waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: The Goose Road by Rowena House

bannergooseroadwowSynopsis [from Walker Books]:

dsdal0cx4aigff0France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. “I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either.” But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears… In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.birdWhy I can’t wait to read The Goose Road:

  • I live near the Solway Firth. For six months of the year, we share the land with both pink-footed and barnacle geese. They fly over my home twice a day in great formations. We hear them before we see them. I go to the window every time. Geese are part of my life and landscape, and I understand how their presence can form a special part of a life. I want the book for this reason alone.


  • The mixture of WW1 history, family story and agriculture sounds like Morpurgo’s work, and it is a combination I can’t read too many times. It is the story of who we were not so long ago, and it is the closest to hearing our great-grandparents’ voices most of us will come. These are stories we have heard recycled, but never first-hand. A fictional voice helps us to relate to history.


  • The history of the home front is as interesting as the war itself. This is where life went on against the odds. There are stories of courage and survival here as much as there are on the battlefield. 


  • Conflict: the character vows to hold on to the farm until her brother returns. Immediately the narrative offers a challenge. Will Angélique’s brother return? I know I’ll hold my breath until the last pages to find out. 


The Goose Road by Rowena House

Walker Books UK

April 2018


waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday The Cloak Of Feathers by Nigel Quinlan


51ipepx0kplEvery hundred years, in the magical town of Knowmealldown, fairies known as the Good Folk join the villagers for a Great Festival. It’s a raucous, beautiful, enchanted celebration.
Well, it’s supposed to be.
Except every time Brian helps to organise the Great Festival it’s a disappointment. Worse, this time the Folk Princess has been stolen. Can Brian thwart the Princess’s evil captor in time to avoid the wrath of the Folk King and Queen, and finally deliver a Festival to remember?bird

Why I can’t wait for The Cloak Of Feathers:

  • It gets hard to tell you in new words how folk legends have built my imagination. A princess captured by evil forces? The wrath of the faerie King? We’re in familiar territory … except, it has a modern face. It is lovely to see folk traditions and stories having a revival in 2018, and this looks like a great take on the interactions between faerie and human realms.


  • Why is Brian unable to organise a successful festival? Does it have anything to do with the faeries, or his family’s past? I can’t wait to hear the backstory. Is he cursed, or does he just believe he is? 


  • Oh that cover. I am a huge fan of Feather Boy by Nicky Singer, where a boy makes a coat from feathers as part of a school-project based on fairy tales. I have dreamed about that coat every day since I read Feather Boy. It is lovely to see another feather coat, and I can’t wait to hear the story behind it. 


  • ‘I told them I’d fetch the stupid cow’. I’ve read the first chapter, and love how it sent up the organisation of local events. Nigel Quinlan is clearly observant of people and how we behave when we work together. Think The Vicar Of Dibley, except this time it is the Junior Action (cow fetching) Sub Group. I love it already. 


The Cloak Of Feathers by Nigel Quinlan 

Orion Children’s Books

January 2018



waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: Hamilton and Peggy by L.M. Elliott


For fans of the extraordinary Broadway musical Hamilton, New York Times bestselling author L. M. Elliott delivers a richly detailed historical novel about the lively Peggy Schuyler and her devoted friendship to Alexander Hamilton during the drama of the American Revolution.

Revolutionary. Friend. Lover. Sister.

Peggy Schuyler has always felt like she’s existed in the shadows of her beloved sisters: the fiery, intelligent Angelica and the beautiful, sweet Eliza. The three of them have a magnetic pull—they are stronger together than they are alone. But it’s in the throes of a chaotic war that Peggy finds herself a central figure amid Loyalists and Patriots, spies and traitors, and friends and family. Charming, quick-witted, and clever beyond compare, Peggy is determined to use her talents to make her own mark on the Revolutionary War.

When a flirtatious aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, writes an eloquent letter to Peggy asking for her help in wooing the earnest Eliza, Peggy finds herself unable to deny such an impassioned plea. A fast friendship forms between the two, but Alexander is caught in the same war as her father, General Philip Schuyler, and the danger to all their lives is real. Everything is a battlefield—from the front lines to their carefully coded letters—and Peggy must put herself in harm’s way to protect the people she loves. But will her bravery and intelligence be enough to keep them all safebird

Why I can’t wait to read Alexander And Peggy:

  • Alex and Eliza was a big hit this year, a YA Novel about Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler. This is about the same area of history, a story made famous by the musical show. Hands-up in the air, I don’t know the story, but that’s about to change. People often connect to history through fictionalised accounts of real people. The first step to understanding is caring. 


  • The main relationship in life was between Hamilton and Peggy’s sister Eliza. The first question that puts in everybody’s heads is how far, in this fictional spin-off, will things go between Hamilton and Peggy? Will there be any hint of romance?


  • Sometimes the most interesting stories during a war can be found behind the battle lines. I’m interested in Peggy’s story, and her attempts to protect the men she loves. What gets in her way? What sort of danger does she find herself in?


