The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny (Victorian House Maid)

Author – Philip Ardagh36250836

Illustrations – Jamie Littler

Age – 7+

Jane is very excited to be starting work at Lytton House. ‘House don’t describe it. It looks more like a palace,’ exclaims Jane in her diary. Despite a page full of rules she must soon learn, the mistress and master are good employers and the many other staff friendly.

All is well until a jade necklace is stolen from the mistress’s bedroom. One of the maids is under suspicion, but is too well thought of to be blamed outright. Jane decides to try and figure out who stole it. After checking drainpipes, looking for footprints and thinking through the staff schedules she finds a real clue. Will she unmask the culprit?

This story set in Victorian times was something different. Jane speaks just as she would do as an uneducated maid, and as the story unfolds, footnotes are added at the bottom of the page for the reader to understand Victorian terms or behavior. It added so much more to the story for those who are interested, or they can be skipped at the reader’s choice. This is part of the ‘Only the facts are true‘ series.

(Victorian, Maid, Mystery, Diary, Series)

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Raptors of Paradise (The World of Supersaurs 1)

Author – Jay Jay Burridge34460118

Illustrator – Chris West/Jay Jay Burridge

Age – 10 +

Beatrice Kingsley can’t understand why her grandmother (nicknamed Bunty) has brought her halfway around the world to look at the Raptors of Aru. Sure they are said to be beautiful and elusive but it was such a long way to go. Along with them was Theodore, loyal to Bea and Bunty after being ‘adopted’ into the family many years before.

But there is another reason for them to visit the wild Islands of Aru, and Bunty isn’t ready to tell Bea why just yet.

But this island has more secrets than they know, and as they enter the jungle with the help of a plucky nine year old porter and his father, they encounter many dangers. This island may have the most beautiful raptors, but it also hides very dangerous ones too. Not to mention the arrogant, vicious leader of the island, Christian Hayter, who isn’t happy about strangers in ‘his’ jungle.

What they find is beyond their imagination, but worth fighting for. But first they have to survive!

This is the 1st in a series of 6 books – with two more out 2018. If you’re after Dinosaurs, Courage, and Action, this story has bucket loads. Both Bea and Bunty are brave and determined, despite all Bunty’s rules on behaving like a lady. Jam-packed with luscious B&W illustrations, this adventure is going to popular!

(Dinosaurs, Courage, Adventure, Jungle, Orphan, Grandmother) 

Genuine Fraud

Author – E Lockhart33843362

Age – 14+

This book is in effect written backwards. I loved the way this story was structured with the main character Jule living a charmed life of luxury, and then the further you read the more you learn, all the things she did, had to do, or was lucky enough to happen, to allow her this life. But things are unravelling and she is having to run faster to keep up with it all.

The more I read, the more intrigued I was. There were hints along the way that she wasn’t supposed to be who or where she was, and I wanted to know how on earth she got there. The plot went back and forth and I had to keep track of the dates, but it just added to the enjoyment of the book as things were revealed, piece by piece, for the past year or so of Jules life to click together – but the finale could blow it all apart again!

She’s no angel this girl, but I loved her character and that we found out what drove her to be the person she is now. We Were Liars by the same author is one of my favourite reads ever and Genuine Fraud is one to match it. I’d like to read it all over again….

(Thriller, Family, Privilege, Rich, Wealthy, Crime, Friendship, Deception, Secret)

Charlie and the Karaoke Cockroaches

Author / Illustrator – Alan Brough35492510

Age – 7+

Charlie has been given a strange, shiny, black box to look after by his even stranger friend Vivien. She gave him strict instructions to guard it – then disappeared! Something else strange happened too. A huge man arrived at their classroom yelling – “Where are they?”

Where are who, and who is he? Why did Vivien give him the intensely stressing responsibility of looking after the box and where has she gone? These are just a few of the trillion questions Charlie wants to ask. But as he’s ready to explode with the worry of it all, his army-mad friend Hils (Hilary) just might be able to help.

Just like the first story in this series (Charlie and the War against the Grannies), this adventure is just as crazy-zany-bonkers! Charlie has been given the job to protect three ancient singing karaoke cockroaches, while their real protector (Vivien) tries to lead a determined cockroach exterminator away from them. Full of charts, lists and musings from Charlie along the way, this episode is hilarious!

(Humour, funny, crazy, Friends, Mystery, Quest)

 

Letter from the Lighthouse

Author – Emma Carroll32721821

Age – 9+

Olive and her little brother Cliff are evacuated from London after a close call with a bomb. The same night of the bomb, her older sister Sukie went missing. There has been no sign of her and Olive is still trying to figure out what she saw. Sukie was meeting a man. This man gave her something and then held her hand. Was it a secret boyfriend?

They are sent to a small seaside town where Sukie had a penpal. But the supposed penpal doesn’t seem to know a thing about Sukie. Olive has noticed other strange things and behaviour in town and also a coded note in the lining of the coat Sukie was wearing on the night she disappeared. It was all she had left of Sukie from the rubble of the bomb.

With a mystery to solve, friendships to make and suddenly many lives at stake, Olive and Cliff are caught up in a plot of courage and determination. But where is Sukie?

Another great story from Emma Carroll with a twisting and turning plot to keep readers engaged in a young girl’s quest for answers. Along the way she builds her own courage amongst prejudice, distrust and broken hearts from a war that never seems to end.

(Historical, WWII, War, Family, Jews, Courage, Mystery, Evacuee, Siblings, Refugee)

The Turnkey

Author – Allison Rushby34198914

Age – 9+

Flossie is only 12 but has a very important job. She is the Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery in London. WWII is raging around them, with bombs dropped every night, which makes her job quite difficult. As Turnkey, she is responsible for keeping the thousands of people buried at Highgate – at peace.

Flossie herself is also a ghost and can travel around London and even further afield just by thinking of the place. It is one night from St Paul’s Cathedral that she sees someone who shouldn’t be in London. He shouldn’t even exist. The German Soldier she sees is defying the rules of the dead as he hatches a plot to win the war.

With only her ghost friends to help, they follow the SS Officer to try and prevent him causing trouble. Along the way she discovers he is connected to her own past. Now that all of London’s cemetery’s are at risk, not to mention the entire country, she doesn’t know who to trust among the dead. Can Flossie stop him in time?

(Ghost, Friends, WWII, Cemetery, Grief)

The Inn Between

Author – Marina Cohen25667027

Age – 10+

11 yr old Quinn has had a rough time of it lately, her younger sister’s disappearance turning her world upside down. And Quinn believes it was her fault. To make things worse, her best friend Kara is moving across the country and Quinn misses her already.

Kara’s parents invite Quinn on a road trip with them, so the girls can have time together before their move and on the way across the desert, they stop at a hotel. Inn Between.

Despite the staff being incredibly friendly, Quinn’s feeling of dread hasn’t diminished ever since they took the turnoff to the hotel. When Kara’s parents vanish and then her older brother too, the girls are left to try and figure out why.

What is the strange hum that Quinn can hear? Why is a strange old man following them everywhere? And what grabbed her leg in the swimming pool?

Sometimes sad, sometimes creepy and with a clever conclusion, this story is packed with plot and twists and turns to keep any tween reading. I never expected the ending. Great read.

(Creepy, Eerie, Spooky, Friendship, Guilt, Abduction, Disappearance, Siblings, School)