Jemima Pett


Jemima Pett has been living in a world of her own for many years. Day-dreaming in class, writing stories since she was eight, drawing maps of fantasy islands with train systems and timetables at ten. Unfortunately no-one wanted a fantasy island designer, so she tried a few careers, getting great experiences in business, environmental research and social work. She finally got back to building her own worlds, and wrote about them. Her business background enabled her to become an independent author, responsible for her own publications.

Her first series, the Princelings of the East, mystery adventures for advanced readers set in a world of tunnels and castles entirely populated by guinea pigs, is now nearing completion. The tenth and final book, Princelings Revolution, is set for publication in 2020. Jemima does chapter illustrations for these. She has also edited two volumes of Christmas stories for young readers, the BookElves Anthologies, and her father's memoirs White Water Landings, about the Imperial Airways flying boat service in Africa. She is now writing the third in her science fiction series set in the Viridian System, in which the aliens include sentient trees.

Jemima lives in a village in Norfolk with her guinea pigs, the first of whom, Fred, George, Victor and Hugo, provided the inspiration for her first stories, The Princelings of the East. She is now writing science fiction for grown-ups, hatching plans for a new series, and writing more short stories for anthologies.

Smashwords Interview

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was about 8 years old I made a little booklet (about 1 inch by 2, so I mean little) with a handwritten story called "The Little Stream". I think I wrote a few more stories before homework and science projects overtook me at school. I tried a scifi novel when I was about 19 but was put off by a friend who said it was rubbish. So my first published books have been a long time coming.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Firstly, The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Graham. I felt really at home with these characters and the settings. I wasn't fond of Mr Toad, and didn't like his adventures, but I liked the friendship of Moley and Ratty and the terrors of the Wild Wood. When I was small I thought the chapter "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" was boring, and used to skip it. As an adult, I really love the imagery of it, it's real magic to me.

The Lord of the Rings. I used to read this every year, or thereabouts. I found it when I was about seventeen, took the first volume out of the library on a Friday, and went back on Saturday for the second and third parts. I was totally hooked from the first. There is so much to explore in it, even now. The relationships and interactions between different people, the development of various characters... I often skip the more tedious Gollum bits, though.

Black Beauty. This was a childhood favourite, and I re-read it last year. I found both an old friend and surprising new things. Anna Sewell was campaigning for better treatment of animals, and unfortunately we seem to be heading back into ill-treatment - now for the sake of status rather than from ignorance. I'm planning to write a modern version.

The Crystal Singer, by Anne McCaffrey. Totally different from the others, this is scifi/fantasy with a spunky, independent heroine and some lovely offworld settings. There are three in the series and I think I like the second one, Killashandra, the best, but the Crystal Singer seems to me the ideal space opera.

The Silver Brumby, by Elyne Mitchell. Another horse book (and series), this time the wild horses of the Australian Snowy Mountains. I think the author did a fine job on wild horse herd interactions and the dangers they face, natural and human. I originally found them when I was about fourteen, and I've kept them with me ever since. I was lucky enough to visit the Snowy Mountains and was bowled over to find these place names that I knew so well. I found someone else staying at the youth hostel who also knew about the books, and we spent a day brumby hunting! We found some, but they were all browns and bays, no silvers or creamies!
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jemima Pett online


Princelings of the East box set
ebook box set collections of the Princelings of the East and related series
Viridian System
Big Pete and the Swede. Two miners, made rich by their excavation of the asteroid belt in the Viridian System. It's a long way from anywhere, and especially from the domineering Imperium and their foes, the Federation. But things are changing. And our miners have secret destinies, secret from each other, and even themselves.
The Perihelix
Price: $2.99 USD.
Curved Space to Corsair
Price: $3.99 USD.


