Tag Archives: Hot Key Books

My Most Anticipated June New Releases

The Mirror Chronicles: The Bell Between Worlds by Ian Johnstone

Half of your soul is missing. The lost part is in the mirror. And unless Sylas Tate can unite the two worlds, you will never be whole again. Sylas Tate leads a lonely existence since his mother died. But then the tolling of a giant bell draws him into another world known as the Other, where he discovers not only that he has an inborn talent for magic, but also that his mother might just have come from this strange parallel place. Meanwhile, evil forces are stirring, and an astounding revelation awaits Sylas: that the Other is a mirror of our world, and every person here has their counterpart there, known as a Glimmer. As violence looms and the stakes get higher, Sylas must seek out his Glimmer, and unite the two halves of his soul – otherwise the entire universe may fall.

Julius and the Watchmaker by Tim Hehir

A lost diary

A spinning pocketwatch

A gentleman wielding a deadly walking cane

And a boy who’s about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime

When Julius Higgins isn’t running from Crimper McCready and his gang of bullies he’s working in his grandfather’s bookshop in Ironmonger Lane.

Until Jack Springheel, a mysterious clock collector, turns up looking for the fabled diary of John Harrison—the greatest watchmaker of all time.

Before he knows it, Julius becomes a thief and a runaway and makes a deal with Springheel that he will live to regret. And all before he finds out that Harrison’s diary is really an instruction manual for making a time machine.

The Apprentices by Maile Meloy

The enthralling sequel to The Apothecary, Maile Meloy’s first book for young readers.

Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s son who stole her heart. She’s thrown herself into an ambitious chemistry project and, when it vanishes, she suspects the rich and powerful Magnusson of stealing it. And she knows she needs help to fight him.

On the other side of the world, Benjamin and the apothecary have been working in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, using their elixirs to help the sick and wounded. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a new formula that allows him to see into Janie’s world.

The friends are thrown into a whirlwind chase around the Pacific Ocean, trying to find each other and the truth behind what threatens them.

The Phoenix Files: Doomsday by Chris Morphew

After ninety-nine days of lock down, the annihilation of the human race is right on schedule. Luke and Jordan are fighting a losing battle. Peter has escaped, Bill has disappeared, and Co-operative Security are moments away from storming the Vattel Complex. As the battle rages on in town, an offer of help arrives from the last place anyone could have expected. But can it really be trusted, or is this just another one of Shackleton’s deceptions? And with murder still looming over Luke, will he even live long enough to find out? One way or another, it’s all coming to an end. The clock is still ticking. There are seventeen hours until the end of the world.

Loki’s Wolves by M.A. Marr and K.L. Armstrong

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters – wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds – all bent on destroying the world. But the gods died a long time ago. Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history – because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids – led by Matt – will stand in for the gods in the final battle, Matt can hardly believe it. Matt’s, Laurie’s, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to stop the end of the world.

Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones

BEHOLD THE SAVAGE SPECTACLE OF THE WILD BOY – ONE PENNY A KICK!

Wild Boy has been covered in hair since birth; he s the missing link, a monster, a sideshow spectacle. Condemned to life in a travelling freakshow, excluded from society and abused by his master, he takes refuge in watching people come and go at the fair – and develops a Sherlock Holmes style talent for observation and detection. But when there s a murder, suspicion turns on Wild Boy, and he and the feisty redhaired acrobat Clarissa Everett find themselves on the run from a London-wide manhunt. Together, the detective and the acrobat must solve clues to identify the real killer, confronting the sinister underside of scientific advancement and the darkness of Wild Boy s own nature.

Tall Tales from Pitch End by Nigel McDowell

Ruled by the Elders, policed by an unforgiving battalion of Enforcers and watched by hundreds of clockwork Sentries, Pitch End is a town where everybody knows their place. Soon-to-be fifteen-year-old Bruno Atlas still mourns the death of his Rebel father ten years ago, and treasures the book of stories he secretly uncovered: the Tall Tales from Pitch End. After discovering a chilling plot planned by the Elders, Bruno flees, escaping to the mountains where a bunch of disparate young Rebels are planning a final attack on Pitch End. With secrets and betrayal lying around every corner, Bruno will find himself fighting not only for his life, but the life of the town.

