Book review: “The Madness Underneath” by Maureen Johnson
Book Reviews / May 5, 2013

Part two of Maureen Johnson’s “Shades of London” series. The series follows the troubles of Aurora ‘Rory’ Devereaux as she finds herself transplanted from Louisiana into the middle of London boarding school life. There the dangerous exploits of a ghostly killer rattles the neighbourhood and Rory finds herself caught up with a secret crime fighting squad. After the jaw dropping conclusion of “The Name of the Star”, the story opens with Rory supposedly in recovery, reluctantly attending therapy sessions to help her deal with the chilling events at the end of part one. But how do you recover from something when you can’t tell anyone what really happened?

Book review: “Tethers” by Jack Croxall
Book Reviews / May 4, 2013

This Victorian fantasy adventure from author Jack Croxall brings excitement into a quiet Northern town with murder and mystery. Despite the promise of a steady career apprenticing to be a teacher, 13 year old Karl Scheffer has wanderlust, itching to explore beyond the quiet limits of his home town, rural Shraye. Together with his good friend Esther Emerson, Karl has his keen eyes on sighting out adventures to be had. With his one blue eye and his one brown, he’s prone to appreciating things that stand out from the ordinary.

Book review: “Maggot Moon” by Sally Gardner
Book Reviews / February 23, 2013

Standish Treadwill sees the world differently, through his one blue eye and one brown, the letters dancing around in a dyslexic swirl. Yet it is his steadfast Gramps and his wonderful friend Hector who encourage him to continue fighting for all that makes him different. Against the backdrop of the harsh regime of the Motherland, with the help of a small band of rebels, Standish observes and questions and refuses to let the Greenflies stop him. And what exactly is going on with that moon landing propaganda?

Book review: “The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell” by Chris Colfer
Book Reviews / February 19, 2013

Bookish Alex Bailey and her twin brother Conner are navigating sixth grade in very different ways. Struggling with a ‘family situation’, Alex sits at the front of the class and hangs on the stories and words of her teacher Mrs. Peters, whilst Conner is just trying to rest his eyes! The one thing they have in common is their mutual love for the fairy tales read to them from their Grandma’s old book, “The Land of Stories”. When Grandma tries to cheer the twins up on their twelfth birthday by gifting them the book, it’s not long before Conner starts noticing strange changes in his twin’s behavior. What secrets does “The Land of Stories” hide, and why exactly is it glowing?

Book review: “Noughts and Cross” by Malorie Blackman
Book Reviews / February 12, 2013

Critically acclaimed author, Malorie Blackman, tackles issues of race in this reversing of segregation in an alternate dystopian landscape of England in the 1960s. Persephone (Sephy) Hadley is a dark-skinned Cross and daughter of a successful politician. Her childhood friend, Callum, is a Nought with light skin, and his Mother is a former employee of the Hadleys as Sephy’s Nanny. When tensions rise, secrets are revealed, and Callum’s Mother Meggie is fired from her position in the household, the friends struggle to maintain their relationship despite the harsh judgement of those who cannot understand their connection.

Book review: “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness
Book Reviews / January 29, 2013

The first in a series of adult novels that are filled to the brim with details that place the magical world directly in to modern day Oxford. The story of reluctant witch and keen academic of alchemy, Diana Bishop, begins in the dusty and mysterious setting of the Bodleian library. For those missing Hogwarts, these libraries feel wonderfully familiar. Likewise, fans of Pullman’s Lyra will get a chance to explore more of the city, running and rowing through this antiquated world. And fans of conspiracies in “Wicked” will enjoy the magical plotting.

Book review: “Eve” by Anna Carey
Book Reviews / January 24, 2013

In 2032, after a devastating bout of world-wide disease we meet Eve, a best friend, an orphan, a school valedictorian and a survivor. Dubbed one of the brightest students since the 21st century plague demolished the majority of earth’s human population, Eve is expected to do great things once she graduates. However these great things are only defined as “trades”. Until one becomes an actual 12th year graduate, true life after school remains a mystery. As a female student in 2032, throughout her whole life Eve’s been taught and warned away from the wicked, manipulative and deadly ways of the male species.

Book review: “Hemlock” by Kathleen Peacock
Book Reviews / January 24, 2013

In a literary world where the vast majority of werewolf stories fall into the “been there done that” category, “Hemlock” doesn’t merely shine, it supernovas! Dark, creative, and emotional; “Hemlock” raises the bar on all accounts. Solid world building and multifaceted characters pair with a unique take on werewolves to create not only a highly addicting book, but also a new personal favorite of mine.