I’m The King of the Castle by Susan Hill

A generally quiet boy, Charles Kingshaw never wanted anything but a peaceful home, but he finds this impossible when faced with the formidable force of Edmund Hooper. When Kingshaw comes to live with Hooper and his father, Hooper is determined to do anything he can to persecute his new lodger, completely unnoticed by either of the two adults. Through relentless mental torment, Kingshaw is bullied to an utter extreme; Hooper seems completely unavoidable, all-knowing and all-seeing. However, when the boys end up lost in the woods during a thunderstorm, tables turn and suddenly Hooper is the weak one, cowering and afraid in the rain and the dark. Hooper hits his head and is injured, but when they are found by the adults, Hooper continually insists that the other boys had pushed him, and just as quickly, he is back on top. This kind of continual mental anguish recurs throughout the book, as Kingshaw knows he is in the right, but Hooper is always the one who is believed. Will Kingshaw ever find a way to avoid Hooper? Or will he forever be tormented by him? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

In my opinion, this book was incredibly moving, especially from the sense of frustration that the author gives Kingshaw throughout the book. Everything is written through Kingshaw’s perspective, so we saw what happened to Hooper, we know that what happened was his fault, so we almost become the protagonist in his exasperation at the adults’ blindness to his situation. I also thought that the book had a good ending, but I won’t say too much about it as it will ruin the book! I would say that maybe it didn’t have an incredibly exciting beginning, as I remember reading the first few pages and not thinking it would be a particularly good story, but that is definitely a personal opinion so others might think differently. All in all I thought this was a brilliant book, mostly because of the way the author portrayed Kingshaw’s feelings, but also because of the great storyline and the writing. Maybe if the author was re-writing it, it would be nice to see some of, or even the whole story from Hooper’s perspective, simply because he is portrayed as a very mysterious, closed character, and we can never really know what he was thinking, so it would be interesting to see how the author would write that. However, maybe that was one of the things that made the book so brilliant, the sense of unease from our oblivion to his thought. Who knows?

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Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig

Bamse is a small boy living in Denmark at the time of World War Two. His parents both work at the local theatre, the father painting sets, and his mother a renowned actress, and before they are invaded Bamse spends carefree days with his friend Anton who lives in the flat upstairs. However, all this changes when the Nazis invade, nothing really happens for a while, so Bamse doesn’t find the war particularly dangerous at this point, and he and Anton can’t resist playing the odd practical joke on the Nazi soldiers, but underneath all the laughter, Anton and his family are becoming more and more worried about what is going to happen. Bamse’s father tells his sons to lie low, not stir up any trouble that could get them noticed, but Bamse’s brother, Orlando, begins to work for the resistance, serious work, against his father’s will, and soon Bamse and Anton are pulled into the Resistance movement, helping deliver secret papers and putting messages on the bottoms of trains to send off to England, but when Orlando is arrested by the Nazis and the situation is Denmark starts to turn hostile, the boys, and the rest of the country, embark on a huge, nationwide mission to deliver all the Jews from Hitler’s clutches, and show the world they are not just Hitler’s Canary.

I really enjoyed this book, and the fact that it was a partially true story was just incredible, given the massive scale of the book’s ending. I think it was actually made better because I have read, and am also reading currently, so many books about World War Two, and the contrast between something like Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, which is a roughly true story about the horrific treatment of the people who were taken away in WW2, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and this book, gives you a sense of perspective about the war and how it changed between different people. For example, whilst I was reading this book I kept thinking how well Toksvig had given it a childish perspective, making World War 2 feel slightly like a big game. You don’t usually find many good books about the war which have a great, happy ending, well not to my knowledge anyway, so I was really pleased when I finished this book, and I also like the way that the ending didn’t completely turn out all smiles and butterflies and rainbows, because it just brings a little bit of realism back into the story. This was a great book and I really enjoyed it, it has one of the best endings I have ever read (I can promise you I was positively grinning all throughout the last few chapters!) so go on and read it! It will give you a smile on your face (hopefully) and a new perspective on World War 2.

