Slightly Famous People’s Foxes – Oliver Pritchett

This year it’s Slightly Foxed’s tenth birthday!

To celebrate, some (slightly) famous people have picked up their pens to draw their very own foxy characters in this delightful little book. (Quentin BlakeCarol Ann DuffyAlan GarnerKazuo IshiguroMichael Morpurgo and Alexander McCall Smith to name but a few).

Slightly Famous People's Foxes

It’s sweet and funny and all profits go to the Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street. “The money will go to buy books to read for pleasure, which can mean so much to children who are away from home…” What a great cause!

Take a look at some of the foxes here and click here to buy a copy – it’s £5 for people in the UK.

A couple of years ago I did some work experience at Slightly Foxed. Keep an eye out on the blog tomorrow, there’ll be a post all about it!

The Stolen Lake – Joan Aiken

The Stolen Lake

Next in the Wolves of Willoughby Chase series, we have The Stolen Lake. It’s a wonderfully eerie book set in the strange country of New Cumbria, where Captain Hughes of the Thrush has mysteriously been sent for by their Queen. This is unfortunate for our heroine Dido Twite, whose journey back to England is interrupted once again.

Dido and a select few members of the crew, including the Captain, are immediately struck with the strangeness of New Cumbria. The people are distant and shifty and where are all the children? It’s clear that no one can be trusted!

Captain Hughes plans to see the Queen of the country as soon as possible and get the whole adventure over with, but things are never as easy as that in a Joan Aiken book!  Continue reading

The Healing Hut – Neil Patrick (Interview)

healing-hut-neil-patrick

A couple of years ago I started to work for a large allotment site. I don’t have the greenest of fingers, but do enjoy pottering about on my balcony with the odd plant. What I love about ‘my’ allotments is the history, the sense of community and the beauty of the site. Neil Patrick’s debut novel has similar topics at its heart.

The Healing Hut starts off as far from a cold, grey British allotment site as you can get, in sunny Australia where expat Kyff lives with his wife. His life comes tumbling down around him when he learns that his wife has had an affair. Shortly afterwards, he leaves Australia to attend his father’s funeral.  Continue reading

The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins

The_Moonstone

I was recently persuaded to re-read The Moonstone by a whole bunch of people on Twitter. They were participating in a read-a-long hosted by Lit Nerd and I kept wanting to join in! So I picked up my old and very battered copy (it no longer has a front or back cover!) on a cold November evening.

The Moonstone is the first real detective novel ever written, and indeed you can see elements of this story in many detective mysteries since; twists, red herrings, cliff hangers and seemingly impossible, unexplainable events. The writing is captivating, with a plot that digs deeper and deeper into mystery.

The story is told by a number of narrators; the endearing Gabriel Betteredge being my personal favourite. With his earnest, talkative manner, it’s hard to dislike him. Continue reading

Night Birds on Nantucket – Joan Aiken

$(KGrHqUOKpQE1qfIYeKuBNfvMuRyhw~~_35The third book in the Wolves of Willoughby Chase series follows one of my favourite childhood heroines, Dido Twite. This is the first book (of quite a few), where she takes over as the main protagonist and she is simply brilliant.

Dido wakes up after a long sleep to find herself on a whaling ship with an odd captain who has a strange obsession with a pink whale. Although longing to get home to England, she promises Captain Casket that she will look after his timid daughter, Dutiful Penitence (as Dido would say, “glad I wasn’t saddled with such a handle!”) on the island of Nantucket.

However all is not right on the island, and Dido once again finds herself at the centre of a Hanoverian plot to blow up the King in England. Continue reading