The City of Ember

Jamieson Wolf has been writing since a young age when he realized he could be writing instead of paying attention in school. Since then, he has created many worlds in which to live his fantasies and live out his dreams.

You can find out more at Jamieson Wolf's website.


It is a fascinating story: In the City of Ember, it is always night. Light comes from the bulbs that fill the underground city with an amber glow.

But the city was only supposed to last for 200 years. Now, 241 years later, the city is in danger.

Lina and Doon are the only ones who seem worried, the only ones who know the city is in danger. When Lina finds an old paper that leads to clues on how to leave The City of Ember, they follow the directions to adventure and their destiny.

This is an incredible book that is not just for kids but for the kid in all of us. It makes you stop and think about what your world is like and what our world will be like in the future if things don't change.

It's also a damn great story!

Sponsored by BubbleCow Literary Consultants

Black Boxes

DJ Kirby's main blog is here. You can find links to all her other blogs are on the right hand sidebar.


Black Boxes by Caroline Smailes is a book that gives you your money's worth on every page. Once again Caroline has taken one of life's most important and rarely discussed issues and with her very unique voice, made it into a very readable novel.

Black boxes is compelling reading.

I expect readers who are not familiar with Caroline's writing will think that the topic is used to allay one's fear of the situation but as usual she does no such thing. Instead, she bravely examines each nuance of this emotive topic, detailing the root cause and perpetuating factors, following the path of destruction that unrecognised postnatal depression can become. Although this is not an academic work, it accomplishes what no textbook will ever do and I strongly recommend it as reading for Health and Social Care students.

I admire Caroline hugely for writing this book and know that each person who reads it will develop a greater understanding of some very sensitive issues that are very much a part of many people's lives. Postnatal depression is the main issue but emotional abuse, neglect, bullying, love and hate are also seamlessly blended in this book written from the mother Ana's and daughter Pip's perspective. Pip's voice also speaks for her brother Davie. Ana speaks with imperfect and egocentric hindsight, Pip cries out from the harsh, damaging reality of the present time. The parallels are sharp, perfectly honed, gleaming. There is white hot pain contained within the pages of this book. Pip and Davie need a hiding tree, a place to escape the tsunami like destruction of their parent's madness's. Their pain rings out like the tones that can be coaxed from the rim of wet crystal and I found myself reading with the certainty that one of their songs was going to stop.

I challenge you to read Pip's closing words without a tear in your eye...

  • Find out more about Caroline Smailes here.
  • Read about her first novel In Search of Adam here.
  • Download her novella Disraeli Avenue for free from here.
  • Buy Black Boxes with free delivery from here.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.

The Gruffalo

Tara Cain describes herself as "a working mother with two young children and I am a total bookworm. My children are bookworms too which makes me want to whoop! Whoop!"
She is the features editor on a daily newspaper and writes a mummy blog here.


I can't believe no one has nominated this modern day classic.
Written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson, it's the tale of a little mouse who invents a terrible creature to ensure safe passage through the forest and all the animals trying to eat him for their tea.
But the mouse's invention isn't confined to his imagination and so he has to use his ingenuity to escape the clutches of this nightmarish monster.
Written in a lovely sing songy rhyme, it has gripped both of my children - and I actually don't mind reading it 14 nights in a row which is the norm for a book they love!

  • Go here for the official Gruffalo site.
  • This is what wiki has to say on the subject.
  • Find more about Julia Donaldson here.
  • Marvel at the genius illustrations of Axel Scheffler here.
  • To buy this book postage free go here.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.


Juliette is an unpublished writer living in London. To make her stand out from all the other unpublished writers living in London she hennas her hair, wears fabulous shoes and is generally found on the arm of a ginger actor/songwriter. Her blog can be found at The Lady with the Laptop and she likes visitors, old pianos, gin and coconut macaroons.


