I’m currently listening to A Spoonful of Murder which is the sixth book in the Murder Most Unladylike Mystery series. This time Hazel has been called back to Hong Kong after the death of her Grandfather and Daisy goes with her only to discover that there is a new member of the family! I’m really enjoying the build-up of the mystery in this one, and am wondering if it will involve baby Teddy! I’ve read The Ghost of Gosswater and The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange, and loved them both, so I’ve started reading Sisters of the Lost Marsh. I’m really enjoying it, and am looking forward to finding some time to curl up with it again later today.
I’m on half-term, and it shows in my reading this week!
I finished listening to Aftershocks which is a powerful, gripping, atmospheric story of dealing with family and community grief. It is a blend of dystopia and supernatural and kept me engrossed throughout. Louie’s family have been torn apart by the unexpected death of his older brother. His mother and father deal with grief in different ways which has led to a separation. When his engineer father is called to a distant province of the Federation, Louie goes with him; however, once there, a devastating natural disaster occurs which decimates the coastal region they have been sent to. Louie is taken home whilst his father volunteers to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. When his mother is away from home, Louie returns to his father where he witnesses how the Endlanders deal with their grief and loss through telling the stories of their loved ones deaths. Will this help Louie and his father deal with their own ghosts? This is an incredibly poignant, hard-hitting story that addresses issues of both family and community loss, and how grief is dealt with on an individual and societal level embedded in beliefs and customs. The other-worldly, strange quality sent shivers down my spine, and my heart ached for the loss suffered, but there is also hope that facing grief can lead to healing and remembrance.
My Life as a Cat is a beautifully told, heart-warming adventure told from the viewpoint of Leonard, an alien who has come to earth to experience life as a human but, instead of becoming a forest ranger in Yellowstone National Park as he had intended, he finds himself in the body of a cat and needing to be rescued after a storm. He is rescued by a young girl called Olive who is staying with her Grandmother. Olive has lost her Dad and does not have a good relationship with her mother’s new partner. She is desperately in need of a friend, and finds the perfect friend in Leonard. Will she be able to help him find his way home, or has he already found a home with her? I adored the warm relationship which develops so naturally between Leonard and Olive and the risks Olive is prepared to take for her new friend. I loved the honesty and trust that develops between them, and thought that the ending was just perfect! This is an incredibly touching, humorous and poignant story with wonderful messages about friendship, family, belonging and having the strength and courage to be yourself.
I also finished Hedgewitch which I absolutely loved. Cassie Morgan runs away from her boarding school to find her mother who has been missing for seven years, and finds that she has an aunt in the village of Hedgely who is the Hedgewitch, a protector against the magical creatures who live in the nearby forest. This is a really exciting, mesmerising adventure with wonderful characters, plenty of surprises and a gorgeous evocation of the natural world. I will post my review later.
I read Darwin’s Dragons which I’ve had on my TBR for a while with a view to making it my next class read – and I definitely will be! This is a brilliantly fast-paced, exciting adventure: a blend of history, science and fantasy that kept me utterly gripped throughout. Syms Covington, who becomes a friend and assistant to Charles Darwin, aboard the HMS Beagle finds himself lost at sea after trying to save Darwin’s life when he falls overboard during a storm. He washes up on one of the Galápagos Islands where he makes an unbelievable discovery: this island, with its active volcano, is home to a creature that only exists in myths and legends, and it is not happy that he is there! Syms also meets a lizard who he names Farthing. The lizard seems eager to help him survive on the island, but also needs his help to rescue something precious from the dragon’s lair … And so begins a truly remarkable story that I found completely unputdownable. The short chapters and cliff hanger endings kept me turning the pages, eager to follow Syms’ adventure. Will he be rescued from the island? Why is his new friend Farthing prepared to put him in danger? I really enjoyed the well-searched historical and scientific elements of this story which focus on Darwin’s discoveries as well as the fantasy element which merged perfectly with the science and history.
I also spent a lot of yesterday finishing Carnival of the Lost which completely gripped me. I will be posting my review as part of the Blog Tour later in the week.
I’m hoping to read The Tide Singer and The Boy in the Post next.
Have you read any of these? What are you reading?