Holly Harper

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Website: http://hjharper.com/

Twitter: @HJ_Harper

Holly Harper is a children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton and also blogs for the Readings website. When she’s not selling books, she’s writing them under the name H.J. Harper. Find out more about her Star League and Bureau of Mysteries series here.

Reviews

The Inventory: Iron Fist by Andy Briggs

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Dev is stuck in sleepy little Edderton and he hates it. He has no friends (even though he’s secretly intrigued by karate-kicking cool girl Lot), and he’s a constant target of Mason, the school bully.…

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Burning by Danielle Rollins

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Angela dreams of her release from Brunesfield Juvenile Correctional Facility. In a few months she’ll be back with her little brother and free to do all the things people take for granted in the outsi…

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The Road to Winter by Mark Smith

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Finn has become an expert at surviving on his own. After the virus that swept through Angowrie killed his parents, he’s spent the last two years keeping himself fed and staying clear of the dangerous…

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Riverkeep by Martin Stewart

Reviewed by Holly Harper

The Danék River has always been there, like a dark and silent third member of Wull’s little family. For years, Wull’s father has taught his son the arts of the Riverkeep – how to tend the lamps and k…

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Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler

Reviewed by Holly Harper

After Flynn’s grandad passes away, he and his dad make the trek to the family banana farm so they prepare it for sale. But in the clean-up, Flynn discovers two small, orphaned cassowary chicks. Flynn…

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Samurai vs Ninja: The Battle for the Golden Egg by Nick Falk & Tony Flowers

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Learning to read can be a hard task for 6 and ups – give them something boring and you’re in danger of losing their attention for good. That’s why Nick Falk and Tony Flowers’ Samurai vs Ninja: The Ba

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Redwall by Brian Jacques

Reviewed by Holly Harper

In the heart of the Mossflower Woods sits Redwall Abbey, home to the mice, rabbits, squirrels and other peaceful woodland creatures hoping to escape the attentions of the hostile rats and foxes at th…

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Zombiefied! by C.M. Gray

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Ben and his best friend Sophie are slightly zombie-obsessed. Zombie video games, movies, comics – you name it. But now their obsession with the living dead is starting to spill over into everyday lif…

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Monstrous Affections edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant

Reviewed by Holly Harper

A new anthology from Kelly Link is always a cause for celebration, even more so when the theme is monsters.

Anybody familiar with Link’s Steampunk! anthology will recognise the format of Monstrous A

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Race to the End of the World by A.L. Tait

Reviewed by Holly Harper

The king has declared a competition: the first person who can deliver to him a complete map of the world will receive whatever they wish, be it money, power or fame. After Quinn is picked to train as…

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Magisterium: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Call’s father always warned him that magic school was bad news, and so when the time comes to take the Iron Trial entrance exams, he tries his hardest to fail. But despite his natural talent for mayh…

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Jamie Reign: The Last Spirit Warrior by P.J. Tierney

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Jamie Reign is a kid you can’t help but feel sorry for – between his drunk dad forgetting his birthday, and the local villagers rejecting him because of his half English, half Chinese background, he’…

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Shiverton Hall by Emerald Fennell

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Arthur Bannister isn’t exactly keen to start at his new school, especially when he finds out that Shiverton Hall is a haunted gothic mansion. But despite a rocky start, complete with school bullies a…

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Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Alban is a land ruled by a dangerous king, a man who has outlawed any contact with the fairy-like Good Folk who are now invisible to most humans. Neryn, though, can see them all-too-well, and while s…

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Doom Rider by David Gatward

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Most 13-year-olds probably aren’t out foretelling the end of the world, but then again, Seth Crow isn’t like other kids his age. He’s been dragged around from one religious festival to the next by hi…

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The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Ever had one of those days where you feel like everyone hates you? For the kids in Alexander Gordon Smith’s latest novel The Fury, it’s not just a feeling, it’s a fact. It starts with a strange throb…

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The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

It’s hard blending in when you’re different, but for Gene, standing out means death. He’s unique because of how he acts: when he finds something humorous, he wants to laugh instead of scratch his wri…

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Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

It was Ash’s idea to visit India, so now that he hates it there’s nobody to blame but himself. Sure, he loves the ancient temples and mythical monsters, but it also means getting dragged along to stu…

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10 Futures by Michael Pryor

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

Who knows what our future holds? Is it s post-apocalyptic world where people have reverted back to a life of farming on golf courses and trading the broken technology of our past? Or is it a society …

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The Greatest Liar on Earth by Marc Greenwood and Frane Lessac

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

If somebody told you they’d seen a flying wombat, and that they’d been welcomed by a tribe of cannibals, you might call them a liar.

