Title: Scritch Scratch

Author: Lindsay Currie

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Kids

The Blurb

For fans of Small Spaces comes a chilling ghost story about a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.

The Review

Scritch Scratch is a fun ghost story with loads of heart. It is the story of Claire who through no fault of her own finds herself being haunted. She tries to handle the situation herself but when things get to be too much for her she has to rely on the kindness of others to get her out of the mess. 

On the surface Scritch Scratch is a ghost story but beneath it is the tale of friendship and how everyone has to make an effort in friendships otherwise they don’t work. Equally that honestly is the best policy when talking about your feelings. 

Juxtaposed with these narrative threads is the real life story of a boating disaster that happened in Chicago in 1915. With Scritch Scratch you really are getting more bang for your buck!

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie is available now.

For more information regarding Lindsay Currie (@lindsayncurrie) please visit www.lindsaycurrie.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks Kids (@SourcebookKids) please visit www.sourcebooks.com.

Title: The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 1/2)

Author: Katie Kirby

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

In this wickedly funny follow up to Hurrah for Gin, one opinionated toddler gives his no-holds-barred account of family life.

Life is hard for Archie. It often seems like the world is out to get him. People are always telling him what to do… “Eat your snack, Archie!, “Don’t lick the bus stop, Archie,” “Stop putting Mommy’s phone in the garbage, Archie!”

And then one day his heart is shattered when he learns his parents are to replace him with a younger sibling–the utter bastards!

The only comforts he finds are in his best friend Amelie, who teaches him all the good swear words, and the sweet relief he gets from sinking his teeth into other people’s limbs.

From naked protests to dealing with other people looking at YOUR THINGS!, this is a no-holds-barred account of life told through the eyes of Archie–a creatively stifled, modern day toddler.

Sunday Times bestseller Hurrah for Gin has delighted fans with its honest, emotional and laugh-out-loud accounts of parenting. Brilliantly illustrated with Katie Kirby’s unique stick-figure drawings and told in the same outrageously funny way, The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams, Aged 2 1/4 once again takes on the highs and lows of family life, this time with one opinionated toddler having his say. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Katie Kirby is back with the laugh out loud tales of Archie Adams. Once again, Kirby explores the difficulties of adulthood by looking through the eyes of a toddler. 

Again, Kirby’s writing is funny because it is relatable. I don’t have a child but I saw many of the same qualities in Archie that my niece had – contrariness about plate colour being one of them.

With her really funny illustrations to accompany the story The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams is a tonic.

The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 1/2) by Katie Kirby is available now.

For more information regarding Katie Kirby (@hurrahforgin) please visit www.hurrahforgin.com.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: Dead Famous – An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen

Author: Greg Jenner

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: W&N

The Blurb

Celebrity, with its neon glow and selfie pout, strikes us as hypermodern. But the famous and infamous have been thrilling, titilating, and outraging us for much longer than we might realise. Whether it was the scandalous Lord Byron, whose poetry sent female fans into an erotic frenzy; or the cheetah-owning, coffin-sleeping, one-legged French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who launched a violent feud with her former best friend; or Edmund Kean, the dazzling Shakespearean actor whose monstrous ego and terrible alcoholism saw him nearly murdered by his own audience – the list of starts whose careers burned bright before the Age of Television is extensive and thrillingly varied.

Celebrities could be heroes or villains; warriors or murderers; brilliant talents, or fraudsters with a flair for fibbing; trendsetters, wilful provocateurs, or tragic victims marketed as freaks of nature. Some craved fame while others had it forced upon them. A few found fame as small children, some had to wait decades to get their break. But uniting them all is the shared origin point: since the early 1700s celebrity has been one of the most emphatic driving forces in popular culture; it is a lurid cousin to Ancient Greek ideas of glorious and notorious reputation, and its emergence helped to shape public attitudes to ethics, national identity, religious faith, wealth, sexuality, and gender roles.

