Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Egmont’

Waiting for Anya

Michael Morpurgo

anyaIt is World War II and Jo stumbles on a dangerous secret: Jewish children are being smuggled away from the Nazis, close to his mountain village in Spain. Now, German soldiers have been stationed at the border. Jo must get word to his friends that the children are trapped. The slightest mistake could cost them their lives.

Waiting for Anya is set in France in world war 2. When Jo’s Dad is sent to war, he is left in charge of the farm. One day when Jo is left in charge of the sheep, a bear pays an unexpected visit. The whole village is distracted enough for Jo to sneek off into the forest where he meets a man who will change the way he thinks forever. Benjamin is a Jew. France is a dangerous place for Jews and Jo must do all he can to defend his new friends and get them safely across the border into Spain. One mistake could cost their lives.

This is the best book I have ever read. This is also the first book I have cried whilst reading, and would have sobbed on end if I could get the tears out. The ending is a very sad one but was good as well. I definitely felt mixed emotions. The very best book I have EVER read.

Verdict: I loooove this book. Best.Book.Ever!

Reviewed by Izzy (10)

Publisher: Egmont
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Historical fiction, WWII
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (10)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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We are delighted to welcome Sean Williams, author of Twinmaker, as he shares some of his thoughts on matter transmitters. Beam us up Sean!

imageA near-future thriller that fans of the GONE series and Doctor Who will love
Clair is pretty sure the offer in the ‘Improvement’ meme is just another viral spam, though Libby is determined to give it a try.
But what starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when her friend vanishes.
In her search for answers, Clair seeks out Jesse – a boy whose alternative lifestyle might help to uncover the truth.
What they don’t anticipate is intervention from the mysterious contact known only as Q, and being caught up in a conspiracy that will change everything.

Here’s a quick quiz.

Imagine a machine that can move you from place to place. Not a plane or a car, but a booth you step into. You tell the machine where you want to go. It takes you there. To you, it seems like no time at all has passed. To everyone else, maybe a minute or two. When the booth at the other end opens you see Stonehenge or your best friend’s house or anywhere else on Earth. Anywhere with a booth.

Would you do it?

Me, I wouldn’t even think about. I live in Adelaide, South Australia. I love it here, but it’s a looooong way from anywhere. At the moment this goes live, I’m in a hotel in Brighton on the other side of the world. It’s taken me over a day’s worth of taxis, airplanes and trains to get here. If I could skip all that in favour of just stepping into a booth (a bit like a TARDIS) and giving it directions, I would do it in a flash. Literally a flash–of electrons and photons rushing along a cable at the speed of light.

Before you decide, let me tell you how this machine works. Let’s call it “d-mat”, for starters. When a d-mat booth closes its doors and the machines start working, what it does is scan you from head to toe, outside in. To do that it uses something a lot like lasers. When it’s finished, there’s nothing of you left–not physically, anyway. That’s all been burned away. But you’ve been scanned right down to the tiniest detail, so “you” now “exist” as a pattern in computer memory. That pattern can be sent anywhere–and sent it is, to the place you want to be.

There, it all runs in reverse. Lasers in the other booth spin and weave an exact copy of you, molecule by molecule–and suddenly, as though by magic, you are back. Most importantly, you are alive. You feel the same as you did back in the first booth. You’re completely unaware of the lasers or the pattern or the cables. You’re just you, in a different place.

Let me ask you the question again. Now you know about the lasers (which really, when you think about it, destroyed you in the first booth) and the fact that what you will be a copy at the other end (not the original you, not one speck) would you do it?

Lots of people wouldn’t. There are so many questions. How can you be sure you’ll be exactly the same? What happens if something goes wrong–the power is cut or your pattern is lost or it’s changed somehow? What if there’s some special part of you–a “soul” or whatever you like to call it–that isn’t copied? Will you only think you’re alive at the other end, but actually you’ll be some kind of hollow zombie?

