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Reading, reviewing and collecting all modern children's books . . . from J.K Rowling to Philip Pullman, as well as up and coming authors. This is for like-minded enthusiasts, who are as passionate about modern day children's' authors as we are. So enjoy, communicate and share the love of books with us. Bookboy@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: @Enchantedbooks

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    Rose Raventhorpe and the secret society of crime-solving butlers are at it again! Today is the publication of the second book in the series by Little Brown Books for Young Readers. When an orphan goes missing, will Rose and the butlers be able to find her before she disappears forever?

    When an orphan boy named Orpheus interrupts the Cathedral's Mistletoe Service, saying that his sister has been kidnapped, Rose vows to help. Solving the mystery will be a lot better than accompanying ghastly Herbert! But the investigation is more complicated than Rose has anticipated and will lead her and her butler friends through fancy tea-rooms, horrible factories, secret underground passages and more...

    For fans of Murder Most Unladylike and The Clockwork Sparrow, these are all fantastic historical mystery reads that will have you gripped with period crimes and a puzzle or two to solve. Why not give them all a go today? :)

    Welcome, Janine. Here is her post on Top 10 Butlers.

    As a kid I thought it would be great fun to have a butler. He would say, ‘would Miss like tea served on the lawn?’, or ‘shall I run Miss’s bath at the desired temperature?’ or ‘Shall I tidy your room for you, Miss?’ (If you ask your parents to say things like that, their eyes bulge and they start shouting.) There are some wonderful butlers in books, plays, TV series and films. Here are some of my favourites. Some are funny, some are sad, and some you definitely want on your side when you’re in trouble. 


    1 – Jeeves. Jeeves is the butler in a series of classic, funny books by PD Wodehouse. He’s technically a valet, but most people think of him as the quintessential butler. He helps the hapless Bertie Wooster out at every turn. Typical quote: ‘It is hardly my place, sir, to criticise the facial peculiarities of your friends.’


    2 - Stevens in the novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, and the 1993 film. Poor repressed, duty-bound Stevens. He tries so hard to be the perfect butler he forgets to live a life for himself. Great book, and film portrayal by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Typical quote: ‘A man cannot call himself well-contented until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer.’ 


    3 – Edmund Blackadder in the Blackadder TV series, played by Rowan Atkinson. Blackadder is possibly the funniest, most caustic butler ever. Especially when he’s stuck with the stupidest master in London. Typical quote: ‘God, I’m wasted here. It’s no life for a man of noble blood, being servant to a master with the intellect of a jugged walrus and all the social graces of a potty.’


    4 – Brabinger in the TV series To the Manor Born. Dear old Brabinger wouldn’t dream of leaving Audrey fforbes-Hamilton when she leaves the Manor. An old-school gentleman. Typical quote: (On hearing the flowers have been arranged in water tainted by a dead pigeon) ‘I thought they lasted longer, Madam.’ 


    5 – Geoffrey in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Middle name Barbara. Studied at Oxford, was an Olympic runner, and got slapped by the Queen. Typical quote: (after receiving a small raise) ‘Thank you, sir, and with my newfound wealth, I shall be able to treat myself to a Happy Meal!’


    6 – Niles in the TV series The Nanny. Snide and droll, he gives CC Babcock hell and is always on Nanny Fine’s side. Typical quote: (Trying to get into the Professional Butlers’ Association) ‘I happen to come from a long line of butlers, each one a member, until my father, the butler to the Duke of Carlisle, accidentally knocked over a vase … he was wrestling naked with the Duchess at the time.’


    7 – Carson in the TV series Downton Abbey. Millions of fans loved Downton. Carson is a tradition-loving, slightly stuffy, loyal and caring man who doesn’t like change. Typical quote: (Told there are worse things in the world) ‘Not worse than a maid serving a duke.’ 


    8 – Alfred Pennyworth in Batman (comics, TV series, films). Alfred keeps those bat-costumes looking their best, and no doubt cleans the Batmobile while Batman is swanning about as Bruce Wayne. Typical quote: ‘Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.’ 


    9 – Domovoi Butler in the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer. Butler is Artemis’s bodyguard as part of family tradition. I love a butler who can make pithy comments and fight with the best. Typical quote: ‘Argh? Pathetic and inarticulate. Nice combination. Your mothers must be so proud.’