Princelings Revolution
Series: The Princelings of the East. Pre-release—available October 1, 2020. Price: $0.99 USD. Language: English. Published by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian
Jasmine's birthday party ends in disaster. George seems to have lost a phial of highly dangerous liquid. And King Fred is battling politics, relatives and self-seeking dignitaries in his aim to give the people a better way of living. But can Fred keep the promise he made to an engaging chap from another time when he was just a princeling? Or will all their hopes fail?
Chronicles of Marsh
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 9. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 61,530. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2019 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(5.00 from 1 review)
The Princelings of the East are now King Fred and Prince Engineer George. Gone are the years of innocence when they travelled for adventure, uncovering time tunnels and pirate plots. Fred, with his queen, Kira, is responsible for his people, his lands, and persuading the lords and kings of the Realms to act together. George just has to work on his inventions. Nothing is as easy as it sounds.
The Princelings of the East Books 4-6
Series: Princelings of the East box set. Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 140,760. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2019 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
A time tunnel; a castle with paranormal powers, an assignment in foreign parts. Three adventures take us further into the world of the Princelings. Lord Mariusz finds both opportunity and trouble when he steps back in time; Humphrey, a refugee from the Lost City, seeks a place to call home, and Victor, the ambitious young barkeeper, travels to the Rhine to unravel industrial espionage and kidnap.
Curved Space to Corsair
Series: Viridian System, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,880. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2019 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.00 from 1 review)
Big Pete and the Swede, together with Maggie and Dolores, take a holiday in the miners’ new spacecraft while their villa is rebuilt. Pete is been summoned to save his home planet, Corsair, from disaster, so they plot their curved course accordingly. Then they encounter an unmapped wormhole. Aliens, power plays, and a quest form the recipe for this second exciting Viridian System series adventure.
The Princelings of the North
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 8. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 47,010. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2018 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
The Princelings of the North is the eighth in The Princelings of the East series. It tells how irrepressible Princelings Dylan and Dougall, who live in the far northwest of an island off the northwest coast of the Realms, rescue an exiled prince, and battle against the odds to restore him to his birthright.
Willoughby the Narrator
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 7. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 56,490. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: April 27, 2017 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00 from 1 review)
Willoughby the Narrator first appeared in the Talent Seekers, as a talented ninja and mentor to Humphrey. As might be expected from a Narrator, Willoughby tells his story with style and panache, starting with his somewhat surprising arrival in the Realms. He picks the best of his adventures, treating us to a number of his special tales, until he compromises his career. Will he ever get back home?
The Princelings of the East Books 1-3
Series: Princelings of the East box set. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 134,430. Language: British English. Published: November 25, 2016 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
A time tunnel, a pirate king, a lost city. In three separate adventures, Princelings Fred and George aim to solve trifling problems, but uncover dangerous and sometimes desperate foes, each with his or her own agenda, threatening the peace of the Realms. This first box set from the series comprises the Princelings of the East, the Princelings and the Pirates, and the Princelings and the Lost City.
The Perihelix
Series: Viridian System, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 92,610. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2016 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
(4.00 from 1 review)
Two asteroid miners, three women, one spacecraft, and a hunt for five pieces of a legendary weapon scattered around the galaxy. Big Pete and the Swede bring their latest haul of orichalcum back to Viridium C for a long vacation, but messages and maneuverings from two opposing powers threaten to drag them back to their pasts - pasts they have tried very hard to erase. Second edition 2018.
BookElves Anthology Volume 2
Series: MG BookElves. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 40,970. Language: English. Published: November 12, 2015 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent, Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
(5.00 from 1 review)
Seven authors, seven new tales to twang your heartstrings and tickle your toes. Will the Christmas fairy be ready to grant your wishes? Will Shirley Link solve all the clues to her presents? And will Santa's reindeer, a lost and forlorn hero, and a man under the spell of a wicked witch find their way home during the bleak midwinter? Find out in this second anthology from the MG BookElves.
Viridian System Sampler: 8 Short Stories
Price: Free! Words: 10,860. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2015 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
(4.00 from 4 reviews)
This anthology of eight short stories shows the genesis of the Viridian System series, a science fiction adventure starring two asteroid miners, Big Pete and the Swede, and their female companions. From their early appearance in search of real books to read, to a life-or-death situation on some far planet, these stories show Pete and the Swede in the raw - sometimes literally, in the Swede's case
BookElves Anthology Volume 1
Series: MG BookElves. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 39,490. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2014 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent, Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
(4.00 from 1 review)
Seven stories, seven situations threatening the festivities – a postbag that gets bigger, a Santa in summer, the strange disappearance of the gifts, a petnapping gang, a snowstorm in the wilds, a kidnapped messenger, and a whole raft of celebrations that are too strange to contemplate. Will the holidays be a disaster? Or will seven bookelves weave seasonal magic?
Bravo Victor
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 6. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 49,300. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: August 1, 2014 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
After a smuggler visits Victor, he seeks help from King Fred of Castle Marsh. He is sent with the mysterious Sundance and his beautiful accomplice to unmask a criminal, and investigate why George has not returned after his visit to a flying festival. He narrates his amazing adventure in the Rhinelands, and his quandary when he meets a friend from his past - or is it his future?
Dylan's Yuletide Journey
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,230. Language: British English. Published: November 30, 2013 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
On the north west tip of the Isle of Mull, Castle Haunn faces a bleak Yuletide. Their strawberry juice has run out and the extra delivery to keep their power cells running was lost at sea. It's going to be a cold, hungry holiday. Dylan takes a message to the mainland calling for help, but fails to return. Dylan's Yuletide Journey is a short chapter ebook for Middle Grade readers over 8 years.
The Talent Seekers
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 49,730. Language: English. Published: August 18, 2013 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
(5.00 from 1 review)
Humphrey is on the run. He has no friends, no past, no purpose, and no future. The king of White Horse Castle is battling against the avaricious intentions of his neighbour, the lord of Castle Deeping. But White Horse has a secret. He knows that there are special people out there, people who need a purpose, people with strange skills and talents. The trouble is, how to find them?
The Traveler in Black and White
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 42,340. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2013 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
A strange tunnel appears in the wall of Castle Hattan. Of course it must be investigated. What lies at the other end is a strangely backward land where things are not quite as they seem. Lord Mariusz adopts the pseudonym Hugo to explore the business opportunities he sees, only to be accused of murder; witness a vampire slaying; rub shoulders with ghouls, and have a close encounter with a werewolf.
The Princelings and the Lost City
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,720. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2012 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
The Princelings and the Lost City is the final part of the Princelings trilogy. Fred, now Crown Prince, decides to introduce Princess Kira to their home castle. A simple journey ends in kidnap, mistaken identity, heartache, and the discovery of a totalitarian society hidden in the forest. Our guinea pig heroes, Princelings Fred and George, at their very best!
The Princelings and the Pirates
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 37,840. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2012 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
The second Princelings book, The Princelings and the Pirates, starts with Fred and George at Castle Buckmore. The non-delivery of wine makes Prince Lupin despatch them to Dimerie to discover what has gone wrong. Captured by pirates, shipwrecked, and in danger for their lives, the heroes are drawn into the Battle of Dimerie, where Fred meets his true love and George gets more than he bargained for.
The Princelings of the East
Series: The Princelings of the East, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 36,720. Language: English. Published: December 7, 2011 by Princelings Publications. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Action & Adventure / Pirates, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
The Princelings of the East (2nd Ed.) is an adventure trilogy in a fantasy world. In the first book our heroes Fred and George leave their isolated castle to solve the problem of the Great Energy Drain, meeting dubious businessman Hugo, irrepressible barkeeper Victor and other engaging movers and shakers. Time is the essence of this tale and competition between castles drives the action.

