I am not ashamed to say that I am a book lover! I read and I read and I read and I read. My other great passion in life is of course my son and the joy that he brings to me every day (even when he uses all the eggs (and salt) for science experiments!)
I am proud to say that my love of books has been passed on to my small and fluffy tyrant. He, however, is a massive consumer of audio books as well as appreciating a good physical book.
As we are living through these strange times and I spend most of my days trying to work whilst being quizzed relentlessly about Doctor Who and Ancient Egyptians, or living through Home Science experiments which generally involve my poor mistreated kitchen, I thought, why not spend a bit of quality time chatting about BorrowBox and which books he (child of mine) would recommend to you all… I choose to think of this as serendipity rather than shameless exploitation of the young and inquisitive!
To get a snapshot of his reading preferences here’s a photo of his bookshelves. Not all books are accounted for here as there are many dotted around the house as well – like the pictured Spy’s Handbook. The Story of Tutankhamun has come into its own now that the class topic is Ancient Egyptians (I am nearly as excited about this topic as I was when they did The Vikings!)
So without further ado, I give you my son’s recommendations:
We start with Harry Potter (always…)
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone is currently available from BorrowBox with No Waiting – the perfect time to give it a go…
“It is really good, it has magic and mystery and the plot gets deeper and deeper with each book. I’ve listened to the audio book at least twenty times – I really DO like Harry Potter!”
Top Tip? “Watch out for Professor Quirrel – he is not what he seems…”
Is he exaggerating, you wonder? I can say with a hundred percent certainty that he is not! I’m sure I’ve mentioned in a previous post (Family Listening) how we have become accustomed to the voice of Stephen Fry in our household.
His favourite Harry Potter book at the moment is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – all the Harry Potter books are available on BorrowBox in eBook and eAudio but they are extremely popular so you might have to wait a little while before you can read them. You can reserve titles and don’t forget that if you finish a title you can return it straight away so that it is available for the next person…
The next title is another of his favourite books – one that he read at the beginning of the year and really enjoyed. When he is choosing books, I do let him have free reign (of course I show him seven hundred million titles a week as well) as I think it is important that he feels like the choice is his and that we let him read what interests him. Last time I showed him around our books in County Reserve Stock, he thought that the books by HP Lovecraft looked the most interesting!
The Blackthorn Key – Kevin Sands
Follow the clues. Crack the code. Stay alive.
Potions, puzzles and the occasional explosion are all in a day’s work for young apothecary Christopher Rowe. Murder is another matter.
It’s a dangerous time to be the apprentice of Benedict Blackthorn. A wave of mysterious murders has sent shock waves through London, and soon Christopher finds himself on the run. His only allies are his best friend, Tom, courageous Molly, and a loyal feathered friend, Bridget. His only clues are a coded message about his master’s most dangerous project, and a cryptic warning – ‘Tell no one!’
The race is on for Christopher: crack the code and uncover its secret, or become the next victim . . .
The next title that took his interest was Wildspark by Vashti Hardy – he has not read/listened to this one but he said:
“It has a catchy title and the plot with a search to find a ghost machine sounds really interesting.”
A secretive guild of inventors have brought spirits of the dead back into the world, harnessing them in animal-like machines. Young Prue has joined as an apprentice, but she’s on a mission of her own: to bring her brother back to life. To find him, she needs to get the ghost machines to remember the people they used to be…
He then commented on Tom Gates – he said his friend ‘loves’ Tom Gates like he loves Harry Potter…
“Firstly the cover is eye catching – I’ve never seen one like that before, looks like a fun children’s book” (not sure whether that is a ringing endorsement or damning indictment?) Certainly Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates is one of our top children’s series – the first book is available as a Listen Now – No Waiting title in BorrowBox.
Next we jump to Derek Landy and Skulduggery Pleasant and I have to confess that I really, really love these books too! Of Skulduggery he said:
“Skulduggery is a book of magic and mystery, like Harry Potter but in a much more interesting way (Mum fell off her chair and screeched what???) …well, he’s a reanimated skeleton (said in a very condescending tone) who can do magic!”
Stephanie’s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn’t fiction.
Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.
When all hell breaks loose, it’s lucky for Skulduggery that he’s already dead. Though he’s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn’t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there’s anything Skulduggery hates, it’s torture…
Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing’s for sure: evil won’t know what’s hit it.
So there you have it. Read it, you won’t be sorry – the humour and story are fantastic.
