RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • May's Moon
    S.Y. Palmer

    May's Moon

    S.Y. Palmer (Our Street Books £6.99)

    Michael May is selected to take part in the Children's Moon Programme in Florida. Ten children from around the world have been chosen, but only three will make the flight to the moon. During the gruelling course and selection procedure several unexplained accidents occur and although this makes Michael frightened, he is determined to find out what is going in.

    May's Moon is an exciting read that will keep boys and girls engrossed. Michael is an admirable character and we wonder if his hard work and honesty will pay off in the end. The detailed account of astronaut training will thrill youngsters who aspire to be the next Tim Peake. Sue Palmer is available for workshops (years 4-7) and can be contacted on her website sypalmer.com. ~ Mary , Chapter One Bookshop, Woodley, Berks.

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I was given a copy of The Nemesis Charm by Net Galley in Exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved this book and not since the Harry Potter series have i enjoyed a series this much. This is the second book in The Firebird Chronicles series and it was just as exciting as the first. There's magic and danger. It features all the same characters from the first book.A wonderful story the reader can get completely lost in. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. ~ Judith Taylor, NetGalley/Amazon

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    AUTHOR RUNS BOOK - THE BOOKISH LIFE - BUT REVIEW IS NOT PUBLISHED THERE YET - EMAILED HER TO ASK HER TO DO IT

    This is the first book of this series I have read, and as such it will be reviewed on a standalone basis, which although a continuation on the series it can stand on its own. Thanks to Daniel for the review copy.

    This book is almost inception like in style. There is a book, within a book with multiple apparent writers. The story is well structured and engaging with an interesting plot that keeps you reading and hoping for the best for the characters - and always - feels like it ended far too soon for the reader. I really enjoyed learning about Fullstop Island and what it means to be someone who lives there. Sometimes the punctuation related names would jar me momentarily but once you get into the story you understand more and more why it is like this.

    The dark and tense themes present throughout add an element of danger that feels real, you are worried for the characters and want to somehow help them. This adds to the reading experience making the pages turn and turn until the book is finished as you are desperate to find out what happens to these characters you are emotionally interested in.

    Scoop and Fletcher are the main characters and are usually seen as a pair but both have different personalities and fears that will affect the decisions that will be made throughout the book. This makes them diverse and stand out on their own, it is not necessary for them to always be together which is important when you have a pair of characters. They love having a family and a purpose in the world and would do anything to keep is together.

    There are many side characters that add a depth and have a reason in the plot, they aren't just in the book to look pretty. Sparks and Alpha may be small but they aren't to be underestimated and their purpose becomes clear and it can be seen that little girls are not to be over looked! The pirate adds the anti- stereotype that not all pirates are bad and in fact, some have the tools and are willing to help save the world.

    Grizelda is your wicked witch in the world. She isn't dumb however she has an agenda and knows exactly how she wants to go about it. Having taken out those who are strong enough to get in her way through the Storyteller she is on a one woman power trip into taking over the island. Her schemes are smart. She is scary and makes a formidable and scary antagonist.

    Overall this book is really well written and the world building was excellent with a depth and reality evident throughout. As a reader you could feel the waves and the wind with the characters, with Scoop and Fletcher relate-able and admirable for the reader to associate themselves with. A great and easy read suitable for almost all ages. ~ shannonbookishlife@hotmail.com, NetGalley

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The synopsis

    Fletcher and Scoop, apprentice adventurers, discover their mother has fallen under a sickness curse. They set sail to find out its source, the Threshold, a doorway to an uncrossable world. They race against time and their enemy Grizelda, who also seeks the power to cross the Threshold so she too can possess the power of the Storyteller. Will our heroes make it? Will they save their mother and their academy? Read the book to find out!

