Tag Archives: Beaver Towers series

Review of The Dark Dream – Book 4 of the Beaver Towers series by Nigel Hinton

Standard

Oscar and I finally completed our time with Philip and his talking animal companions with the fourth and last book in this series. Would it sustain the standard set by the other books? See my reviews of Beaver Towers and The Witches Revenge.

thedarkdreamIn this fourth Beaver Towers adventure, Philip and old Mr Edgar set off on their travels so that Philip can learn how to use his powers to fight evil. But while they are away, the island itself is under threat from a strange creature named Retson. This time it is up to Baby B, the little beaver and Nick, the hedgehog, to save the day.

Those who have been following the series will immediately realise there is a major difference with this book – the major protagonist throughout the other books, Philip, is missing from the main adventure. This story is told through the viewpoint of Baby B and Nick, the little hedgehog. This wasn’t a concern for us, as Baby B had already stolen much of the limelight by this part of the tale. Philip is now growing into his magical powers and I think Hinton’s decision to remove him and Mr Edgar from the scene, leaving the two small animals at the centre of the adventure was a shrewd move. It also prevented this story falling into any kind of formulaic pattern, especially as Baby B and Nick become rather conceited and full of themselves regarding their magic – with consequences that impact on the rest of the story.

Hinton also produced yet another scary and all-too-plausible villain who poses a real threat to the inhabitants of Beaver Towers – to the extent that Baby B and Nick are forced to go on the run. The tension as the frightened animals flee through the hidden tunnel pings off the page and I was quite relieved when Oscar asked me to complete the story the following day during the afternoon. It wasn’t necessarily one to settle him down to sleep. That apart, we both were drawn into the adventure and I genuinely wanted to know what would happen next.

Retsnom’s power is in danger of overwhelming everyone left in Beaver Towers, so Baby B and Nick decide to return to try and save them. Oscar and I discussed whether this was a good idea – before returning to the action. The conclusion was suitably dramatic and the ending, once more, emphasised the importance of courage and kindness and looking out for each other, without sounding overly preachy.

All in all, it was once again, a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read that ended on a positive note and while there were scary moments, six-year-old Oscar didn’t find it too daunting. We agreed it was another really good book and a suitable end to the series.
8/10

Sunday Post – 7th August

Standard

Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Oscar has been staying with me this week. I don’t normally have a chance to spend long periods of time with him alone as he is the younger grandchild, so it has been a treat. He is a bright six-year-old who loves games, so as the weather has kept us indoors and we haven’t been able to have the car, we have been playing Dobble and Junior Scrabble and I have also begun teaching him the chess moves – he has picked them all up very fast, except for the pawns, which he finds very frustrating as they won’t do what he wants them to do! We went to see Finding Dory on Thursday and botfindingdoryh thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the beautiful underwater scenes and strong characterisation. The only grizzle I have is that Nemo’s bent fin – such an issue in the first film – now seems to be absolutely fine, which is a bit disappointing continuity-wise.

Yesterday afternoon, Oscar and I went to see Tim perform in Jungle Book, playing the part of Shere Khan at the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis. He was a wonderfully convincing baddie, growling and snarling his way through the show – and to think that just over a year ago, he wouldn’t consider playing anyone who was ‘nasty’ or ‘unhappy’. The speed he is progressing is amazing – it was wonderful seeing him on the stage enjoying himself and giving such a very strong performance.

This week I’ve managed to read:
The Dark Dream – Book 4 of The Beaver Towers series by Nigel Hinton
thedarkdreamIn this fourth BEAVER TOWERS adventure, Philip and old Mr Edgar set off on their travels so that Philip can learn how to use his powers to fight evil. But while they are away, the island itself is under threat from a strange creature named Retson. This time it is up to Baby B, the little beaver and Nick, the hedgehog, to save the day.
This is the final book in the series and once more, Hinton manages to up the stakes with one of the main protagonists putting the community of Beaver Towers in danger due to his own silly behaviour. While the Dark Lord is always more than willing to take advantage of any weakness. I shall be reviewing this book in due course.

