M G Leonard is causing quite a stir with her first book “Beetle Boy” and the attention is very well deserved. this is the story of Darkus, who has been living with his uncle since his father disappeared. He discovers mysterious goings on next door, including the presence of thousands of exotic beetles. There are villains and heroes, some of them very unlikely but it really is a cracking story and is set to be a real favourite. I am lucky enough to be taking her to a couple of schools towards the end of March, so photos will follow hopefully
“The case of the Jewelled Moth” by Katherine Woodfine is the second in her series featuring the young staff of “Sinclair’s” store in Oxford Street. This time they are caught up with debutantes and members of London’s China Town as they fight against the villainous character called “The Baron” and try to recover a brooch containing a sacred jewel from China. As before, there is a real sense of time and place about the book and the characters are growing stronger as the series progresses. Now I just have to wait for another year until the third title comes out. (NG)
“Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection” by Julia Lee is a wonderful look at life in the 1930s, but from the perspective of a young girl called Nancy in her first job as a housemaid, but dreaming of becoming a great detective. Once again we have a nod towards themes from Poirot novels, but this is more rooted in the reality of life for many working class people of the day. Nancy has lots of dreams but discovers that she will need to work hard to overcome the barriers that she faces. I am looking forward to reading more about this strong charactered young lady.
“The Great Chocoplot” by Chris Callaghan (illustrated by Lalalimola) is enough to give palpitations to all chocolate loving people. What would you do if it looked like the world is about to run out of chocolate and Cacao beans were no longer available? There is a dastardly villain and a heroine called Jelly (Jennifer) who has to undertake a lot of investigations in order to save the world and chocolate. This is a adventurous and funny story, best read with a chocolate treat at the ready.
“Electrigirl” by Jo Cotterill (Illustrated by Cathy Brett) is an original and exciting story. It is partially a novel, but interspersed with sections of graphic comic, beautifully illustrated by Cathy Brett. Holly was just an ordinary girl until the day she was hit by lightening and suddenly found herself with superpowers, with the ability to use the electricity in her body to perform amazing feats. However there is an evil professor who wants to transfer all of that power to herself, meaning that Holly has a fight on her hands, not only to save herself but also to save the world. A new super heroine is born.
“The Dark Days Club” by Alison Goodman is a new historical novel for teens, but with a large slice of the Gothic and a lot of vampires and other worldly creatures who ‘feed’ on the human world. Lady Helen discovers that she is part of the small select band of people who are fighting to preserve civilization and she has to decide whether to follow her destiny, or to live a normal society life. This is a really great story for those who in a previous generation would have been reading Georgette Heyer and who do read Jane Austen. There is a mix of romance, excitement, and a story-line that keeps you hooked. The historical background feels real and accurate and I look forward to reading the next set of adventures featuring this character.
“Rebel of the Sands” by Alwyn Hamilton is a fantastic new story where the Arabian Nights meets the Wild West. When Amani tries to escape the idea of a forced marriage, after the death of her mother, she faces dangers that she had never dreamed of. It is a teen novel that is full of magic and mystery, where science and myths conflict and the heroine must come to terms with who she is and the legacy she has been born with. if this is anything to go by then this will be a really cracking and original series. (NG)
I hope these will give you a taste of the fantastic offerings that are hitting the shelves in the months up to Easter. Needless to say I am working my way through some more really amazing titles at the moment.
As always many thanks to the publishers and to Netgalley (NG) for being so generous with titles.