    The review

    This unique young adult fantasy book is packed full of adventure. The book is ya but can definitely read as middle grade. There are a lot of cool parallels with the use of grammar. (i.e blotting academy, and hosting the grammar games) There is a very unique map at the beginning of the book as well. Although while being book two in the series it can be read as a stand alone but it does have some references to book one. Thrown in some adventure, a dash of suspense and a sprinkle of humor and you have The Nemesis Charm. The plot sets up nicely and unfolds to a good set up for book 3. The characters are well developed and you have a fun time reading this book and immersing yourself in the adventures. 4 out of 5 stars from me! I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

    You can buy this book from: ~ Laura Wolf, https://thereadingwolf.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/the-nemesis-charm-by-daniel-ingram-brown-book-review/

  • May's Moon
    S.Y. Palmer

    Dreaming of the Moon - #Reading Magazine

    May's Moon is the first published book by author, mother and Woodcote resident Sue Palmer. It tells the story of Michael May, a slight 12-year old British boy who has been shortlisted for the Children's Moon Programme.
    We first meet Michael just after he's landed in Florida and has donned his moon boots for the first time. He's primed for the space-based examinations NASA have prepared for him. All that stands in between Michael and his lifelong dream of being the first child in space are nine competitive and space mad children, one potential saboteur and his fear of water.
    Although it is early days in Palmer's career and May's Moon, at 150 pages, is too short, she can do for children astronauts what Anthony Horowitz did for teenage spies.
    Like Horowitz's Alex Rider, May's Moon understands its reader, using Michael's quick wit and clumsy dad to boil cosmos-sized concepts into manageable chunks.
    Similarly, Palmer engages with her book's topic in the same way Horowitz, like all good children's authors, engages wholeheartedly with his. Michael's fascination with space is matched by Palmer's, who repeatedly does the unforgivable, slipping facts, figures and details into her narrative and leaving you feeling that you've learned something.
    Perhaps its strongest quality is that May's moon is not about action and adventure. In the way least likely to disengage either the twelve year old space nut or bedtime reader, it is about growing up, self-doubt and family. ~ Milo Boyd, # Reading Magazine

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    Title - A fascinating and magical fairy tale.

    Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is a fascinating, magical fantasy aimed at the younger audience, but a story that can be enjoyed by a much wider age group, even adults like me. This modern day fairy tale is set in Peachtree city, Georgia in the USA, where the eleven-year-old heroine, Emma Oliver lives with her mother, Molly and grandmother, Maize and Emma's rather special uncle Alf from England. That is about as far as reality goes as the list of characters quickly expands into the realms of fantasy. There is an Alice in Wonderland feel to the story when Emma meets up with a diverse cast of wonderful creatures. Talking rabbits, devas or tree spirits resembling weird old ladies in strange hats riding golf carts, animated trees, saber-bearing squirrels, sinister brambles and a pretty unpleasant ivy character all come together, either to help or hinder Emma in her quest to save the Mother Tree hidden deep in a timeless underground world. Although the story is a glorious fantasy, threaded throughout the story is a strong message about climate change and the damage humans are doing to the planet.
    Fantasy is not a genre I would normally gravitate to, but having received a copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review I set about reading it and was quickly drawn into the world inhabited by the extraordinary and highly original characters created by the talented author, Susan Hale. Highly recommended. ~ Veryan Williams Wynn, Author of the Spirit Trap

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    Fun and Entertaining with a Powerful Message
    What eleven-year old girl knows they’re destined to save the world’s trees? Certainly not Emma Oliver, who comes from a long line of tree singers. The only thing she does know is that her best friend is a tree she calls Annie Oakley.

    That is just the beginning of the fantastic voyage, author Susan Hale is taking us on. As Emma, albeit reluctantly, sets out to save the world, readers will enjoy the twists and turns of the story. What I loved was that it made me think of our trees and their importance for sustaining life on earth. How we often take them for granted and chop them down without a thought. Hale’s story reminds us of the fragility of our natural environment in a fun and adventurous way.

    A great tale for young readers and adults alike who want to feel close to nature. Colorful characters, good and bad, will keep you entertained and on your toes to the last page. It certainly makes me wish there were an Emma Oliver out there to keep our trees safe.
    ∙ flag ~ Annette Oppenlander, Author of Escape From the Past series

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I have actually not read the first book however the 2nd book does well as a stand alone novel in the sense that I could figure out what was going on without being too lost from not having read the first. I am a big fan of fantasy novels and since this is geared at a younger generation than me I would not have probably read it, but I am glad I had the opportunity to read it because I really enjoyed reading it. I can definitely see how it will appeal to the younger generation and be a fun read for those that are older.

