Month: October 2014

BOOK REVIEW – Not Forgetting The Whale by John Ironmonger

Following on from the success of his previous novel ‘The Coincidence Authority‘ (which was one of the Waterstones Bookclub titles), John Ironmonger is back with is incredible new work of fiction ‘Not Forgetting The Whale‘.

I was lucky enough to meet John when he kindly came in to our store to sign copies of ‘The Coincidence Authority‘ last month, when I received an advanced copy of this book which is not due out until February 2015.

Not Forgetting The Whale‘ follows the trials and tribulations of Joe Haak. After being washed up naked on a beach in Cornwall, Joe is rescued by the local villagers. From the beachcomber to the local bar-keep, they all accept Joe and take him in as their own.

However, the villagers aren’t quite expecting whats on the cards for them…Joe is on the run, running away from a worldwide collapse that has been predicted by a piece of software that we created! Are we really to think that the world is coming to an end? Is Joe the savior of the ultimate demise that he has, in part, helped to create?

I started reading it the day that I got it and I feel like I didn’t stop until I’d finished it, impeccably written with moving prose, complete with a strangely immersive setting ‘Not Forgetting The Whale‘ is not a book that I’ll be forgetting any time soon. The characters all have their place in the story and they all provide different aspects to the this very readable tale. Joe is a loner that is accepted into a community that he is now responsible for. Can he call this place is home? Are these people his friends?

And now for my usual ‘Its somewhere between…’, this one is somewhere between ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, a strange yet exciting story that is a real delight to read.

Luckily I was able to bag a proof copy of this book from John himself, along with our friendly rep from Orion (Jon Small). My edition is now complete with John’s intricate ‘Ambigram’, a signature that reads the same upside down as it does the correct way round. The book isn’t due for publication until February 2015 but I was very grateful to be able to read an advanced printing of this brilliant book.

Pre-order at
Due out 12/02/15
ISBN: 9780297872030


GUEST BOOK REVIEW – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Guest Reviewer: Ami  (@mama_roach)

The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany and tells the story of Liesel, whilst she lives at her foster home in a small town called Molching at the onset of World War Two. Here, she meets an array of fascinating characters and as we read, we discover more about the war, but also the individuals who are punished because of it. The town gets bombed. Liesel dies.
Before you complain about spoilers, this book is full of them. The story is narrated by Death and initially I was taken aback by this, as I couldn’t quite follow the narrative. Death is an interesting narrator that reveals the story at the start of each chapter, but the best thing about it is that you need to know how the story gets to that point. Foreshadowing becomes a very clever device to use, even though it reveals the fate of many characters. However, this story is told so masterfully and creatively that you just have to read it and find out how the events took place.

I was drawn in by the characters and their stories. I laughed with them, cried with them and understood their motives, even ones that were morally wrong. Liesel and her book thievery is the main storyline, with Death narrating the fascinating, and sometimes devastating, events around her steals. All of the characters she comes across in Molching are truly believable, with Hans Huberman and Max Vandenberg being the most inspiring characters I have ever read about.
You’ve heard the hype. Now judge for yourself. I am pleased to say that this is my new favourite book. It is an absolute classic, which everybody needs to read. This book left a beautiful message behind. Thank you, Marcus Zusak.

Buy from
Out now from Black Swan
ISBN: 9780552773898

GUEST BOOK REVIEW – The Prey by Andrew Fukuda

Guest Reviewer: Ami  (@mama_roach)

Following on from one of my favourite books, ‘The Prey’ is the second book in this exciting series and tells the story of Gene after the ‘hunt’. Gene is still running from the rest of society, alongside the other surviving ‘hepers’ (humans in our terms). Being only safe in the day time, Gene and the other humans have to find their way to the Scientist’s ‘Land of Milk and Honey’, or is it all just a myth?
Fukuda’s writing style still grips the reader from start to finish. The journey to the refuge makes the reader question whether they will actually make it alive, for the predators seem to be getting stronger (and more inventive.) What comes later launches the reader into a world with more questions, more mysteries and more bizarre behaviour- but this time, from the humans.

Whilst the first book introduced Gene’s world, the second book expands the world further. Fukuda introduces us to a peculiar land full of surviving humans, who call themselves ‘The Mission’. Here, Gene meets unusual characters and learns more about the world he has survived in for so long. But is it all what it seems? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Although at first difficult to empathise with Gene in the first book, the reader will certainly want to find out if he is reunited with his father by the end. He struggles with fitting into the new society and in the process becomes closer to Sissy, making it even more difficult to contend with his feelings of guilt, after leaving Ashley June behind. However, by the end of the book, some of our burning questions are adequately answered. The sense of mystery and the non-stop action of this book will certainly set an appetite for the third and final instalment. The Prey is a mystery adventure that takes the reader on a wild journey across vast landscapes, although it’s best not to travel by train!

Buy from
Out now from Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
ISBN: 9780857075451