizard And Glass (The Dark Tower #4)

Mini Pin-It Reviews #25 – Four YA Novels

Published September 27, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four YA novels for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) The Art Of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

What’s it all about?:

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

2.) The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender – Leslye Walton

What’s it all about?:

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

3.) It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Ned Vizzini

What’s it all about?:

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) Die For Me (Revenants #1) – Amy Plum

What’s it all about?:

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Random Books.

 

Book Tag – Books Beginning With A.U.T.U.M.N.

Published September 23, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hi everyone and hope you’re all well! Today I’m celebrating Autumn as today marks the beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. I came up with this idea after seeing one of my favourite book tubers, Lauren from Lauren And The Books do a video at Christmas. She took each letter of the word CHRISTMAS and presented a title from her bookshelves that began with that letter. I’m going to nab that great idea and today I will be taking each letter of the word SUMMER and showing you a book from my TBR that begins with that letter which I hope to get round to very soon.

Check out my books beginning with S.P.R.I.N.G. HERE and my books beginning with S.U.M.M.E.R. HERE!

So without further ado, let’s get on with it!

A

What’s it all about?:

Science historian Laurel Braitman draws on evidence from across the world to show, for the first time, how astonishingly similar humans and other animals are when it comes to their emotional wellbeing.

Charles Darwin developed his evolutionary theories by studying Galapagos finches and fancy pigeons; Alfred Russel Wallace investigated creatures in the Malay Archipelago. Laurel Braitman got her lessons closer to home — by watching her dog. Oliver snapped at flies that only he could see, suffered from debilitating separation anxiety, was prone to aggression, and may even have attempted suicide. Braitman’s experiences with Oliver made her acknowledge a startling connection: non-human animals can lose their minds. And when they do, it often looks a lot like human mental illness.

Thankfully, all of us can heal. Braitman spent three years travelling the world in search of emotionally disturbed animals and the people who care for them, finding numerous stories of recovery: parrots that learn how to stop plucking their feathers, dogs that cease licking their tails raw, polar bears that stop swimming in compulsive circles, and great apes that benefit from the help of human psychiatrists. How do these animals recover? The same way we do: with love, medicine, and above all, the knowledge that someone understands why we suffer and what can make us feel better.

I adore non-fiction about animals and this book, which I won in a giveaway on Twitter has been sitting on my shelves for far too long. I’m hoping to put it on my TBR for Non Fiction November so will hopefully be reading it very soon, as I read the synopsis, I’m too excited to leave it any longer!

U

What’s it all about?:

A dark enchantment blights the land

Agnieszka loves her village, set in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind.

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she is everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he takes.

There was SO much hype around this book when it first came out and I can’t believe I still haven’t read it yet. I know my sister, Chrissi Reads didn’t get on too well with it and I’ve heard mixed reviews but I’m determined to find out what I think myself – what a gorgeous synopsis!

T

What’s it all about?:

During the long, hot summer of 1976, a young Cambridge mathematician arrives in a remote village in the Lake District and takes on a job as a farm labourer. Painfully awkward and shy, Spencer Little is viewed with suspicion by the community and his only real friendship is with scruffy, clever ten-year-old Alice.

This book wins the award for the shortest synopsis ever! Anyway, I’ve heard great things, particularly from my favourite book tuber, Savidge Reads so this definitely has to be read. At some point. #toomanybooks

U

What’s it all about?:

‘According to his mother, Jack Burns was an actor before he was an actor, but Jack’s most vivid memories of childhood were those moments when he felt compelled to hold his mother’s hand. He wasn’t acting then.’

Jack Burns’ mother, Alice, is a tattoo artist in search of the boy’s father, a virtuoso organist named William who has fled America to Europe. To fund her journey, she plies her trade in the seaports of the Baltic coast. But her four-year-old son’s errant father can’t be found, and soon even Jack’s memories of that perplexing time are called into question. It is only when he becomes a Hollywood actor in later life that what he has experienced in the past comes into telling play in his present……

Confession time. I haven’t read any John Irving before despite owning a few books by him on my shelves. This looks like a perfect place to start though. Intriguing synopsis and potentially fascinating characters I think!