    Right off the bat I found the map that is in the front fun to look at all the fun different places that Daniel came up with. Some of them even reminded me of childhood places I had read about and saw in movies. Like the Cliffs of Uncertainty reminded me of Princess Bride’s Cliffs of Insanity, The Skull Island that appeared remind me of Skull Rock in Peter Pan and some were new and fun to hear like Dead Man’s Fingers. It was just fun picturing these places in my head and being brought back memories of others.

    I thought the story was a good one. I liked the play on the grammar and words in general in his titles of certain things. Like they are at Blotting Academy and they kids are playing Grammar Games on Fullstop Island. It was just fun to see that in a way it is almost like when kids are reading this they can also maybe think about grammar and learn at the same time. I enjoyed the twists that came with the story like how Libby is writing the story so you are like am I reading a story that is within a story and how is she in a different world but connected. Or the fact that her username is F1R3B1RD and for Fletcher and Scoop a firebird talks to them and tells them it will be okay. Just the fun guessing of what is going to turn out kept it interesting.

    This book had humor, adventure, and suspense all rolled into one. I think that it is set up nicely to continue on in the 3rd book and will be curious to see how things play out in the end. Especially with the foreshadowing of what crossing the Threshold will entail for Fletcher and Scoop. Again thank you to Daniel Ingram-Brown to letting me read the ARC and get to enjoy this story.

    My Rating: 4 out of 5
    - See more at: http://frominktopaper.com/index.php/2016/05/26/the-nemesis-charm-the-firebird-chronicles-2/#sthash.Av2AUNVJ.dpuf ~ Rachel, From Ink To Paper

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    This book is almost inception like in style. There is a book, within a book with multiple apparent writers. The story is well structured and engaging with an interesting plot that keeps you reading and hoping for the best for the characters - and always - feels like it ended far too soon for the reader. I really enjoyed learning about Fullstop Island and what it means to be someone who lives there. Sometimes the punctuation related names would jar me momentarily but once you get into the story you understand more and more why it is like this.

    The dark and tense themes present throughout add an element of danger that feels real, you are worried for the characters and want to somehow help them. This adds to the reading experience making the pages turn and turn until the book is finished as you are desperate to find out what happens to these characters you are emotionally interested in.

    Scoop and Fletcher are the main characters and are usually seen as a pair but both have different personalities and fears that will affect the decisions that will be made throughout the book. This makes them diverse and stand out on their own, it is not necessary for them to always be together which is important when you have a pair of characters. They love having a family and a purpose in the world and would do anything to keep is together.

    There are many side characters that add a depth and have a reason in the plot, they aren't just in the book to look pretty. Sparks and Alpha may be small but they aren't to be underestimated and their purpose becomes clear and it can be seen that little girls are not to be over looked! The pirate adds the anti- stereotype that not all pirates are bad and in fact, some have the tools and are willing to help save the world.

    Grizelda is your wicked witch in the world. She isn't dumb however she has an agenda and knows exactly how she wants to go about it. Having taken out those who are strong enough to get in her way through the Storyteller she is on a one woman power trip into taking over the island. Her schemes are smart. She is scary and makes a formidable and scary antagonist.

    Overall this book is really well written and the world building was excellent with a depth and reality evident throughout. As a reader you could feel the waves and the wind with the characters, with Scoop and Fletcher relate-able and admirable for the reader to associate themselves with. A great and easy read suitable for almost all ages. ~ Talia, Read Between The Scenes

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    This fantasy adventure is aimed at middle grade readers to young teens, but I would say that adults would get as much enjoyment from the story too. The writing is rich with atmosphere and the quirky characters come alive with the wealth of descriptions and unusual names given to the inhabitants of the World of Mortales.

    It might not be obvious to younger readers but some of the character names and places derive from the world of writing such as Nib and the Quill sisters, and there’s Blotting’s Academy, Fullspot Island, and Bookend Isles to name but a few.

    I found The Nemesis Charm had a darker feel compared with the first book, The Rise of the Shadow Stealers, where the two apprentices are finding their feet in their new world at school. The second book finds the stacks raised with physical dangers close at hand as well as psychological and spiritual mind games. Dramatic elements are balanced with humour by way of Grizelda – I love an old hag – one of my favourite characters. She brought both light and shade to the story.

