Monday, January 9, 2012


Watch Over Me by Daniela Sacerdoti



I adored this beautiful, haunting and romantic tale set in the Scottish highlands. Eilidh is heartbroken after losing a baby and ending her marriage and finds solace in the quiet village where she had spent time with her grandmother as a child. Reconnecting with the slower pace of village life and with old friends including single Dad Jamie, Eilidh begins to heal. I loved the idea of the spirit of Jamie’s mother Elizabeth match-making from beyond the grave; it is a unique idea which encapsulates the spirit of the novel that there is a reason for everything and that destiny prevails. Daniela is a smart and talented writer who has carefully crafted the world of her story, all of the characters even the minor ones are fully rounded and the sense of place in the novel is incredibly vivid. This is a gorgeous and ethereal debut which will have wide appeal. I hope to see much more from this author. (Black and White Publishing)

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley-Phillips



With echoes of Grimm’s Fairy Tales this a picture book with a monster intent on eating the children that he tricks into coming out to play. The illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to this fantastic rhyming story. My five year old son adored this book and particularly enjoyed the gruesome ending as clever granny saves the day. Great fun for youngsters aged 5 + (Maverick Publishers)


Red Sky at Night by Jane Struthers






Jane Struthers has in this book collected together a vast array of useful information including how to brew your own ale, navigate by the stars and predict the weather. This book will also teach you what to plant in your garden and when and how to recognise different birds and tell the phases of the moon. The author also includes superstitions and old wives tales and explains their origins and there are sections on recipes, games and traditions throughout the year. This book is filled with the kind of knowledge which our grandparents would have taken for granted but which through our reliance on television and our indoor lifestyles has gradually been forgotten. So if you have resolved this New Year to get out and explore more then this book is the perfect companion.
 €12.50 (Ebury Press)

1798 Tomorrow the Barrow we’ll Cross By Joe Murphy




This is an enthralling and page turning novel from author Joe Murphy which will both entertain and inform. Brilliantly researched and movingly written it is the story of two Wexford brothers; Dan and Tom Banville who despite their different political views become involved with the United Irishmen and the rebellion of 1798. The book shines with historically accurate description and authentic dialogue but the real strength of the novel is in the careful crafting of a gut wrenching and page turning story filled with characters that you will come to love. The story is told from a number of viewpoints; the idealistic Dan, the realistic Tom and the courageous Elizabeth and it also examines the impact of the rebellion on all levels of society. At 423 pages it is not a light read but it is unputdownable, whether you have an interest in history or simply enjoy a good tale well told.
€13.99 (Liberties Press)

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver departs from the Teenage dystopia she has become known for in this short but beautiful book. Liesl & Po is brought to life by the illustrations of Kei Acedera. The story is set in an alternative Victorian-style world and revolves around Liesl, locked in an attic by her cruel stepmother and grieving for her father.  She makes friends with ghostly visitors Po and Bundle who have come through from the other side. Together they plan Liesl’s escape from the attic so that she can bring her father’s ashes to his favourite place by the willow tree. On the way they meet Will a magician’s assistant who is also running away. Lauren Oliver wrote the book after the sudden death of her best friend and the story deals with grief, love and loss in a poignant and powerful way without ever being too melancholy or morbid for the target 9-12 year old audience. A wonderfully told story with great characters; good and bad.
€12.50 (Hodder & Stoughton)