M

What’s it all about?:

A twenty-four hour whirlwind of death and life.

In the depths of a winter’s night, the heart of Simon Limbeau is resting, readying itself for the day to come. In a few hours’ time, just before six, his alarm will go off and he will venture into the freezing dawn, drive down to the beach, and go surfing with his friends. A trip he has made a hundred times and yet, today, the heart of Simon Limbeau will encounter a very different course.

But for now, the black-box of his body is free to leap, swell, melt and sink, just as it has throughout the twenty years of Simon’s life.

5.50 a.m.

This is his heart.
And here is its story.

Also published as The Heart, this book won the Wellcome Trust Book Prize in 2017 and as a scientist who loves science non fiction, this seems like the perfect book for me. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book!

N

What’s it all about?:

Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master.

To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things.

Ian McEwan. Contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Told from the point of view of a foetus. Enough said, right?

Here ends my Books Beginning With A.U.T.U.M.N! What I’d love to know from you guys is if you’ve read any of these books before and what you thought? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you’d like to do your own books of A.U.T.U.M.N. from your TBR, I’d love to see them so please feel free.

Hope you all have a cosy Autumn/Fall!

Love Beth xx

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) – Sylvain Neuvel

Published September 19, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The Themis Files is a deeply human story about a world-changing alien discovery.

17 years ago, a young girl named Rose fell through the ground in the Black Hills and found herself in an underground chamber filled with gleaming symbols, lying in the palm of a giant metal hand. Now a physicist, Rose leads a research team struggling to determine the hand’s origins. When another giant limb is discovered, she quickly devises a method for unearthing the hidden pieces, convinced there is an entire body out there waiting to be found.

Halfway around the globe, Kara watches helplessly as her helicopter shuts down over a pistachio field in Turkey. That’ll leave a mark, but she’s about to crash her way into what might be the greatest endeavor in human history.

This is a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts. Written as a series of interview transcripts, journal entries and mission logs, The Themis Files tells the tale of a handful of people whose lives are inexorably linked by the discovery of an alien device and the commotion that follows.

What did I think?:

The books I buddy read with Janel who blogs over at Keeper Of Pages will always be a bit special to me as not only do we always have a wonderful experience reading them but we have a great chat about them too, always managing to be on exactly the same wavelength (sister from another mister, Janel?) and so far, we’ve given every single one we’ve read together five stars which I believe proves we really know how to pick some good ones! I’ve been stupidly excited about every book we’ve read together as usually they’ve been ones that have been languishing on my TBR for the longest time but I was particularly excited about Sleeping Giants. I managed to get my hands on a Goldsboro signed first edition with sprayed black edges and it’s one of the most gorgeous books I think I’ve got in my whole collection. Luckily, the story inside lived up to the beauty of the cover and although Janel and I had some teeny tiny issues with it, I still count it as one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Sylvain Neuvel, author of Sleeping Giants, the first book in The Themis Files trilogy.

As a work of science fiction, Sleeping Giants focuses mainly on two female lead characters, both strong, determined and intelligent. Rose is a physicist who when she was a young girl, happened to fall down a hole in the ground and land in the palm of a giant metal hand. Now she is part of the team under the instruction of an incredibly mysterious man who start to find other pieces of this alien-esque body dotted all around the world. With the assistance of Kara, a trained pilot who becomes vitally important to their mission, the team attempt to assemble the body parts into a whole, robotic creature whose purpose in the beginning is suspected but not quite fully known. As they start to try and move the robot, they discover further functions and capabilities of the strange object that have the potential to change the world for ever. All individuals involved in the mission become dangerously obsessed, almost to the point of madness as piece by piece, the possibilities in front of them are slowly revealed.

I have to admit, when I first received this book in the post, back when I used to be a member of Goldsboro Book Of The Month Club, I wasn’t very sure. I’m not a huge fan of science fiction as a genre BUT have found myself swayed in the past couple of years or so with fantastic books like The Sparrow and The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet. I think I can speak for both Janel and myself when I say that we were absolutely delighted by the story we found within, particularly the way it was set out – in the form of journal entries, files, telephone conversations etc. (Note to myself: “That may be why it’s called The Themis FILES, Beth!”). It was so very easy and compelling to read in this format and incredibly tempting to just read one more entry rather than putting the book down.

