Firstly, Happy Easter to all who celebrate it and hip-hip hooray for a long weekend. I’m working both the Friday and Monday bank holiday days but it does mean a few extra pennies for more treats come, next month’s payday. For now, I have books to review and many chocolatey treats to eat. Thank goodness Mini Eggs are gluten-free. It’s been very difficult not caving and buying those delicious Maltesers Bunnies. Onwards with the reviews!
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
Loved this from start to finish. So refreshing to read a book that is set in the UK in a place other than London or some nondescript rural town and where the romance is LGBT-centred but doesn’t become lost or overshadowed by the main plot of the situation with the fallen angels. They are both given their own moments in the sun in terms of the story but doesn’t forget that one or the other exists. Written very well as it deals with issues like bigotry, loss and illness without forgetting about the driving plot point of the mystery of the Fallen and how they came to be. Top marks from me and I look forward to seeing what else Sophie Cameron has up her sleeves for next time!
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
This one was a real mixed bag for me because there are parts of it that I really loved and other parts that just left me a bit confused. I loved the premise for the book but it was a bit muddled at times. It’s a good to try new kinds if stories though and I was glad I gave it a gamble. It’s a dark look at what life would be like if alien beings came to Earth and though they help society, it does come at a price.
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
I absolutely adored this book and can’t wait to see what the finished editions look like because I’m sure they’ll be magical. This takes on the old tales and folklore of Baba Yaga and brings them to a new, younger audience. It feels very much like an old childhood tale but without feeling tired or just a rehash of a classic. It’s tender and heart-warming in all the right ways and it’ll surely become one of those stories that get passed down to generations of new kids. A brilliant way of letting kids read and understand the concept of death and the afterlife without being too OTT or morbid about it. It’s a hopeful book that shows that time can heal all wounds. Not through forgetting but embracing change and moving onwards.
Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
I’d heard a fair bit of hype around this book and seen it was on a few award lists already this year when I received it in the post and decided to give it a read as soon as I could. Where the World Ends is a dark, historic tale about a bunch of boys sent to a small off-island stac to gather birds, eggs and other natural goods to help the village they come from. It’s a regular event but this year’s gathering is very much irregular as the boat meant to collect them after a few weeks doesn’t appear without sign of a reason why. Time drags on and, as the weather changes and the boys become more lost in themselves, it’s unclear if they’ll survive. Not an easy read but one well worth sticking with just to find out the ending. Brilliant stuff and different from my usual reads.
How to Bee by Bren MacDibble
This book is from a publisher that I don’t know a lot about but if this read is anything to go by, they’ll be one to watch. How To Bee is the tale of young girl in a future not too far away where all the bees are gone and working the land has become a job for children to keep nature alive. Fruits and vegetables are a high-value product and being ‘a bee’ is all little Peony wants in life. Then her world is turned upside down and she’s forced to deal with a life she doesn’t understand and pine for her life on the farm from afar. A sweet tale with an important message at the heart of it. This book is going to be brilliant for kids and classrooms everywhere as it’ll be a stepping-stone to discussions about the world around them and where some things need to change to protect our future. Top Marks from me!
The Fallen Children by David Owen
After much hype last year, I requested this book on my wish list this year for Christmas, and was lucky enough to get it from Santa. Based on The Midwich Cuckoo by John Wyndham, this book takes the classic premise of mysterious pregnancies with possibly-dangerous offspring and is brought up-to-date in a lower-class council estate with teens at its core. I’m always wary of books with a lot of hype around them and this one had a real buzz and the whole publicity tactic of the “collect ’em all” covers was clever, but I waited a while to read it so it didn’t influence my point of view. An interesting idea but it didn’t really grab me the same way it did others. I often feel that when it comes to reboots or retellings that it only grabs me be when there is a very original angle that is given to the newer version but this one just didn’t quite work for me.