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: “Red Ink” by Julie Mayhew
Book Reviews / April 1, 2013

Fifteen year old Melon Fouraki hates her name. Teased at school by her peers, she blames her mother for inflicting her with the perfect device for social persecution. It doesn’t matter to Melon that her name is part of The Story, the family fairy tale that brought her mother Maria to London from Crete when she was Melon’s age and pregnant with her. But when Maria is killed in an accident, Melon must unravel fact from fiction and rediscover her roots, plagued by the superstitions and traditions of a family she barely knew. But how can you begin to do that when all you feel is numb?

Book review: “Hollow Pike” by James Dawson
Book Reviews / March 12, 2013

Lis London is moving to live with her sister in Hollow Pike. She desperately wants to escape from the bullies at her old school in Wales. Haunted by creepy dreams and bad memories, she can’t wait to have a fresh start and let go of the past. But her new school has secrets of its own. Beautiful queen bee Laura rules the school with an iron fist of gossip control that brings out the horror story in everyone’s social life. Lis is torn between trying to fit in with the popular clique and her intrigue with the school “freaks”, mixed race goth punk Kitty, her free spirited girlfriend Delilah and quiet Jack. To top it all off, Lis’ dreams are getting worse, black birds keep stalking her, and she doesn’t know what to do about dreamy Danny. The school goes into lockdown after a murder most horrid…are the rumours true, does Hollow Pike have a dark past steeped in witchcraft and witch hunts?

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.