“High-Rise Mystery.” by Sharna Jackson

I finished this book a few days ago and absolutely loved it! It’s a tale of crime, set in Modern Times with sister crime-solving duo, Nik and Norva.

When Hugo Knightley-Webb is found murdered they know they need to bring his death to justice. And as they unravel the tangled web that is this mystery, they discover some rather surprising things along the way…


I drew Nik and Norva, as you can see!

Review of The Howling Hag Mystery.

I recently finished this superb mystery by Nicki Thornton, the incredible author of the Seth Seppi books. I’m now sharing my thoughts on it with you.

The Howling Hag cover!

‘The Howling Hag made me do it,’ she whispered.

Raven Charming lives in Twinhills with her family. Her mum’s Golden Rule has always been Deny Everything. But with the arrival of the new boy at school, Mortimer Scratch, and that black cat that seems to be everywhere, Raven is not sure that she can keep that rule. And when incidents start occurring at the school, whispers and rumors fly, and are gradually getting louder. Raven now needs the help of the black cat Nightshade as well as that of Mortimer Scratch, so that they can uncover the mysterious person and stopped them, before is uncovered and they will no longer be able to Deny Everything ever again!

I loved this new book by Nicki Thornton, mystery, family secrets, and magic. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?! This is a great read for fans of Robin StevensHarry Potter, and cat lovers. I liked the fact that Nightshade tells some of the chapters because then you get to hear the story from her point of view, which is interesting. Therefore you get to hear lots more about Nightshade in general and her way of life as a cat. Anyway, I can highly recommend this fabulous and exciting new novel from the author. I’d give it four and a half stars out of five, I think.


Lalani of the distant sea By Erin Entrada Kelly

A book review by Amber Hoare

What would you do if you could see the a dismal future for you and your village? All the people getting ill. All the droughts to come. But everything could be so much better…if only someone could cross the veiled sea.

Lalani lives on Sanlagita, a hard-working island. This year the drought is worse than ever. More and more men sail over the horizon to find the good fortunes of life beyond the veiled sea. But none have returned. Legend also says Mount Kahna, the mountain towering over Sanlagita, is roamed by a monster. But Lalani is not afraid of legend. Its only a myth. Right?

If I had to put an age recommendation on this book I’d say it’s for kids of a 10-13 sort of age. But others will also enjoy it, maybe parents too.

I loved the mystery and fast-pace of this book. I also though the way the author tells you pieces from the stories and myths of the island, as well as telling bits from the perspective of the creatures Lalani meets, is very clever and contributes a lot to the story. So you know a little more than Lalani, but not enough to spoil it.

I highly recommend this is a fantasy adventure novel. It’s set in a imaginary world, on a imaginary island, and is about Lalani and her quest for a better life for her and the rest of Sanlagita.

Clarissa by Giulietta M Spudich

 “Clarissa blinked. Of course magic was real. Her best friend was a talking tree.”

Clarissa is lonely; her father is always busy and distracted since her mother died, and she finds it hard to speak out. But then her friend, the Oak tree, gives her a key which leads her to find an ancient Fire spirit and Clarissa must find courage to “fan her flame”.

I immensely enjoyed reading “Clarissa.” I felt connected to Clarissa and what she was feeling and I think that the book was simple yet nicely effective. Clarissa chimed with me because my dad recently had a stroke and this book explores a relationship between father and daughter. Other themes that stood out for me were Clarissa finding her voice and that nature can help us in so many ways. I loved this story of magic, nature, and coming-of-age, which, I think, would be enjoyed by children around the world of about ages 9+. BJMN

the Girl who Speaks Bear

The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson

I liked the girl who speaks bear and I think that although it is not the most adventurous it is very beautiful. I love all the friends she makes and how there are stories inside the story. It’s cool she can talk and listen to animals!

The plot line is that a girl, Yanka, grows bear legs and runs away to the forest as bullfinches call for her.

