Book Haul

Book Haul – Late April 2018

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

img_5431Chicken 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

img_5443Catnip Publishing 

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

img_5555Little 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

img_5548Scholastic UK

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

Barrington Stoke

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 

img_5647Hot 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.

Louise Nettleton

Book Haul

Book Haul – Early April 2018

bookhaulaprilBook Haul – Early April 2018

Christmas is a distant memory, summer holidays are a distant dream, and we’re in a transition stage where the spring-summer 2018 books are starting to hit our doorsteps. 

I’m looking forward to some fluffy summer love stories, to stories of beaches and islands and adventures on the sea. 

Being a book blogger, I am exceptionally lucky to receive books in exchange for review. I am grateful for every book which comes through the door, as it enables me to share a wider range of children’s fiction with my lovely readers. One massive thank you to everyone who has sent me book post. 

Here are the books I have received in the past couple of weeks. I hope to share as many of these as possible in full reviews, so check back if you see anything which grabs your interest. 

[No books bought or otherwise received since NYA Fest. Which you’ve heard all about.]


The Big Book Of The Blue – Yuvval Zommer 

Thames And Hudson

img_5354Sharks and sea turtles, whales and rays. A fantastic fact-file of everything under the sea. A double-page spread is given to each of the featured species, and the information is presented as a series of fun facts. 

Yuval Zommer studied at the Royal College of Art. This is the kind of book you might find in the Tate Modern bookshop. It is visually stunning and would be useful for encouraging children to produce their own underwater art. 

A hide-and-seek game runs through the pages to entertain even the youngest reader. I can’t wait to tell you more in a full review. 


How To Write A Love Story – Katy Cannon


img_5358Tilly has always wanted to be an author like her gran, the bestselling romance novelist Bea Frost. When Gran asks Tilly to write her next romance novel, Tilly is forced to confront the fact she has never been kissed. She sets out with an action plan but finds that real life isn’t like a novel.

I love protagonists who write. Literally by Lucy Keating was a surprise favourite at the end of 2017. I hope the same combination of romance and writing will make HTWaLS a big hit. This is top of my fluffy-summer-novel pile.

That’s a mega-compliment. 


The Company Of Eight – Harriet Whitehorn


img_5294-1The Circus Ship has set sail, taking with it Cass’s dream of becoming an acrobat. Desperate for adventure, she jumps on board another boat and follows the Circus Ship to sea. This leads towards danger she could not predict. 

Regular blog readers know I love fiction set in the circus. Circus school, circus train … now a circus ship. This sounds like the perfect adventure and is written by the talented author of the Violet series. 


The Electrical Venus – Julie Mayhew 

Hot Key Books

img_5335-1After struggling to earn her keep in a traveling show, Mim is pushed to the top of the bill as The Electrical Venus. Men queue up to buy one of her electrifying kisses. Mim wants to know whether her love will ever be worth more than a penny.

Another book set in the show industry, this one for a YA audience. The feminist themes sound fantastic, and I imagine this will be a lyrical story.

Julie Mayhew is the author of The Big Lie, a fantastic speculative story with a F/F relationship lived in secret under the far right. It was a favourite of mine in 2015, and I am excited that Mayhew is still exploring feminist themes.

The Wondrous Dinosaurium – John Condon and Steve Brown

Maverick Arts Publishing 

img_5296Danny wants a new pet. He doesn’t want any old boring pet, like a cat or a dog or a goldfish. Danny wants a dinosaur. What follows is a trip … or two … two the Dinosaurium, a bucket-load of havoc and a spectacularly cute cameo from a tortoise. 

Maverick Arts Publishing publishes bright and upbeat picture books which are accessible to very youngest readers. They are also enjoyable for the adults reading alongside their child. The Wondrous Dinosaurium is no exception.

Arlo, Mrs Ogg And The Dinosaur Zoo – Alice Hemming and Kathryn Durst

Maverick Arts Publishing

Class 4X have a reputation. They are unruly, disobedient, and frankly unteachable. Past teachers have run away screaming, and there is no reason to suppose the new supply teacher will be any different. Except Mrs Ogg is different. Very different. Her first proposal is to take 4X to the zoo. What she fails to mention is this is no ordinary zoo

It is lovely to have some fiction for a younger middle-grade audience. Judging by the illustrations, this is going to be fantastically funny. 


Puddin’ – Julie Murphy 

Harper 360 (UK)

img_5293-1Mille has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. This year, she plans to skip fat camp and get closer to her crush. Callie Reyes is popular, but when it comes to friendship, she is more frenemy than friend. Circumstances bring the two girls together, and they are surprised to find they have more in common than they believed. 

Companion to the bestselling Dumplin’, this is a story of unexpected friendship and chasing your dreams. 

Dumplin’ was big on the blogging scene when I started out last year. Somehow I never got around to it, but with the film due this summer, I wanted to get on board. I’m expecting wicked humour, romance, and a big heart. 


Big thanks to all the named publishers for sending books for review. 

Have you got anything interesting on your TBR? Anything here you would like to read? Ask me questions, or join in the chat below. 

Book Haul · Chat

Book Haul – 02.07.2017

bookhaul02.07Happy Sunday! Book ban broken in style. With Piglettes on order and the Aarhus 39 short story anthologies coming through the post, I celebrated the end of my imposed ban by stockpiling books. A bookworm can’t change it’s … segments? I showed some restraint by leaving my completed reward card for a future visit. 

Also tempted by the Fantastic Beasts Pyjamas in Primark.  If they make them in adult sizing, is it fair to assume they are aimed at adults? Does anybody actually care? Does the same apply to unicon-kitty bedding for double beds? Let me know what you think. 

Time to make some progress on that TBR pile.