The Reluctant Vampire Queen by Jo Simmons, reviewed by Catherine (11)

Fifteen-year-old Mo Merrydrew has her life sketched out perfectly. It’s all in The Plan, a scheme that she and her best friend have come up with together. Unfortunately, one evening, coming home from school, she encounters Bogdan, a vampire who insists that she is the Chosen One and must become the Vampire Queen of Britain. Mo doesn’t find it appealing, as she is a vegetarian. But the next day she meets Luca, Bogdan’s human servant, and suddenly the role of Vampire Queen seems a lot better…

The author is really good at making the reader want Mo to succeed – even though she faces a life of gruesome crime.

Catherine (11)

Bogdan and Luca ask Mo over and over again, trying to persuade her to change her mind. Just as the duo are leaving in defeat, Mo has a brainwave which solves everyone’s problems, usefully making her new crush stick around. But trouble is around the corner. The Vampire King is coming to England! Mo will need all the help she can get…or she might accidently become the royal dinner!

Mo likes hanging out with her bestie Lou, and eating mini Battenberg cakes. She is a person who values school and sadly she is bullied by a girl called Tracey Caldwell, who is also mean to Lou. Will Mo find the courage to stand up to her enemies so they leave her alone? The author is really good at making the reader want Mo to succeed – even though she faces a life of gruesome crime.

Throughout this story Mo finds her voice and discovers exactly what it means to be a Vampire Queen. I like how Mo seems to be a powerful role model and has strong feelings about women being equal to men. She criticizes Bogdan’s biased view that vampire monarchs should be male, but that he is willing to make ‘an exception’ for her. In her opinion (and mine too!) there is no exception to make!

David Walliams book signing

David Walliams book signing for Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!

Sunday 21st November at 11am

Meet bestselling author, David Walliams as he signs copies of his first ever sequel Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!  

Ticket Price: £15 includes a copy of Gangsta Granny Strikes Again (RRP £14.99) and an exclusive Gangsta Granny swag bag. 

Parents accompanying their children do not require a ticket.

Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! is an extraordinarily brilliant and rollicking mystery adventure illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross, and the sequel to the much-loved and bestselling Gangsta Granny which is celebrating its 10th anniversary year. 

Expect the unexpected in this wonderfully entertaining and laugh-out-loud escapade, which will have readers on the edge of their seats as they join Ben on his quest to unravel the mystery of the return of The Black Cat.

Gangsta Granny Strikes Again! publishes in hardback (£14.99) audio and eBook on 16th November. 

We want all fans to have the best possible experience meeting David. In the interest of the limited time available and to maximise the number of readers that David can meet, the following terms and conditions will be in effect for this book signing. We are putting these rules in place for the safety and enjoyment of everyone involved. Please respect each other and David on the day. Be kind to each other and take the opportunity whilst in line to make some friends. We look forward to seeing you there (costumes encouraged)!

COVID Regulations

Everyone over 11 please wear a mask in the shop and during the signing with David Walliams

Terms and conditions

300 tickets will be available

You will be required to show your ticket on the day of the event (which will be exchanged for a wristband), to gain entry, and as proof of purchase. Please keep your ticket in a safe place.

To avoid disappointment, we must stress there will be no opportunity to meet David without a ticket.

Should you not receive your e-ticket confirmation email please contact info@booknookuk.com quoting your booking reference.

Due to the anticipated high turn-out, please come prepared to queue – we will aim to keep you updated on your waiting time. Some outside queuing maybe required, so please do come dressed appropriately for all weathers and keep hydrated.

Ticket holders will receive their copy of the book and goody bag at the venue.

David Walliams is very sorry but, in the time, allowed he will only be able to sign one book per person, per ticket holder.  Sadly, he cannot add dedications.

A photo opportunity will be available with David in front of the signing table, so please feel free to bring your cameras! Staff will be on hand to take your camera/phone to get a photo of you with David whilst he signs your book. Please note only ONE photo per family permitted due to timing restrictions. 

All staff handling books/cameras are vaccinated, have undertaken a lateral flow test on the day of the event and will wear masks on the day 

Please note the event may be filmed of photographed, as an attendee you consent to footage and/or images of you being used for promotional purposes.

If you have further questions, please contact us via email info@booknookuk.com or call 01273 911988

Pizazz Vs The New Kid by Sophy Henn, reviewed by Niamh

Hello! My name is Niamh and I’m aged 8. I’m an avid reader and some of my favourite authors and illustrators are Laura Ellen Anderson, Steven Butler, Steven Lenton, Sophy Henn and Sophie Anderson. I want to be an author and illustrator when I’m older and I love to write and draw in my spare time. I like to recommend books to my friends at school and believe you can never have too many books, even though I’m running out of space on my bookshelves! 