If you only read one book this year, make it this one. Richard Mayhew, a City type from 'London above', helps Door, a girl whom he finds bleeding in the street. Unknown to him she is Lady Door of the House of Portico from 'London Below' and he swiftly finds his world changing as his flat is sold from under him, his job given to someone else and his fiancee forgets him. Like the other inhabitants of London Below, he has been removed from the city above and must survive along with Door, the Marquis de Carabas and the mysterious bodyguard Hunter in the murky, shadowy world of the Neverwhere.
Neverwhere is the kind of book that stays with you long after you have read it. Certainly I cannot go to certain places in London without thinking (perhaps even hoping!) that I might see the Black Friars, the Knight's Bridge and its rat-speakers, and the Seven Sisters. From Neil Gaiman's intricately dancing prose which captures the true spirit of magical London, to the wonderful characters such as the exquisite Marquis de Carabas, the terrifying Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar (which one is more scary? You decide!) and the glassy-cool Angel Islington, each page just leads to more eerie, darkly beautiful discoveries.

  • Read what Wiki has to say about this book here.
  • Here's Wiki's wise words on the man Gaiman.
  • This is Gaiman's blog.
  • To buy a new copy with free postage go here.

Sponsored by BubbleCow.

I Know What You Did Last Wednesday

Jacob Smailes says about himself:

"I am a ordinary child with a talent which is to write. I am ten years old. I have created a blog called Info Mad which is here. My blog is aimed at encouraging children to blog but adults are welcome to read my blog if they wish. My Mum and Dad are both writers and one day I hope to be like them."


I Know What You Did Last Wednesday by Anthony Horowitz is part of a series called the Diamond Brothers. It is my all time favourite book because of the mysterious essence Anthony adds to it. I would read this story over and over again and I strongly suggest you also read it.

It is about two brother detectives called Tim and Nick and like most of Anthony’s stories there is a dumb character, which in this case is the older brother Tim, and an intelligent character, which is Nick. The Diamond brothers have to solve a crime on a hidden island. They can never quite put their finger on who the culprit is and it is not until the end of the book that you find out, but you will have to read the book if you want to know.

I have recommended this story mainly because of the strange feeling you get when a murder takes place. It is that amazing mix of suspense, humour and horror that is almost impossible for normal people to write, though not for Anthony Horowitz.

  • To read more about the Diamond Brothers go here.
  • To find out about Horowitz go here.
  • If you would like to submit your own OneBook go here.
  • To pick up a second hand copy of the book go here.

I am Legend

Patrick Chapman's poetry collections are Jazztown, (Raven Arts, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX, 2008). He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); an audio drama, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks; and an award-winning film, Burning the Bed (2003), which starred Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen.  He won first prize, story category, in the 2003 Cinescape Genre Literary Awards. With Philip Casey, he co-founded the Irish Literary Revival website. He lives in Dublin. His own website is at


For many decades, people have attempted to make a film of I am Legend (1954), Richard Matheson's gripping and brilliant dystopian science fiction novel about vampires. Vincent Price starred in a version called The Last Man on Earth; Charlton Heston appeared in a loose adaptation called The Omega Man; Will Smith recently helped us suffer through a film with the book's name, which perverts the meaning of that title in its witless, cop-out ending. But that's Hollywood, sometimes. The book itself is a study in despair and loneliness, the story of Robert Neville, the last man on Earth after a plague has wiped out most of humanity and turned the survivors into vampires. By night, they come for him — howling his name and trying to tempt him with sex — while he holes up, terrified, in his fortified house. By day, they sleep — and he goes on the prowl, killing those vampires he finds until the coming of dusk forces him to retreat back into his house. It's a neat inversion of the usual vampire story. To say more will spoil the book. Let's just say that if you've seen any of the movies, you haven't yet seen the true I am Legend. Do yourself a favour and go directly to Matheson's source.

  • Here's wiki's page on the whole I am Legend phenomenon.
  • This is wiki's page on the author Richard Matheson.
  • Here's an interview with Matheson.
  • And this is a review of the book.
  • You can grab a second hand copy of the book from here.

And as a treat for all those who were forced to sit through the Will Smith "version" of the book:



I AM LEGEND (well kind of...)

