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Find the latest books for fans of fantasy stories and magical tales! We have extracts to download for most of our books plus expert reviews.
Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill is a new adventure that develops the brilliant ideas firmly established in Grimly Darkwood’s first Vale of Strange book. Late in the summer, following Peter and Amanda’s adventures in the Vale of Strange (covered in The Shop on Peculiar Hill) it becomes clear that Peter will have to return once more with a new friend, Mala, short for Guatemala. Her father is an explorer and has gone missing. The sudden outbreak of strangeness is the first of their problems but not the last and it seems that something big is going on. Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill follows on from the end of The Shop on Peculiar Hill. However, as the book starts it recaps the previous events and there’s enough detail for it to be read as a standalone story. I haven’t read the first book but I felt that everything was explained well enough for me to know what was happening. After reading, I’m sure children will be racing to enjoy the adventure in The Shop on Peculiar Hill if they haven’t read it already. I liked the interaction between Peter and Amanda, their disagreements in the library help to demonstrate their character while also explaining the world of Peculiarshire. I also liked Mala, I thought her joke was quite funny. I like that there was a contrast in the two female characters and I enjoyed watching the three of them team up towards the end of the book. This is an exciting adventure that will certainly be a page-turner for all of those that love all things, weird and wonderful. I think that the humour throughout helps to counteract some of the scarier bits. I also found that the discussion at the end of the book about adults keeping their promises was quite poignant. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Whilst Simi's parents are away, she has the opportunity of staying with her Grandmother who lives in Lagos. There she is introduced to the world of traditional animal stories told by her grandmother. When I saw the bright and colourful cover of this book, I was keen to read on and when I read the preface which states: "I hope this book appeals to the child in you," I was enticed even further. The descriptive quality is excellent and I found myself completely engaged visually. Although the book has a traditional ambience, The themes of the benefits of outdoor play, the sense of awe and wonder and family values are increasingly valuable within our modern society. We learn a lot about everyday life in Jalingo and the animal stories which make up the bulk of the text contain messages for life. At the end of the book Simi's grandmother encourages her to go and play outdoors with her new friends in order to "make new memories", and the book concludes with "In the eyes of a child, life is always so beautiful, she thought to herself. It felt good to be reminded of that." Indeed this book made ME feel good and it is perfect for grandmothers to read aloud to their grandchildren. Val Rowe, A LoveReading Ambassador
From the author of the mysterious The Village at the Edge of the World comes this allegorical adventure that melds timeless terrors and Alice in Wonderland absurdity with an engaging modern world heroine. After texting friends to say she wished she didn’t have to spend another weekend in her father’s sleepy village, Scarlett gets more than she bargained for when her wish comes true. In a terrifying turn of events, her train takes her to a peculiar place called Knoware where Scarlett encounters a creepy crone called Crimsin who steals Scarlett’s shadow, without which she can’t leave Knoware. Armed only with a crudely drawn map and a magic mirror, Scarlett embarks on a perilous Wizard of Oz-esque quest to Crimsin’s castle to reclaim her shadow, encountering all manner of troublesome beings and fairy tale figures along the way. There’s much menace, atmosphere and a tense sense of time running out as Scarlett strives for her very own “there’s no place like home” moment. Recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
The second in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done.
Fly into a fiery and fantastical future with No. 1 bestselling author David Walliams, in an epic adventure of myth and legend, good and evil, and one small boy who must save the world... Illustrated by the artistic genius Tony Ross! is 2120 and London is in ruins. The young Prince Alfred has never known a life outside Buckingham Palace - but when strange goings-on breach its walls and stalk the corridors in the dead of night, he is thrust into a world of mystery, adventure and monsters. And when his mother, the Queen, is dragged away to the Tower of London, Alfred must screw up his courage and battle to save her, himself... and the entire city. In a future of myths and legends, join the bestselling David Walliams and venture forth into his most enthralling tale yet!
