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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.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Thrilling Thursday: New Releases from Orion

Today, @fiercefiction and @the_orionstar - the YA and children's branches of Orion publishing, respectively - have a crop of exciting new releases.

Opal Moonbaby by Maudie Smith
Synopsis from the Orion website:
Sparkling, original and fun - meet Opal Moonbaby, the alien who came to stay, in this brilliant new series for 7+ girls.

Martha's decided friends are stupid. Especially if they're anything like Colette and Chloe. She never wants another friend. Ever.

But it's the first day of the summer holidays, and there's not that much to do... until she spots a strange little furry creature who leads her to Opal Moonbaby. Opal's been sent down from her planet on a mission: to work out what on earth people are (and my goodness - people are strange) and to make a friend.

Maudie Smith will be here as part of her blog tour on the 18th January, and I'll be reviewing this one soon. Doesn't it look like a fun new title?

Dark Parties by Sara Grant
Synopsis from the Orion website:
Sixteen-year-old Neva plots to escape her world, where everyone looks the same and no one is allowed to leave, in this compelling thriller about identity, trust and freedom.

Neva keeps a list of The Missing - the people like her grandmother who were part of her life but who have now vanished. The people that everyone else pretends never existed.

In a nation isolated beneath the dome of the Protectosphere - which is supposed to protect, but also imprisons - Neva and her friends dream of freedom. 

But life is becoming complicated for Neva. She's falling for her best friend's boyfriend - and she's learning more than she ever wanted to know about what might be happening to The Missing...

I'm reading this one at the moment and really enjoying it. Watch out for my review coming soon, and Sara Grant will be here for her Dark Days of January blog tour at the end of the month, posing the tricky question: What would you stand up to protect?

Crossing Over by Anna Kendall
Synopsis from the Orion website:
The Land of the Dead is a dangerous place to be...and so is the Land of the Living.

Whether it's a curse or a blessing the fact remains: whenever Roger is in enough pain he can cross over to the Land of the Dead and speak to the people there. It's an unexpected gift - and one that, throughout Roger's life, his violent uncle has taken advantage of. Roger has been hauled from fairground to fairground, and beaten into unconsciousness, in order to bring word of the dead to the recently bereaved. It's a hard, painful way of life, deceiving the living for a crust of bread.

So when Roger has the chance of a new life, it seems a gift. He has a chance at safety and at living a life of his choosing, tucked away in the royal court. But life is unexpected, and when Roger falls in love with the bewitching, willful Lady Cecilia he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. With every step he takes towards her, he is drawn deeper into court intrigue, into politics, and even into war . . .

. . . and when Roger's curious abilities come to the Queen's attention, everything changes forever.

Trapped in courtly politics, bound by secrets, Roger is torn between his own safety and that of his friends. He can save them . . . but only if he can bring himself to perform a deed so unthinkable that the living and the dead shrink from it alike. . .

Intriguing, isn't it? And what a gorgeous cover!

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish
Synopsis from the Orion website:
Can Elliott escape the terrifying ghost of Glebe House or will he be trapped in the mansion, forever hunted by the dead?

When Elliott and his brother, Ben, move into the old and crumbling Glebe House they don't expect to find themselves sharing it with ghosts.

But soon sinister events are unfolding. An old diary reveals glimpses of the mansion's past - and of a terrible tragedy. A mysterious woman talks to the dead. And evil lurks in the East Wing - a hideous labyrinth of passageways devised by a truly twisted mind. 

Can Elliott and his family escape the clutches of Glebe House? Or will they be trapped in the maze of corridors, forever hunted by the dead?

This sounds really spooky and atmospheric, and that's certainly what the cover promises. Will I dare to read it? 

Dark Warning by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick
Synopsis from the Orion website:
Her past is a secret, but Taney Tyrell is haunted by the future. Brilliant new novel about a girl with the gift of the second sight, by Irish author Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick.

Ever since Taney was four she's known she could see things before they happened. She also knows that she must keep her gift a secret - at all costs. Teased and isolated by the local children for being strange, as Taney grows older, she has more and more questions. Why is her father so terrified of her gift? What happened to her mother? 

Then she meets the mysterious Billy, an outsider just as she is. Charming and attentive, Billy is the first person with whom Taney can simply be herself; with whom she can share her strange burden, and begin, instead, to feel proud of her ability.

But then the visions come - lone girls attacked as they walk home at night. And as Billy begins to withdraw further into himself, Taney must ask herself who to trust - her only friend, or the visions that torment her dreams...

This one's a younger YA title, aimed at readers of 12+. It sounds really interesting and I can't wait to find out more about Taney's abilities. 

Exciting reads ahead, wouldn't you agree?


  1. They have got some great books coming out this month. I just finished The Haunting Ground and got completely scared.

  2. Great books but it's a pity they don't take unsolicited manuscripts.

  3. They all sound pretty good. I read & reviewed The Hunting Ground last year and quite enjoyed it.


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