Erik Ryman

We haven't had a Free Book Friday for a couple of weeks, so here's one to keep you going.

Straight from Ryman's blog:

I think I said a while back we were going to do this, but if you fancy a free eBook of the full text uncorrected proof of Erik Ryman's Doggone, pop along to his blog and help yourself. HERE

It has had a few reviews, the latest being from Authortrek, but if you do download it and want to have a go at writing one yourself, we'll love you forever, or at least until I'm plugging something else...

If however paper is your bag, you can pre-order a beautiful hardback edition HERE and we can eat, damn you, we can eat and put shoes on the bairns feet and generally LIVE, and have hope for a future out of penury, a chance to ... etc.

If you like Eric Ryman's work then check out these other free downloads:

The Tsetse Fly Chronicles

The Recidivist


Love That Dog

Julie Meredith works in adult education in Croydon. She thinks she has the best job in the world because she gets paid to enthuse about reading and writing while supporting people to become readers and writers themselves.


My OneBook is ‘Love That Dog’ by Sharon Creech. Its sunshine yellow cover caught my eye and I ignored the fact that Bloomsbury had labelled it a children’s title. Not a dog person? Don’t be put off! It’s about so much more than a dog and the person who loves him.

Told in the form of a diary, the story explores a young boy’s relationship with words and the world. Through Jack, we share the perplexity of not ‘getting’ poetry and the courage needed to put writing into the world.

As well as reminding us adults about necessary vulnerability and brave enthusiasm, Sharon Creech has written THE volume for anyone who’s ever thought:

“I don’t understand the poem about…”

Or, on finishing a piece of writing, has said something like:

“I guess you can
put it on the board
if you want to
but don’t put
my name
on it
in case
other people
it’s not a poem.”

Love that book. Read it and you’ll reread it. Often.

  • This is Sharon Creech's website.
  • Literature Circle guide to the book.
  • This link contains a range of interesting sites relating to the book.
  • You can pick up a used copy of the book here.

Bulletproof Suzy

Kate Allan writes historical romance and adventure, her website is Her fifth novel, The Smuggler Returns, a tale of love and revenge in 18th century Cornwall, will be published in 2009.


Bulletproof Suzy is one of those rare beasts: a book you still remember two years after reading it. The author, Ian Brotherhood, has a distinctive voice and rare talent which I find very hard to categorise.
The story concerns a teenage girl in an unnamed British city of the near future who, with her gang of girls, takes up a bailiff/bounty hunter type job against those who have not paid their poll tax.
This is a very unusual debut novel that hasn't had the attention it deserves.

  • Go here to read a couple of reviews for this book.
  • Read an extract from Bulletproof Suzy here.
  • A brief biog for Ian Brotherhood here.
  • You can pick up a second hand copy of the book here.

The Other Boleyn Girl

Jamieson has been writing since a young age when he realized he could be writing instead of paying attention in school. Since then, he has created many worlds in which to live his fantasies and live out his dreams.  He is the author of several novels which include: Valentine, Hunted, Hope Falls, Eagle Valley, Dragons Cove and the forthcoming Finding Beauty. Jamison currently lives in Ottawa Ontario Canada with his husband Robert and his cat, Mave, who thinks she's people.

For more info about Jamieson, check out his web site here.


I normally don't like historical fiction. It's dry as dust and dull as white bread dipped in water. It never catches my attention and never holds it. In fact, it's a genre that I normally ignore completely. At the urging of my husband, I'm currently reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory and all I can say is: WOW!
Everyone knows the story of Anne Boleyn and how she ensnared Henry VIII. But what about her sister Mary?
The book is absolutely incredible and an intimate portrayal of long ago court life. Gregory peppers her historical fact with just enough believable fiction that you feel as if you're reading a literary bodice ripper.
Fantastic, wonderful stuff. And a perfect summer book!

  • Go here to check out the Wiki entry about the book.
  • This will tell you more about Philippa Gregory.
  • Read a book review here.
  • Find out about the recent blockbusting film adaptation here.
  • Pick up a second hand copy of the book here.

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