The Way Past Winter: Book Review!

I finished reading this beautiful book just the other day. I love Kiran Millwood Hargrave (she is one of my favorite authors) and think she is a compelling writer. Her stories are moving and so strong in their plotlines.

I read this story many years ago when I got it out of the library. However, reading it for the second time it was like coming to it anew and I was blown away by it all over again.

the front cover.

Mila lives with her sister and brother in the forest. The forest is frozen in winter, as is everything else. When her brother disappears along with all the other local boys Mila knows that he has been taken by a stranger who visited them the night before.

She embarks on a journey to save her brother with her younger sister Pípa and the only boy who hasn’t left — the mage Rune. As they travel through the forest and over the snow, Mila finds that maybe by confronting the stranger who stole her brother they might be able to bring back Spring…

I loved this story so much. I was utterly enthralled by its tale of adventure and family, and was completely engrossed by page one. I was captivated by the mysterious ominous stranger who is takes the boys and he strangely reminded me of the Pied Piper. The story is so moving, a fast-paced plotline with vivid characters who grab your attention and such a spellbinding setting too. I could almost feel the forest for myself. Plus a gorgeous new cover! Kiran’s writing is like powerful poetry that sings to my heart and evokes so many deep feelings inside me. I just want to read this book over and over again, to be gripped by its delightful imagination.



Reviewing “The House Of One Hundred Clocks.” by A.M. Howell.

I have read many books before, but none compare with A.M Howell’s fine story of one hundred clocks. And I certainly haven’t read many books with talking parrots in that are quite as special as Orbit! This is a story of adventure, mystery, clocks, secrets, and one father & daughter. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is…

“The House Of One Hundred Clocks.” by A.M. Howell.

The cover of the book.

‘She was certain something rather terrible had happened to Mr. Westcott and his family to make thing the way they were now.’

Helena Graham, her father, and her parrot Orbit are in Cambridge. Helena’s father has got a job working for Mr. Westcott who keeps a vast collection of clocks; one hundred to be precise. There is only one thing that Helena’s father must ensue — that the clocks NEVER stop. It sounds simple enough but is it really? As Helena starts to settle in she can’t seem to rid her mind of terribly thoughts and the tight feeling in her tummy refuses to go away. Also, strange incidents are happening which Helena feels that she can’t ignore. She knows she been told to button in and not ask questions but in these house of intrigue and mystery, is that going to be possible?

This was a very gripping and beautiful book. I really appreciated Orbit’s role in story as a reminder of Helena’s mother and therefore as a part of her soul that must not be lost. And I very much enjoyed Boy(Florence)’s love of planes and habit of dressing as a boy. The book was very nicely set in Cambridge which is near where I live. Also, I loved the description of Mr. Westcott and Mr. Fox’s houses and the contrast between them. And I would never have guessed Katherine’s intentions. A.M. Howell’s style is light enough to be easy, and jolly with good compelling tricks to make the story a page-turner. I think this is perfect for fans of Emma Carroll and Katherine Rundell. And you can’t beat a good talking parrot and a house of one hundred clocks.

Hetty Monksea

Reviewing “Tamarind & The Star Of Ishta.” by Jabinder Balin.

I just finished reading “Tamarind & The Star Of Ishta.” recently; it was such a great book and I knew I had to review it promptly.

“My heart pounds as I open the lid. Surely Mum wouldn’t mind me looking into her secret box?”

Cover of the book.

Tamarind never knew her mother who died when she was little. In fact, she never even knew why she died. She doesn’t want to go to India and stay with the family she’s not even met. She wanted to stay in England and go to football camp with her best friend. Even if she’s sleeping her mother’s bedroom, no one talks about her mother Chinty to her. However, everything takes an unexpected turn when she finds a girl in the garden. A girl who says her name’s Ishta and has a pet monkey called Hanu. A girl who leaves questions hanging in Tamarind’s mind…

I adored this tale of family secrets, India, magic, and nature. A tale so beautifully told that I wanted to cry. I love how the story unravels itself bit by bit, until you are left looking at the whole picture (and the last page!). Jasbiner Balin has captured my heart in one story I can’t wait to read her other books!