 

Nevernight – Book 1 of The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking nevernightvengeance against the powers who destroyed her family. Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Another gem from NetGalley, I have thoroughly enjoyed this one. Think of a very dark dystopian version of Hogwarts and you come slightly close to the atmosphere at the assassins’ school in the Red Church – please ignore the YA classification and keep this out of the hands of your younger teens before you have at least vetted it. This non-YA reader loved it…

 

The Steal – Book 3 of Star Wars Adventures in Wild Space by Cavan Scott
thestealStill on the hunt for their kidnapped parents, Milo and Lina Graf head to Lothal in search of an ally. But when something precious is stolen from them, they have to embark on their most dangerous mission yet. Will they succeed in THE STEAL?
Another children’s read – this is yet another slice in the ongoing travails endured by poor Milo and Lina in the desperate hunt for their parents. And this one leaves the pair on the real cliffhanger making me very glad I’ve got the next book for us to move onto.

 

 

Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky
The Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can spiderlightremember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian, armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen. Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with danger. Allies will become enemies; enemies will become allies. And the Dark Lord will be waiting, always waiting…

This is a joy. Tchaikovsky has taken some of the main tropes in epic fantasy – the struggle between Dark and Light; religious intolerance and infighting; a prophesy about a chosen one – and put his own unique spin on them. He is an intelligent, accomplished writer who also assumes his readers can keep up. So far 2016 has proved to be an amazing year – I can’t recall reading so many books of such quality – and this is yet another.

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 31st July

Review of After You Book 2 of the Me Before You series by JoJo Moyes

Teaser Tuesday – featuring Nevernight – Book 1 of The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of An Accident of Stars – Book 1 of The Manifold Worlds by Foz Meadows

Review of Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Friday Faceoff – The First Men in the Moon featuring the book by H.G. Wells

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2016 – July Roundup

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Over-Booked – the San Diego Comic Con 2016 Edition! http://booksbonesbuffy.com/2016/07/30/over-booked-53-the-san-diego-comic-con-2016-edition/ Tammy really provides a slice of what it is to be a fan at a busy con in this enjoyable article.

Lake Tekapo is the Sanctury You Need on a South Island Road Trip https://memoirsonthemove.com/2016/08/02/lake-tekapo-is-the-sanctuary-you-need-on-a-south-island-road-trip/ One of the joys of social media is being able to vicariously travel alongside folks experiencing the real thing, thanks to their gift for photography and word pictures. This is a stunning example.

Writers’ Other Hobbies: Polymer Clay http://melfka.com/archives/1895 I have all the artistic ability of a doorknob, so I am delighted to see what other people do with the slices of time they spend away from their computer screens.

Placeholder https://ginnibites.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/placeholder/ This sharp-edged, beautifully observed poem by Ginni is a gem.

The Problem with Female Protagonists – http://writerunboxed.com/2016/08/06/the-problem-with-female-protagonists/ If you haven’t yet visited this site and you are a writer, I recommend you do. And this depressing, articulate article may account for the reason that woman are regarded as secondary in far too many walks of life. Still.

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

Sunday Post – 5th June

Standard

Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

As it’s been half term, I have had a break from my teaching commitments, so have managed to motor ahead to complete editing the third draft of Breathing Space. We had the grandchildren staying over last Sunday and Monday, which was lovely as ever – and the puppy that my daughter is fostering also came for a sleepover. Unfortunately, she spent her time in the garden digging up the cats’ poo and eating it, which gave her an upset tummy – a real shame, as otherwise she is a poppet.

littlehamptonlibraryOn Wednesday evening, I attended a murder mystery evening at Littlehampton library, as part of their 110th anniversary celebrations – making them the oldest free library in West Sussex. The murder had been designed by Ann Cleves and was thoroughly entertaining, despite the fact that I was hopelessly wrong in guessing whodunit.

 

 

davidconstanstineOn Friday evening, as part of the Worthing World of Words 2016 literary festival, I attended a poetry reading by David Jenny FeldmanConstantine and Jenny Feldman. It was brilliant – both these poets were inspirational – I particularly loved David’s poem ‘Rec’ and Jenny’s poem ‘Swifts’. They also talked about their work, what inspires them and their writing process. I came away buzzing.

