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Alex Bell always wanted to be a writer, but embarked upon a Law Degree as a back-up plan, writing no fewer than six novels during her time at university. Now the published author of The Ninth Circle and Jasmyn, Alex happily dwells in an entirely make-believe world of blood, madness, murder and mayhem.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Nothing is what it seems in Alex Bell’s spritely, spooky novella that sees a girl figure out the sinister secrets of a toy factory. An atmosphere of underlying mystery is keenly evoked from the off: “The children of Cherryville all knew the factory was an evil place. Something awful had happened inside five years ago. It was something kids still whispered about in the playground and used to frighten each other at sleepovers.” And in the way of all creepy rumours, “None of the children in the town knew the truth for sure. They just knew that they should stay away from that factory.” Unfortunately for Tess, she and her younger siblings are forced to work in the factory when its reopening ominously coincides with her family’s farm falling on hard times. With its eccentric Willy Wonka-esque owner mysteriously only employing under twelve-year-olds, what else can they do? Inside the factory, it’s not long before all manner of terrifying events unfold, and all creepy fingers point to the teddy bears being behind them. Though short in length, this is big in impact: how’s this for an evocative description: “And the smell of damp gave way to the scent of goblin, which was something like black pepper and toffee apples mixed up together”? The story sprints to tense end, with a final twist in the tale that would give Roald Dahl a run for his money. And, being published by Barrington Stoke, it’s written and designed with reluctant and dyslexic readers in mind. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
In a nutshell: magic, friendship, adventure | Like a crisp layer of new snow in sunshine, Alex Bell’s novel sparkles with excitement and adventure. In the tradition of fairytale heroes Stella is an orphan, brought up by the explorer who discovered her abandoned as a baby. Though she looks like a snow queen with her white hair and blue eyes, Felix and his relaxed, happy upbringing have given her a warm heart, something that turns out to be very important. Stella longs to be an explorer too and, against the strict rules of the Explorers Club, Felix takes her on a trip to the Icelands; but it’s when she and three other children are separated from the grown-ups that the adventure really begins. Can Stella, Shay, Beanie and awful Ethan make discoveries, and make it home? The setting is magical, the cast of characters hugely appealing and the chain of adventures that befall them thrilling. This well-written, charming and imaginative adventure story is highly recommended.
The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling Frozen Charlotte, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016. Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night. Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember - a seance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls - whatever it takes.
Some curses grow stronger with time... People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch's history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house's dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember. Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one spirit is more vengeful than ever..
Following the sudden death of her best friend, Sophie hopes that spending the summer with family on a remote Scottish island will be just what she needs. But the old schoolhouse, with its tragic history, is anything but an escape. History is about to repeat itself. And Sophie is in terrible danger... Keep up to date with the Red Eye news on Twitter @StripesBooks #RedEye