However, I think I was most bowled over by the availability of fiesty, sassy and clever female leads that we received in the form of Rose and Kara. They were so magnificent to read about in their own way – one quieter and methodical but with a steely confidence and no nonsense attitude and the other with well…..just an attitude. Only joking, I adored Kara’s fight, intolerance for stupidity and refreshing way of saying exactly what she was thinking disregarding any consequences to herself. Of course, we do start to see both women’s vulnerabilities and get some idea of what make them the women they are in the present time but when it comes to that explosive cliffhanger of an ending, it’s perfectly obvious that a whole lot more is going to be revealed in the next book in the series.

I think our only quibble with this novel (and it is a small one) is that because of the format, you don’t really get a linear narrative. That is, we might get a journal entry about a certain event that happens and we won’t get another file until a couple of years down the line in the future. This unfortunately had the effect of making us feel like we had skipped over really important parts of our characters lives and as a result, this made it slightly disjointed and jumpy, where we had to adjust quite quickly to the rapid movements ahead in time. It wasn’t difficult to adjust, not by any stretch of the imagination and we both still thoroughly enjoyed it but sadly, there were those occasional parts where I believe the reader could potentially think: “Wait, what have I missed?!”

Saying that and I really do want to end this review on a positive note because I still highly, HIGHLY recommend this book, this was honestly such a minor issue that I don’t think it would affect anyone’s enjoyment at all. I would still give a definite five stars for the story within this novel, I just have to be honest and if I have a slight doubt about jumps in the plot, I can’t give it the full five unfortunately. However, it was so, so close and I’m really excited to announce that Janel and I will be one hundred percent continuing with the series and reading the second novel, Waking Gods for our buddy read in October!

Thank you once again to Janel for an amazing buddy reading experience. Check out her amazing review HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

 

 

 

Past buddy reads with Janel @ Keeper Of Pages 

The Fireman by Joe Hill – check out my review HERE and hers HERE.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – check out my review HERE and hers HERE.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – check out my review HERE and hers HERE.

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – check out my review HERE and hers HERE.

 

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel was the forty-fifth book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!

Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2018 – AUGUST READ – The Creakers by Tom Fletcher

Published August 31, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

What silently waits in the shadows at night? What’s under your bed, keeping just out of sight?

Do you ever hear strange, creaking noises at night? Ever wonder what makes those noises?
Lucy Dungston always did.
Until, one morning, Lucy discovers that all the grown-ups have disappeared – as if into thin air. Chaos descends as the children in Lucy’s town run riot. It’s mayhem. It’s madness. To most kids, it’s amazing!
But Lucy wants to find out the truth. Lucy lost her dad not long ago, and she’s determined not to lose her mum too. She’s going to get her back – and nothing is going to stop her… except maybe the Creakers.

What did I think?:

This is the first children’s book I’ve read from former McFly musician turned author Tom Fletcher although I’ve been aware of his work for a little while, particularly The Christmasaurus which Chrissi and I are now kicking ourselves for not having chosen as our December read this year. I was SO very pleasantly surprised by The Creakers and can now understand why Tom is becoming so highly regarded in the middle grade fiction world. The Creakers has everything you want in a novel aimed at younger readers, a bit of mild peril, fantastic lead characters, laugh out loud moments and a wonderfully happy ending that really warms your heart.

Tom Fletcher, author of The Creakers.

This fantastic, exciting and innovative story features a cracking female lead in Lucy Dungston who wakes up one morning and discovers her mum has completely disappeared. Things get worse when she discovers that ALL the grown-ups in their small town seem to have vanished and no-one seems to know where they have gone or, even more frighteningly, if they’re ever coming back, especially when they find a note stating that the chances of them returning are very remote. The younger children automatically look to Lucy for what they should do next (after they’ve stopped running riot, jumping on sofas, eating tons of sweets and getting themselves stuck in inappropriate places of course!). Yet the plot grows murkier and murkier when Lucy discovers that the reason for the adults’ disappearance may lie with some strange creatures she discovers under the bed and an even stranger land called Woleb where everything runs backwards and horror upon horrors, the adults may not even want to come back!