    Daniel Ingram-Brown has a way of setting the scene so that the reader becomes immersed in the world of the characters, and if you get a little lost there’s a map in the front of the book. I was gripped by the writing and the quest of Fletcher and Scoop. Would they make it to the Un-crossable Boundary? Would they cross the Threshold? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Needless to say, when I got to the last page I was left bereft as I wanted to read on, but I guess I’ll have to wait for the next book.

    Fans of the Narnia books or Inkheart will love this read. I would rate this book 9/10. ~ The State of the Arts, www.thestateofthearts.co.uk

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The Nemesis Charm, The second book in Daniel Ingram-Brown’s Firebird Chronicles, jumps straight into the action a little while after the first book ended. We see our apprentice adventurers and brother-and-sister duo Fletcher and Scoop battle pirates and their old enemy Grizelda. Their ultimate task, given to them by their mentor: to cross the Un-Crossable Boundary and save the lives of many of their friends, who have fallen into a deep sleep from which they cannot be awoken.

    The first thing I noticed about this book was that it is considerably darker than the first book in the series. The story launches straight into the action, with knife fights and horrible punishments from Grizelda, the series’ main villain: “With lightning speed she pulled a knife from the folds of her cloak and lunged forward … The old woman had stabbed him through the hand, the blade slicing clean through his flesh, embedding itself into the mast. She twisted it.” It’s descriptions like these that make me imagine the scene much more vividly than if it were written without them.

    One thing that I liked a lot was the quick switches between perspective throughout the whole story, showing the reader what each character was doing in the same scene at the same time. It created a sense of urgency, especially when they were carrying out secret missions to save people. This is especially useful when the characters actions are important to the story but they are miles away from each other; for example, Fletcher and Scoop are lost in a story, an odd vision that allows them to see and feel that they are in a different place; the scene cuts to the Storyteller, miles away in the Kingdom of Alethea, watching the Apprentices through his pool of silver threads (a bit like the crystal ball in The Wizard of Oz, where the witch can watch over Dorothy); and then the scene cuts back to Fletcher and Scoop again. It’s almost like a cutaway in a film, but that small segment adds so much to the story.

    Similar to this, the story sometimes cuts away to the ‘real world’, our world, which becomes a huge twist in the story. I won’t reveal the twist (no spoilers!), but linking the fantasy world to our real world was something that I thought was a genius idea. You’ll just have to read it to find out how it works.

    Finally, the story ends on a massive cliffhanger! As I read the final couple of chapters I began to wonder how the story can be wrapped up in only a few pages, but lo and behold, the cliffhanger ending left me wanting the next piece of the story right now.

    Overall, The Nemesis Charm definitely didn’t disappoint. It had the fast-paced energy and action of the previous book, great character developments (if you know me you’ll know I love a good bit of character development) and an ending that leaves you pining for more.

    The Verdict: 4 and a half stars ~ Charlotte, Wonderfully Bookish

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    This is a very unique and entertaining young adult fantasy novel. The premise of the brother and sister team of apprentice adventurers is unlike any other fantasy novel I have read, which is saying a lot. I find these days that most fantasy novels are similar and follow a standard structure, but this was so different than anything I have ever read and I loved it.


    Dan’s writing style is so easy to follow and he has a way of really bringing the reader onto Fullstop Island and really immersing the reader in the action taking place. The Nemesis Charm is actually the second book Dan has written about Fletcher and Scoop. I have not read the first but found for the most part I didn’t need to read the first to understand what was happening in this novel. I found the characters to be very likable, especially Scoop. I think I can see some of myself in her and I enjoyed her character development throughout the story. Fletcher made me so mad at some points. I still like his character, though, and I think he is a nice complement to Scoop.


    The world Dan has created is also amazing. I enjoyed reading about Fullstop Island, the Academy, voyages across the sea, and small villages. He really creates almost a fairy tale world, complete with an evil witch and a damsel in distress (their mother). I really enjoyed the idea that Fletcher and Scoop learned more outside of the classroom than in the classroom which was prevalent throughout the novel. I think this is so true in real life. You can learn a lot in the classroom, but the biggest lessons can’t be taught by a teacher, you have to learn them on your own. This book really captured that idea.


