Hello my lovely readers! This is my hundredth blog post, which I cannot believe! I wanted to do something a little bit different to celebrate reaching this blog milestone, so I came up with a little series of posts. I will be writing six posts, under the theme of ‘genre favourites’. For each genre, I will choose my favourite books, give a brief (spoiler free) synopsis and state why I enjoy them so much!
Today we are starting with Children’s Fiction, and I have 3 books to talk about. I have actually decided to pick children’s books that I have read and enjoyed recently, as an adult, instead of my childhood favourites from earlier years. I feel that this gives me an unbiased view of the books, as I will not be reviewing them from a purely nostalgic point of view.
Professor Gargoyle (Lovecraft Middle School #1)
I read this book back in 2013, and there have since been a few more releases in this series (which I have not read yet, but certainly intend to pick up).
Our main character is Robert Arthur, and he is about to start seventh grade at his new school ‘Lovecraft Middle school’, but he realises very quickly that this new school is stranger than he was expecting – students disappear, rats leap from lockers and the science teacher is a little peculiar. With some new friends, Robert sets out to uncover the secrets hidden within his new school.
Professor Gargoyle is ‘middle grade fiction’, but I simply couldn’t stop myself from falling completely in love with it. It is quick to absorb yourself into the story, and is a short and snappy read – perfect for capturing the attention of younger readers, and also perfect for the adult reader to whizz through without losing interest. Reading this book really took me back to my days of enjoying ‘Goosebumps’, and I think that any fans of the work of R L Stine would definitely enjoy this series by Charles Gilman!
Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror
This is fantastic collection of spooky short stories, written for children and younger readers. The main character is Edward who visits his Uncle Montague, who lives alone in a big house, to listen to his frightening stories. As each chilling tale, from the demon bench end to a ghostly game of hide and seek unfolds, Edward begins to question just how his Uncle knows these tales, where the mysterious objects in his study come from and why the atmosphere around them is beginning to feel more and more sinister.
One of the things that really stood out to me about this collection of short stories, was the way that the overall plot links each story together – too many short story collections have no big picture linking them together, and this feature makes the book quite unique, and gives the reader a lot to enjoy.
Although I could tell that this book was written for readers younger than myself, the tales recounted by Uncle Montague were actually darker and creepier than I was expecting. The Demon Bench end was one that I particularly enjoyed, and it did send a little chill down my spine! The gothic atmosphere that is build up in the book is wonderful, and casts a darker shadow over even the less scary tales.
Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief
This is a book that took me years to get around to picking up! It had been on my TBR pile for such a long time, and I finally read it a few weeks ago. I think I was reluctant to give it a chance, because I was scared I would not enjoy it, despite hearing so many wonderful things about the series!
Percy Jackson is twelve years old, and on the first day of summer, just after his sixth-grade year, Percy discovers that he is a half-blood: half human and half God. After encountering some frightening monsters, he ends up at a special camp for children just like him. Here, he begins to discover who is truly is, but things are not quite smooth sailing. Percy is accused of stealing the lightning bolt from Zeus, and he has to set out to find out who really stole it, and prove his own innocence.
I was sucked really easily into the story and the characters. I loved the pacing of the plot, and overall the story was gripping, interesting and easy to follow. I was able to refresh all of my knowledge about the Greek Mythology (a subject I have not studied since middle school!), and I think that this series would be great for children that are just learning about Greek Mythology – it is a fantastic combination of fact woven into fantasy, and really prompts further research in a fun way.
Having enjoyed this first book so much, I absolutely intend to go on and read the rest of the series, as well as other series by Rick Riordan!