Two of the creatures known as Creakers, from the pen of the super talented Shane Devries.

Tom Fletcher has let his obviously huge imagination run wild in his tale of The Creakers. I loved everything about it, from the brilliance of his female lead Lucy, to the artful way in which he has plotted a very unique kind of creature that thrives on rubbish and is utterly disgusting but give them a chance, you might end up feeling a bit differently about them by the end of the novel. The illustrations by Shane Devries compliment Tom’s words marvellously and funnily enough, were exactly how I pictured everything in my head even before I saw the graphics! I can imagine children of middle school age absolutely devouring this book – it’s such a fun and exciting read that not only could I imagine reading it to my nephew one day, I chortled along as if I were a child myself.

Tom Fletcher has a clear and undeniable gift for writing books for children, he gets the balance of humour, action and pacing perfectly and seems to really understand or tap into how kids would think and behave in certain situations. I’ll certainly be reading more books by him in the future and look forward to watching his development as an author, I’m sure he will only go from strength to strength.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP IN SEPTEMBER ON BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT: Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.

Born Weird – Andrew Kaufman

Published August 30, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

The Weirds have always been a little peculiar, but not one of them suspected that they’d been cursed by their grandmother.

At the moment of their birth Annie Weird gave each of her five grandchildren a special power that she thought was a blessing.

Now Annie is dying and she has one last task for Angie, her favourite grandchild. Angie has to gather her far-flung brothers and sisters and assemble them in her Grandmother’s hospital room so that at the moment of her death, she can lift these blessings turned curses.

What did I think?:

First of all, a huge thank you to the wonderful staff at Mr B’s Emporium Of Reading Delights in Bath for recommending this to my sister, Chrissi Reads and I when we had a reading spa in their fantastic bookshop. I can’t believe I’m only getting round to reviewing it now but I have a massive backlog of reviews that I’m only now just starting to see the end of and should hopefully be fully up to date by this time next year (SHE HOPES!). I was definitely intrigued by the way the marvellous bookseller sold this book to us and when the time came round to read it, I was really in the mood for a good bit of magical realism so was overjoyed to discover that what was inside this novel was just as good as the synopsis suggested it was. This is a story where the characters are paramount and I loved exploring their relationships with each other and the journey they go through as individuals since a curse was placed on each one of them.

Andrew Kaufman, author of Born Weird.

This is the story of five siblings – Richard, Abba, Lucy, Kent and Angie who all had a curse/blessing (blurse?!) placed on them at the moment of their birth from their grandmother. The blurses range from always being safe, to always having hope, never getting lost to having great physical strength and finally, to always have the capacity to forgive anyone instantly, no matter what they do. Initially, this sounds like thoughtful gifts for a grandmother to bestow upon her grandchildren but unfortunately these “gifts” plague our Weird siblings all their lives leading to emotional detachment, gullibility, intense anger and flightiness. The grandmother calls Angie to her hospital bedside as she lies dying and tells Angie she’d like to remove the blurses on the children so it’s up to Angie to re-unite her brothers and sisters in the space of two weeks so that they can finally see what living ordinary lives might feel like.

Toronto, Canada where part of Born Weird is set.

I loved the fantastical edge to this story, that’s for sure but what I loved even more is that this novel is about so much more than just magical realism. It’s the story of a family, their relationships with each other and how they re-connect with each other after an extended period of silence. It’s also their journey as individuals and how each separate blurse has affected them at various points in their lives particularly regarding their character and temperament. There’s a surprising amount of heart-break in this story that I don’t really want to ruin but involves the Weird parents and how they are no longer in their children’s lives – either because of a medical issue or a strange disappearance that forms an additional exciting little mystery to solve throughout the narrative.

Like all good literary fiction, I really became immersed in the characters behind this story and every one of them felt fully fleshed out and completely authentic. I felt the pain, sorrow and frustration that their blurses cost them and also realised how much it affected not only their relationships with each other but their relationships with other people outside the family unit. It’s a quirky, one of a kind and definitely “weird” reading experience but it’s one that’s absolutely worth your time if you get the chance to read it!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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