    Teenagers, children, and adults will find this book entertaining and will be glad they picked it up. I would recommend this book for ages 10 and up. It would be a great book for parents to read with their children. ~ Kristin, Kristin Reads

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    It has been a really long time since I have gone on such a fun and action packed adventure like the one found in within the pages of The Nemesis Charm.

    The story opens with an intense boat race, and that is only the beginning of the adventure. Siblings Fletcher and Scoop soon set out to try and find a cure for the sickness that seems to have come out of nowhere and is affecting countless people in their world. But like any good adventure story there are obstacles and fears that they must overcome to do so. This book is filled with magic, excitement, and pirates. Really what more could you ask for? This is a really fun story that will keep the reader engaged until the very end.

    This is such a wonderful Middle-Grade book for many different reasons. I’ll start with the more physical book reasons, and then move on to the story based ones. First off the chapters in this book are short, and the ones that are a bit longer have breaks in them. This is great for Middle-Grade readers, it is really conducive for shorter attention spans, and more short bursts of reading than truly long haul binging. Also the overall length of the book is great, it is substantial enough that the readers can read a well developed story, but it is also short enough that it is not overwhelming.

    Now for the positive bits about the actual story. This book has a great balance of male and female characters which will appeal to all readers. Also this book is action packed, there is no lag in the story where some younger children would lose interest. One of my favorite elements of this book is how the author includes detail without becoming wordy and overwhelming. (Overwhelming amounts of details in Middle-Grade books is one of my biggest pet peeves and something that I am always on the lookout for.)Also this book does take place in two different worlds, which is honestly something that makes me nervous in any book. Personally I just get confused usually and I don’t like all of the jumping around in the story. However this element was really well executed in this book.

    Another great aspect of this book that should be mentioned is the way in which the characters handle their fears. They acknowledge their fears and are not ashamed of them. The characters embrace their fears and work together to overcome them. I think that this is something that is so extremely important for Middle-Grade children to see.

    As for rating this book I will give it a 4 for quality and a 3 for popularity. I think that this book does have a wide appeal for Middle-Grade readers. So with a bit of a push I think it could become an EXTREMELY popular series both in the UK where it is published, and in other countries as well. So overall this book scores a total of 7 out of 10 from me!

    **It should be noted that this is the second book in “The Firebird Chronicles,” so there is plenty of adventure to be had and still yet to come.** ~ Kaitlyn, Bookish Lady Blog

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The Nemesis Charm is a young adult fantasy novel about two young apprentice adventurers living on a land called Full Stop Island. A mysterious disease is slowly sending inhabitants into an unwakeable sleep and it’s up to Fletcher and Scoop to try to find a cure.

    I love a bit of fantasy, and I love young adult fiction. In fact I’ve never really liked the label ‘young adult’, because it seems to me that the books you read in your teens will be the books that mould and shape your literary tastes for the rest of your life. Getting more sentimental, I would say that you never feel as connected to the fictional worlds in books as you do when you’re a teenager, and most readers spend all their lives hoping to rediscover that feeling of complete immersion they experienced as a teen reader. Young adult books are the books we want to find again when we’re grown ups.

    Which is a good place to start, because the story here revolves around the connections, maybe physical, maybe mental, between a storyteller and the world of stories. It’s not a new concept. In fact, one of my absolute favourite authors, Jasper Fforde (WHERE IS THE SEQUEL TO SHADES OF GREY, JASPER? WHERE???? ) has a ball weaving his way in between fictional and meta – fictional characters. But it’s definitely one that deserves more exploring, and The Nemesis Charm is a good place to start. However, I think that I would like to have seen a wee bit more of what was going on on this side of the looking glass. All of the characters sprang off the page and into real life (ironically) but the ones in the real world deserved some more paper space. I absolutely loved the way the story book world was described – people jump from incident to incident with no boring in between travel, and the physical space they inhabit is somehow less fine grained and in focus than the real world.It’s pretty clever.

    The baddies were properly bad, too. The witch was a Granny Weatherwax from hell, and the Nemesis charm itself made my skin crawl. I loved the idea of the the witches’ son as well – I don’t want to say too much more in case I ruin the story.