Jemima Pett's tag cloud

advanced reader    adventure    adventure and fantasy    adventure animals    adventure boys    adventure mystery    alien cultures    animal characters    animal heroes    asteroid mining    astronomy kids    biplane    biplanes    castle    castle adventure fantasy    castles    cavy    christmas adventure    confident reader    developing technology    double dealing    early aircraft    exiles    fables and legends    family death    fantasy    fantasy time travel adventure    female hero    feudal fantasy    feudal world    flash fiction stories    flying boat    flying machine    flying machines    flying the atlantic    friendship    genre mashup    gift giving    guinea pig    guinea pigs    heroines and heroes    intrigue    inventors    isle of mull    jemima pett    king arthur    legendary weapon    magic    manhattan    middle grade    middle grade 6    middle grade adventure    middle grade mystery    mystery    mystery adventure science fiction    mystery detective    mystery middle grade    myths and legends    noir    norfolk uk    paranormal    paranormal abilities    perihelix    pg    pirates    planet saver    politics    princess hero    regaining inheritance    rhineland    santas reindeer    science fiction and time travel    scientist    scifi    scotland    sex discrimination    shady dealings    shipwreck    short chapter book    short childrens story    short family fiction    smuggling    social problems of progress    solving puzzles    space adventure    space cowboys    space epic    space politics    spacewoman    star systems    stories about christmas    storytelling    superpowers    technology and society    time travel    time travel anomalies    timetravel    totalitarian societies    vampire    vampires    vampires and werewolves    witchcraft    women in space    world domination    wormholes    yuletide   

