A long time ago magic faded away, leaving behind only yo-yos, the extremely useful compass-pointing-to-North enchantment and the spell that keep bicycles from falling over.
Things are about to change. Magical power is on the rise and King Snodd IV of Hereford has realised that he who controls magic controls almost anything. One person stands between Snodd and his plans for power and riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice.
Meet Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam, the employment agency for sorcerers and soothsayers.
With only one functioning wizard and her faithful assistant ‘Tiger’ Prawns, Jennifer must use every ounce of ingenuity to derail King Snodd’s plans. It may involve a trip on a magic carpet at the speed of sound to the Troll Wall, the mysterious Transient Moose, and a powerless sorceress named Once Magnificent Boo.
But one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic to big business and commerce without a fight.
Karen Joy Fowler - The Jane Austen Book Club
Six people five women and a man meet once a month in California's Central Valley to discuss Jane Austen's novels. They are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them is wounded in different ways, they are all mixed up about their lives and relationships. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable under the guiding eye of Jane Austen a couple of them even fall in love 'A thoroughly delightful comedy of contemporary manners' Entertainment Weekly
George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
Reissued for September 2011 in B format. Split into two books for the paperback, the third volume in George R.R. Martin's superb and highly acclaimed epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire continues the richest, most exotic and mesmerising saga since The Lord of the Rings. The Seven Kingdoms are divided by revolt and blood feud, and winter approaches like an angry beast. Beyond the Northern borders, wildlings leave their villages to gather in the ice and stone wasteland of the Frostfangs. From there, the renegade Brother Mance Rayder will lead them South towards the Wall. Robb Stark wears his new-forged crown in the Kingdom of the North, but his defences are ranged against attack from the South, the land of House Stark's enemies the Lannisters. His sisters are trapped there, dead or likely yet to die, at the whim of the Lannister boy-king Joffrey or his depraved mother Cersei, regent of the Iron Throne. And Daenerys Stormborn will return to the land of her birth to avenge the murder of her father, the last Dragon King on the Iron Throne.
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter.
Neil Gaiman - American Gods
Shadow is a man with a past and wants nothing more now than to live a quiet life with his wife. When his wife is killed in a terrible accident, Shadow flies home for the funeral. As a raging storm rocks the plane, the strange man in the seat next to Shadow introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday. He knows more about Shadow than is possible--and he warns Shadow an even bigger storm is coming.
George R. R. Martin - A Game of Thrones
In a world where the approaching winter will last four decades, kings and queens, knights and renegades struggle for control of a throne. Some fight with sword and mace, others with magic and poison. Beyond the Wall to the north, meanwhile, the Others are preparing their army of the dead to march south as the warmth of summer drains from the land. After more than a decade devoted primarily to TV and screen work, Martin (The Armageddon Rag, 1983) makes a triumphant return to high fantasy with this extraordinarily rich new novel, the first of a trilogy. Although conventional in form, the book stands out from similar work by Eddings, Brooks and others by virtue of its superbly developed characters, accomplished prose and sheer bloody-mindedness. Although the romance of chivalry is central to the culture of the Seven Kingdoms, and tournaments, derring-do and handsome knights abound, these trappings merely give cover to dangerous men and women who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. When Lord Stark of Winterfell, an honest man, comes south to act as the King's chief councilor, no amount of heroism or good intentions can keep the realm under control. It is fascinating to watch Martin's characters mature and grow, particularly Stark's children, who stand at the center of the book. Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes, including Hugos, Nebulas, Locus Awards and a Bram Stoker. He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least. Major ad/promo.
George R. R. Martin - A Dance With Dragons: Dreams and Dust
The fifth volume, part one of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. GAME OF THRONES is now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, featuring a stellar cast. In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction. Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King's Landing with a price on his head. To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone -- a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. But Jon has enemies both inside and beyond the Wall. And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust.
Neil Gaiman - Odd and the Frost Giants
Odd's luck has been bad so far. He lost his father on a Viking expedition, his foot was crushed beneath a tree, and the winter seems to be going on forever. But when Odd flees to the woods and releases a trapped bear, his luck begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox he encounters reveal they're actually Nordic gods, trapped in animal form by the evil Frost Giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Can a twelve-year-old boy reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the Frost Giants and release the gods?
Jasper Fforde - The Fourth Bear
The Gingerbreadman: Psychopath, sadist, genius, convicted murderer and biscuit is loose in the streets of Reading. It isn't Jack Spratt's case. He and Mary Mary have been reassigned due to falling levels of nursery crime, and The NCD is once more in jeopardy. That is, until a chance encounter during the Armitage Shanks literary awards at the oddly familiar Deja-Vu Club lead Jack and Mary on the hunt for missing journalist Henrietta 'Goldilocks' Hatchett, star reporter for The Daily Mole. She had been about to break a story involving unexplained explosions in Herefordshire, Pasadena and the Nullabor Plain; The last witnesses to see her alive were The Three Bears, comfortably living out a life of rural solitude in Andersen's wood. But all is not what it seems. How could the bear's porridge be at such disparate temperatures when they were poured at the same time? Was Goldy's death in the nearby 1st World War themepark of Sommeworld a freak accident? And is it merely chance that the Gingerbreadman pops up at awkward moments? But there's more. What does a missing scientist with a terrifying discovery in subatomic physics, a secret weapon of devastating power, a reclusive industrialist known only as the Quangle Wangle and Colonel Danvers of the National Security all have in common?