    Finally, I loved the parts at sea. My favourite Narnia book was always the Voyage of the Dawn Treader and, just like that book, here I could feel the salt spray on my face straight away. Make sure some of book three is set on board the Firebird, please!

    I wasn’t so keen on the more high fantasy parts about the Storyteller and his princess. I think that’s mainly a personal taste thing, though. I have never been able to get completely on board with full on gods and fairies books, whoever much I try.

    To sum up, I liked this book. It’s not my natural home, but it’s a fast paced adventure that will whip you up into turning the next page. I probably should have read the first in the series so I had a good grip of all of the characters, but I’ll definitely be keeping up with the third. In fact, I liked it so much I lent it to my fantasy junkie friend who was staying with me for the weekend. He disappeared into it immediately and I saw no more of him for the whole visit. It’s generally a good sign! ~ Caitlyn, Well Written Too Short Blog

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    Okay, so I’m not normally a fan of fantasy fiction and, this being the second book in ‘The Firebird Chronicles’, of which I haven’t read the first, I was a little bit hesitant when I started this book. I really shouldn’t have been. I loved this book!

    The world created by Ingram-Brown is so creative and whimsical. The characters live on Fullstop Island, which is surrounded by the Oceans of Rhyme, and is home to the Tall Tale Trees, Puddles of Plot, Creativity Craters and neighboured by the North and South Bookend Isles. If that’s not enough to invite you in, the characters drink tankards of Noveltwist, toss Punctuation Pucks rather than frisbees, and run in The Hyphen-Dash rather than a mundane fun run. In all honesty, I haven’t wanted to enter another world so much since I first read Harry Potter.

    Thankfully the characters live up to the world created for them. Fletcher and Scoop are really likeable characters, and whilst there were hints at their previous adventures in the first book of the chronicles – ‘The Shadow Stealers’ – I didn’t feel like I had missed so much that I was lost. This brother and sister duo are given equal status by Ingram-Brown, as they strive to save their mother, and as events unfold, other inhabitants of the island.

    The plot is thoroughly engaging, to the point where I was finished quicker than I would have liked, and this would be my only criticism of the book. Would I recommend ‘The Nemesis Charm’ to a teen? Most definitely (I’ve already recommended it to several pupils I teach). Would I recommend it to an adult? Without a doubt. I cannot wait for the next installment!

    My rating: 5 stars ~ Jo, My Little Library In the Attic

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I'm going to be completely honest and say that I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Rise of the Shadow Stealers. In a way, I think that was the perfect way to go in and start this sweeping adventure. It will appeal to kids and that kid inside of you who never really grew up and likes to remind you of the happy carefree days of your childhood (just me?). From the first page I was entranced by the story.

    We start off with Fletcher and Scoop, a boy and girl (respectively), who wake up in their rooms at Blotting's Academy on the mysterious and imaginative Fullstop Island. They have no memory of how they got there but they (and us) are quickly swept up in the action as they learn they are now attending a school that will teach them all about stories: to tell them, be told them, and even become part of the stories. Fletcher and Scoop are appointed Apprentice Adventurers and are quickly on a quest to figure out why they can't remember anything, and also to help right the dark injustice that has settled on the island.
    The less I say about the plot, the better. It's best just to learn along with Fletcher and Scoop about the island, and the role of stories and characters to the story line. The author writes with such ease and his descriptions are beautifully worded, whether they are describing a hilarious and colorful character or a heart-felt moment. I especially enjoyed his descriptions of Fletcher and Scoop: he is described as resembling an exclamation point and she of a question mark. It's creative and wonderful little bookish details like that that made me happy to know an author was honoring the world of literature. He has peppered in such little homages to the world of reading throughout the book. There was also such a clever twist near the end that brings a whole new (and yet very familiar) world into the mix.

    I grew incredibly fond of the characters and was so glad that I had the second book, the Nemesis Charm to start. Fletcher and Scoop, are back a year later and a terrible sleeping sickness has fallen on the residents of Fullstop Island and the lands beyond it. It's up to the dynamic duo to pursue a quest, with the starting help of a powerful and dark Nemesis Charm, for the answers they need to combat this terrible illness that is wreaking havoc on the island, along with a chilling new villain (and an old familiar one) set on stopping them. Secondary characters that added personality and color in the first book, have a much more prominent place in the sequel and add flavor and spirit to the story, which flows just as well or even better than in the first book, but with a darker tone and pace. And just as the story reaches a crucial and deciding point, it ends of a cliff hanger (of course it does!).