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Catch Your Death (Ruby Redfort #3) by Lauren Child

Ruby is back in her 3rd book, and this time she’s on a survival training course in an unknown location. She has all the knowledge, but even so she ends up losing her glasses, getting lost, and catching the flu, and has to be pulled out. When LB finds out, and she’s NOT happy, and Ruby is given one last mission to prove she can be a field agent. It’s an easy case, but, as always, weird things begin to happen, starting with the launch of Marie Antoinette’s Lost Perfume going terribly wrong, Sabrina apparently spotting a hippo going swimming in their pool, and a tiger attack in Twinford? What is going on? As always, it’s up to Ruby to find out, but little does she know that this book has a whole lot more to the story…

I loved this book so much, and I learnt a lot of science as well, although I didn’t really realise. It was quite uncanny, as a lot of the scientific things in the book are things we have been doing in science VERY recently. Scary. I love how each book is sort of about the senses, and this one was all about smell, and I found the parts about it very interesting. I absolutely loved this book, and I had an amazing surprise before I had even started reading, as Lauren has dedicated it to me!!!!!!! Thank you SO much!

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Geek Girl by Holly Smale

When Harriet, is dragged out of bed one morning by her best friend Nat to go to Clothes Show Live, she is sure Nat will be spotted by a fashion modelling agency. It doesn’t even cross her mind that she, the school geek who keeps a dictionary by her bed and hands her homework in on time, could be spotted instead. Nonetheless she catches the eye of an important, if a little odd, man in charge of model finding, and the eye of male model Nick. She completely refuses the offer, on account that her best friend’s entire life’s ambition was to be a model, and it would mean lying to her friends and family, but when the bullying at school reaches new heights, she decides to go for it. In an instant she is swept up into the glamorous world of fashion, and is taken to be interviewed by one of the most famous fashion designers in the world. Soon she’s jetting off to Moscow for fashion shoots, but even though all this has happened, Harriet has not changed from the geek she always was, and in unwearable high heels, she induces catwalk catastrophes and cringe-worthy attempts at being cool when Nick, the dreamy male model, is around. Despite all the glamour and fame, Harriet still feels bad about stealing her best friend’s dream. Will Harriet decide to go with what’s really important, or will she keep modelling, and somehow learn to be cool?

This is a really funny book and at the same time gives you all the emotional parts of a book as well. I think the reader can really get into the story, and you can almost feel what the character is feeling. I think it is really good for people who don’t like very sentimental books, and also it’s good for people who do, because it sort of hides the emotional parts of the book inside the funny mistakes that a geek in the world of fashion would make until right at the end. This is a brilliant book and perfect for bringing out your inner geek, as well as hiding a lot of moral values in-between the text. One of the funniest books I have ever read, I can slightly compare it to Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, as both the authors use the same “funny antics hiding a sentimental story” idea, in my opinion.

Another book that has been generously given to me for reviewing by HarperCollins -Thank you and sorry it’s taken so long to review!

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Take Your Last Breath (Ruby Redfort #2) by Lauren Child

This book is the second exciting instalment in the thrilling series of Ruby Redfort. In this book, Ruby has just got back from a Spectrum agent’s diving course in Hawaii when strange things start to happen. A diver is washed upon the shore, her favourite radio station, Chime Melody, have started playing some weird tunes, children are hearing mysterious whisperings coming from the sea, and there seems to be somebody tailing her. As Ruby unwinds the connections that join all these things, she discovers the bigger picture. The much bigger picture…

This is another brilliant story from Lauren, and as usual has the code but this time with a new keyword. I loved how she uses all the sarcasm and quick-thinking that she used in the last book just as much in the sequel, and the writing style is incredible! In my opinion, Lauren Child has done it again, creating a worthy sequel to an amazing book.

You can buy it from Amazon by clicking here >

There is also a great website which you can see Ruby’s Room, crack the code, learn about Lauren and see the books. It’s really cool!