Jasper Fforde - The Big Over Easy
It's Easter in Reading--a bad time for eggs--and no one can remember the last sunny day. Ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III, minor baronet, ex-convict, and former millionaire philanthropist, is found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. All the evidence points to his ex-wife, who has conveniently shot herself. But Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his assistant Mary Mary remain unconvinced, a sentiment not shared with their superiors at the Reading Police Department, who are still smarting over their failure to convict the Three Pigs of murdering Mr. Wolff. Before long Jack and Mary find themselves grappling with a sinister plot involving cross-border money laundering, bullion smuggling, problems with beanstalks, titans seeking asylum, and the cut and thrust world of international chiropody. And on top of all that, the JellyMan is coming to town . . .
Diana Wynne Jones - The Merlin Conspiracy
When the Merlin of Blest dies, everyone thinks it's a natural death. But Roddy and Grundo, two children traveling with the Royal Court, soon discover the truth. The Merlin's replacement and other courtiers are scheming to steal the magic of Blest for their own purposes. Roddy enlists the help of Nick, a boy from another world, and the three turn to their own impressive powers. The dangers are great, and if Roddy, Grundo, and Nick cannot stop the conspirators, the results will be more dreadful than they could possibly imagine.
Jasper Fforde - Shades of Grey
Hundreds of years in the future, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour. Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane - a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed. For Eddie, it's love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey...
Jasper Fforde - The Woman Who Died a Lot
The BookWorld's leading enforcement officer Thursday Next is four months into an enforced semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. She returns home to Swindon for what you'd expect to be a time of recuperation. If only life were that simple. Thursday is faced with an array of family problems - son Friday's lack of focus since his career in the Chronoguard was relegated to a might-have-been, daughter Tuesday's difficulty perfecting the Anti-Smote shield needed to thwart an angry Deity's promise to wipe Swindon off the face of the earth, and Jenny, who doesn't exist. And that's not all. With Goliath attempting to replace Thursday at every opportunity with synthetic Thursdays, the prediction that Friday's Destiny-Aware colleagues will die in mysterious circumstances, and a looming meteorite that could destroy all human life on earth, Thursday's retirement is going to be anything but easy.
Diana Wynne Jones - Conrad's Fate
Someone at Stallery Mansion is changing the world. At first, only small details, but the changes get bigger and bigger. It's up to Conrad, a twelve-year-old with terrible karma who's just joined the mansion's staff, to find out who is behind it. But he's not the only one snooping around. His fellow servant-in-training, Christopher Chant, is charming, confident, and from another world, with a mission of his own -- rescuing his friend, lost in an alternate Stallery Mansion. Can they save the day before Conrad's awful fate catches up with them?
Lucy Maud Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables
'Oh, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to you. I've never belonged to anybody - not really' When a scrawny, freckled girl with bright red hair arrives on Prince Edward Island, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are taken by surprise; they'd asked the orphanage for a quiet boy to help with the farmwork at Green Gables. But how can you reject a child like an unwanted parcel, especially when she tells you her life so far has been a 'perfect graveyard of unburied hopes'? So the beguiling chatterbox stays. Full of imagination, spark and spirit, it is not long before Anne Shirley wins their hearts.
Agatha Christie - Partners in Crime
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are restless for adventure, so when they are asked to take over Blunt's International Detective Agency, they leap at the chance. Their first case is a success - the triumphant recovery of a pink pearl. Other cases soon follow - a stabbing on Sunningdale golf course; cryptic messages in the personal columns of newspapers; and even a box of poisoned chocolates, But can they live up to their slogan of 'Any case solved in 24 hours'?
D. B. Jackson - A Plunder of Souls
Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villans and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious. A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille's minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related…but how?
George R. R. Martin - A Dance With Dragons: After the Feast
The fifth volume, part two of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. GAME OF THRONES is now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, featuring a stellar cast. The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance. In King's Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault! On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.
Terry Pratchett - The Fifth Elephant
Sam Vimes is a man on the run. Yesterday he was a duke, a chief of police and the ambassador to the mysterious fat-rich country of Uberwald. Now he has nothing but his native wit and the gloomy trousers of Uncle Vanya (don't ask). It's snowing. It's freezing. And if he can't make it through the forest to civilization there's going to be a terrible war. But there are monsters on his trail. They're bright. They're fast. They're werewolves - and the're catching up.
Diana Wynne Jones - House of Many Ways
The sequel to Howl's Moving Castle When Charmain Baker agreed to look after her great-uncle's house, she thought she was getting blissful, parent-free time to read. She didn't realize that the house bent space and time, and she did not expect to become responsible for an extremely magical stray dog and a muddled young apprentice wizard. Now, somehow, she's been targeted by a terrifying creature called a lubbock, too, and become central to the king's urgent search for the fabled Elfgift that will save the country. The king is so desperate to find the Elfgift, he's called in an intimidating sorceress named Sophie to help. And where Sophie is, the great Wizard Howl and fire demon Calcifer won't be far behind. How did respectable Charmain end up in such a mess, and how will she get herself out of it?
Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere
Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.