These are all creepy thoughts.

Me, I probably still would do it. After all, the way we get around today might seem a bit mad to someone not born in our time. We drive or fly in metal boxes with huge tanks full of explosive material over long distances, narrowly avoiding other such boxes full of other people. The slightest collision could see us all killed. We spend huge amounts of money on these boxes, and spend lots of time and even more money looking after them. In return they pump horrible fumes into the air that threaten to make us sick or even ruin the planet as a whole. Wouldn’t we be better off witouth all that, in exchange for a small amount of risk?

Also, the thought of not existing for a minute or so, between being scanned and being rebuilt–is that any different from going under an anaesthetic or being knocked out? Or even going to sleep at night? One moment we’re fully conscious, the next we’re not there at all. We always come back.

One of the amazing things about people is that we think we’re the same person we were when we were much younger, even though we looked and acted very differently, even though most of the cells in our bodies now didn’t exist back then. Why does the thought of being altered in even a tiny way by such a machine give us the heebie-jeebies?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this quiz. But it’s something to think about. Hopefully not late at night when you’re trying to sleep. (You WILL come back. I promise.) Philosophers have been using ideas like d-mat for decades to try to nut out who we are and how we feel about being who we are. I like to do the same thing, but with chase scenes and kissing.

Guest post by Sean Williams

image#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books–thirty-nine at last count–including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is the first in a new YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level.

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Carnegie and Greenaway Award: Code Name Verity

code name verityI have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.
That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.
He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.
We are a sensational team.

Code Name Verity is set during the Second World. Split into two parts the first section is ‘written’ by one of two friends, though we don’t find out her name until the end of her section. Captured by the Gestapo whilst in Nazi occupied France, she tells the story of her friend Maddie, and through this the story of their friendship. The second part of the book is told by Maddie herself as she tells her own story in the aftermath of her friend’s capture.

Now I mentioned last week that I had tried to read this book some time ago, but had not managed to finish it. It wasn’t that I hated the book, leaving it wasn’t even intentional, I just put it down one day and then never picked it up again. Since then I have seen countless bloggers and librarians rave about the book, where I was left a little underwhelmed. So expecting the book to be on the shortlist I started it again with a completely open mind, hoping that I could see in the book what everybody else has loved so much. I did find the second reading so much easier, I was drawn into the book to a much greater extent than before. In the writing and the storyline I can see what everybody else has loved, but I still don’t think it’s the book for me.

Code Name Verity is undeniably a well written book, telling a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship set against the hardship of the Second World War. I am left wondering why I just don’t connect with the book. Although I have an interest in history, modern world history has never been my favourite period so that could possibly be an issue for me. I think the main issue for me the first time round was that the book was just not what I was expecting.

The dual narrative of the book works very well. The ‘voices’ of the characters are very different, but entirely consistent with the way that the other friend sees them. It is the relationship between Maddie and her friend that really makes the book. Two girls that would have been very unlikely to meet at any time other than war, just ‘click’ and quickly become very important to each other. They don’t need to see each other every day or know everything about the other’s life; they are just there for each other. The age group that the book is aimed at often struggle with forming friendships, doubts about their own identities come to the surface which affect their relationships with others and this is a really positive relationship that girls can use as an example. Though towards the end of the book something pretty shocking happens, it is completely in line with the friendship that the two young women have.

The book also deals with some very sensitive situations that go hand in hand with war such as death and torture, but these are handled well enough that reading the book is not an issue for younger secondary school students. They may however struggle with the writing style, which in a lot of ways is quite grown up. The Carnegie judges gave the book an age rating of 13+ and I would probably agree with this assessment, though there will of course be many exceptions!

Verdict: A beautifully written story of friendship set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Egmont Press
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 339
Genre: WW2, Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Terrible Secret

Kristina Stephenson

Listen…. have you heard? There’s a terrible secret hidden in a well – a well in the keep of a creepy castle that teeters on top of a hill. Follow Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, his faithful cat Envelope and his good grey mare, as they dare to enter that fearful place and let the secret out! Oh my!

