Thursday, 19 February 2015
Bloomsbury Flash Sale - 40% off finishes FRIDAY 20TH FEBRUARY!
I'd planned on posting some new reviews here today, but a) that would involve writing new reviews, which is easier thought about than done and b) there's an amazing 40% off sale online at Bloomsbury at the moment but it finishes at 5pm Friday 20th February (tomorrow!) so it seemed like a good time to link to some reviews of some of my favourite books available at bargain prices there.
The Imaginary, written by AF Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett - This gets its own picture because it's possibly my favourite cover of the last year or so, and the illustrations inside are breathtaking as well. Harrold's writing is just as good though - this is a brilliant story of friendship, with scares and tears to entertain and move readers of all ages. (It also won 'best artwork' in my Year-End awards!)
A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master - This is from a few years ago and is one of the most underrated books for a LONG time. Set in 1947 India, just prior to Partition, it has a memorable hero and a great central quartet of friends, who try to hide the news of Partition from Bilal's dying father to avoid him having his heart broken before passing away. Bilal is a Muslim, as is his friend Saleem, Manjit is a Sikh and Chota a Hindu, and the four have to deal with those people who don't think children of different religions should be doing anything together. It's also a vividly-portrayed setting, bringing a place I was completely unfamiliar with brilliantly to life. In many ways I wish this had been published a few years later - I think that with so many people looking for diverse books at the moment, it could have had a lot more focus on it now than it seemed to get at the time.
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan - Outstanding tear-jerker with a fabulous main character and brilliantly realistic adults.
The Sleeper and The Spindle, written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell - Riddell's stunning black, white and gold illustrations breathe new life into what was already a wonderful short story from the superb Neil Gaiman. Fairy-tale fans definitely shouldn't miss this - and if you're getting organised for Christmas super-early, it would make a truly gorgeous present. ('Best artwork' runner up in my Year-End awards, by the way.) I don't think I ever reviewed, but this fab one from Jill Murphy at the Bookbag will surely convince you to buy it if you need more recommendations!
Diamonds and Daggers by Elen Caldecott - I've been meaning to review for about a month and keep not quite getting around to it, but this is a really fun MG mystery with a brilliant central character, Piotr. I like his group of friends, it's cleverly plotted, and - with Piotr's father suspected of theft - looks at the difficulties and prejudice faced by immigrants while never feeling heavy handed.
The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley - Wonderful retelling of A Christmas Carol from Chris Priestley is a must-read, and another perfect Christmas present. (I'm really optimistic about how well-organised my readers are!)
Scarlet by AC Gaughen - I've only read this by Gaughen, first in her trilogy, but I'm assured by fellow bloggers that it's a great series. I loved Scarlet's voice here and thought Guy of Gisbourne was a memorable evil villain.
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black - Breathtakingly bizarre but extremely entertaining, this paranormal/ballet mash-up is a riotous read. I can't wait to get my hands on the upcoming sequel, Dance of Fire!
Mortlock/The Demon Collector/The Bonehill Curse/Eye Of Neptune/Wrath of the Lizard Lord/Curse of the Ice Serpent by Jon Mayhew - There are plenty of great authors at Bloomsbury, but Mayhew is one of the jewels in their crown, with six excellent adventure stories. The first three listed are the loosely-linked Mortlock trilogy, which share a setting and some characters but can also be read as standalones, and are massively atmospheric fantasy stories with likeable heroes and memorable villains. The other three, even better, are the start of the Monster Odyssey series which, as Jon talked to me about last month, is based on the early life of Jules Verne's Captain Nemo and is getting better and better every book!