She goes into the forest with her house-weasel. And in the forest she makes friends with a wolf, an elk, a house with chicken legs and the girl who lives in it. She has to defeat a dragon called Smey who is guarding a tree which can grant her a wish! AMMN

Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres

Why the kelpie breeders who bred Koko, the famed star of Red Dog ...
A Red Cloud Kelpie, just like Red, the dog in this book.

Follow the adventures of Red, the red cloud Kelpie, who lives in Australia. Red lives in a community and is not owned by anyone. He hangs out with different people, but eventually chooses to live with John the bus-driver. Red has an adventure in every chapter. He steals sausages, gets shot and befriends a cat. He is also well known for his really smelly farts!

I think that the author describes places and characters with a depth that really helps you to imagine you are there. I feel that the book is relaxed and gentle – not a fast-paced adventure. The book is told from the point of view of the dog, so I got a real insight into dogs and how they behave, and the reasons for their behaviour. There is also some sadness in this book.

Louis de Bernieres has also written a very good prequel to this, about a different dog, called Blue Dog. BJMN

The House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

I really liked this sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle.

Chermain, the main character, is a distant relative the Great Wizard Norland, the King’s Wizard. She looks after Wizard Norland’s house and loves reading books and eating yummy food her father bakes.

Wizard Norland’s house is the House of Many Ways. There are certain steps you must follow to get the room you want to. Chermain befriends a dog called Waif, and Peter, Wizard Norland’s apprentice. Then she gets a job at the King’s Library, sorting out documents.

Magical guests arrive at the Palace (Sophie and Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle). Whilst the King and his daughter are distracted by the guests, Chermain, Waif and Peter discover that the heir to the throne is really a monstrous being. Sophie and Howl also discover this and they make a plan to stop the monster becoming King; Chermain, Waif and Peter get involved.

I really liked the characterisation of Chermain, Waif and Peter. I can’t imagine meeting beings Chermain, Peter and Waif, but the language the author uses to describe them, helped me bring them to life.

“They both look across the parlour to where Mrs Bakers’ daughter sat, deep in a book, as usual, with her long, thin body bent into what sunlight came in past Mrs Baker’s geraniums, her red hair pinned up in a sort birds’ nest and her glasses perched on the end of her nose.”

Wizard Norland is always very friendly, like a jolly grandfather.

Even though this is a sequel, you can read it without having read Howl’s Moving Castle. BJMN

Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

Easy-to-read, great characters and magical.

I was looking for a book to read in my sister’s bedroom. That’s when I found Dragon’s Green, probably one of the best books I have ever read. Joanne Harris said “The most exciting debut in children’s fiction since Harry Potter. Playful, warm and yet thrilling too”. I agree.

The main character is Effie. She is a “true hero” – a magical person in her universe. There are many types of magical people, a true hero, a scholar, a healer or a witch (witches can talk with animals). I would like to be a healer or a witch! Effie finds out that there is an evil organisation trying to destroy the universe. She has to travel to a different world to find secrets to save the universe.

Effie has four friends she works with on her adventures, each of them has a different power. AMMN

Element Girls – The Lost Goddess, by Giulietta M. Spudich


This book is about four girls who are very good friends. During the story they discover that they each have an elemental power. In the Lost Goddess, Amelia is kidnapped by her evil father and taken to a cave on a Hawaiian island. He wants her to mine “the dark” – an evil substance in a stone. Amelia discovers that there is a goddess trapped in the walls of the cave and she decides she must free the goddess. Her friends discover magic and their own powers and go to Hawaii to help Amelia.

I like this book, because it is about magic and a goddess, and I really like the way that the author uses dreams to explain important parts of the story. I found that the story is exciting and gripping, and I wanted to keep reading until I had finished it. I appreciated that the author talks about the girls’ feelings and the reality of their relationships.


The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Di Camillo

Despereaux is a tiny little mouse with MASSIVE ears. He is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute. But  Despereaux’s ears get the better of him, soon he will meet a princess and fall in love! he is punished for his terrible  behaviour. but it all gets very confusing when a little unwanted deaf serving girl comes to live at the palace. soon a little rat messes it all up and he will do any thing to get revenge! but will it end happily? there is only one way to find out, READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


M.R.H. age/9