Welcome to our review page!

Below are a selection of our most recent reviews, keep popping back as we will regularly update the page.


Timeliners and Fiction Express Reviews

Follow the link below to read the full reviews, just click on the ReadZone link.

Here are the edited highlights, thanks to Parents in Touch for the wonderful reviews.

The Finest Pharaoh of All! (Timeliners) by Stewart Ross

"Excitingly told by a very good storyteller, the world of Ancient Egypt is vividly brought alive. The chapters are short - only two or three pages - and I like the fact that the contents page gives a summary of the chapter. This will be a good aid for reluctant readers, as they can refresh their memory on what has happened when they come back to continue reading."

Beware the King! (Timeliners) by Stewart Ross

 "The story is well told; it will grip the reader as well as giving a good insight into Tudor history through the timeline, supporting facts, glossary and portrait gallery which depicts the main characters."

Dear Mum, I Miss You! (Timeliners) by Stewart Ross

"The book gives a vivid picture of wartime life as well as being a touching story. The accompanying factfiles and other historical information make this a perfect book for any student learning about World War II. This series is really excellent, with its combination of fact and fiction to inform and entertain. Beautifully produced too."

Deena's Dreadful Day (Fiction Express) by Simon Cheshire

"Deena is preparing for her big moment a part in the local talent contest but everything's going wrong. The only one who seems to understand is her dog, Bert. Will Deena make it to the theatre in time, and will her magic tricks work, or will her dreadful day end in disaster? The story is well-paced, and with its short chapters and large font with plenty of white space, it's ideal for new readers."

The Pirate's Secret (Fiction Express) by Stewart Ross

"This exciting tale is the story of Arden Tregorey who sets out in search of his father's 'golden secret', after his father is kidnapped. It's a long and dangerous journey across the 5000 miles of dangerous Atlantic Ocean, and every chapter ends in suspense, drawing the reader in to continue and find out what happens. Will Arden succeed in finding his only living relative?"

The Gloom Lord (Fiction Express) by Cavan Scott

"A Gloom Lord and his army of security-bots are threatening to spread a wave of misery across the entire galaxy. First target - Lunar Land, the brand new amusement park on the Moon. It's an interesting concept, one that will engage children as they enjoy the fast-moving, suspense-filled story."

Clock (Fiction Express) by Andrew G Taylor

"Harry Boyd can stop time - literally; this is a very useful ability for one such as he, who lives a life of petty crime under the very noses of shoppers at the Gatesworth Shopping Centre. But when he is caught in the act, things start to go badly wrong - not just for Harry, but for planet earth. Another gripping story in this excellent series."

The Vampire Quest (Fiction Express) by Simon Cheshire

" James is just an ordinary boy, and so, it seems, is his best friend Vince... until it turns out that Vince is a vampire; his family are vampires too, and the people who live at No. 38. There are everywhere! But they are quite harmless, as long as there are plenty of supplies of Feed-N-Gulp, the magical vegetarian vampire brew. But when supplies run out... It's a fun and lively story which will really appeal to readers; well-written, fast-moving and with just a little frisson of fear."

Reading Path reviews from Parents in Touch

Once again our friends at Parents in Touch have been busy reviewing our latest titles. This time it is our brand new graded Reading Path, you can read all the details about each bird level on our news page:

Follow the link to read the reviews in full or scroll down for highlights!


Cave-baby and the Mammoth by Vivian French

"This title fits well with the new history curriculum which includes study of the Stone Age. The illustrations are full of interest and will give children good ideas for illustrating their own work."

The Sand Dragon by Su Swallow

"It's a lovely story and a superb way to help children learn the joy of reading. "


Alien Tale by Christine Moorcraft

"Books for early readers have moved a long, long way. Now, as epitomised in this series, they have engaging subjects, exceptional illustrations and varied characters - even aliens!"

Tuva by Mick Gowar

"Vivid and realistic illustrations bring the story to life."


"Level 3 Magpies are fun stories in 150 words for emergent readers.There are plenty more stories at the same level, ensuring there are titles that will appeal to all children and giving them plenty to choose from before moving on to the next level."


The King of Kites by Judith Heneghan

"...friendship comes to the rescue and all is well in this multi-cultural story; the vivid colours of the illustrations are very effective."

Hoppy Ever After by Alan Durant

"No-one else wants to be hoppy? Poor Froggy! Until, that is, he meets one special person... and Froggy and his new friend live happily ever after in this joyful story."


Carving the Sea Path by Kathryn White

"Skylarks are first chapter books for more confident readers. When Samuel first moves to the Artic, he is rude and unfriendly. But Irniq gives him a chance, and the boys become friends."

London's Burning by Pauline Francis

"...very topical for 2016, being the 350 year anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Written in narrative form, it's the story of the fire seen through the eyes of young John. Well told, the story really gets the reader involved and it's good to see fact woven into an engaging story."


More great reviews from Parents in Touch

Follow the link below to read the full version:

Here are the highlights from Sarah's reviews

Right Now series

Grind by Dee Phillips

  • bright illustrations and minimal text
  • current and exciting topics that will appeal to young teenagers
  • very simple text manages to convey a wealth of meaning
  • perfect for building confidence
  • appealing illustrations and credible stories combine perfectly


Timeliners by Stewart Ross

"The excellent narration really moves the reader through the story and there's enough excitement to ensure interest is kept high. "

"The books are a really good way to encourage an interest in history and fill a gap between texts for younger children and factual books which are of a higher reading age."