The Blue Lady Eleanor Hawken

Fourteen-year-old Frankie Ward is used to being the new girl at school, but even she is unprepared for life at St Mark’s College. Finding herself isolated from the rest of the girls, Frankie is drawn to flamboyant and dramatic Suzy, who captivates her with stories of ‘The Blue Lady’ – the ghost of an ex-St Mark’s pupil who died in mysterious and tragic circumstances. One night Suzy persuades Frankie to help her contact The Blue Lady via an Ouija Board – and the girls unleash a terrifying spirit who seems set on destroying not only their friendship but Suzy’s sanity. Determined to rescue her friend, Frankie enlists the help of Seb, a mysterious and alluring boy from sister-school St Hilda’s. Seb is as interested in St Mark’s past as Frankie – but does he have as many dark secrets as the school?

The Savages by Matt Whyman

Sasha Savage is in love with Jack Greenway – a handsome, charming, clever… vegetarian. Which would be acceptable if it weren’t for the fact that Sasha’s family are very much ‘carnivorous’, with strong views to boot. Behind the respectable family façade all is not as it seems. Sasha’s father Titus rules his clan with an iron fist, and although her mother Angelica never has a hair out of place, her credit card bills are shocking and her culinary skills are getting more… ‘adventurous’ by the day. As for Sasha’s demonic brother Ivan? Well, after accidentally decapitating a supermodel in their family bathroom his golden boy image is looking wobbly. To the outsider the Savages might look like the perfect family, but there is more to them than meets the eye. When the too-curious private detective Vernon English starts to dig for darker truths, this tight knit family starts to unravel – as does their sinister and predatory taste in human beings.

Dear Vincent by Mandy Hager (NZ)

17 year old Tara McClusky’s life is hard. She shares the care of her paralysed father with her domineering, difficult mother, forced to cut down on her hours at school to help support the family with a part-time rest home job. She’s very much alone, still grieving the loss of her older sister Van, who died five years before.

Her only source of consolation is her obsession with art — and painting in particular. Most especially she is enamoured with Vincent Van Gogh: she has read all his letters and finds many parallels between the tragic story of his life and her own.

Luckily she meets the intelligent, kindly Professor Max Stockhamer (a Jewish refugee and philosopher) and his grandson Johannes, and their support is crucial to her ability to survive this turbulent time.

The Freedom Merchants by Sherryl Jordan (NZ)

A riveting tale of piracy and slavery set in the early 1600s in Ireland and Northern Africa.
Twenty-five years ago, young Liam’s small fishing village on the Irish Coast was raided and its population decimated by brutal corsair pirates from the Barbary Coast who killed, plundered, and took a number of his people back to Northern Africa as slaves to Muslim masters. And now a pirate ship has been wrecked in Liam’s bay, and survivors are struggling ashore.

Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (NZ)

When sixteen-year-old Canny of the Pacific island, Southland, sets out on a trip with her stepbrother and his girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into enchanting Zarene Valley where the mysterious but dark seventeen-year-old Ghislain helps her to figure out her origins.

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The Anatomy of a Book with Tristan from Hot Key Books

While browsing Hot Key Books website I came across these two videos about the anatomy of a book.  Tristan Banks, a Production Controller at Hot Key Books tells you all about the parts of a book and the different finishes that are used.

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The Trouble with Mummies by F.R. Hitchcock

Hot Key Books are a UK based publisher who publish ‘stand out, quality fiction’ for 9-19 year olds.  Every time I go and check out their website to see what they’ve got coming up I add most of their books to my TBR pile.  They have introduced me to some wonderful new authors and some really original stories, including the marvelous Fleur Hitchcock.  Last year I loved her debut book, Shrunk, so when I heard she had a new book coming out I had to grab it.   The Trouble with Mummies is her latest book and it’s sure to have kids roaring with laughter.

Sam comes home one day to find his family turning strange – his mum is redecorating using hieroglyphics and his dad is building a pyramid in the back garden. He hopes it’s just a weird new fashion… but then the strangeness starts to spread. With the help of his friends Ursula, Henry and Lucy the Goat, Sam must save his town from rampaging Roman rugby players, hairdressers turned cavewomen, and a teacher who used to be a ‘basket of kittens’ but now wants to sacrifice the Year Ones to the Aztec sun god. As history invades Sam’s world, will he be able to keep the Greeks away from the Egyptians and discover the cause of the Mummy madness?