    Knowing that the series will be a trilogy, I was so relieved to know that I would eventually know how the story ends and what Scoop and Fletcher have to face in the end. Now all I have to do is wait for the next one to come out....whenever that'll be! (Hopefully soon)

    Should You Read It: Yes, you should! Everyone loves a good fantasy/adventure series. It will be a big hit with kids, and with adults who can appreciate the classic literary acknowledgements and will get a kick out of them (I certainly did). This series has my stamp of approval on it. If you've ever wished you could go on a quest and explore a land of stories, this book is for you! And while you're there, have a tankard of Noveltwist for me :) ~ Emily Ann, That Weird Girl Life Blog

  • Rise of the Shadow Stealers
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I should probably start off by saying that I never usually read books of this genre, so I was completely unsure what to expect when I started reading it. However I am always willing to give anything a go, so I was still looking forward to reading it.

    To begin with, I was a little worried that I wasn’t getting into the story; probably mainly because it is such a different genre, and because I’ve been reading books recently with a much higher age demographic. There were elements that I was intrigued by though; characters not remembering anything from their past, and waking up in a place they don’t recognise. The two main characters, Scoop and Fletcher, are students of Blotting’s Academy and discover that they are partners. They set off to find their mentor – the Yarnbard, which is a character that I really liked – and went on an adventure full of twists, turns and dark caves to find the mysterious Storyteller.

    Although I felt like I wasn’t going to get into the story at the beginning, I quickly became hooked. The amount of plot twists and events happening in every chapter made me not want to put the book down because I wanted to find out what was happening next. The characters and settings were describes in a way that made the images perfectly clear in my mind, so that I had an image of everything I was reading. There was one part that I loved and I could really clearly picture because it reminded me of MMORPG games that I’d played a lot in the past:


    “She saw a stream of strangely assorted characters heading passed her, away from the village. Some were Academy students dressed in their red tunics, and others were obviously islanders or villagers. There were tradesmen and women: a baker, her apron and cloth-cap covered with flour; a cobbler, half-finished shoes hanging around his neck, and a man carrying an axe.”

    Towards the end of the book the story took some strange turns and it was great! Some things happened that I didn’t expect at all – and when that happens in a book, I prefer it so much more than the ending being predictable.

    Overall I really enjoyed reading this book! It’s very easy to read so it’s great if you don’t want something that feels like a slog to get through; the story flows well and the twists and turns will keep you engaged until you turn the last page.

    My rating: 4 ~ Charlotte, Wonderfully Bookish

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    The Nemesis Charm's target audience is probably young teenagers but I still found it an enjoyable and easy read as an adult. It follows the characters of Scoop and Fletcher in the fictional world of Mortale where they study as Apprentice Adventurers at Blotting's Academy. Simultaneously we have Libby, a young girl in Leeds who is determined to continue her missing Mother's story; the story of Scoop, Fletcher and the Storyteller. The real strengths of the book are in the world Ingram-Brown has created and in the characters of Fletcher and Scoop. Fullstop Island and the Oceans of Rhyme are part of a rich tapestry of which we see only a little. The world clearly has a great deal of depth to it, and we have only glimpsed the surface. Hints of far off lands and traditions demonstrate the richness of the world, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it as the Firebird Chronicles continue.

    Fletcher and Scoop themselves are well written, both with sufficient flaws and individual motivations that lend the story realism. Libby is a wonderful character, as her grief is increasingly evident throughout the book. She clings ever more tightly to the world of Fletcher and Scoop we begin to truly understand her loss and desperation, evoking real sympathy in the reader.

    The book is slightly let down by the pacing, as although the plot is sound, it takes too long for anything much to happen, and then everything happens at once. I enjoyed the sense of forboding that builds in the middle of the book, and heightens until the climax, but the ending itself was disappointing. While several of the plotlines are clearly going to be tied up in the next book, which I have no problem with, what this book did wrap up felt very rushed. A little more build up to the resolution would have been welcome; as it is, I was left thinking 'wait, was that it?'