Yesterday, I attended three more brilliant talks as part of the Worthing WOW Festival – the first one was by my writing buddy and professional editor, Sarah Palmer who gave a workshop on how to write a synopsis. She gave us a step by step ‘how to’ guide and even more importantly, an example of a synopsis. As I’d rather write ten novels than one of these beasts, I found it really helpful.

The second talk was on social media for writers, where Nichola Smalley, who is the publicist for the literary publishing company And Other Stories, explained the different forms of social media and how writers could use them. Her best advice was to concentrate on the platform that we feel most comfortable using and to enjoy ourselves.

Literary agent Victoria Salter gave a fascinating talk on how she saw the state of the UK publishing industry, given the major changes she has seen in her nine years as an agent. This was a really interesting insight in what an insider felt about some of the seismic changes that have convulsed the industry.

I’ve had a really sociable, enjoyable week, in addition to reading four books, which are:

dangerousjourneyDangerous Journey – Book 3 of Beaver Towers by Nigel Hinton
During his stay last Bank Holiday weekend, Oscar was very keen to finish this story, so we curled up on the sofa together during a chilly afternoon and joined Phillip, Baby B and Nick on their battle against the Prince of Darkness. Once more, a tension-filled, enjoyable adventure that held Oscar’s attention until the end.

thehousewithnorooms1

The House with No Rooms – Book 4 of The Detective Daughter’s series by Lesley Thomson
When I attended the launch party for this book the previous week, of course I scooped it up – and got my copy signed. So I immediately dived into it as a treat – and loved it. Lesley writes with great perception and intelligence in this unusual whodunit.

 

lastcallatthenightshadeloungeLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
This intriguing urban fantasy deals with the life and doings of Chicago bartenders, who battle evil flesh-eating demons by using cocktails – and these recipes are set out in The Devil’s Water Dictionary. This is great fun, with an intriguing, fresh twist on the urban fantasy trope, and an appealing protagonist, Bailey Chen. My review will be posted on the blog during the coming week.

 

Cursed – Book 2 of The Soulseer’s Chronicles by Sue TingeyCursed
I read and enjoyed the first book in the series, Marked, so when Sue contacted me and asked me if I’d like to read the second book, I immediately agreed. It’s great fun, with plenty of pace and chockful of surprises as half-daemon Lucky de Salle begins to discover what she is capable of. My review will be appearing on Brainfluff during the week.

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 29th May

Review of Change of Life – Book 2 of A Menopausal Superhero series by Samantha Bryant

Teaser Tuesday – Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen

My 1,000th Post – Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2016 – May Roundup

Friday Faceoff – In the Beginning There Was Nothing, Which Exploded featuring Hilldiggers – Book 2 of the Polity series by Neal Asher

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The House With No Rooms – Book 4 of The Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thomson

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week:

Joanna Maciejewska’s great piece of short fiction – Miye’s In http://melfka.com/read-online/miyes-in … A fabulous short story…

Self published thriller writer Seumas Gallacher generously shared his findings, when he tried a selection of a number of book-marketing websites aimed at the indie market.
…Authors–caveat emptor re book-selling websites–the final report makes for sorry reading… https://seumasgallacher.com/2016/05/31/authors-caveat-emptor-re-book-selling-websites-the-final-report-makes-for-sorry-reading/ … via @seumasgallacher

A tempting offer, if you’re looking for a quality read at a VERY reasonable price from one of the best indie writers I know.
Flaming June? Curl up under the blankets & read! …https://zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/flaming-june-curl-up-under-the-blankets-read/ … via @guineapig66 Great value for a great book!

A really enjoyable quiz.
What Is Your Spirit Animal? https://www.buzzfeed.com/egeen/what-is-your-spirit-animal-2c0p3 … via @buzzfeeders This is fun:))

And this is also a hoot…
Eleanor Roosevelt says: | The Müscleheaded Blog https://jeanreinhardt.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/eleanor-roosevelt-says-the-muscleheaded-blog/ … via @jeanreinhardt1 This made me howl with laughter…

As you can see, it’s been a busy week – again. And a momentous one, given that I’m now a millennium blogger, so here’s to the next thousand posts! Many thanks to all of you who take the trouble to visit and comment, it’s always appreciated. I’m now hoping that the weather will stop sulking in the foothills of April and finally give us a June worth the name, as I’m fed up with wearing jumpers and thick coats. Have a great blogging and reading week, everyone.