A high-stakes quest. A magical kingdom. A boy in possession of a coveted power. This mythology-rich novel for 10+ year-olds has all the ingredients of an epic adventure. Ankido is a twelve-year-old British-Iraqi boy with a passion for words. So much so, his beloved grandmother calls him her “Word Boy”. One morning, his grandmother announces the terrible news that Ankido’s father, an eminent archaeologist, has gone missing on a field trip in Iraq. When she leaves to search for his dad, she entrusts him with a special book: “The cover was made of fine, gold-inlaid leather. The title read, The Land of Mesopo. Ankido wondered why it was so special but thought it best not to ask.” Left with his aunt and uncle, Ankido is destined to be sent to boarding school, but not before he’s forced to burn Grandmother’s special book when his aunt tries to take it from him. He knows the book is special - “When I started reading it, it felt so real. Almost as if it was calling me to step inside “ – and indeed it does turn out to be special. Rather than end up at boarding school, he finds himself in the Library of Nineveh after being pursued by “a creature of the dark” who “feeds on words. And she knows that you can make your own words.” Ankido’s quest to find his father, and to save the fantastical word-world of Mesopo as the Kingdom’s newfound Tale Smith is sharply evoked, and packed with heart-pounding peril, mysterious atmosphere and intriguing characters, among them scribes, princes and magicians. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
'The Adventures of Tempus and Fugit' by Tom McCulloch is a fun and informative story in pictures, telling us about two young boys, Tempus and Fugit, (who look and act older than their stated ages) who live in an unspecified time in the future with their personal robot, Digi Dog. In this short adventure, Digi Dog builds the boys a time-travelling air balloon and they all set off first for Ancient Egypt then Ancient Rome. Their aim is to find out more about how time was measured in those far off times. In Egypt, they are introduced to the sundial and in Rome, the water clock. The illustrations are very colourful and have the modern feel of a graphic novel, though the author doesn't make use of speech bubbles, and I think it works very well in imparting the basics of these two types of time measurement in ancient civilisations in an effortless way. I would have loved more detail about each of the timepieces but readers who have their curiosity aroused can easily find out more and may even be inspired to make their own 'clocks'. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
The Dark is Rising Sequence | This is part of a brilliant and award-winning fantasy sequence. It's a book that grips you from the start and will transport you from your earth world to a world of fantasy. The characters are brilliantly imagined and the fantasy world so realistically described that you feel you're there. It's midwinter and Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, discovers his destiny on the eve of his birthday. Will must learn to harness the powers of the Old Ones and embark on a quest to vanquish the terrifyingly evil magic of the Dark, an evil entity that threatens the world's very existence. The Dark is Rising won the author numerous international awards, including the Newbery Medal. Whether you're 11 or 111 you'll love it. It's a novel that stands alone; however there are four books to complete the series, all reissued this month.
December 2019 Book of the Month | ‘‘Twas the night before Christmas …’ but we’re on a snowy hillside where a lonely tree shivers in the cold. As it longs to be in the brightly lit little town below, suddenly footsteps suddenly approach. Somebody very important collects the tree and puts it at the centre of some special celebrations, before leaving with the familiar words: ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’ Taking inspiration from Clement C Moore’s classic poem, Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ new book is filled with the joy of Christmas, and captures all its sense of magical anticipation. In a handsome small format, there’s a full page illustration on each right hand page and they tell the story with as much vivacity as the lines of verse opposite. It all concludes with a sparkling double page spread, the tree glowing in the foreground as St Nick flies off into the Christmas night silhouetted against the moon. If this doesn’t set you up for Christmas and its jollities, nothing will!
This first book in a new Shadowhunters spin-off series is a flavoursome feast for Cassie Clare fans. Co-written with Wesley Chu, it’s rich in action, romance and satisfying backstory detail about Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they race around Europe after the Mortal War. Magnus and Alec’s romantic vacation swiftly sours when an old friend turns up with news that a cult Magnus founded as “a joke long ago” is gaining power. Consequently, the Spiral Council “have issued a formal demand that you, Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn, neutralize the cult of demon-worshippers known as the Crimson Hand. Immediately.” Initially reluctant to cut short his holiday, Magnus is compelled to clear his name and cull the cult before chaos is created. Pursued by demons, Magnus and Alec traverse Europe – from the City of Love (Paris), to the City of Masks (Venice), to the City of the War (Rome) - in search of the cult and its leader. Heady with action, sizzling with secrecy, and with strong LBGTQ+ representation throughout, the cliffhanger ending will leave fans yearning for the second instalment.
From the creator of the Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy comes this epic first instalment of the author’s highly anticipated The Dark Artifices series. Lady Midnight is populated with pretty much every kind of mythological and supernatural being you could wish for (witches, warlocks, werewolves, vampires, faeries to name a few), but none more intriguing than the Nephilim Shadowhunters, part-angel, part-human beings who adorn themselves with protective runes. Emma Carstairs is a Shadowhunter and, as such, she’s bound to her parabatai platonic soul mate Julian for life. Emma is also set on avenging her parents’ death. Then, when bodies bearing the same marks as those on her parents’ are found in her home city of Los Angeles, Emma’s search for their murderer leads her down all kinds of treacherously demonic paths. Clare has a real talent for creating richly-realised fantasy worlds and plummeting her gutsy, larger-than-life protagonists into seriously high-stakes situations. This is a hugely entertaining and expansive start to her new series, with more glamour that you can shake a stele stick at, and more than enough intrigue to keep forum threads spinning furiously as fans await book two. Take a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for The Dark Artifices.
The Dark is Rising sequence | On holiday in Cornwall, Simon, Jane and Barney Drew discover an ancient map in the attic of the Grey House, where they are staying with their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry. They know immediately that it is special. But it is much more than just a map. It is the start of a quest to find a grail, a source of great power that could contain - or resurrect - the powerful, age-old forces of evil in the world. And the Drews are not the only ones searching for it.
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