Whatever happened to April?
This month has gone by in a daze of birthday cakes and Easter-eggs. I figure some exercise is on the agenda for May, and some lengthy writing sessions. Even so, it has been a good month. During the recent spell of good weather, I logged off the computer and took over Mum’s new summer house. What could be better than nesting on the sofa and being outdoors at the same time? We live in an area which isn’t exactly famed for good weather, but the wide skies and the views across the fields make up for that. I hope we have some more garden-friendly days.
I took a break from my blog for the first time in a year. When I started blogging, I thought breaks were a kind of myth – either there is content, or there isn’t – but now I think it is important to take a bit of time away occasionally. It isn’t just about the content, but also the way I read, and choose books. Taking a week out to read what I like when I like has pulled me right out of a reading slump. I am back and I am ready to tackle my overflowing TBR.
Here is what I have added over the past fortnight. Three books from our family trip to Manchester Trafford Centre (go two hundred miles to a shopping centre, shelter in the bookshop) and seven books sent to me by publishers.
As always, a big thank you to everyone who has sent or offered book post. It means the world, guys.
The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in place long enough for her to make friends. Marinka’s home has chicken legs. Her Grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs for a different life, but her house has other ideas.
I adore folklore and love modern stories influenced by traditional folktales. Marinka sounds like many young protagonists – determined to forge her own identity and choose her own life. I am interested to see how she bonds with her Grandmother over the course of the story.
The State Of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
By day, Sorrow governs the Court of Tears, covering for her grief-maddened father. By night, she seeks solace in the arms of the boy she has loved since childhood. One ghost won’t stop haunting her. When enemies old and new close ranks against her, Sorrow must decide how far she’s willing to go to win.
Melinda Salisbury is the author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy, an exceptionally intelligent fairytale which blends politics with fantasy like tales of old. I have been desperate to read Sorrow since reading my friend Charlotte’s review, where she talks about the conflict between elitist and people-centered politics.
Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
In the palace of Ohaddin, women have one purpose – to obey. But the women have powers too. One who is a healer. One who can control dreams. One who is a warrior. One who can see the future. When the moon glows red, they will have their revenge.
Maresi was one of the most intriguing books I read in 2017. It was set in an island-convent, where women and girls shelter from a patriarchal society. There was lots of reference in Maresi to the founding Mothers of the community. Naondel is the prequel, the story of those founding women.
The world might just have to go on hold. I’ve left this long enough.
What Lexie Did by Emma Shevah
Chicken House Books
Lexie comes from a big Greek Cypriot family. She has always been best friends with her cousin Eleni, who has had a heart condition since birth. The two girls have always been inseparable. Then Lexie tells a lie. A big lie.
I read this on a beautifully sunny day. Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding – warm and witty and character-driven. Lexie’s voice is particularly strong. She is naive and funny and very much like a realistic ten-year-old.
Across The Divide by Anne Booth
When her Mum is imprisoned for leading a pacifist protest, Olivia must stay with her Dad on the remote island of Lindisfarne. There she meets William. A novel about family and friendship and finding the courage to fight for what you believe in.
I visited Lindisfarne in childhood, and think it makes a great setting. Think of the kind of island the Famous Five visited, with beaches and castles and ruins, then situate it in the North Sea instead of the English Channel. I am particularly hoping this involves time-slip.
Secrets Of The Mountain by Libby Walden And Richard Jones
Little Tiger Press
A day in the life of one mountain. Watch day turn to night, and discover the mountain life.
Richard Jones is one of my new favourites. His pictures prove that you don’t need to be photorealistic to capture the nature of animals, and he uses soft and calming palettes. This book is a masterpiece. It becomes an I-Spy game, with a guide at the back naming all the animals featured in the book.
Aru Shah And The End Of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Desperate to impress her snobby schoolmates, and embarrassed to be living in the museum where her Mum works, Aru Shah lights the cursed Lamp of Bharata. After accidentally freeing an ancient demon, and trapping her mother in time, Aru must fix things before the ancient
God of Destruction is awoken.
Think Percy Jackson, think Hindu mythology, and you’re part way to understanding Aru Shah. Which is why I was so excited to get my hands on a copy because I love Percy Jackson.
Here’s to an epic adventure.
Rose’s Dress Of Dreams by Katherine Woodfine and Kate Pankhurst
Barrington Stoke (Little Gems)
Rose dreams of dresses. In those dreams, she sews the most fabulous gowns for the ladies of the French Royal Court, but Rose’s gowns are too unusual. Can an unexpected meeting offer Rose the chance to make her dreams come true?
I’m a mega-fan of Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair’s series and love her descriptions of an Edwardian department store. I hope she has indulged her interest in historical fashions in this little book. The format and illustrations add extra fairy-dust.
McTavish Goes Wild by Meg Rosoff and Grace Easton
The Peachy family is in crisis. Where will they go for their summer holiday? Pa Peachy reckons the outdoors is a terrible and dangerous place. Ollie and Ava would rather do things indoors. It is up to rescue dog McTavish to figure out how to get the Peachys to enjoy their holiday.
It is lovely to see books about discovering the outdoors. Meg Rosoff is a master of YA, and I am interested to read her younger fiction.
Charmcaster by Sebastien De Castell
Hot Key Books
On the run from mages and bounty hunters, Kellen’s life as an outlaw spellslinger is about to get a lot worse.
Spellslinger is my new favourite YA fantasy series. The series begins with Kellen, an aspiring Mage whose spellwork leaves something to be desired. It is like the Wild West with spells. And sassy squirrel-cats. I read books one and two compulsively, and I’m delighted to have book three to hand.
Many thanks to all the publishers and publicists who had sent book post.
What is on your TBR? Have you bought anything reccently? Let me know in the comments below.