About the book

The super (like, actually, with powers and stuff) series from the amazingly talented Sophy Henn, award-winning author and illustrator of Bad Nana! The perfect read for children aged 7, 8, 9 and upwards, and for fans of Dork Diaries, Tom Gates, Amelia Fang, Wimpy Kid and Dog Man.

“A SPECTACULAR superhero story that fizzes with fun on every page!” – Liz Pichon, bestselling author of the TOM GATES series.

BEING A SUPERHERO IS THE BEST THING EVER, RIGHT? WRONG! HELLO! My name is PIZAZZ and I’m a superhero … You probably think that’s really AWESOME, and while it can be, it’s also REEEEEEEAAALLLLY annoying.

I guess it was sort of going OK (I say, “sort of” – I still have to wear a silly cape and save the world all the time) until this NEW KID showed up, and started WOWING everyone with their super powers. Yep, SUPER POWERS – just what this town needs, another super . . . Who just happens to have the coolest name ever: Jett. And now, because of Serena and her gang of Populars, I have to compete against Jett in an almighty and ultimate SUPER-OFF.

But it’s fine. I mean, even if I lose, there’s space for two SUPERS in this school, isn’t there?!

Hilariously narrated by reluctant superhero Pizazz, and brimming with Sophy’s distinctive illustrations and comic-book strips. 

The House At the Edge of Magic by Amy Sparkes – review

“Sometimes you are a whisper away from magic without even realizing it.”

This is a stunner of a read and perfect for those newly confident readers who are stepping into longer chapter books and looking for an adventure.
Absolutely stuffed to the brim with fantastic characters, this is a gripping adventure with miraculous magic and lots of laugh out loud moments. Who wouldn’t want a troll housekeeper?


We love that Nine is angry and hurt and doesn’t always manage to make the right decisions. She is a joy to follow as she butts against the wondrous worlds inside the house and the dark streets she lives in.
Perfect for reading aloud to a class and for fans of The Train to Impossible Places and The Strangeworlds Travel Agency.

About the book:

Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped ornament from a mysterious woman’s purse, she knocks on its tiny door and watches it grow into a huge, higgledy-piggeldy house. Inside she finds a host of magical and brilliantly funny characters, including Flabberghast – a young wizard who’s particularly competitive at hopscotch – and a hideous troll housekeeper who’s emotionally attached to his feather duster. They have been placed under an extraordinary spell, which they are desperate for Nine to break – and if she can, maybe they can offer her a new life in return…

You can get your copy here, and while stock lasts, a signed copy here

Tinsel by Sibeal Pounder – review

This book feels like Christmas. It has all the warmth, excitement and hope of Christmas, tied with a witty bow and the promise of magic. It has everything you could ask for from a Christmas book; magical characters, a rags to riches story, a disgruntled baddie, a fierce friendship and more than a sprinkling of hope. 

Laugh out loud funny and so brilliantly visual; Tinsel is crying out to be made into a Christmas film. Fiercely feminist and written with warmth and wisdom, this book gives you all the feels.

As with all her books, Sibeal gives a nod to social politics; stamping on gender stereotypes, highlighting inequality and the misuse of power and celebrating the individual who stands up for what they believe. 

My new Christmas favourite and a Christmas classic in the making.

About the book:

What if somewhere along the way we’ve all got the Santa story a bit wrong…? Join Blanche Claus and her best friend Rinki for a funny festive sleigh ride you’ll never forget! From Sibeal Pounder, bestselling author of the Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series, this tale of friendship and mince-pie feasts is the perfect book to curl up with this winter.

Funny, feminist and with a huge heart, it’s a gloriously Christmassy adventure that will delight even the biggest Grinch.

Due to be published 29th October, you can order a SIGNED and PERSONALISED copy here.

Pretty Funny by Rebecca Elliott

This book is spit-your-drink-out and snort with laughter funny. And let’s face it, we all need a bit of that right now!

A riotous journey through school days and friendship dramas and surviving those horrendously embarrassing moments that feel like the end of the world, all whilst trying to break down gender barriers and break in to stand up comedy. Pretty Funny is here for you and all your self-care laughter medicine needs.

