By Royal Command and The Betrayal by Mary Hooper

So, I finished Mary Hooper’s “At the House of the Magician” series.

byroyalSynopsis from Amazon:

Lucy has become a firm fixture in the household of Dr Dee, a real-life figure who was court magician to Queen Elizabeth 1. Lucy, in return for saving the queen’s life, has been told that she is to work as a spy for Her Grace and that she is to remain with the Dee family and await further instruction …And then Lucy hears unexplained cries in the Dee house, and finds a young girl imprisoned there. What is Dr Dee doing? Lucy means to find out. A thrilling historical story, full of intrigue and royal plots and counter-plots, from the acclaimed Mary Hooper.

Okay, so I have to admit, this book wasn’t quite as interesting as the synopsis would lead. That storyline maybe takes up two chapters at the beginning of the book. The rest of it is Lucy being given a spying task – to watch one of QE1’s ladies and follow her. That was interesting, because in one of the events where she follows her, she flees down the river toward London and it was fun to hear the different places she was going through. This book felt a little weak, but again, it’s aimed at middle schoolers. Continue reading

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Throwback Thursday 18/2/2016

Today’s Throwback Thursday selection is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

Howl'sMovingCastle_B_PBFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.

Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls… There she meets Michael, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact.

But Sophie isn’t the only one under a curse – her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping – and howlingly funny!

Continue reading

The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff

I love charity shops, don’t you? They’re so full of treasures. You really never know what you’ll find. I walked into a Princess Alice when I first moved here and found a novel about Henry VIII with a Borders sticker on it – four years after they went out of business and in a completely different country!

Anyway, on my last expedition to Oxfam, I was really surprised to see this lovely little book tucked into the children’s hardcover section. It boasted that it was a Carnegie Medal Winner, and is pitched as “magical” and a “children’s novel for adults” (which I love – The Little Prince is my favorite). It was only £1, so I gave it a shot.

brides_farewell_ukSynopsis from Amazon:

On the morning of her wedding, Pell Ridley creeps out of bed in the dark, kisses her sisters goodbye and flees – determined to escape a future that offers nothing but hard work and sorrow. She takes the only thing that truly belongs to her: Jack, a white horse.

The road ahead is rich with longing, silence and secrets, and each encounter leads her closer to the untold story of her past. Then Pell meets a hunter, infuriating, mysterious and cold. Will he help her to find what she seeks?

Inside is a beautifully written, vivid coming-of-age tale. Like the synopsis states, we begin our story with Pell sneaking off in the middle of the night. She is confronted by her foster brother, Bean, who is mute, but demands to accompany her. They travel through the New Forest, reach Salisbury where Pell intends to find work, and eventually become separated. The rest of Pell’s journey is spent trying to find her lost brother and the horse that had been taken from her. Continue reading