The Trouble with Mummies is a crazy adventure, where history comes alive and the kids have to solve the mystery before it’s too late.  When Sam’s parents start acting weirdly he gets the feeling something strange is going on.  Then his teacher dresses up in a wetsuit covered in feathers, and his PE teacher lines his class up in ranks and throws a javelin at them, so Sam knows that things aren’t right.  The people in his town get weirder and weirder and it’s up to Sam and his friends to figure out what is causing them to act so strangely.  Is it something they ate or drunk or have they all just lost their minds?

Fleur brings her love of history into the story with the different ancient peoples.  Sam’s parents become Egyptians, painting the house with hieroglyphics and building a pyramid, Miss Primrose becomes an Aztec and plans to sacrifice Sam’s friend Henry, and Ursula’s parents become Trojans.  It’s the perfect book for those kids who are really interested in history and ancient civilizations in particular.  If you know a Horrible Histories fan, you need to get them this book.  If your kids don’t already love history, then this book might just get them hooked.  You’ll certainly never look at your museum the same way again!

The thing I love the most about Fleur’s books is that they are unique stories full of imagination that are aimed at younger readers.  Forget Zac Power and Beast Quest, get your boys reading Shrunk and The Trouble with Mummies and they’ll be hooked on books.  Both of Fleur’s books also make great read alouds and they’re bound to have both you and your children laughing out loud.

What better way to hook readers in than show them the Hot Key Books ‘What’s in it?’ book key – Cavemen, Pyramids, Romans and Beards.  Who wouldn’t want to read a book with all that in it?

Check out this video of Fleur Hitchcock reading the first chapter of The Trouble with Mummies:

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Win Shrunk! by F.R. Hitchcock

Shrunk! is the wacky, weird and wonderful new book from debut children’s author, F.R. Hitchcock.  It’s also one of the first titles published by a fantastic new UK based publisher, Hot Key Books (check out their other fantastic books on their website).  You can read my review of Shrunk! here on the blog.

To celebrate this wonderful book I’m giving away 2 copies.  All you have to do to get in the draw is add your name and email address in the form below and I’ll chose two lucky winners.  Competition closes Wednesday 3 October (International).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  This competition has now closed.

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Shrunk! by F.R. Hitchcock

Have you ever made a wish on a shooting star?  Tom has, but his wish has gone horribly wrong.  Now he can shrink anything he likes and it’s going to get him in a whole heap of trouble.  Read about Tom’s misadventures in F.R. Hitchcock’s wonderful new book, Shrunk!

After Tom moves in with his grandmother next to the Bywater-by-Sea Model Village, he makes a wish on a shooting star and gets the curious ability to shrink things. The first thing he shrinks is Jupiter, then some sheep and a boat.

But without Jupiter in place, the Earth is slowly being drawn towards the Sun. With the angry (and miniaturised) school bully yelling from his pocket, Tom has to return Jupiter and save Earth — all while trying to make friends in his new home.

Shrunk! is a wacky, weird and wonderful little story full of hilarious antics.  It’s so nice to read a story for children that feels really fresh and completely different.  There’s something for everyone in this wonderful story – wishes gone wrong, missing planets, meteors crashing to earth, shrinking animals and people, horrible little boys, a race against time, and lots and lots of laughs.

I love all the characters in the book, from Tom who ends up with a rather useless and annoying power, to his Grandma who knows more than she’s letting on, his unfortunate, geeky friend Eric, Eric’s dad who believes he has been abducted by aliens, and Jacob the big (or should that be small) bully.  The hilarious antics of the characters will have children cracking up laughing, especially Jacob vs. the squirrel.

Shrunk! is F.R. Hitchcock’s first children’s book and I hope I get to read many more of her stories.  Shrunk! is perfect for children who like funny stories or stories with a touch of magic or science.  It’s a great book for children to read themselves and it also works really well as a read aloud (for around 8 years and older).  It’s a short read too so it’s great for reluctant readers.

5 out of 5 stars

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