Smashwords book reviews by Jemima Pett

  • The Whalesong Trilogy: All Three Books on Jan. 15, 2012

    We are afloat and diving deep into the oceans, following Hruna and his pod around the world. Whalesong follows the humpback whale from his birth through his coming of age and the birth of his first calf. We see the world from his point of view, and from the legends and experiences handed down through the pod, by song and by narrative. There is happiness, sorrow, danger and mystery, with some light interludes often provided by other sea creatures. When I was a young teen I loved animal books and read most I could find. The Silver Brumby series was my favourite (and still is), I read White Fang and Call of the Wild, Dark Fury, and The Stonor Eagles as an adult. Robert Siegel's exceptional descriptive powers make this a delightful read. If you know anything about whales you will not be disappointed with the treatment, and if you don't you will probably find yourself with new views on whaling. I've read more exciting books, but it has got me interested enough to have started the second book in the trilogy already. That must mean it's good. And did I say how wonderfully the author paints a picture with his words?
  • Flash Gold on March 13, 2012

    I got this book as the first in the series when I saw the third during the Read an E-Book Week. Proof that these promotions work for some people! Flash Gold is a short book, but a full story that introduces Kali, her inventions and her world in vivid and glorious technicolour! Kali is set on competing in a sled competition with her new steam powered sled, much to the derision of the locals, and not a little jealousy and fear from those that suspect she’s a witch. A mysterious, but handsome, stranger turns up to suggest she hires him ‘for security’ during the sled race. The price? 10% of her winnings. Suspicious, Kali thinks. And of course she’s right. Nevertheless he proves his usefulness, with an antiquated sword as well as the latest in rifles, as Kali is beset by assailants over and over again. The hidden prize? Flash Gold, her late father’s invention, rapidly become the Holy Grail to unscrupulous and murderous entrepreneurs who see it as the solution to… what? I suspect they don’t actually know, and maybe Kali only suspects the half of it. From the sample of the third book I read online, I think we have plenty of the story to unfold yet! It’s well written, vividly conjuring up the Yukon icefields and the characters sparsely populating them. Action scenes are smartly described, with diabolically imaginative inventions. The adventure looks set to continue. Looking forward to it!
  • Red Hot and Dead on March 16, 2012

    Dr Chris Connery, Director of the Division of Fine Arts at Midstate University, is no stranger to police investigations. But when her Ceramics teacher comes to her in distress, having found the remains of a body in the firing kiln, she realises that a murder case is about to turn her life upside down. I read the sample, enjoyed the easy style of an author who clearly knows her subject, and continued reading avidly. This tale leapfrogged others waiting on my kindle to be read, and was only interrupted by dire necessities. The characters are well formed and enjoyable. I thought we were going to have an irritating interfering mother but she turned out to be a realistic and likeable supporting character. I thought we were going to have a case of mistaken identity but the truth was harder to unravel. Suspicions planted led this whodunnit reader to make most of the right conclusions, but not spot on, which is always nice! I will look out the first of Nora Barker's tales to catch up with the mostly offstage romantic interest in this one, and look forward to more tales in what I hope will be a fruitful series. Most enjoyable!
  • The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success on April 07, 2012

    As others have said, this book is invaluable. What I found most useful were the descriptions of slow burners and break-outs with the accompanying sales graphs. It gave me the data behind the indie author's motto "It's a marathon not a sprint". In short, it gave me both confidence I was doing things mainly right and doing mostly the right things. Now to do them better, and spend more time doing what I should be doing, which is writing. Thanks Mark.
  • Hunted (The Flash Gold Chronicles, #2) on Oct. 04, 2012

    Such a joy to read a well constructed, funny, beautifully described, imaginative tale. In the second of the Flash Gold stories, Kali McAlister has now found a larger city in the Yukon, a new workshop where she is constructing numerous steam-powered projects, and now with a business partner. But her old foe and ex-husband shows up. She’s not going to fall for his lies, but it’s a cover for what her partner needs to do... Danger and excitement follow, with Kali extracting herself with her customary ingenuity and a lot of useful muscle from a darned gorgeous helper. I love the setting and the engineering, and the twists and intrigue. Looking forward to the next!
  • Matt Archer: Monster Hunter on Nov. 09, 2012