  •  fast paced fictional narrative
  • divided into short chapters to encourage independent reading
  • History is put into context by an introductory section 'The Story So Far...' and at the end 'What Happened Next';
  • glossary of words and a timeline

Crossroads series by Mirjam Eppinga


"Two more great reads, perfect for engaging teens with books, whether they struggle with reading or simply don't want to be bothered (these books could well change their minds!). "

 "It's an upbuilding and encouraging read, perfect for instilling confidence in both reading and in tackling and overcoming problems."

"..the graphic novel format is the ideal way to draw in reluctant and struggling readers."

"With all the pace and excitement teen readers demand."

Thriller Shots Series

No Heroics by Liz Holliday

"Just because teens struggle to read, there's no reason why they should miss out on all the excitement books have to offer - and Thriller Shots are superbly exciting reads."

"fast-paced and highly stimulating reads which will captivate their audience..."

" a quick hit of adrenalin for readers who need to be encouraged to pick up a book a quick hit of adrenalin for readers who need to be encouraged to pick up a book."



Pig in Love by Vivian French and illustrated by Tim Archbold has been reviewed in the June 2015 issue of School Library Journal

Pig is in love with lovely Piggie, his next door neighbor. But when he tries to woo her, Piggie’s father steps in and tells Pig that he can marry Piggie when “Pigs can fly.” The porcine hero decides to build a set of wings, but it doesn’t go so well. Instead, Pig and Piggie run off together in a hot air balloon bound for the moon and piloted by Cow. While the story doesn’t cover new territory, the anthropomorphic pigs in dresses, hats, pants, and darling scarves will delight young readers. The rhyming text is ideal for beginning readers who may not be ready for longer or more complex books.

VERDICT A nice addition for a library that wants to expand its rhyming easy reader collection.

By Krishna Grady, Darien Library, Connecticut, USA


Nelson Mandela reviewed by J.B Petty in the June Issue of Book List

During his life, Nelson Mandela was a symbol of freedom for black South Africans. Now, after his death, he is revered as a symbol of peace by people around the world. In eight short chapters (two to four pages), this biography looks at different phases of Mandela’s life ("Country Boy," "Rebel," "Freedom Fighter," "Prisoner," "World Leader," etc.) to create a rounded account of his accomplishments and the personal, political, and social obstacles he faced. Using engaging language, Ridley highlights significant events in Mandela’s life—his involvement in the African National Congress, imprisonment for treason, election to the office of president of South Africa, and more—along with key concepts, such as apartheid, set apart in text boxes that clearly define them. Documented color photographs in every spread add to the power of Mandela’s story and extend its accessibility to younger readers. Bold words are defined in a glossary; an index is also included. A solid first look at Mandela that brings his fight for freedom alive.


Nelson Mandela Review from Roundtable review  

This well illustrated biography of  Nelson Mandela is ideal for young readers who are seeking basic information about the President of South Africa’s life and overview of his experiences that include his childhood, political activism and time spent as a political prisoner. 

Since the author uses a magazine style format to tell Mandela’s story, this would be an ideal paperback to use with older, reluctant readers or middle school students who are not yet reading on grade level. 

Teachers, librarians, and home schooling parents will want to consider adding this book to their collection of titles that will hold the attention and interest of young readers who are just beginning their study of individuals who have changed the course of history.

Reviewed by Bob Walch



Author Blog Posts and Interviews         




Read Zone Books has just published My Cousin Faustina by Bea Davenport. It was written live and interactively over 5 weeks through the Fiction Express website and readers voted for where the next chapter goes.






Click the links below to read Bea's blog post and find out more.


Croc by the Rock Review  

Thanks to our friends "over the pond" in the USA for a glowing review of Croc by the Rock by Hilary Robinson. It will be published in the April 2015 edition of School Library Journal, but here is a sneak peak...

This original story, first published in 2005, has been revised, and the illustrations and cover have been updated. The story features Jake, a very curious boy, walking down the road alone with just his fishing net in hand. As he prepares to fish off the bank, he sees something in the water and his imagination takes off. As other characters come by, Jake shouts “A croc by the rock” and they, too, are curious about what is in the water. An old man arrives in a van and lets his dog jump into the water while others come by with cameras and take photos. Much to everyone’s surprise, the “croc” turns out to be just a ball. Jake goes home and comes back to fish in the afternoon and is shocked to find a croc’s tooth in his net. A great many details are left to the reader’s imagination. Intended for emerging readers, the text features a controlled vocabulary and a large typeface. Each short sentence features a rhyming completion on the next page. Simple illustrations propel the story at a measured pace.

VERDICT An additional purchase where libraries are in need of very simple beginning readers.

Reviewed by Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN


Express Classics and Crossroads Reviews


Thanks to Sarah from the education website Parents in Touch for posting brilliant reviews of Frankenstein from our Express Classics Series and Into the Dark from our Crossroads series. Click the link below to read the reviews.