Ruby’s Official Website or visit Ruby on Facebook by clicking here >

Sylvie and the Songman by Tim Binding

Sylvie is just an ordinary girl until one day she goes to Durdle Door  and her mum disappears whilst swimming. Her dad turns to composing music and  creates lots of odd instruments. When Sylvie’s dog, Mr Jackson, loses his bark, Sylvie and her dad think he’s got some kind of sickness. Then everything is fine until one day she gets home from school and finds that her dad is missing. She and her friend George, as well as Mr Jackson, search the house and garden and they find a mysterious metal rod. Then, at night, a man with a green coat covered in feathers with a bright red hat surrounded by woodpeckers comes through the garden gate. The iron rod begins to vibrate, and the woodpeckers flock to the window and begin tapping at it with their beaks. The woodpecker man joins in and for a few hours all that can be heard is the tap, tap of the woodpeckers beaks. Then, just as the woodpecker man makes a massive crack in the window, the milkman comes round and,angrily, the woodpecker man jumps from the window. Sylvie, George and Mr Jackson leave the house, but are met on the train by a sinister couple and they jump out of the train. Then Sylvie is bitten by a fox, and suddenly she can hear what animals are thinking. The fox leads them to a sanctuary, but along the way they see the woodpecker man in a swan powered hot air balloon with somebody else. They are throwing bottles out of the balloon and when they break open, the song of an animal comes out. Immediately, if an animal hears their song, they are unable to speak or sing. One of the bottles stays unbroken and on it is written “property of The Songman”. Then Sylvie finds some papers that are so important they could, in the wrong hands, create a nuclear explosion. . The Songman hasn’t revealed who he is , but he is closer to Sylvie than she thinks. One thing’s for sure: The Songman wants something Sylvie has, but she is not going to let him have it.

I thought this book was really good and it reels you in the moment you pick it up. I don’t think that it’s possible to get into a good book then put it down. Anyway, I think Tim Binding is a brilliant author  and obviously I can’t write the entire content of the book in this book review, that’s what the book’s for, but I wrote down the key bits, so there is a lot more to this amazing book. One thing I haven’t expressed very much in this review is that music comes into the book a lot, but I don’t think that’s a bad point of the story. In short, I LOVED it !!!

   

Knife by R.J. Anderson

This is the first book in the Knife series and I think it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The story is about faeries (yes, it is spelt like that in this book) but they are not the type of faeries that you imagine when you hear that word. The story starts off with a young faery called Bryony who lives in an old oak in a garden. She lives with her stepmother Wink until she is seventeen when the Queen gives her an occupation. She is apprenticed, much to everyone’s surprise, to Thorn, the royal . As Hunter’s privilege, she is allowed to change her name but she decides to change it to something no faery has ever been called before. Knife. She is taught how to snare a rabbit or another small animal, skin it and tan its soft hide, but all the while she is thinking about the terrible Sundering, the time when a faery called Jasmine decided that the faeries in the oak would be better off without humans, so she cast a spell that enabled the faeries to replace themselves with eggs when they died, but in doing so she used up all the magic of the faeries in the oak. Luckily the faery Amaryllis was not in the oak when the Sundering happened so she still had her magic. She was made Queen and because so many faeries kept getting eaten by predators she made a rule that stated that no one was allowed to leave the Oak apart from the Gatherers and the Hunter so that the few faeries left wouldn’t die out. But the deadly Silence had now come to the Oak, and there was no cure for it. Nobody knows what causes it, all they know is it is deadly. When Knife is injured by a crow and then is rescued by a human, she is taught how to draw, which is almost impossible for faeries to do. Also, whilst she is there she befriends the human and when Queen Amaryllis finds out, she gives Knife a choice. Become human and stay with her friend, or stay a faery and never see him again. Will Knife decide to become human? You’ll have to find out!

When I read this book, I thought it was so good that when I finished it, I very, very nearly had a temper tantrum because I didn’t want it to end! (I don’t know what qualifies as a temper tantrum in your mind, but I threw the book on the floor, stamped on it then started hitting it really hard with pillows) Obviously I can’t fit the whole plot of the book in one review, so it has more than a simple(ish) plot like that! Honestly, though, this book was one of my favourite books of all time. I really think people should try reading it because (and I might be wrong) it isn’t a very well-known book and I think it should be.
READ IT!!!
(please!)

You can visit the author’s website by clicking here