    I loved this book! It has a great 14-15 year old hero with fantastic friends and monstrous enemies! It was so well written I found myself getting very nervous for him every time he went monster hunting, except for the last few episodes when he had more back-up. Strangely so, as at this stage it was more dangerous for him but maybe I was just reading the book too fast, to find out what happened next, to be worried for him! I actually read it in one day, being unable to put it down (whatever it says on my Goodreads list). Kendra Highley paints a wonderful picture with lovely language choices; some of the words I didn't know but then I'm not a teenage boy in Montana. I got the gist though. The idea that Matt Archer is 'found' by a monster hunting knife is nice (although not entirely new since we all know that the wand chooses the wizard etc.) but the extent of the knife's powers are gradually revealed, both by our own reading of the interactions it has with Matt and others, and with the tales of the legend that are brought in near the end. The monsters are beautifully described and paint a terrifying picture in the reader's imagination. But I did sleep well after reading it; no nightmares! Matt's own nightmares are intriguing additions to the plot, since the reader interprets some correctly as belonging to the story, but others foresee a future which I look forward to reading about. I recommend this book to MG/YA and up who like a fast paced fantasy thriller!
  • Murder in Half Moon Bay Book 1 (Jillian Bradley Mysteries Series Book 1) on Jan. 23, 2013

    Jillian and her three collaborators in the Garden Club head off for a conference in a swanky hotel. Even though I’ve been to conferences in swanky hotels, it felt very alien to my lifestyle, but I suspect some of my friends would be far more at home with the setting. It gave me the impression of a Californian version of Dallas. There were a lot of people introduced to me very fast, and who was with whom didn’t really settle in my brain till quite late into the book, after one or two had been murdered! I think this may have been my post-Christmas disorientation, but sometimes I felt Jillian’s conversations, especially with suspects, to be very short. Would these people really give her intimate details with clues so that she could solve the crime in such a short exchange? Jillian and her friends sort of irritated me with their pushy involvement in the crime-solving. Why would the Police Chief welcome their involvement? How about them trampling over all the evidence? And she kept putting herself at risk in very naive ways. I think she was extremely lucky not to have been bumped off herself. But from these comments you can tell a number of things (I hope). Jillian gets you involved in her world. The author does a great job in drawing you in to the plot and to some of the people. The setting is described beautifully and the plot itself hangs together extremely well. From something that seemed very light to start with, it gets very deep, and I liked the science link, which was very realistic. It’s always good when you can’t put a book down after you’ve passed the halfway point! I’m not sure whether I want to join Jillian in some of her other adventures, I’m not the Miss Marple kind, but I may well give them a go. Partly because Teddy the dog is adorable!
  • Charmeine on July 26, 2013

    Charmeine is the first in the Lightbearer series. Emily Guido introduces us first to the origins of the Light-Bearers and Blood-Hunters, with some mythology in their original world, then we find Tabbruis on his own, trying to make sense of the earth. Blood-Hunters live here, encouraged by their Elder Council to make the most of the blood provided by the population of humans that spawns everywhere. Tabbruis and some friends decide that humans are, for them, off-limits, which is a slight relief if the reader's stomach is not up to the bloodthirstiness of their usual lifestyle. Charleen (who we discover is really Charmeine) and her friend Shane are woven into the story deftly. Two lost souls who ended up caring for each other as they grew up in an orphanage, Shane gets a job to drive Tabbruis around New York City while he's visiting. It's fortunate that Tab has felt the need to be there, as Char has been singled out for an attack by other Blood-Hunters, who envisage a very nasty end for her indeed. Tab fights them off, with Char discovering her own amazing powers that assist in very special ways. And then Tab and Char realise their mutual attraction, against all Tab's instincts as a Blood-Hunter - since he realises that Char is a Light-Bearer. The rest of the story covers a few more attacks and how they grow to understand each other better. There are plenty of loose ends to be followed up in the rest of series. On the whole I felt the story was well written, fast-moving and full of excellent imagery. I cared what was happening to the characters; I wanted to know how it would be resolved. I found the typesetting confusing since sometimes italics was used for thoughts, and other times it may have been used for intensity or emphasis, but there was no clear distinction. I wondered if they thought-read at one stage, and thought that would be a nice power, but I think I was wrong. I felt it was an excellent introduction to a story and a world with new rules. If it's your sort of thing, I think you'll be driven very quickly to the second in the series. It's exciting, pacy and thought-provoking, with delightful characterisation.
  • Peacemaker (The Flash Gold Chronicles, #3) on Aug. 09, 2013