    10 – Crichton in the play The Admirable Crichton, by JM Barrie. Originally disapproving of class equality, Crichton takes charge when a bunch of Victorians are shipwrecked. He becomes engaged to a Lady Mary. On the point of marriage, they are rescued, the social order restored, and poor Crichton returns to his humble station. He inspired the equally admirable Kryten in the TV series Red Dwarf. Typical quote: ‘His lordship may compel us to be equal upstairs, but there will never be equality in the servants’ hall.’ 


    Honourable mentions: 
    Angus Hudson, the loyal Scottish butler in the TV series Upstairs Downstairs. 
    Hobson in the film Arthur – acerbic but affectionate minder to Arthur. 
    Lurch, in the TV show The Addams Family. 
    Mrs Danvers in the novel Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. Yes, she’s the housekeeper, not the butler, but at least one housekeeper should be on this list. Mrs Danvers is menacing, malicious and scary as hell.
    Author Biography
    A former journalist, Janine Beacham has written all her life. She has always loved fairy tales and fantasy, and as a child would make up games for her friends to play at school. Janine once entered a competition where the prize was a real-life butler - which partly inspired the secret society of butlers in the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series. Janine lives in Western Australia with her family. 
    Find her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeachamJanine

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    Melissa E. Hurst - On Through the Never - Published by Sky Pony Press (July 11, 2017) -  ISBN-13: 978-1510707610

    In 2013, Bridger and Alora found a way to prevent Alora’s murder and return her to the century she was born in, preserving the timeline and preventing a possibly disastrous future.  

    Back in the year 2147, Bridger is following in his father’s footsteps by wrapping up his military training at The Academy for Time Travel and Research. Alora is adjusting to life in the twenty-second century, and learning to master her powers; as a Dual Talent, she has the rare―and secret―ability to bend both space and time. 

    But unrest is growing in the North American Federation. As the government moves to limit the rights of Purists, people who refuse genetic modifications, violent protests break out. At the same time, paranoia and anger about the existence of Dual Talents seem to be growing―both among Purists and within the government itself. 


    Then a masked Time Bender arrives from the future. He insists that war is coming, and only Bridger and Alora can stop it. 

    There’s just one problem: they have no memory of each other.

    Colleen Gleason - The Carnelian Crow: A Stoker & Holmes Book 4 - Published by Avid Press (July 11, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1944665357

    The girls are back!
    Evaline Stoker (sister of Bram) and Mina Holmes (niece of Sherlock) return in the fourth volume of the steampunk adventure series set in an alternate Victorian London.

    Ever since the debacle of the Chess Queen Enigma, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker have laid low, trying to settle back into their quiet lives as young ladies of London. But the Holmesian deductive abilities won't remain dormant for long, and when Mina receives a strange package from a winged, midnight visitor, she is catapulted into a new, mysterious adventure: the search for The Carnelian Crow. 

    Meanwhile, Evaline has received some very disturbing news--news that will change her life forever. Along with that unpleasant knowledge is the strange disappearance of her nemesis, the disreputable pickpocket Pix.

    When it becomes clear the arch-villainess the Ankh has made her next move, it will take all of Mina's Holmesian ingenuity and Evaline's courage and determination to stop the criminal from executing her boldest and most dangerous plan yet!

    Dan Jolley - Five Elements #2: The Shadow City - Published by HarperCollins (July 25, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062411679

    The second book in an epic middle-grade series full of awesome elemental powers, nightmarish creatures, and nonstop adventure that will thrill kids who love Avatar: The Last Airbender, Rick Riordan, and Brandon Mull.
    Five elements. Two worlds. One city…and one chance to save it.
    In the past two weeks, Gabe Conway has fought a six-winged dragon, bound himself to the element of fire, and rescued one of his best friends from the twisted parallel dimension known as Arcadia. Now he has to find a way to do something even more impossible: destroy Arcadia forever—before a sinister cult unleashes its nightmare of death and destruction across San Francisco.
    Don’t miss the action-packed series School Library Journal called “extremely entertaining and sure to be popular with fans of Percy Jackson and the 39 Clues series.”

    Jennifer Brody - The United Continuums: The Continuum Trilogy Book 3 - Published by Turner (July 11, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1681622637

    In the epic conclusion to the award-winning Continuum Trilogy, Aero leads a group insurgents from the Second Continuum to overthrow his rival, Supreme General Vinick, and unite his space colony’s military forces, while Seeker embarks on a secret mission back to her home colony to reinforce Earth's defenses and protect the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra’s nightmares have become a reality as the Dark Thing hurtles toward Earth with designs on eradicating the planet’s fledgling populace. The only thing standing in the way are the three Carriers and those who would join them to fight against a second coming of the Doom.

