Forthcoming Publications

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9 DECEMBER

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Review of

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

4star.jpg Historical Fiction

Robin Blyth is nudged into a job in the Civil Service, much to his chagrin. There he meets Edwin Courcey and learns that the streets of London are threaded with magic. Desperate to remove a curse that threatens to swallow him, Robin follows Edwin to the countryside, where the hedgegrows bristle with incantations and the people shimmer with power. There they uncover a sinister plot that threatens the lives of all magicians in the British Isles. Full Review

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Review of

Making a Living: How to Craft Your Business by Sophie Rochester

5star.jpg Crafts

Starting a creative business has never been easier.

If not now, when?

I know that I'm not alone in having wondered whether or not I could turn my hobby into a business. There's a lot of motivation to do so: I make more items than we can sensibly use and there are a lot of people who have been delighted to accept what I make as gifts. Selling would offset the costs, which can be quite considerable and it could be fun to do, couldn't it? But where to start? What do I need to think about? Well, the first thing anyone who is considering turning a crafting hobby into a business should do is to read Making a Living. Full Review

6 JANUARY 2022

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Review of

The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange and Pam Smy

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

There is no mermaid in the millpond. That at least is what Bess is telling herself. Neither will there be a friend for her in amongst all the other kids, who have had their entire childhoods sold to the mill-owners by the London workhouse they used to call home. Bess knows there is no time for friendship in a hand-to-mouth, every man for himself kind of existence. But despite herself Bess does find a bit of a kindred spirit in the slight little Dot, and despite everything that life has taught her about betrayal and how befriending people only leads to harm, there might be a glimmer of companionship in the tired-out mill workers. But surely that doesn't mean there is any truth in the existence of the mermaid? Full Review

18 JANUARY

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Review of

Red is My Heart by Antoine Laurain, Le Sonneur and Jane Aitken (translator)

3.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Antoine Laurain books have always been black and white and read in my house. And so was this one, although I could have spelled that more accurately – this one was, and is, black and white and red. Yes, he has an artistic collaborator on this piece, and I think it's possible to say not one page lacks the influence of some striking visual ideas. Full Review

20 JANUARY

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Review of

Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen

3.5star.jpg Crime

Varg Veum is a Norwegian Private Investigator who has just finished a stint in rehab and is now returning to work. However, the quiet job he's supposedly taken on caretaking someone's house quickly turns into a murder investigation, and a mystery around a missing woman. Varg finds himself not only investigating these, but also looking into an old, cold case of an eight year old girl who disappeared one night and was never found. Somehow, these disparate cases appear to be linked, but what is the link, and how can Varg possibly unravel the truth? Full Review

25 JANUARY

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Review of

Quicksilver by Dean Koontz

2.5star.jpg Thrillers

Meet Quinn Quicksilver. He's not had the chance to get to be a mercurial character yet, for he's lived in a nun-run orphanage since he was a three-day old foundling, and now is starting a career on a needless magazine's staff. But when this book starts he IS now subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind, for something – call it unearthly intuition, call it mind-control, call it a supernatural urge – has demanded of him that he go to a derelict diner, find a gold coin worth a fortune, cash the value of it out of his bank and prepare for going on the lam. And all this is just in time for two of those typical Men in Black types to turn up and suggest he's of interest to them. Helped to escape, he finds his flight is interrupted by other instances of him acting without being in control, the discovery that he is not unique in having some kind of burgeoning power – and a whole lot more besides. Full Review

3 FEBRUARY

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Review of

Escape Room by Christopher Edge

3star.jpg Confident Readers

I've seen junior variants of the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' format cover escape rooms – the process by which a character or characters start by being trapped in a specific location, and have to solve problems in order to get their way out. What I've not done (alongside experience one for myself – for that would require actual friends) is seen a prose book describing people in such an adventure, with the regular second person narrative replaced by the first. Here, Ami and four other tweenagers, all new to each other and booked into the game without any of their friends, are a team – starting out at the game's main offices, where they're told they and their quest for The Answer are a world-changer. But could watching people engage with such a pastime, despite the ramped-up threat levels, change much in the world of literature? Full Review

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Review of

Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Loki. The trickster god has got into trouble again, so the other gods have decided there's only one thing for it – he must be banished. And transformed – for Loki is spending a month both in exile and in the physical form of a middle-school kid here on Earth. He's guarded by a giant and a god in disguise as his parents, and Thor has come along as well, to be the more suave, more popular and more successful brother of the two. Loki has a month to redeem his reputation, and get his moral compass pointing the right way again, or else, and to prove it he has to write the text we read in a sentient notebook, that is able to cry foul of his lies, and judge his progress. But Loki is the kind of god who insists he can do anything, so surviving a bit more virtuously for a month is going to be a walk in the park...right? Full Review

3 MARCH

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Review of

Wrath by Marcus Sedgwick

4.5star.jpg Teens

Meet Fitz, a young Scottish lad full of frustration at himself. Lockdown is only just over, and he should be free to do what he wants, to go where he wants and with whom he wants, but he cannot stop himself from putting his foot in it when he talks to his best friend, Cassie. They were half of a desultory school band, but Cassie was also one hundred per cent the enigmatic – saying she could hear a subhuman hum coming from the earth. Is this connected with one of her eco-warrior parents saying the end of the world is already a done deal? Is it some spooky new kind of music she's dreaming of? Is she just bonkers? And can Fitz find out the truth? Well, not when Cassie has gone missing he can't... Full Review

28 APRIL

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Review of

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

'Elektra' by Jennifer Saint tells the story of three women who live in the heavily male dominated world of Ancient Greece. Cassandra, Clytemnestra, and Elektra are all bit players in the story of the Trojan War. Yet Jennifer Saint shows us that often the silent women have the most compelling stories and the most extreme furies. Full Review

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