Does anyone ever really want to ‘fall’ in love? Knowing me I’ll just trip over it and graze my knee on the gravel of humiliation.
Haylah Swinton is fairly confident she’s brilliant at being a girl. 
She’s an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an INCREDIBLY patient sister to her four-year-old total nutter of a brother, Noah. 
But she has a secret. She wants to be a stand-up comedian, but she’s pretty sure girls like her – big girls, girls who don’t get all the boys, girls who a lot of people don’t see – don’t belong on stage. 
That hasn’t stopped her dreaming though, and when the seemingly perfect opportunity to write routines for older, cooler, impossibly funny Leo arises . . . well, what’s a girl to do? But is Leo quite an interested in helping Haylah as he says he is? 
Will Haylah ever find the courage to step into the spotlight herself? And when oh when will people stop telling her she’s ‘funny for a girl’?!

We love this book!

It’s about families and first love and finding your true self… and then finding the strength to actually like and comfortably become your true self.

Rebecca Elliott has perfectly pitched the young teenage voice and created a painfully funny and realistic picture of the early teen years. It’s a joy to read and an absolute page turner.

Mostly, this is a tonic. A healthy dose of self-worth and confidence building. A hugely positive and powerful hug of a book. It shows young teens how resilient and awesome and brilliant they really are and how to hold on to that power and smash their way through life, smiling and laughing and loving themselves.

Perfect for fans of Girl Online, Tamsin Winters and Louise Rennison, and a book that should be in every secondary school library. Perfect for 12+ but there’s nothing here that wouldn’t be appropriate for discerning 10+ readers who need a good old belly laugh.

You can get your copy here.

Books That Feel Like a Big Hug

In times of uncertainty we try to find comfort in the day to day and one way many people find this is through reading.

Personally, the book I could return to time and time again is Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson. I am a big fan of the Moomins but there’s undoubtedly something very reassuring about being pulled into Moominvalley and exploring the magical snowy landscape with Moomintroll. The characters all feel like old friends and I know that if anything does go wrong, Moominmamma will make it all better somehow, either with her unerring patience and logic or with something useful stashed in her gigantic handbag.

Winnie the Pooh is another such book that welcomes me into a world of childhood innocence, joy and fun. The Hundred Acre Wood is the friendly yet slightly wild playground we all dreamt of and who else is of more comfort than Pooh himself? He’s a simple bear; surprisingly wise, completely at ease with himself and he always has honey on hand in case you feel a little peckish.

Another story for a slightly older audience that feels like a big hug is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s the coming-of-age story of teenager Cassandra who lives in an old romantic castle with her eccentric family. The narrative style, relationships between characters and the romance that entails never fail to give me warm fuzzy feelings inside.

I asked our followers on social media which books brought them the greatest comfort and these either tended to be books loved at a young age which create feelings of nostalgia, stories read by adults with their children when they were little or those that had heart warming moments within providing the warm fuzzy feelings we all love.

The Harry Potter series was a very popular choice for many, especially Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. If you combine the escapism of the magical world, the excitement at rediscovering Hogwarts, the warm embrace of familiar characters like Hagrid and Dumbledore and the nostalgia associated with this series then it’s no surprise that this was the most widespread suggestion for ultimate comfort reading.

Other suggestions included books that made people laugh like Claude in the City by Alex T. Smith, magical classic picture books read repeatedly at a young age, more modern classics such as Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson or pure magical escapism such as The Enchanted Wood series by Enid Blyton.

If you’re in need of a comforting story at the moment then call the shop on 01273911988 or email us on info@booknookuk.com, talk to a member of staff and they’ll recommend something just for you. We can deliver free locally or post to anyone outside of Brighton and Hove.

Keep reading and keep safe!

Teenagers! Swap the doom and gloom for a belly laugh or two…

Are you a teenager who loves to read but is feeling the need for something light hearted? Maybe you’re a parent who thinks their teenager needs something less  gloomy to read.

We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with sad and tragic tales of lost love and family upset, dark dystopian worlds, crazy cults or chilling crimes committed by or to teenagers  – they’re some of our bestselling YA books. In such a bizarre, and often jarring, time of self-isolation it’s feasible that you may be looking for something that might make you crack a smile or even belly laugh. If this is the case then keep reading…

Pretty Funny by Rebecca Elliot

In Haylah Swinton, Rebecca Elliot has created a loveable, flawed and fabulously feisty protagonist who’ll make you giggle and guffaw.

Haylah has always wanted to be a comedian but has never had the courage to perform. Somehow she finds herself staring out at an audience during an open mic night; oh, and the audience includes the boy she has a very big crush on.  When it all goes a little awry she is mortified but could this embarrassing situation lead to greater things?

