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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

In My Mailbox 1

This is my first In My Mailbox posting. Having read many other IMM posts, I thought I'd join in too. The meme is run by The Story Siren.

Apologies to Google Reader users for my inadvertent posting of this briefly yesterday as well (I took it down when I realised). I've got the Blogger blues :( 

Here are details of the lovely books entering my house in the last couple of weeks:

The Adventures of the New Cut Gang
The Adventures of the New Cut Gang
Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books), 9-12 - ARC obtained through a Waterstones giveaway

Description from Amazon:

Thunderbolt, Benny, Bridie and Sharky Bob are a mixed bunch of vagabonds and urchins who come together to form the New Cut Gang in two comic tales of stolen silver, skulduggery and desperadoes.
Fake coins are turning up all over Lambeth and the finger of suspicion is pointing at Thunderbolt's dad - could he really be the forger? The crime-busting New Cut Gang come to the rescue!
And when just two clues - a blob of wax and a Swedish match - are discovered at the scene of a break-in, the children find themselves on the trail of an extremely cunning criminal.
Set in late Victorian London, these two action-packed thrillers have now been put together in a single volume - with new illustrations throughout from Horrible Histories illustrator, Martin Brown.
This is being released on the 1st September and looks really good. Look out for a review in the next few weeks.

Magus of Stonewylde
Magus of Stonewylde 
Kit Berry (Gollancz), YA fantasy - sent by the lovely SciFiNow from their blog giveaway

Amazon description:
Sylvie is dying. A victim of crippling allergies, poisoned by the pollution and chemicals of modern life, Sylvie is trapped in a hospital bed while her mother and doctors watch her life slipping away. But one of them offers her a chance. There's an alternative community - Stonewylde - hidden away behind high boundary walls in a corner of Dorset. If their leader, the charismatic Magus, would let Sylvie visit then perhaps the clean air and green lifestyle may restore her vitality. Or at least give her some measure of peace before she dies. It's a chance, and when Sylvie and her mother take it, they find themselves in a haven of tranquillity and beauty. But it's not all idyllic. The Magus sends a moody, secretive Village boy to work in their garden as a punishment. He warns them to stay away from him - he's rebellious and in deep trouble. But Sylvie is curious about Yul and, as their forbidden friendship grows, she sees that all is not quite as it seems at Stonewylde. Why was she told to keep away from Yul - and why are she and her mother so drawn to the Magus? Is the crone on the hill really a powerful wise-woman, or just a crazed old hag bent on destroying the peace with her wild prophecies? And what exactly is the magical secret at the heart of this seemingly perfect community?
The first three Stonewylde books were originally self-published between 2005 and 2007 and have now been snapped up by Gollancz; four are out now, with the fifth and last to come in 2012. I devoured the self-published editions a few years ago, but the gorgeous new covers and the promise of "tighter, grippier" new versions (as stated by Kit Berry on Twitter) made me add the Gollancz versions to my wishlist. I couldn't believe my luck when SciFiNow chose this as my giveaway title for supporting their blog! Again, I'll be reviewing this at some point, together with the rest of the series.

Black Swan Rising
Black Swan Rising
Lee Carroll (Transworld), Urban Fantasy - sent from Transworld as part of their Reading Group promotion (click the logo to the right for more info; signup closes end of August)

Back cover blurb:
Jeweller Garet James isn't the same as everyone else.She just doesn't know it yet.With her fair share of problems – money (lack of), an elderly father, a struggling business – Garet should be just like any other young, feisty, single New Yorker. If only it was that simple...
It begins with the old silver box that had been soldered shut. All Garet has to do is open it. A favour for the frail owner of the antiques shop. Who wouldn’t help?
Only it’s then that things start to change. Garet doesn't notice at first, the shifts barely perceptible. But the city in which she grew up is beginning to reveal a long-hidden side – darker, and altogether more dangerous: parallel world of chaos, smoke and blood.
And now it’s out of the box...and it has no intention of going back in.
This came out in paperback in May. It looks like a smart urban fantasy and I'm looking forward to reading it - I'll review it when I have.

Agatha Parrott and the Floating Head
Agatha Parrot
Kjartan Poskitt (Egmont), 5-8 - purchased

Hiya! This book is about Odd Street School where I go with mad Ivy who always jumps down stairs four at a time WAHOO! And Martha who is big and can sort out boys anytime.
The oddest teacher we've got is Miss Barking who wears goggles and gloves to use a pencil sharpener. This story is about when she tried to execute Martha with a floppy cardboard axe, but instead Martha's head floated off and exploded ha ha brilliant!

This is newly published (1st August) and is a smashing read for 7+. Click here for my review

Dead Man's Cove
Dead Man's Cove
Lauren St John (Orion), 9-12 - purchased

Amazon description:
When orphaned Laura Marlin moves from a children's home to live with her uncle in Cornwall, she longs for a life of excitement just like the characters in her favourite detective novels. A real life adventure is on hand as she is deposited at her uncle's spooky house . . . Why does her uncle, Calvin Redfern, forbid her to go to Dead Man's Cove? What's the truth about Tariq, the silent Indian boy who lives with the flamboyant Mukthars? Who is J? Who has left the message in a bottle for Laura to discover? Mysteries abound and who better to solve them than Laura Marlin, ace detective? Accompanied by her trusty companion, Skye, a three-legged husky, the dog she's always wanted, Laura's adventures begin in this first captivating mystery, winner of the 2011 Blue Peter Book of the Year Award.
This came out last year, and the second in the series - Kidnap in the Caribbean - has been published since. I've been meaning to get my hands on this for a while. It seems like Famous Five for the 21st century, so we'll see how the youngest and I get on with it. 

Tweet Right: The Sensible Person's Guide to Twitter
Tweet Right
Nicola Morgan (Crabbit Publishing), reference - purchased on my Kindle

Amazon description:
Tweet Right is your guide to getting started on Twitter. Nicola Morgan leads you gently but firmly through the whys, the hows and the how nots. Whether you are intrigued or confused, sceptical or raring to start, whether you are a complete beginner or you’ve already taken tentative steps, Tweet Right will guide you from the beginning until you are ready to fly. 
Nicola Morgan is a highly successful author for all ages. She wrote the best-selling Write to be Published and many acclaimed books, including Wasted, Fleshmarket, Blame my Brain, and Mondays are Red. She created the renowned blog Help! I Need a Publisher!, and was responsible for a No 1 worldwide trending topic on Twitter, the compulsive game #lessinterestingbooks. Although many of the examples of good Twitter-use in Tweet Right come from her experience as a writer, her advice is designed for any sensible person wanting to enjoy and benefit from Twitter, personally and professionally.

I got this on the Kindle yesterday and am really pleased with it so far. I've been using Twitter seriously for a few months (like many Tweeps, I signed up, failed to 'get it' and left it alone for a bit before returning and getting properly stuck in), but have still picked up a couple of useful tips here. And I really like Morgan's style (see my review of her Write to be Published here).


  1. Hi Beth - thanks for stopping by my blog. :) I've heard great things about Black Swan Rising so I hope you enjoy it.

    The Word Fiend

  2. I hope you enjoy Black Swan Rising. I read it over the weekend and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

  3. I'm looking forward to your review of "Black Swan Rising." I need to add it to my Amazon wishlist. Thank you for the reviews of the kid's books! My son would probably enjoy several of these.


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