This book was recommended to us by preschool. They have been using it in a display recently and commented on how much my son loved it. They weren’t wrong.

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, his cat Envelope and his good grey mare go in search of adventure and in this book they find it in a crumbling castle at the top of a very large hill. In the past couple of weeks the sound of sobbing has made it down to the bottom of the hill, but the people in the village there have been too scared to investigate. That is until Sir Charlie Stinky Socks comes along! What follows is an adventure in which Sir Charlie is a fearless knight and one that discusses the importance of always telling the truth.

I can see why my son loves this book so much. It appeals to his love of knights and his silly sense of humour. This humour is emphasised by the language used. Some parts rhyme but others don’t which really adds to the atmosphere of the book. It’s the kind of book that invites you to use silly voices when reading aloud. There are also 4 giant flaps in the book that have to be lifted to read the story which is always going to be popular with preschoolers. I’m so glad that we did buy this book and I don’t think it will be long before the other books in the series will be added to our shelves.

Verdict: Exciting, fun and perfect for little (and not so little) ones.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Egmont
Publication Date: November 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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K J Wignall

Back in the 13th Century Will was destined to be Earl of Mercia. He never lived to inherit his title struck down by a strange illness and buried beneath the city walls. But Will was not dead and only now seven lonely centuries later does he begin to understand that there was a reason for all of this that he has a destiny. To find it though he will need help and as ever he will need blood.

To the shock and horror of many, I’ve never actually read a ‘Vampire’ book before and was therefore unable to contribute to our recent ‘around the table’ discussions regarding Twilight – now on my ‘to read’ pile! So this was my first experience and I didn’t know if it would be my cup of tea or not. However I was drawn in by the beautiful black, silver and red cover and I’m pleased that the story inside didn’t disappoint.

Blood, which is book one of the Mercian Trilogy introduces our protagonist Will. Will was born back in 1256 and only made it to sixteen years old having been struck down by a ‘strange illness’. We learn that he was bitten by a creature and although buried by his family, he never dies. Set in London, he has a crypt under the city walls and every few years or so after a good long sleep he awakes again not knowing which century he will be in and how life will have changed in the real world. He has witnessed much over the years and is longing to find the creature that bit him and to find answers about what happened to him all those years ago.

I felt sorry for him. He has never met another like him, and has not known anyone who can help him or explain how he came to be in this situation. To him death would be preferable to the existence he has had for the last 750 plus years. The first chapter sets the scene well and I enjoyed the author’s descriptive narrative throughout the book. We follow Will on his journey as he first off sets out to satisfy his need for blood – which wasn’t gruesome at all – quite clean and methodical in fact! Will rarely needs to have blood – he does it when necessary and he feeds off of drifters and those who wouldn’t be missed. It’s all quite different to the ‘Vampires’ that I had imagined.

He finds Jex, who ‘lives’ in an abandoned warehouse and he becomes Will’s unfortunate victim. He also meets Eloise, who is homeless, feisty and completely un-phased by Will’s description of himself as ‘undead’. She wants to help him in his quest and isn’t remotely concerned or scared by anything that they encounter. Going back to Jex’s place, they see that he has been writing and drawing pictures and Will realises his writings hold clues to help his quest. As they investigate they find themselves under attack from a supernatural entity. This leads to some fast paced battles which I thought were well written. Along the way, the truth slowly starts to reveal itself leading finally to a showdown in an old abandoned church where Will begins to get some answers at last.

There is romance, but nothing gushy or mushy. The story is unfinished as it’s the first of a Trilogy but I shall read the rest. I found it all rather intriguing.

Verdict: An enjoyable and interesting read, and a great introduction to the Trilogy.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Egmont Press
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 277
Genre: Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Received at event
Challenge: N/A
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