The Greatest Liar on Earth is the story of one such man: Louis d…

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A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

In the universe of A Confusion of Princes, Khemri is a Prince. That doesn’t involve wearing a crown and sitting on a throne. Instead he’s usually trying to avoid being assassinated. As a candidate fo…

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Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Nick doesn’t know why everyone at school is acting strangely, but he’s not used to being left out and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it. When he notices his best friend isn’t returning his c…

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BZRK by Michael Grant

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

This new offering from Michael Grant isn’t the latest in the Gone series, though the covers are so similar you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Instead, it is BZRK, the first in a sci-fi thriller trilo…

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Ghost Club 1: The New Kid by Deborah Abela

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

Ghosts can be quite the problem for those not used to dealing with them, especially when they show up throwing ectoplasm and knocking over priceless vases. Luckily, the Ghost Club are here to deal wi…

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Hatched: The Grimstones Book 1 by Asphyxia

Reviewed by Holly Harper, Readings Carlton

The Grimstones aren’t your average family: Grandpa Grimstone runs his own magical apothecary, Mama Grimstone shuts herself away to make dresses and weep rivers of tears for her departed husband, and …

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VIII by H.M. Castor

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Henry VIII is a figure whose reputation precedes him – a man best known for chopping off heads. I didn’t know much about Henry’s rise to power, and so when I first picked up HM Castor’s (pictured, l…

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Hey Jack! The Crazy Cousins by Sally Rippin

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Billie B Brown has amassed a rather large following of fans, who will no doubt be familiar with her best friend, Jack. Now Jack has his very own series of books, starting with The Crazy Cousins, The

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I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Every so often a picture book comes along that you just have to show everyone. No matter what they are doing. Even if they are in the middle of a very important task, they must drop everything to loo…

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

Reviewed by Holly Harper

Conor is still lying awake just after midnight when the monster calls. It stands outside his window and tells him it has come to get him. It shakes his house until the pictures fall off the walls.

B…

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News

Picture books for tough feelings

by Holly Harper

Depression, anxiety, grief – they’re feelings we hope the children in our lives will never have to experience, but the reality is that we can’t always shield them from these things. A thoughtful book can help kids make sense of dark times by framing their emotions in a way they can process, and can go some way in preventing children from feeling overwhelmed. Here is a list of great picture books…

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Our favourite new young adult books in July

by Holly Harper

From a gender-bent Vlad the Impaler to the wisdom of Oscar Wilde, here are our top young adult picks for July. (You can find out find our top children’s book picks here.) YOUNG ADULT BOOK OF THE MONTH

When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Mina is a refugee who has fled Afghanistan. She has done her time in refugee camps and detention centres, and now she has worked hard to secure…

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Our favourite new children’s books in July

by Holly Harper

From geriatric paper route wars to a hilarious family of hyenas, here are our top children’s book picks for July. (You can find out find our top young adult book picks here.) 2016 READINGS CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE WINNER

We’ve just announced the winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize: Run, Pip, Run by J.C. Jones.

Run, Pip, Run is a heartfelt read about a young girl on the run…

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Books for reluctant readers

by Holly Harper

Reluctant reader – it’s a label that gets thrown around a lot for kids who would rather do anything else than pick up a book. And if you’re a book-loving parent of a reluctant reader, it can be heartbreaking to see your child miss out on the joys of a good book.

It’s important to recognise why somebody is a reluctant reader, and the reasons range from low reading confidence to a lack of interes…

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Our favourite June new releases for kids

by Holly Harper

From magical umbrellas to missing ballet teachers, here are our favourite children’s books in June!

Kids’ Book of the Month

The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale

Summer is struggling to cope after the death of her beloved brother Floyd, and when her father announces he’s moving the family to Australia, her life falls further into disarray. In the midst of her grief, Summer picks up he…

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Our favourite June new releases for teens

by Holly Harper

From secret prisons to a modern-day Othello, here are the June YA releases we’re most excited about.

Young Adult Book of the Month

One Would Think The Deep by Claire Zorn

It’s 1997, and after the sudden loss of his mother, seventeen year old Sam finds himself alone in the world. His father is long gone, and the only other family he has is the aunt he cut ties with years ago. But despera…

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