If you’re looking for a strong and funny female protagonist, some hilariously awkward teenage exchanges and some truly endearing characters then this is the book for you.


Girl Out of Water by Nat Luurtsema

This is one of my go to recommendations for customers when they’re looking for a more light-hearted book to read.

Lou is one of the funniest narrators I’ve come across in YA books. I definitely snorted on public transport a few times whilst reading this. When her best friend Hannah sails through Olympic time trials Lou is left flailing in her wake. Her failure to qualify and the loss of her best friend sends Lou into a crazy world of underwater somersaults, talent show auditions, gossiping girls and one great big load of awkward boy chat. This is a thoroughly British teen comedy starring a hilariously flawed heroine with a quip for every occasion sure to make you giggle


Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

Meet Noah Grimes. He’s unpopular at school, his mother has a Beyoncé tribute act, his father is absent, he’s completely obsessed with Murder She Wrote and he has only one friend, Harry. When he gets the chance to work on a project with a popular girl, he figures this could be his chance to integrate with the normals, even get a girlfriend. However this plan comes crashing down when, instead of Noah kissing Sophie at a party, Harry kisses Noah. Cue chaos.

This book will make you laugh out loud repeatedly. Noah is endearing in spite of his many flaws and I found myself really wanting him to succeed in life. The journey he goes on with his sexuality and family feels completely natural and believable. It’s a funny and light read but the emotional moments still pack quite the punch.


Simon Vs The Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal … It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.

This book will give you lovely fuzzy feelings inside.  Simon is completely loveable and I spent the whole of the book just rooting for him. It is simultaneously hilarious and heart warming and I guarantee you will want to read it again.



We have stock of all of the above titles available at the moment however our staff are also able recommend a book for you or your teenager if you call the shop on 01273911988 or email us on info@booknookuk.com. Just let us know who the book is for and their age – it’s as easy as that.  

Anisha Accidental Detective by Serena Patel and Emma McCann

Anisha is all set to be a (reluctant) bridesmaid at Aunty Bindi’s wedding…until a secret ransom note arrives. Bindi’s groom has been kidnapped and will only be released IF THE WEDDING IS CALLED OFF!

With best friend Milo, mischievous Granny Jas, a runaway lobster, a kitten-loving giant, and some super skills of logic and observation, it’s up to Anisha Mistry to find her uncle, before the big family wedding of the year becomes a big disaster.

This brilliantly funny character-led series is perfect for fans of Pamela Butchart and Swapna Haddow and is a great gateway read into older detective fiction like Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike series.

Anisha Accidental Detectives is the first in a brilliantly inclusive detective series featuring a multi-generational British Indian family. It reflects reality with a strong cast of characters and footnotes explaining cultural references in a fun and unobtrusive way.

Anisha is a fantastic female lead; a reluctant heroine who would rather stay out of any drama. She has much more common sense than all the grown ups and is a strong role model for STEM loving children.  Together with her best friend Milo she must use all her logic and reasoning skills to get to the bottom of the great kidnapping mystery.

The book is an ode to the strength and solidarity of female family members, celebrating women in all their different forms with Anisha’s fantastically fierce granny who never gives up and oozes positivity, and her unflappable Mum who stays calm through every crisis. The book is filled with role models and wonderful women for readers to aspire to.

Anisha and Milo flip gender stereotypes on their head and this book is a real celebration of knowing who you are, being comfortable with yourself and seeing your differences as your strengths. Emma McCann’s illustrations bring the diverse characters to life and add an extra layer of humour to a wonderfully written, fun and engaging story. 

You can get your copy here.

Wigglesbottom Primary: Break-Time Bunnies

All is chaos in Year 2! An unexpected visitor, a bewitched violin and an invasion of bunnies! What can it all mean?

The hilarious Wigglesbottom Primary series is back with a bang… and a lot of bunnies, in this laugh out loud book with three new stories about Class 2R and their wild imaginations.

School days are never boring at Wigglesbottom Primary and we love the way the stories race along at the same pace as Class 2R’s imaginations. These adventures are hugely relatable and super fun, showing a class of brilliantly positive and diverse children working together through every step of their adventures.

Pamela Butchart never fails to ace the imaginary leaps of young children and to celebrate the fun and excitement of childhood. Becka Moor’s illustrations bring all the energy of the characters to life and add even more comedy to the zany situations they create.

Perfect for Key Stage 1 and newly independent readers who love riotously funny stories.

You can order your copy here.