    One of the best things about this book for me is the confusion between fact and fiction. I couldn't quite tell for some time whether or not the world of Mortale was solely in the stories of Libby and her Mother, or whether it had gained a life of its own. Libby is the source of this confusion, as she knows that she is writing the story, but Mortale and its inhabitants seem as real as Northern England; her fear that she is slowly losing her grip on reality is a constant worry.


    I haven't read the first book in the Firebird Chronicles, Rise of the Shadow Stealers, but I really want to. There were lots of little references to it that I think would make my inevitable reread of The Nemesis Charm even more enjoyable. I suspect that the finale that I was so disappointed in would have been better had I known more about the character involved, and I know they are a bigger character in the previous book.

    If you like your stories with a dash of pirates, adventure and just a touch of blood magic (and who doesn't?) then you should definitely give this a read.

    The Nemesis Charm will be available on the 27th May in both hardcopy and eBook. There's also a launch event at Waterstones in Leeds. If audiobooks are more your thing the first book in the series, Rise of the Shadow Stealers has just been released. The author's website has details of all of the above. ~ Bethany, www.wardrobespareoom.blogspot.co.uk

  • May's Moon
    S.Y. Palmer

    Beating thousands of others, the geeky boy they call 'Micky Moon' at home, is one of ten children from around the world accepted onto the 'Children's Moon Program' in Florida. If he can survive the g-force of a space-shuttle launch, overcome his secret fear of water and pass the other battery of tests, he could win a place on the next mission to the moon! "May's Moon" by experienced children's author S. Y. Palmer is a terrifically entertaining read that will have a special attraction for young boys ages 9 to 12. Very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "May's Moon" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.99).


    ~ Fiction Shelf, Midwest Book Reviews

  • Rise of the Shadow Stealers
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    When I first saw this book, I thought it would be every young teens dream, but as well as this, I was pleasantly surprised to see it is a great read for us adults too!
    Like a lot of children's films, it has two layers; simple meanings for children to understand, but at the same time an adult storyline that the children won't pick up on. For the teens, they can enjoy the good vs. bad, whilst the adults get to look deeper into things- Dan enjoys writing about spirituality, and you can clearly see that in this book! ~ Single Parent Pessimist , http://www.singleparentpessimist.co.uk/

AUTHORS YOU MIGHT LIKE
  • Marneta ViegasMarneta ViegasMarneta Viegas is founder of Relax Kids Ltd - the UK's leading expert on children's relaxation. She ...
  • Alan and Linda ParryAlan and Linda ParryAlan studied in London at Hornsey and Willesdon Art Schools where he took his degree. He worked i...
  • Mick InkpenMick InkpenNick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen are amongst the successful writers and illustrators of childrens' b...
  • Nick ButterworthNick ButterworthNick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen are amongst the successful writers and illustrators of childrens' b...
  • Tiffany PoirierTiffany PoirierTiffany Poirier lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she shares her passion for philosophy as...
  • Andy RobbAndy RobbAndy Robb is a committed evangelical Christian, whose two children have taught him how to express hi...
  • Daniel Ingram-BrownDaniel Ingram-BrownDaniel Ingram-Brown lives in Knaresborough, England, in a house built from stones from the town’s ...
  • Paul HarbridgePaul HarbridgePaul Harbridge is a speech-language pathologist who works with adults with developmental disabilitie...
  • Paul SymondsPaul SymondsPaul Symonds has spent the last fifteen years writing about the Bible in one way or another, perform...
  • Angela CutlerAngela Cutler
  • Dawattie BasdeoDawattie BasdeoDawattie Basdeo children's yoga teacher and founder of Holistic World Ltd, is a passionate promoter ...
  • S.Y. PalmerS.Y. PalmerSue Palmer studied German and International Studies at the University of Warwick, before taking up a...
  • M.E. HolleyM.E. HolleyM.E. Holley studied English and Old English at Aberdeen University, becoming fascinated by old legen...
  • Susan HollidaySusan HollidaySusan Skinner is an author, artist and ecumenical Christian living in the south of England.She belon...
  • Helen LawsonHelen LawsonHelen has always written. When working on an American Summer Camp in summer '92 she wrote a poem at ...
POPULAR TOPICS