Tag Archives: witches

Win a signed Spook’s Apprentice book

2013-02-21 07.40.17We were lucky enough to have Spook’s Apprentice author, Joseph Delaney, visit us in Christchurch this week.  I’ve been a huge fan of Joseph’s ever since the very first book in the series was released in 2004 so it was great to hear all about the series from the man himself.  It was great to watch the children in the audience reacting to Joseph’s stories and the creepy pictures from his books.

Thanks to Random House New Zealand and Joseph Delaney I have 4 signed Spook’s books to give away.  Four lucky readers will win a signed book each.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address, and answer this question: Who is your favourite character or creature of the dark in the Spook’s series? Competition closes Thursday 28 February (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winners are Ali, Loraine, Julia and Tokhuor.

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Meet Joseph Delaney in Christchurch

Joseph Delaney, the author of the Spook’s Apprentice series, is one of my favourite authors.  The Spook’s books are dark, spooky and creepy, and are full of witches, boggarts and creatures of the dark.  If you like spooky stories, with a bit of history, mystery and adventure you’ll love Joseph’s Books.  The movie based on the series, Seventh Son, is due out later this year and I’m sure it will be fantastic.

I’m excited to announce that Joseph Delaney is coming to Christchurch on Wednesday 20 February.  You can come and meet him at Upper Riccarton Library, from 7:00-8:00pm on Wednesday 20 February.  He’ll talk about his books, you can ask him questions, and even get your book signed.

It’s a free event but you need to book a space.  Just call Christchurch City Libraries on 03-941-7923 to book.

To find out more about Joseph Delaney and the Spook’s Apprentice series, visit www.spooksbooks.com

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Wings & Co: Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

I’ve been a huge fan of Sally Gardner ever since I first read I, Coriander.  Sally is one of those brilliant authors whose stories are always original and you never know quite what to expect when you start reading them.  She’s also incredibly versatile, as she writes for all ages, from preschoolers, to middle grade, and right up to teens and beyond.  Her latest book, Operation Bunny, is the first in a new series for younger readers, called Wings & Co.

Emily Vole makes headline news in the first weeks of her life, when she is found in an abandoned hatbox in Stansted Airport. Then, only a few years later, her neighbour Mrs String dies leaving Emily a mysterious inheritance: an old shop, a small bunch of golden keys and a cat called Fidget. It’s the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime as the old Fairy Detective Agency comes back to life. It is up to Emily to reopen the shop, and recall the fairies to duty. Together they must embark on their first mystery and do battle with their great fairy-snatching enemy, Harpella.

Operation Bunny is a magical story, filled with a cast of wonderful characters, plenty of mystery, and a sprinkling of humour.  It’s the sort of book that you sit down to read a few chapters and end up gobbling up the whole book because you’re enchanted by Sally’s storytelling and David Roberts hilarious illustrations.

I fell in love with the characters straight away and I wanted to be friends with Miss String and Fidget the talking cat.  Emily is a Cinderella-type character because she gets locked away and made to do all the housework for her horrible adopted parents.  Not only are they horrible, they’re also quite stupid.  Emily’s adopted mother lets a strange lady into their house who turns her triplets into zombies, and Emily’s adopted father is a slimy wee man who’s hiding a secret and always calls his wife ‘Smoochikins.’ However, Emily is much smarter and braver than these horrible people give her credit for, and with the help of her rather unusual neighbours she escapes and starts her new life as a detective.  Fidget is my favourite character because he is always happy to help and he has the best lines (which usually involve fish of some sort), like ‘Search my sardine tin, I don’t know,’ and ‘Twiddle my whiskers and call me tuna.’  I love the way that Fidget calls Emily ‘my little ducks’ too.  Even though she doesn’t have parents that love her, she has a giant talking cat that is looking out for her always.    There are lots of other interesting characters in the story, including a mischievous bunch of keys, zombie babies, a fairy policeman, a shop with legs, a magic lamp that talks, and lots and lots of bunnies.

David Roberts illustrations are wonderful as always and help set the tone of the story.  They’re both hilarious and a little dark, and they bring Sally’s characters alive.  I especially like the personalities that David has given each of the rabbits and the suave, charming look that he’s given Fidget.

Operation Bunny is perfect for reading aloud (to 7 years and up) or find yourself a comfy spot and disappear into this magical story. I’m so pleased that we have more adventures with Emily, Fidget and the Fairy Detective Agency, Wings & Co. to look forward to.  I can’t wait to read the next book, The Three Pickled Herrings (coming in February 2013).

5 out of 5 stars

 

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The Spook’s Blood Book Trailer

If you’re a fan ofThe Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, you’ll be excited to hear the latest book in the series, The Spook’s Blood is released in NZ this month.  I love this gripping, creepy series and I’m always excited to read the next installment.  Grab your copy from your library or bookshop now in July.

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Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones is the queen of fantasy.  She was writing the fabulous Chrestomanci series, about orphans, witches and magic long before J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter came along.  She has written lots of books, including the Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving CastleEarwig and the Witch is the magical book that she wrote before she died earlier this year.

Earwig is a an orphan girl who lives at St Morwald’s Home for Children with her friend Custard.  Earwig is quite happy living here and she says that “anyone who chose me would have to be very unusual.”  She is a pretty unusual child but she seems to be able to make anyone do anything that she wants, like cooking her favourite food or playing hide and seek in the dark.  One day a very strange couple come to the orphanage looking to adopt a child.  The woman has two different coloured eyes and a raggety look to her face, and the man is very tall and looks like he has horns on his head.  They adopt Earwig, but she discovers that the woman is a witch and only wants her as a slave to help her with her spells.  Earwig is trapped in the house and wants nothing more than to go back to the orphanage with her friends.  Will she be able to outwit the witch and escape?  And who or what is the mysterious man with the horns?

Earwig and the Witch is a funny story about a feisty girl trying to fit into her new family.  All the characters are quite strange and I especially liked Thomas the cat.  The cover is very cool and really draws you in, with the spiderwebs and spiders crawling all over it.  Marion Lindsay’s illustrations are spectacularly spooky and I love the little pictures of crows or spiders on each page.  The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it ended so suddenly.  I would have liked to know more about her life in the house.  Earwig and the Witch is perfect for those girls who don’t like fairies, but who still like a bit of magic.

Recommended for 7+     7 out of 10

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