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 “A Pocketful of Stars.” by Aisha Bushby.

I got this out of my local library after seeing it in a bookshop and I knew I would love it. I wasn’t wrong! This is such a powerful and emotional story with beautiful detail. I wanted to write this to share with you all how wonderful it is. I actually finished it a while ago but life was busy so I didn’t write this straight away. Anyway, I’m doing now. So here is my review of…

“A Pocketful of Stars.”

by Aisha Bushby.

front cover.

“The seconds that pass feel like an age, and it’s like Dad’s next words are spoken hours later, like I could fit a whole lifetime into those seconds.”

Safiya’s parents live apart and have done for some time. Although Safiya and her Mum used to have lots of fun together, they seem to have drifted apart. Safiya tells her Mum that they have nothing in common and that Safiya’s Dad understands her more. Safiya’s Mum says they do, but Safiya, not listening, storms out of her Mum’s flat. A while later Safiya gets a phone call from her Dad, something has happened, and what follows it changes everything…

This story is such a beautiful tale. I loved Bushby’s language and description, and how the story sees Safiya through a soul-transforming journey. I feel that this is one of those tales that is fresh and new every time you reread it. I know that this is a story that I will enjoy coming back to again and again, to laugh, to cry, and to feel inspired.

the end!


Athena’s Child by Hannah Lynn: A Book Review!

I finished reading “Athena’s Child.” by Hannah Lynn a little while ago. I think that it is a book people should read. It is a story that has been told for centuries but now the the woman behind the gorgon is re-examined…

In this wonderfully-crafted book Hannah Lynn tells the sad and sorrowful tale of Medusa as all should know it. Nowadays when we hear the name Medusa we think of a monster or great evil gorgon with snakes for hair. Here we are shown the young woman behind the beast. Medusa was a girl growing up in Greece. She was famed for her beauty and men came from all over the country for her hand. Her father views all these men as predators and so takes Medusa off to the Temple of Athena.

Medusa became one of Athena’s priestesses and she helped to give people advice. However, one day Poseidon saw her and he, like many others before him, lusted after strong, feisty and captivating Medusa. At first he tried to woo her but his attempts fell short; Medusa was devoted to her goddess and would therefore chose to remain a virgin. Poseidon would not take no for an answer and so he cruelly raped Medusa inside Athena’s temple.

Athena was enraged and instead of doing anything to Poseidon she took her temper out on Medusa and turned her hair into snakes. Medusa fled back to her family home. Her two sister were so angry with Athena’s behavior that they spoke against her. Athena then turns their hair into snakes too and the three of them fled to an island far from mankind…

book cover.

Perseus, the son of Zeus (king of the gods), is born to Danaë but they are both cast to sea because Danaë’s father believes that Perseus will one day kill him. They live quite happily with Dictys and his wife Clymene until one day. Polydectes, the brother of Dictys, is rich and extravagant and he falls in love with Danaë. Perseus is tricked into agreeing to bring the severed head of the gorgon Medusa as a marriage present for his mother and Polydectes. Perseus knows that he will probably never return, after all, many have tried to kill the mighty gorgon before and they have all failed. However, he is a demigod and he has both Athena and Hermes on his side. Between the two deities Perseus is better equipped then he knows. When at last Perseus arrives at the gorgon’s island and makes his way into her lair his encounter isn’t quite as he’d planned…

I believe that Medusa’s story has been hidden in history and it is people like Hannah Lynn who help us see the light. She uses vivid description which entertained my senses while my mind got swept up in the gripping plot. Even though the story is centuries old, Lynn has creative a beautiful spin on it. A spin that sees Medusa as the true young woman she was until forced a monster by the gods. A story that tells of the dark and disturbing truth — a goddess’ wrath is a powerful and dangerous thing… I thoroughly enjoyed this book even if at sometimes it was terribly sad. At moments I wanted to scream “It’s not Medusa’s fault! It’s not her fault!”. I felt for Medusa through and through. Her life was a much burdened one but she dealt with it amazingly well.

I especially enjoyed the story because I think that Hannah Lynn created Medusa’s character really well. I felt that I could feel Medusa’s personality very strongly as if she was a real person and not just a mythological being. I’d give Hannah Lynn’s book five out of five stars!


Reviewing “Coraline.” by Neil Gaiman.

I’ve just finished readinf the awesome book that is “Coraline.” by 

Neil Gaiman and I LOVED it! It is so good, so deliciously dark, fast-paced and wonderful.

the end of the book.

The plot moves well throughout the whole story & each character is meaningfully placed. I’d give it four and a half stars out of five.

the book cover.

It was a beautiful story and I really enjoyed all the quirky characters, especially the black cat, as they were all quite fun. I also found it interesting that you didn’t find out the weird guy(with the mice)’s name until the end and then it turned out to be rather an odd name indeed. Miss Spink and Miss Foriceable reading Coraline’s tea leaves was funny for me as I don’t know anyone myself who does that. Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable story and I’m now thinking of watching the film.


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