The Thief of Always by Clive Barker


Description: Master storyteller and bestselling novelist Clive Barker creates an enchanting tale for both children and adults to cherish and retell. The Thief of Always tells the haunting story of Harvey, a bright 10-year-old who is suffering from the winter doldrums, and of a creature who takes him to a place where every day is filled with fun, and Christmas comes every night.


No such thing as a free lunch, Harvey; didn’t your mother tell you?

Four all-day every-day Christmas dinners

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

bookshelves: fraudio, tbr-busting-2014, published-1997, young-adult, sci-fi, gorefest, dystopian, skim-through, summer-2014

Read from August 14, 2013 to July 08, 2014


narrated by Charles Carrol

Description: In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machinelike creature whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade — once a man, but now more like the machines he fights — recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade’s children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords’ power — and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become …

Expect you have noticed I’m trying to whittle some off the TBR pile. There really are some weird choices I’ve made over the years.

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Anyone remember Logan’s Run? This is a bit like that only the cut off (literally) is fourteen instead of thirty years of age. A skim through worth just the two entrail eating aliens.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

bookshelves: summer-2014, published-2013, young-adult, suicide, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, skoolzy-stuff, recreational-homicide, art-forms, games-people-play, fraudio, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: B&B (do it for the crumpets)
Read from June 26 to 27, 2014…

By Matthew Quick
Read by Noah Galvin
Published by Hachette Audio

Description: Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him.

“Leonard Peacock is a complicated character, and narrator Noah Galvin quickly conveys his disturbing emotions.”
– AudioFile Magazine

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab

bookshelves: adventure, doo-lally, flufferoonies, winter-20112012, seven-seas, series, published-2006, pirates-smugglers-wreckers, ouch, period-piece, paper-read, amusing, young-adult

Read from January 02 to 03, 2012

** spoiler alert ** dedication: To Sophie, who still has a quarter of a million pounds of which I have not seen a penny, even though this is the second entire book that I have dedicated to her

Opening: ‘That one looks almost exactly like a whale!’

Again – lovely-jubbly maps and interesting factual footnotes such as #7 – The cement exuded by barnacles is an extremely tough protein polymer. It is twice as strong as the epoxy glue used on the space shuttle. Also, the barnacle penis is ten times as long as the rest of its body.

On page six the cap’n is making a list of when it is acceptable for a pirate to cry:

1 – when holding a seagull covered in oil
2 – when singing a shanty that reminds him of orphans
3 – when confronted by the unremitting loneliness of the human condition
4 – chops

If you like Pterry-like humour, and like the idea of a send-up of ol’ Ahab this will suit you just fine. The lads here are arguing over who will read this next.

4* – The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (2004)
4* – Pirates! In an Adventure with Whaling (2005)


The Knit Parade: 12 Statement Sweater Patterns, 12 Motifs to Meddle With

bookshelves: art-forms, britain-england, e-book, knitting, manchester, net-galley, newtome-author, nonfiction, music, ipad, published-2013, spring-2014, young-adult

Read on April 03, 2014


Wheres Me Jumper. Anova Books. Collins & Brown.

Description: This new book from the creative team behind wheres me jumper contains twelve original knitting patterns for motif jumpers. Each jumper takes its inspiration from one of the author’s favourite songs. There is a different look to suit everyone, whatever your musical and fashion tastes.

But this is no ordinary knitting book. The emphasis here is on creativity and breaking the rules. Choose your own colours and your own yarn. Make a sweater that suits you. In Patterns to Play With, there are six graphic swatches that you can adapt to design your own unique pattern. Who says spots don’t go with stripes? Or that red and green should never be seen? Definitely not us.

Once you’ve chosen your pattern, it doesn’t have to end there. You can customize and embellish your sweater in any way you can think of. And if you don’t want to make a sweater – don’t! Learn how to transfer the motifs to something smaller, like a cushion, or a hot water bottle cover or a scarf or a skirt.

At 50 pages this is short, however it is colourful and and the instructions easy to follow. Less is more and the patterns themselves are simple using – it is the motifs that vary in difficulty.

Come on you young, retro pop-pickers, pick up your needles and brighten up your mornings by reaching for a warm, fun jumper.

Author website where you can order your very own customised jumper.


The French Orphan

bookshelves: published-2012, net-galley, e-book, historical-fiction, winter-20132014, under-50-ratings, france, adventure, young-adult, spies, paris, newtome-author, bdsm, glbt, filthy-lucre

Read from January 27 to 29, 2014


Netgalley/Cameron Publicity & Marketing Ltd. First published 2012

Description: The year is 1640, and Louis XIII is on the French throne. However, as far as you’re concerned, this is all pretty meaningless. After all, as a teenage orphan living in a monastery school in Reims, all you have to worry about is dodging the unpleasant advances of a few unsavoury monks and looking forward to a life of penniless and celibate servitude in a religious order.