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    PROLOGUE
    Thirty years ago Auhangamea Pitt invaded the Soviet Union. It wasn’t his first time, and even though he ended up getting shot through the brain, this trip wouldn’t be his last.

    His team had been sent by an agency with no name, snuck there in a submarine that had traveled beneath the Arctic ice. They were all pros, collected from various elite units, and given this temporary additional duty. Pitt was the senior NCO, but when you got loaned to Special Task Force Unicorn you no longer held a rank. Everybody was Mister whatever their assigned fake name was for the duration of the operation.

    Only Auhangamea Pitt had been loaned to STFU so many times now, the full timers just called him the Destroyer. He had developed a reputation over the years. He’d get the job done with minimal drama and could be trusted to never speak of it again. There were plenty of men who were just as good at covert operations as he was, but many of those would be tempted to ask questions afterwards, like how did that guy with the scales breathe fire? Not the Destroyer. Monday morning he’d be back at his day job preparing to fight normal Communists, and he wouldn’t give Unicorn another thought until the next time they needed some regular human soldiers to babysit one of their special snowflakes.

    They carried no identification, their clothing had no tags, and they were armed with subguns manufactured without serial numbers. They were sanitized. If captured, their existence would be denied, and the rest of their miserable lives would be spent being interrogated by the KGB. There would be no international incident, just a shallow grave…if they were lucky.

    The mission was comparatively straight forward this time. A Task Force asset had been spying on a secure military testing area on an island. The team would take a raft to shore, go inland, and retrieve him. They weren’t told why he was there, or why it was important enough to risk sending an attack sub into the Barents Sea to pick him up. Frankly, Destroyer didn’t want to know. Nothing good ever came from asking too many questions about Task Force business. He had seen some weird things while assigned to Unicorn, and didn’t like to dwell on it afterwards.

    The team had been briefed aboard the sub, given a pick up location, and the code phrases to make sure they had the right man. The Destroy had violated his personal rule against asking too many questions, because he needed to make sure this particular asset wasn’t too special. Not that he minded, but if the asset turned out to be a five-hundred-pound monstrosity with a bull’s head again, they’d swamp the raft. Plus, the horns might poke holes in the rubber.

    However, they were told that this particular asset would appear and act like a normal man for the duration. Whatever the hell that was supposed to mean.

    It turned out that none of those details mattered anyway, because they walked right into an ambush.
    * * *

    Two minutes into the hopelessly outnumbered and lopsided fight, a rifle bullet struck Auhangamea Pitt through the base of the skull. The 7.62x54R round was fired from a Dragunov rifle approximately two hundred yards away, but it still retained enough destructive energy to easily shatter the bone and fling blood and brain tissue ten feet. His spinal column was severed, and the medulla oblongata—the part of the brain which regulated unconscious functions like respiration and heartbeat—was completely pulverized.

    He had been running. Moving target and poor light. It was either a really lucky shot or the Russian sniper was damned good. Either way, it didn’t matter, the base of the brain was the best target in the human body. Hitting it with a bullet was like flipping a kill switch. He’d made that shot several times over the years, and knew that it meant instantaneous death. Lights out.

    Only somehow the lights stayed on as he’d toppled over the edge of an icy cliff. The sixty foot fall would be more than sufficient to break most of the bones in his body. Going down, he knew he was double fucked, but it wasn’t like you could be extra dead. He hit the rocks like a trash bag full of stew.

    So when Auhangamea Pitt found himself lying broken in a puddle of blood, paralyzed, but still somehow conscious of the world around him, his first thought was well, this is bullshit.

    He laid there for a while, listening helplessly as the rest of his team perished. Once the gunfire tapered off, the Russians walked to the edge of the cliff and shined a light down on him, but it was obvious that he was dead, so they didn’t even bother to climb down. Once the flash lights weren’t pointed at his eyes, he was able to watch the northern lights. The aurora borealis was so beautiful, this wasn’t the worst place to die. There had been plenty of close calls in stinking jungles and third world back alleys that would have been worse, so he watched the pretty lights and waited for death, more mystified than frightened.