In this ambitious history, that spans the Bronze Age to the coming of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Greg Jenner assembles a vibrant cast of over 125 actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, freaks, demigods, ruffians, and more, in search of celebrity’s historical roots. He reveals why celebrity burst into life in the early eighteenth century, how it differs to ancient ideas of fame, the techniques through which it was acquired, how it was maintained, the effect it had on public tastes, and the psychological burden stardom could place on those in the glaring limelight. Dead Famous is a surprising, funny, and fascinating exploration of both a bygone age and how we came to inhabit our modern, fame obsessed society.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

The world of celebrity is strange. It is like we choose random people and celebrate their arbitrary quality because society tells us to whether it be Kim Kardashian’s bottom or David Beckham’s left foot.

Dead Famous by Greg Jenner looks at how celebrity happened. He does an anthropological social study focusing on the roots of celebrity and how circumstance met opportunity to make people become revered and celebrated.

Dead Famous is a fascinating read and what I enjoyed most about it was the mix of people I knew and those who I had never heard of before. It was like a history lesson book. I learned so much from it.

Greg Jenner’s style is really likeable. I didn’t feel like I was having to wade through useless information, everything seemed relevant. It is the mixture of the person, why they are celebrated and what was happening culturally, socially and politically during their lifetime. He also peppers his narrative with personal insights and comments. Dead Famous is such an entertaining read. A joy to read.

Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity fro Bronze Age to Silver Screen by Greg Jenner is available now.

For more information regarding Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) please visit www.gregjenner.com.

Title: Dear Reader – The Comfort and Joy of Books

Author: Cathy Rentzenbrink

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Picador

The Blurb

Dear Reader is a love letter to stories and reading from one of our very best memoirists . . . a book to cherish’ – Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina

For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. 

Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

Dear Reader is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Last Act of Love.

The Review

I have a strange love for books about books. I love how writers express just how much books and reading have had such a powerful almost religious influence on their lives. I love these books because the authors of them could be talking about my own life and how books have held me under their cosmic power.

Cathy Rentzenbrink has returned to her non-fiction format explaining how books have been a constant in her life. How her life, growing up, her career choices have all been guided in a bookish form in one way or another. 

Even without the bookish element, Cathy Renzenbrink has led a fascinating life. It hasn’t been without its moments of sadness but it (and indeed she) has been inspirational as well. 

Another titillating facet to this type of memoir is ticking off the books that you have in common and adding the ones that the writer recommends to you TBR pile.

I really enjoyed reading Dear Reader. It is a love letter to books but also to book lovers. Our common affection for the novel binds us together. 

The Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink is available from 17th September 2020.

For more information regarding Cathy Rentzenbrink (@CatRentzenbrink) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) and Picador Books (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Love Music Drugs War

Author: Geralindine Quigley

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Fig Tree

The Blurb

A tender, devastating coming-of-age debut novel about friendship, innocence and war

The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. But it’s hard to focus when there’s the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy ‘Cave’, where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. Through a fog of marijuana, beer and budding romance, the future is distant and unreal.

But this is Derry in 1981, and they can’t ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible, and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.

With humour and compassion, Geraldine Quigley reveals the sometimes slippery reasons behind the decisions we make, and the unexpected and intractable ways they shape our lives.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Love Music Drugs War is a book set in Ireland during the height of the troubles. It is about the disaffected nature of youth coupled with the onset of punk music and how easily people can slip through the net to become involved in situations much bigger and scarier than they can comprehend.

Quigley cleverly juxtaposes the relationships at the centre of the story alongside the threat of war with the mundanity of everyday life. She shows how the troubles in Ireland were just so normalised that you couldn’t separate them from your formative years in this backdrop.

Love Music Drugs War is an interesting fictional social document but works best when showing Ireland during this period rather than the focus on the relationships of fictions characters,

Love Music Drugs War by Graldine Quigley is available now.

For more information regarding Geraldine Quigley (@GeraldineQuigle) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Fig Tree (@Fig_Tree_Books) please visit the Twitter page.