Title: Inkheart

Author: Cornelia Funke

Pages: 563 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic

The Blurb

From internationally acclaimed storyteller Cornelia Funke, this bestselling, magical epic is now out in paperback!

One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART— and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

This is INKHEART–a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life. Dare to read it aloud.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

What a gorgeous story and shame on me for not having read it before. I have to admit, I read Inkheart because a student of mine recommended it. He was reading at and I wanted to encourage him to carry on with the chunky book. What happened was that I got lost in the world of Inkheart. That was pleasantly unexpected.

I have often wanted to live in the world of my my books. I want my Hogwarts letter and I frequently check wardrobes just in case I get to go to Narnia. After reading Inkheart and knowing that it may not go the way that I want it to and that in fact living in a book world may end completely awfulIy for me I am starting to rethink that decision…but still how exciting would it be?

What I am most grateful for is that I have two other books in the series are already waiting for me to read. I would be stressed out if I had to wait for the sequels.

If you are looking for a beautiful series of books to fall in to then I thoroughly recommend Inkheart. It is a must for anyone who loves book and to celebrate the whole world of literature. 

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke is available now.

For more information regarding Cornelia Funke (@CorneliaFunke) please visit www.corneliafunke.com.

For more information regarding Scholastic (@scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

Title: Nightbird

Author: Alice Hoffman

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

The Blurb

Twig lives in a remote area of town with her mysterious brother and her mother, baker of irresistible apple pies. A new girl in town might just be Twig’s first true friend, and ally in vanquishing an ancient family curse. A spellbinding tale of modern folklore set in the Berkshires, where rumours of a winged beast draw in as much tourism as the town’s famed apple orchards.

The Review

I am not a huge fan of fantasy books. The odd one I am okay with but it certainly isn’t my “go-to” genre. However, there is one author who always manages to seamlessly weave the fantasy element into her stories that you don’t even question any of the out of the ordinary moments. That author is Alice Hoffman. 

In her book Nightbird we meet Twig. Twig is lonely. She has never really had any friends. She has been told not to get close to people because her family have a dark secret. However, when her new next door neighbour persists in forming a friendship Twig realises that it may come at a cost. 

Nightbird is magical. I loved Twig. I loved the story. I loved the setting. I loved the element of magic and mystery. I just loved everything about it. Alice Hoffman has written a winner of a story.

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Hoffman (@ahoffmanwriter) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Simon and Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: How to Stop Time

Author: Matt Haig

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Canongate Books

The Blurb

‘I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.’

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.

Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.

How to Stop Time 
is a wild and bittersweet story about losing and finding yourself, about the certainty of change and about the lifetimes it can take to really learn how to live.

The Review

How to Stop Time is the story of Tom Hazard, a man with a rare medical condition which means that he ages at a much slower rate than most people. He is over 400 years old and has seen things that people have only read about in books. However, his condition puts I’m in danger – danger from scientists, eugenicists, by people who just couldn’t understand. So whilst Tom tries to hide under the radar – not make friends, not fall in love but this proves impossible when he gets a new job in a secondary school.

How to Stop Time is a time travel novel that meets a historical one. We travel through time with Tom Hazard and we meet a cast of historical figures from Shakespeare to F Scott Fitzgerald. At its heart, it is a story about relationships and how we need to keep people close to use regardless of the cost. 

If I am completely honest I am not a huge fan of fantasy novels and How to Stop Time didn’t float my boat the way I wanted it to. I love Matt Haig’s writing – in particular his non fiction/mental health books so I worry that maybe his fiction is not for me. How to Stop Time is written well but the genre as a whole is one that I tend to avoid.  

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig is available now.

For more information regarding Matt Haig (@MattHaig1) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Canongate Books (@canongatebooks) please visit www.canongate.co.uk.

Title: Carry On

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 529 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Based on the characters Simon and Baz who featured in Rainbow Rowell’s bestselling Fangirl, Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters. Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his room-mate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything.

The Review

Carry On is the story of Simon and Baz who were first mentioned in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. In Carry On, Rowell has given them a full story in their own rights rather than being the fan fiction that it was presented as previously.

If I am totally honest, it took a while for me to get into Carry On. I think because I knew it was a story based on the fictional fan fiction (whew, this could get confusing) I think I kept myself separated from it, I didn’t allow myself to fall for the characters too much. Equally, the story is told from multi-perspective which I think allowed me to stop myself getting too attached. I think that because the setting and the back story had a lot of similarities to another wizarding world I was able to keep myself at a distance. However, Carry On is an epic sized novel and gives you time to change your mind. Before long I was fully invested in Baz and Simon’s story.

What I really loved is that Rowell put herself completely outside of the world she knows. This is a very British book – curry, rich tea biscuits, tea. It is all very British and Rowell did really well to convey that level of reality in a fantasy YA novel.

Reading Carry On has made me really eager to read the sequel Wayward Son.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is available now.

For more information regarding Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) please visit www.rainbowrowell.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Monsters in the Mirror – 1: Beyond the Mirror

Author: AJ Hartley

Pages: 424 Pages

Publisher: UCLan Publishing

The Blurb

Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors in to different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world…and only he can save it. The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out…


The Review

I read Monsters in the Mirror a couple of months ago and even as I write this review I remember how impressive it was as a middle grade fiction.

Monsters in the Mirror is the story of Darwin Arkwright. He has just moved from a small city in England to America to live with his aunt. He is dealing with the loss of his parents, living in an unusual place, having to go to a new school and make new friends. Oh and he has a mirror that leads to another world filled with monsters.

Sounds a bit random but for a middle grade fantasy this is pretty good stuff. Darwen soon realises that he has a mission within this other world and with a small circle of close friends he manages to start out on his epic adventure.

There were some aspects of this book that were truly terrifying. Some of the monsters are so creepy that I, a fully grown adult, was creeped out by. AJ Hartley has managed to make the monsters sinister but also very original. I often think that monster stories can be overdone but Hartley sets the correct tone and allows the imagination of the reader to soar.

This is a really good middle grade novel. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Monsters in the Mirror by AJ Hartley is available now.

For more information regarding AJ Hartley (@authorajhartley) please visit www.ajhartley.net.

For more information regarding UCLan Publishing (@publishinguclan) please visit www.uclanpublishing.com.