Review of The Witches Revenge – Book 2 of the Beaver Towers series by Nigel Hinton

Standard

Oscar and I completed Beaver Towers and immediately he wanted to continue with Philip’s adventures, so we went straight onto The Witches Revenge. Would he find it just as exciting?

witchesrevengeSomeone is following Philip – someone who wants revenge. He must get back to Beaver Towers, where his animal friends can help him. But are they strong enough to fight the evil magic of the witch?

This book starts with a bang. We discover that Philip has been having a rough time of it since he returned home after an absence of three days, as no one believes his tale of having been whisked away by a magic kite into a land where animals talk and a wicked witch is threatening their lives. He ends up being forbidden to mention his silly stories – so when he feels sure he spots Oyen, the shape-shifting witch in the street, there is no one who he can turn to for help. The scene in the house, where he is alone and terrified, is genuinely frightening and reads really well.

The antics of Baby B, the small beaver who befriended Philip, are something of a relief from all the tension. Until Oyen follows Philip back to the magic island, that is… Hinton has an easy, unfussy writing style that covers a lot of ground in a relatively short space of time – a real advantage when writing for newly independent readers.

While the climax in the last book was a tad rushed, the scene that provides the finale to this adventure is far better paced and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. All in all, this second book is an excellent addition to the series, providing plenty of action and excitement, with lots of humour and the sense that Philip isn’t going to come to any lasting harm.
9/10

Weekly Wrap-Up – 10th April 2016

Standard

This is where I join in the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where bloggers can share what they’re reading and what they’re writing about.

For the second week in a row I completed reading five books, and will be reviewing all of them, although I haven’t yet written them all, as my grannying duties this week have got in the way of my blogging. Again, a couple of these books I completed while reading them to the grandchildren. I have already posted a couple reviews as they were published this week, but the others are still waiting to see the light of day.

 

Desolation – Book 2 of The Demon Road trilogy by Derek LandyDesolation
This children’s horror is all about a couple on the run from a demon. I’m impressed at how well written and entertaining it is, with plenty of action and plot twists – and how it all kicks off when they end up in a town called Desolation… This review was posted on Thursday.

 

burnedBurned – Book 7 of the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka
This is the latest instalment in the adventures of the divination mage Alex Verus. A foot-to-the-floor, adrenaline-fuelled novel with a shocking conclusion. As this book was published on Thursday, I posted my review on Saturday.

 

The Witches Revenge – Book 2 of Beaver Towers by Nigel Hintonwitchesrevenge
The Easter holidays has given me the opportunity to continue reading this enjoyable children’s fantasy adventure to my grandson. This book is far scarier than the first in the series and enthralled us both, so I read far later into the night than I’d intended. The review will appear in due course.

 

therhesuschartThe Rhesus Chart – Book 5 of The Laundry Files by Charles Stross
Arcane British agent, Bob Howard, is confronted once more with beings with paranormal powers, meaning that the Government agency The Laundry has to swing into action. This supernatural whodunit is distinguished by the sharp, snarky first person commentary by Bob.

 

Space Hostages – Book 2 of the Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougallspacehostages
This hugely enjoyable science fiction adventure is for children, apparently, but we were all giggling in some places and enthralled in others. I will be posting the review of this in due course.

 

My posts last week were:-
Weekly Wrap-Up – 3rd April
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuirre
Teaser Tuesday – Desolation – Book 2 of The Demon Road by Derek Landy
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Last Gasp by Trevor Hoyle
* NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Desolation – Book 2 of The Demon Road by Derek Landy
Friday Faceoff – UK vs US books covers of Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
* NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Burned – Book 7 of the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka

It’s been a busy week with grannying, so the blog and writing have taken a back seat, somewhat. My most popular post was last Sunday’s Weekly Wrap Up, closely followed by my Tuesday Teaser.

I’d like to thank everyone who swung by, particularly those of you who went to the trouble of leaving a comment. Take care and have a great week, now that the trees are finally starting to burst into leaf – yay!