Charlie Bone is the hero of Jenny Nimmo’s fantasy school adventures written between 2002 and 2009.
After his father’s death, Charlie Bone has lived with his mother and her mother, in the house of his other grandmother, Grandma Bone. Looking at a picture of a couple with a baby and a cat, he suddenly discovers he can hear their voices. Although he tries to hide his new gift, Grandma Bone and her scary sisters soon find out, and send him to Bloor’s Academy where the evil head boy, Manfred, is constantly finding ways to make his life miserable. When Charlie discovers that the child in the photograph is being held, hypnotised, against her will, he and his new friends with ‘gifts’ try to awaken her. But they will have to overcome Manfred’s hypnotic power first.
Charlie is a thoroughly likeable boy who just wants to be ordinary but having been been given a gift he must use it for good. This endowment comes from his family since they are descended from the Red King. When he meets the fiery cats, Sagittarius, Leo and Aries, he gradually learns more of his past and therefore his future.
Charlie may sound similar to Harry Potter, but this series of books remains suitable for middle grade children and the plot is very much driven by conversation.
“I heard that there is hope on a coastline, it was my own self, speaking – me, as my comfort, trying to keep myself afloat.”
“There were so many stories on that island that it felt like they came in on the tide.”
“The Silver Dark Sea” is perhaps the most significant character in this novel. For the inhabitants of the island of Parla, the sea’s moods, sounds, harvest and destruction rule their lives. This is not an easy novel at first; written in the main as the stream of consciousness of the key protagonists, interspersed with folktales from Abigail’s book, it slips from third person to first person and only becomes comprehensible when the reader identifies that individual.
The location of Parla is unclear but the intermingled fates of the Bright family from the lighthouse and the Bundy family from the farm “Wind Rising” provide the background to this tale of love and loss. The roles of women and men in this simple old-fashioned community are separate and clearly defined and after a tragedy 4 years earlier many have lost their stability and focus. Maybe if the story of The Fishman of Sye comes true, they will be redeemed.
I want to give this beautiful atmospheric novel five stars, but the slow laborious plot development makes me award it 4.5 stars. I was unsure how the story should end but for me the conclusion was just right. Susan Fletcher is an author to seek out.
The Silver Dark Sea can be found on Amazon UK
Susan Fletcher was born in 1979 in Birmingham. She is the author of the bestselling ‘Eve Green’ winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award, ‘Oystercatchers’ and ‘Witch Light’.
The Story Collector is set in an Irish village in two time zones, a hundred years apart. On a last-minute whim, Sarah Harper has boarded a plane from America to Ireland rather than face her family after the break up of her marriage. Arriving with no place to stay she soon finds the kindness of strangers providing her with accommodation and companionship. And then she finds a diary written by Anna in 1910. Between sketching and drowning her sorrows in drink, Sarah follows the young woman’s life story page by page.
Anna works hard helping her parents on their small farm while admiring from afar the wealthy Anglo-Irish twins in Thornwood House. Her everyday life becomes more interesting when Harold Griffin-Krauss, an American academic, arrives in the district. Investigating Irish folklore for his book. Anna is employed to translate the tales told to him, from Irish into English. They soon become good companions, but she is unsure whether to admit her deepest secret to him.
Sarah is also intrigued by the stories of fairies and the beautiful setting. As an artist she appreciates the countryside, so well described by Evie Gaughan. There is a touch of magic but also a feeling of sadness and menace. Both Sarah and Anna have suffered loss, but both will finally have to make new beginnings. This lovely novel is a great pleasure to read and definitely a page-turner.
The Story Collector is available on Amazon UK
“He smiled at Bradamant dazzlingly. Irene felt a little of the overspill of it, the burning surge of slavish desire and passionate adoration, and felt the brand across her back burn like raw ice in reaction. She also felt a quick burst of relief that apparently Silver hadn’t recognised her as a Library agent. She was still incognito for the moment.”
My current read is tremendous fun, a steampunk romp through an alternative world with Irene, a strong-minded, intelligent Librarian solving a crime while on a mission to take a precious Fairy Tale book back to the Invisible Library. While mentoring a handsome, but troubling assistant she finds she also has to deal with her bitterest personal enemy and a dangerous foe who is trying to kill her. It is a fascinating novel, filled with humour, danger, adventure and mystery -all the right ingredients. And there are three more books to follow!
Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England.
This fun feature is a mini workshop invented by Rosie Amber. We look at book covers just from their thumbnail pictures at online selling book sites and make quick fire buying decisions. We look from a READERS Point of View and this exercise is very EYE OPENING.
To join in with the #FridayFiveChallenge please read the rules at the bottom of the page.
This week I browsed under the keyword Magic and I came across three books by Meena Van Praag including The House at the End of Hope Street.
After Alba Ashby suffers the Worst Events of Her Life, she finds herself at the door of 11 Hope Street, Cambridge. There, a beautiful older woman named Peggy invites Alba to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she’ll have 99 nights, and no more, to turn her life around. Once inside, Alba sees that 11 Hope Street is no ordinary place. Past residents include Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, and Agatha Christie, who all stayed there when they, too, had lost hope. With the house’s help, Alba decides to risk everything – and embarks on a journey that may even save her life.
There’s a suggestion of the sort of book which Cecelia Ahern writes and I always enjoy the magic she includes in her plots but let’s turn to the reviews of The House at the End of Hope Street.
Both lyrical and literary, with an engrossing plot peopled with characters you can’t help but root for, The House at the End of Hope Street is a beautiful and spirit-lifting book. Who wouldn’t want to live in a house where shelves magically fill with books, closets magically fill with clothes, and hot chocolate has healing properties?
And from a male reviewer this was added:-
In a world where warmth, unselfishness and a touch of everyday magic are in such woefully short supply it was a genuine and (yes…for a bloke, unexpected) pleasure to follow the diverse and constantly surprising, romantic adventures of a motley band of women (of all ages), all resident in a very odd Cambridge house, each with her own over-stuffed bag of quirks, foible and failings and each seeking the missing piece to her own hitherto private, emotional jigsaw. This is essentially a book about friendship, the resilience of the human spirit and the redemptive power of love in all its guises. All that plus deep secrets and dark chocolate.
The Kindle edition is priced at £2.63 So shall I BUY or will I PASS?
I can’t resist, I’m going to BUY.
What have others chosen this week?
Rosie has found a travel guide to Utah
Shelley is looking at a new release with a warming cover
Cathy is feeling icy cold
Barb is tracing the Rivers of London supernaturally
So now it’s your turn.
Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.
In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?
AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?
Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….
1) Go to any online book supplier.
2) Randomly choose a category.
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appeal.
4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,
6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?