After a childhood and adolescence plagued by a constant longing to know who he really is, orphan Pierre has not the slightest idea that his questions are about to be answered. But you know what they say – be careful what you wish for…

Suddenly finding out who you are can bring with it not only happiness and fortune, but danger, friendship and the sort of swift education that the monastery could never have provided! The discovery of who Pierre really is affects not only Pierre and his friends, but has ramifications for the French nobility, the English crown, and most dangerous of all, the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his fierce ambition for the Church and for himself.

Dedication: To Polly – thanks for your support
To Katharine – thanks for making it happen

Palais-Cardinal c1642

Cardinal Richelieu was born in 1585 and died in 1642. Richelieu dominated the history of France from 1624 to his death as Louis XIII?s chief minister

Opening to the prologue: The log burning in the imposing marble fireplace disintegrated and sent a shower of dancing red-gold sparks into the air. The sound of the small explosion echoed in the library of the new palatial building known to everyone in Paris simply as le palais du cardinal, the home of His Eminence, Cardinal Richeleu, the revered – as much as reviled – the prime minister of France.


The story itself opens up in the monastery school in Reims, where the sadistic, paedophile overseer, Brother Heironymous, shows favour towards a comely youth, Armand, who is a friend of our protagonist Pierre, the orphan of the title. The hunt is on to find out just who was Pierre’s parents, and they must have had class because Reims never takes on just anyone to nurture.

That’s as far as I can take you without spoilers galore.

The writing is somewhat pedestrian and as such this is not an engrossing novel for hard-core historical fiction readers, however if it’s a light read you are after, albeit with male rape, as a palate cleanser, this may be the one for you.

The next in the series:

The Secrets of Montrésor (The French Orphan, #2)
Under the Spell of The Serenissima (The French Orphan, #3)


Absolute Beginners

published-1959, london, lifestyles-deathstyles, britain-england, winter-20132014, racism, radio-4, fradio, cults-societies-brotherhoods, music, recreational-drugs, art-forms, prostitution, gangsters, glbt, under-500-ratings, young-adult, casual-violence, period-piece, bullies

Read from January 12 to 19, 2014



Colin MacInnes’s cult classic about teenagers, style and racial tension in 1950s London.

Description: London, 1958. “I swore by Elvis and all the saints that this last teenage year of mine was going to be a real rave.” The eighteen-year-old narrator of Colin MacInnes’ cult classic is determined to declare his independence from earlier generations, as he roams the city with his camera and a sharp eye for the stylish and the subversive. In the smoky jazz clubs of Soho, the coffee bars of Notting Hill and the cheap rooms of Pimlico the young and the restless – the absolute beginners – are revolutionising youth culture and forging a new carefree lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Meanwhile the Teddy Boy gangs are staging internecine battles, and a generation of Black immigrants is struggling to make a life in a hostile city. The definitive account of London life in the 1950s and what it means to be a teenager, this account of a young man’s coming of age captures the spirit of a generation and the changing face of London in the era of the first race riots and the lead up to the swinging Sixties.

Read by Joel MacCormack Abridged and produced by Sara Davies.

Theme tune: Laurie London – He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands – 1958

1. Last year as a teenage for our protagonist, and in Notting Hill too.

2. Mr Cool reports trouble brewing on the streets, the Fabulous Hoplite brings news of a party at Dido Lament’s, and Suzette won’t be persuaded out of her impending marriage.

3. The teenage narrator of Colin MacInnes’s cult classic sets about making some serious money in an attempt to win back the love of his life, and there’s a worrying visit from Mr Cool.

4. The teenage narrator is still shocked by Suzette’s marriage to Henley. Determined to try and woo her back, he takes the opportunity of a boat trip up the Thames to pay her a visit.

5. The teenage narrator finds himself caught up along with his friends in the violence that erupts on the streets of his home patch in Notting Hill.

Unsuprisingly, because of the parentage, MacInnes is at home with his subject matter and the writing is accomplished.

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs

bookshelves: published-1999, winter-20132014, tbr-busting-2014, kiddlewinks, amusing, art-forms, under-500-ratings, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, revenge, fraudio, fantasy, boo-scary, doo-lally, ouch, gothic, gr-library, young-adult

Read from September 09, 2013 to January 17, 2014


Who knew, the fourth doctor penned some boy-fun.

Description: Robert Caligari is a thoroughly evil thirteen-year-old who gets his kicks from kicking pigs. After a humiliating episode with a bacon butty, Robert realizes just how much he loathes the human race – and his revenge is truly terrible. This subversive horror-fantasy from Tom Baker (ex-monk, ex-sailor, and the ultimate Doctor Who) is outrageous and funny, and since the hardback was published in 1999 has gone on to become a cult classic. It is illustrated throughout with b/w line drawings from David Roberts.

‘Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile’, was Robert’s favourite quote.

This reads like a cross between Dahl, Snicket and Dennis the Menace, only darker than that!