    He was a warrior and warriors die in war. There was no reason to be a big baby about it. Or maybe the bullet had torn out the part of his brain that processed fear? There was either going to be something next, or nothing. All he knew was that he should have gotten on with it by now.

    The being that appeared above him was made of light. At first he thought his brain had finally run out of oxygen, and this was that light at the end of the tunnel thing that the near death experience people always talked about. He’d always thought that sounded like bullshit. Only this wasn’t a tunnel, this light was walking toward him. It was a man made of light, so logically the Destroyer figured it was an angel…Considering the life he had led it was a little surprising it wasn’t a devil. Most of the people he’d offed must have had it coming after all.

    You are trapped between the world of the living and the world of the dead, the blob of light said. Fate has brought you here before us because your bloodline is the key. We will postpone death until the cycle is complete. In exchange you will prepare the God Slayer for the final confrontation between good and evil.

    Which all sounded like hippie nonsense to the Destroyer, but it wasn’t like he was in any position to argue semantics. More of the beings had gathered around him. It was a glowing angel beach party.

    Then a light touched his head and filled the bullet wound with dreams.

    He saw so much, so fast. It wasn’t a glimpse into the future, so much as a mission packet, and a demonstration of the serious repercussions of failure. He would have a son. That son would die saving the world or he would die trying and the world would fall. It was all or nothing. He was shown the signs which foretold the end, and then he was given a glimpse of the end.

    That little peek into the future demonstrated that the part of his brain that processed fear was working just fine. What he saw scared the hell out of him.

    War is coming. The demon beneath the mountain will rise. The Chosen must not be given the truth until then. Once you reveal the truth, we will no longer stave off your death, and death is a jealous thing. The Chosen must find the truth of things on his own. You will prepare him so that he may survive the crucible, but you must not ever fight his battles for him. Can you do this?

    What did they expect him to do with a shattered spine and collapsed lungs? Nod? Sure. And then he hoped the light got the message. I got this.

    We can only hope so. It is a terrible burden, sending your son to die so that others may live.
    * * *

    “So then I woke up covered in blood and otherwise fine. I got back to the raft, signaled my ride, and went home. Before that mission I used to say there wasn’t a godless heathen communist born who could kill Auhangamea Pitt. Turns out there was, but even then it took the jackass a few decades to get it to stick. So that’s it, boys.” Dad sighed as he leaned back in his chair. “That’s how we got to this. Now you know.”

    My father, my brother Mosh, and I were sitting around Dad’s kitchen table. We had been there listening to him talk for an hour. I had absorbed the story better than my brother—who was looking incredulous and bewildered—but to be fair, I’d seen a lot more supernatural stuff than he had.

    “That’s it?” Mosh asked. “Holy shit, Dad, you just told us a story about you coming back from the dead, war angels versus mountain demons, prophecies about the apocalypse, and that’s it?

    Dad shrugged. “I don’t think they picked me because I’m inclined to be flighty.”

    Mosh just sat there, mouth open, trying to come to terms with what he’d just heard. “Okay…That is so metal.” Then Mosh asked the question I lacked the courage to. “So the story is told. Do you really think you’re going to kick the bucket now?”

    “Maybe…Beats me.”

    “Aren’t you scared?” Mosh asked.

    The tough old bastard actually laughed. “More like relieved. I’ve been carrying this secret a long damned time. Those things haunted my dreams off and on your whole lives. Little glimpses of the world dying if I dropped the ball. I guess they thought I needed the reminder to stay on task. Look, dying don’t scare me. I’ve been retired for years. It’s basically the same thing. By the way, don’t you dare tell your mom I said that.” Dad turned and looked me square in the eyes. “Better question, are you?”

    “Scared?” I asked.

    “Sure.” He’d figured out that I was the son this all fell on. If his supposed angels were telling the truth, I would be the one giving up my life to save the world. “Are you scared?”

    “I’d be a fool not to be.”

    “Good answer. It’s on you now. I did what I could. Was it perfect? Hell no. But I look at you two and how you turned out and all I can do is hope it’ll be good enough. I didn’t know exactly what was coming, and I didn’t just want to raise killers. That’s easy. I tried to raise good men.Owen, from what I’ve heard, you’ve seen some shit. You’ll be ready to face whatever comes. Remember, you’ve got the training, the skills, and a hell of a good crew at your side. You’ve got enough stubbornness to never back down, but try to have enough humility to learn from your screw ups.” Then he looked toward Mosh and scowled. “David…Well, you’ve still got a lot to learn.”