The Magical Misfits – Neil Patrick Harris
Do you believe in magic? Carter doesn’t. He knows magic tricks are just that – tricks. And as a street magician he’s also pretty good at them. But then Carter runs away from his conman uncle and he finds himself alone and in danger from dastardly carnival ringleader, B.B. Bosso. He could really use some magic now … A chance encounter with the mysterious Mr Dante Vernon leads Carter to a magic shop, where he teams up with five other like-minded kids and the MAGIC MISFITS are born! Can the gang use their magical talents to save the day and stop B.B. stealing a priceless diamond?
“It starts with a boy who lives with his uncle who has magic and uses it to swindle people out of their money. The boy learns some tricks of his own, he runs away and meets some friends and the thing they all have in common is magic. The narrator is funny and he always skips chapter 13 because it is unlucky!”
Alex Bell – The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club series
“It is interesting because Felix Evelyn Pearl is an explorer who finds a girl in the snow whilst on expedition. Felix adopts the girl and names her Stella Starflake Pearl. All Stella wants to be is an explorer like her father but girls aren’t allowed to be explorers.”
Describe this series in five words: Magic, Excitement, Fear, Funny, Gripping.
Robin Stevens – Murder Most Unladylike
There are two new eBook short stories in this series available from BorrowBox – The Case of the Deepdean Vampire and The Case of the Blue Violet.
The Case of the Deepdean Vampires – “I like the sound of this because I REALLY like the supernatural, so of course, ‘vampire’ caught my attention… I know I’ll like these books because Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells have created a detective society where they solve murder mysteries. My favourite book so far is Arsenic for Tea, I think you can guess what happens – the clue is in the title, Arsenic.”
Who Let the Gods Out series – Maz Evans
“There are Gods and magic, but where there are Gods, there are Demons (stated as a universal fact…) Thanatos is a demon who is trapped under Stonehenge. Elliot is the main character and his friend is Virgo, she’s a constellation. My favourite characters are Thanatos and Hermes.”
A shooting star crashes to earth and changes Elliot’s life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. When the pair accidentally unleash the wicked death daemon Thanatos, they turn to the old Olympian gods for help. But after centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task?
Why should people read it (in three words) Exciting, Tense, Funny.
The Last Chance Hotel – Nicki Thornton
“I’m reading this to Mum because she hasn’t read it (she has but she is using her Machiavellian ways to get him to read aloud to her!) I really like it because it is a magical murder mystery.”
Silverfin – Charlie Higson (Young Bond)
“This is an interesting one. The young James is home for the holidays and whilst on a train one day sees a boy sneaking on board, they make friends and it turns out the boy is looking for his brother who has disappeared.” I had to cut this one short as I didn’t think you would want me to relay the entire plot to you in a blog post!
Our review session turned into a bit of a general quiz at this point, I asked what made a good book:
- That feeling of excitement, this is getting good and I don’t want to stop now.
- The cover and title must look really good.
- An exciting plot, it can’t just be partly interesting, you have to keep the story alive with as many feelings as you can possibly jam into it, this makes it worth your while to keep reading.
- What do you like most in a story, does it have to have magic?
I like scary and tense, it doesn’t have to have magic so long as it is interesting. I like Crime, Mystery, murder and detectives most.
- Who is your favourite detective?
- Which audio book would you keep if you could only have one?
The Blackthorn Key and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (but, that’s two!) I know but I really like them both.
- Who are your favourite authors?
Robin Stevens, JK Rowling, Maz Evans, Alex Bell, Derek Landy.
- Which book would you recommend to your teacher?
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (why?) because he really likes science so I think he will like Science Fiction.
- Follow on question – what is the answer to Life the Universe and Everything?
What is your favourite Harry Potter quote? (I haven’t checked these for accuracy!)
I have two:
- “I can teach you to bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in death.” Severus Snape
- ” Let us hope, Mr Potter, that you will always be around to save the day…” Lucius Malfoy
Last question -what can books teach you? Everything, except maybe, how to fly a broom.
I hope you have enjoyed this one, I certainly enjoyed listening to my son’s reasoning and couldn’t be happier that he is so engaged with books and reading. He is a great fan of BorrowBox and I hope that some of you will be inspired by this. Why not have a look at what is available with your kids this evening?
Let me know if you agree with any of his choices or whether you have any recommendations for him, I’ll be sure to pass them on.