  • Peggy sounds similar in character to Jo March from Little Women. I think this, most of all, is the reason I want to read Hamilton And Peggy. The feisty sister? American Revolution? Can another girl take over our hearts like Jo March? 


Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship

Harper 360

February 2018 (UK)

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Twelve-year-old Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in one place long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning. The only people Marinka meets are dead, and they disappear when her grandmother, Baba Yaga, guides them through The Gate. Marinka wants to change her destiny, but her house has other ideas…


Why I can’t wait to read The House With Chicken Legs:


  • I love fairy tales and folk lore. Russian fairytales aren’t one of the areas I am better aquainted with, and it will be lovely to expand my knowledge alongside reading the novel.


  • ‘The only people Marinka meets are dead.’ The Gate and the dead remind me of Sabriel, a series I loved as a teenager and must finish. The most intriguing thing about Sabriel was her ability to bring people back from the gates of death.


  • Is there one place the house wants to go? A fate it has in mind, or something it wants to fix? I’m intrigued about the motives of this house.


  • Marinka has met few people, and lived closely with her Grandmother. I wonder whether an adventure will be a challenge for someone who has lead a relatively isolated life, and how she will change as a character.


  • Sophie Anderson is a fell dweller. I want to see whether the Cumbrian landscape has influenced her writing.


The House With Chicken Legs

Usbourne Publishing Ltd

April 2018

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – Stranger by Keren David

strangerbannerSynopsis (from Amazon UK) – 

41p6vpjdesl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Astor, Ontario. 1904.
A boy staggers out of the forest covered in blood and collapses at the feet of 16-year-old Emmy. While others are suspicious and afraid, Emmy is drawn to him. Is he really the monster the townsfolk say he is?

Astor, Ontario. 1994. 
Megan arrives from London for her great grandmother Emmy’s 105th birthday. It should be a happy family occasion, but Megan is nursing a broken heart and carrying a secret she fears might consume her.

One family. Two women. A century of secrets. A timeless love story.


birdWhy I can’t wait to read Stranger by Keren David – 

The effect of a past event over a lifetime. As a teenager, this was basically my favourite theme. Sally Beauman, Anita Shreve, anything published by Virago. Women whose lives were changed in a single moment in youth. These are the books that built me, and it is lovely to see one written with teenagers in mind. 

It’s nice to see a book set in the 1990s. The third golden age of children’s publishing didn’t begin until the late 90s, so with a few notable and prolific exceptions, (Anne Fine, Jacqueline Wilson, Dick King-Smith and JK Rowling) there are few well-known children’s books whose protagonists share my childhood. 

North America. ‘Monstrous’ children coming out of the forest. Has the boy lived there? Was he raised in the forest, or has he been hiding in the vast wilderness? My curiosity has been provoked. Whatever the truth, the time-setting will make this story even more interesting. Society was very judgmental in the early 1900s. 

The relationship between two females, of different generations. See point one. How will Emmy’s story change Megan’s perception of her own life? 


Stranger by Keren David

Atom Books

April 2018

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone



sky-song-9781471146077_lgIn the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find. Because Erkenwald is ruled by the cruel Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden; if they are caught in the open they risk capture and imprisonment by the evil sorceress.

Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey to the Never Cliffs and beyond in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .birdWhy I can’t wait to read Sky Song:

The Dreamsnatcher trilogy is a favourite Middle Grade series. I’ve been with Moll and Gryff since the early days of publication, and took gutsy, determind Moll to heart. I love her world, and the concept of the Soul Splinter. I can’t wait to meet Eska and her eagle.


Elphinstone’s worlds are full of the great outdoors. You’d think most books are, but as I once heard, in some books the landscape is part of the story, and in others it is detail painted it. Both are reasonable approaches, but I love Elphinstone’s great landscapes.


An organ made of icicles. A cursed magic box. Elphinstone has written about how objects help her form stories, and I love this approach. It shows how stories come from the world around us. There is much talk of the organ on Twitter, and I can’t wait to learn more.


An ancient and forgotten song. It sounds like there is history to this world. I love worlds which come with their own folk-tales, their own historical narratives. 

The dark, cold nights after Christmas pass more quickly if we are absorbed in a good story. Early this year it was a Girl Called Owl. Stories of wintery magic are perfect for long, dark nights. 


Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

January 2018

Simon and Schuster Children’s UK


waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Synopisis (from GoodReads):

34728667Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.birdWhy I Can’t Wait to read Children Of Blood And Bone:

  • It’s magic, but it takes traditions of magic from another culture. Don’t get me wrong, I love magical systems based on European Castles and 1400s alchemy, but it is nice to see stories built around other traditions. Adeyemi has studied West African mythology, and it will be interesting to see their influence. I hope to read some of the mythology around the same time as the book.
  • A rogue princess? I am interested to know what makes a princess ‘rogue’. One of my favourite characters of all time is Aravis from The Horse And His Boy. Unfairly overshadowed by the Pevensie kids, Aravis is the original gutsy heroine.
  • According to further information, the magi are oppressed by a lighter-skinned race. It will be interesting to see whether magic stands as a metaphor for cultural heritage. If so, this trilogy should spark conversations. 
  • I LOVED the sampler, which I was sent post-YALC. I passed it on, but in my memory Zélie is taught defensive skills as part of a group of women bent on defending themselves against brutality. This fits in with other books I have enjoyed with a feminist theme. 
  • The trilogy sold for a seven figure sum which includes a book and film deal. Yep, seven figures. The publishers must be confident that it will appeal to a worldwide audience. I expect it to be unputdownable.


waiting on wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday – Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

brightstormbannerSynopsis (from Foyles): dle3ynzwsai6j_5

Twins Arthur and Maudie receive word in Lontown that their famous  explorer father died in a failed attempt to reach South Polaris. Not only that, but he has been accused of trying to steal fuel from his competitors before he died! The twins don’t believe the news,
and they answer an ad to help crew a new exploration attemptin the hope of learning the truth and salvaging their family’s reputation.

As the winged ship Aurora sets sail, the twins must keep their wits about them and prove themselves worthy of the rest of the crew. But will Arthur and Maudie find the answers they seek?breakbirdWhy I can’t wait to read Brightstorm: 

  • This has been compared to books I love – Mortal Engines, Cogheart and His Dark Materials. I love Steam Punk, and adventure, and inventive worlds where the science is similar but not the same as our world. 


  • Twins. There is scope for conflict. What is they come to different conclusions? Can their sibling relationship survive the adventure?


  • The accusation against the Twins’ father poses a question early on which needs to be answered. As well as the Arthur and Maudie’s own adventure, I am interested in their father. This reminds me of Will and John Parry from His Dark Materials, another story in which a child seeks answers about a parent’s expedition. 


  • It sounds like the twins have a trial to overcome to stay on-board the airship. It sounds like there could be a lot of excitement as they work to keep themselves on track to South Polaris. 


  • Vashti Hardy is a Golden Egg graduate, with so many interesting things to say about the writing process. Catch on Twitter at @vashti_hardy


Brightstorm by Vashti Hardi

Scholastic UK

March 2018

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson


Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

35216519Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate. breakbirdWhy I can’t wait to read The Wren Hunt: 

  • Warring factions remind me of Romeo and Juliet. There is so much possible conflict, and the most interesting question isn’t why would she use the spell, it is why wouldn’t she? 
  • Wren sounds like a headstrong, independent character. I am interested in the research she has done, and why a young girl is doing this rather than elders within the community.
  • The hunt reminds me of S.T.A.Gs, one of my favourite YA reads of 2017. I want to know what agenda there is to the hunt, and whether there is something Wren has to learn about herself. Why is Wren hunted, and not other members of her clan?
  • If there are spells to end the war, what other magic exists? Is there a limit to magical power within the world?
  • The wren hunt is a real folk tradition from Britain. As you know, I love my folk history. I love the current spate of folksy books – old traditions are being given a bite for the YA audience. 


waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: Flying Tips For Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain

ftffbSynopsis: (from WalkerYA.com):tumblr_inline_ovt9uz1vck1re4pvv_500

A sweet and kooky romcom starring flying-trapeze double act and brother/sister twins, Finch and Birdie Franconi, and their geeky friend, Hector Hazzard. After Birdie’s terrifying trapeze accident, serious performer Finch and clumsy wannabe Hector must work together to save the family circus school and put on the biggest show ever. Together they learn to walk the high-wire of teen life and juggle the demands of friends, family, first love and facing up to who they are – all served up with a dash of circus-showbiz magic. breakbirdWhy I can’t wait to read Flying Tips For Flightless Birds:


  • Did I mention that I love circus settings? OK, ten or twenty times, but saving the family circus school is another take one of my favourite settings.


  • I love the tagline ‘Life is a Circus, Don’t Miss the Show’. Circuses are a great place for characters to do something even though it is dangerous, or crazy, because they want to be part of the magic, and will never live with themselves if they don’t step out.


  • Following on from the above thought, this is a great metaphor for the theme of sexuality. Romance feels big and scary, especially for a young protagonist, but what if the only thing to do is ‘jump’? Something wonderful might happen.


  • Circuses are often used in fantasy stories, something I devour and applaud, but it is nice to see a circus setting in a novel which looks to be contemporary. Contemporary YA has really come into its own this year, and it is lovely to see how many different books come under that banner.


  • It is great to see a rise in LGBTQA+ stories which explore the building relationship between the characters, rather than ‘the issue’. 2017 has definitely seen a shift in what is being published, and Flying Tips For Flightless Birds looks set to start 2018 on the right foot.


Flying Tips For Flightless Birds

Walker Books

March 2018