    If he had said that to the old Mosh, it would have turned into a protest, and then a fight against the man who never thought anything was good enough. Maybe my little brother would storm off for a few years and become a rock superstar just to spite him or something…Only a few days ago my brother had watched a casino get sucked into another dimension, so right now he conceded the point. “Fair enough.”

    “So what happens next?”

    “They didn’t exactly brief me on the timeline. There are signs. Some have happened.” He began ticking off on his fingers. “Time got broken. That demon’s symbol began appearing. More bad things are coming. You’re going to make them right. It is time you take the fight to him.”

    “Anything in particular I should be watching out for?”

    “I’ve got a general sense of dread and a suspicion a whole lot of bad things are involved, but it’s fuzzy after the demon starts putting his mark on things. Destiny only gets you so far. My gut feeling is that what happens next is still up in the air, but this son of a bitch is so evil, nothing is off the table. He’ll hide in plain sight. Come at you sideways. There’s nothing he won’t do against you. You’ll figure out the rest as you go…Anybody else want a beer?” Dad got up and walked to the fridge.

    “No thanks, Dad.” Mosh had been steadily drinking himself to death since the Condition had cut off his fingers, but I think he’d gone cold turkey since we’d escaped Las Vegas, so hopefully he was getting his life in order. To be fair I had to remember I had a head start in the apocalypse business, my poor brother was still playing catch up.

    Dad opened the refrigerator door, stared at the contents for a moment, and then collapsed.

    Published by Baen Out 1st August 2017 

       The Monster Hunter Series
    Monster Hunter International
    Monster Hunter Vendetta
    Monster Hunter Alpha
    Monster Hunter Legion
    Monster Hunter Nemesis

    Monster Hunter Siege

    Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge


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    Kelly Barnhill - The Girl Who Drank The Moon - Published by Piccadilly Press (24 Aug. 2017) 

    ISBN-13: 978-1848126473

    Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is in fact a good witch who shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

    One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna's thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge - with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth's surface. And the woman with the Tiger's heart is on the prowl . . .

    The Newbery Medal winner from the author of the highly acclaimed novel The Witch's Boy.

    Helena Duggan - A Place Called Perfect - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 Aug. 2017) 

    ISBN-13: 978-1474924160

    Violet never wanted to move to Perfect.

    Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time?

    Violet quickly discovers there's something weird going on in the town - she keeps hearing voices, her mam is acting strange and her dad has disappeared.

    When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have vanished... and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!

    Julia Jarman - The Time-Travelling Cat and the Egyptian Goddess - Published by Andersen Press (3 Aug. 2017) 

    ISBN-13: 978-1783445738

    Topher and his father are trying to get over the death of Topher's mother, an Egyptologist, when they take in a stray cat. This cat bears an uncanny resemblance to a cat ornament given to Topher by his mother and so they name it 'Ka', meaning 'double'. Topher becomes very attached to Ka and is puzzled by her mysterious absences. One day when he is playing a computer game with an Egyptian theme, Ka jumps on the keys and spells out the name Bubastis, which was the centre of cat worship in Ancient Egypt. Could Ka really be leading a double life and what is she trying to tell Topher?

    J .R Wallis - The Boy With One Name - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (10 Aug. 2017) 

    ISBN-13: 978-1471157929

    Twelve-year-old Jones is an orphan, training as an apprentice hunter alongside his mentor, Maitland, tackling ogres, trolls and all manner of creatures that live in the Badlands – a hidden part of our own world, and which most people think exist only in fairytales and nightmares. But all Jones secretly wants to be is an ordinary boy and to leave the magical world forever...

    When an ogre hunt goes wrong and Maitland is killed, Jones finally has a chance to find out where he came from. But the truth he uncovers isn’t what he’s expecting and it seems that if Jones is going to make his dream come true he’ll have to defeat a creature not even Maitland had dared take on and he won’t be able to do it alone…
     
    He’s going to need help from Ruby, the first girl he’s ever met. She’s outspoken, fearless and determined to prove she’s as good as any boy, and unlike Jones, being ordinary is the last thing on her mind. Ruby’s desperate to find her place in the world and thinks the Badlands could be it. So, working together isn’t going to be straightforward. In fact, it could be downright dangerous.
     
    But who said getting what you want is supposed to easy, even if it is just wanting to be ordinary?

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