    The third and final book in the Flash Gold Chronicles (so far, at any rate) sees Kali intent on making an airship so she can escape from Dawson City and the cold of the oncoming winter. The gold rush is in full flow, and the forests around are being denuded - there's not much around to see them through to the spring. Kali is an engineer - but in a steampunk world, engineering is a little different from what you might expect of the historical gold rush era. Kali takes her bounty hunter beau on a search through the forest on her SAB - a self-automated bicycle, running on steam power - on the trail of a human monster killing native women in a horrible manner. She's diverted by a pirate attack from an airship, and thinks what a great idea it would be to get rid of the pirates and salvage their airship - thus saving herself months of work. Well, it's not quite as easy as that, and between meetings with differtent people who each want the other one taken out of the way for various reasons, Kali eventually finds herself back on that airship, in a life or death situation for more than herself. Peacemaker follows the first two books, Flash Gold and Hunted, rounding off the story reasonably well, but with plenty of scope for further adventures. I was just thinking there was too much near-romance and it had got a little slow, when WHAM the pace changed and it was a non-stop switchback of story telling all the way home. I did stop to admire some beautiful phrasing: A breeze scuttled down Main Street, swatting at a newspaper page too mired in the mud to escape, though it rattled and whipped in a valiant effort to do so. and “Are you sure you want to be that insulting,” Kali asked, fishing in a pocket, “considering I’m standing right behind you with—” she grabbed the first tool that she felt and pulled it out, “—pliers in my hand?” I don't know if Ms Buroker has any plans for more in this series, but I know she's been hard at work on the Emperor's Edge series and other works. I've got a few of those nestling on my kindle app waiting to be brought out and read some time. We'll just have to wait and see if Kali ever makes it out of Dawson. I hope so. I want more Flash Gold!
  • The Girl Who Dreamt of Dolphins on April 05, 2014

    Lucy dreams of dolphins. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t. Her father wouldn’t understand, and since her mother ‘disappeared’ he doesn’t pay much attention to her anyway – often forgetting to collect her from school, among other things. Despite this, he doesn’t want help from her aunt, who would be only too pleased to help out, and give them a holiday in Cornwall. Dad wants to keep Lucy away from Cornwall at all costs – in case she suffers the same problem as her mother. In fact, Lucy doesn’t need to live in Cornwall to have a very close relationship with a dolphin named Spirit. She finds herself more and more involved in his adventures. Then danger befalls him, and he sees her helping to direct him to safety. What is this connection, and how dangerous can it be – for Lucy and for Spirit? This is a beautifully told tale suitable for older middle grades and possibly to be read to younger children ready for natural history lessons. Lucy’s story is interspersed with chapters focusing on life in the sea with Spirit and his friends, until it all comes together in an exciting climax. It’s a good story even if you’ve read a lot of dolphin tales, and the idea of communing with other animals, especially dolphins, is attractive to many youngsters – and oldsters like me!
  • Death By Ice Cream on April 08, 2014

    One of the things I dislike about cosy mysteries is the way well-meaning civilians trample over police evidence and butt in when they should leave it to the pros. Rebecca Douglass has solved both those problems by providing a law officer in desperate need of help, and the evidence right in front of everyone’s noses with little need for trampling. This is a well constructed mystery with plenty of pressure points – the divorce, the deadline for the school yearbook, necessarily abandoned by the deceased, who appears to have done nothing about it despite meddling in everybody else’s business. The kids are engaged to help sort it out which gives the adults suitable assistance when it comes to all matters computerised. I loved the way whole families got involved – a story not just of the protagonist but of a beautifully drawn community. The reader is carried along with JJ MacGregor’s investigation, and is engrossed in the tour of the island and the tensions emerging as the story unfolds. There are delightful character sketches, believable teenagers, realistic confrontations – and a hot cop! The tension builds as still more problems are thrown at JJ, and this reader empathised with her all the way. The author cleverly reveals whodunnit to the canny reader just as JJ gets drawn into the trap, heightening the nerve-jangling finish! It’s an excellent story, beautifully told. Full marks to Ms Douglass – more please! I won a copy of this book in a giveaway.