*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
I would like to apologise to the author and to Rachel that this tour post is so late, due to illness on my part.
Blurb: “For you to find the Velvet Knife, you must solve the riddles thrice.” A mysterious hooded figure, known only as the Velvet Knife has appeared in the cursed village of Suncroft. No one knows who he is or what he wants but when he starts leaving riddles around the village, it is time for Josie to return to Suncroft for a second time.
With Asher, her faithful husky Protector by her side, Filan, a half elf, and her great grandad, will they be able to solve the clues in time and discover his identity? The Velvet Knife is not the only one causing problems for Josie. Her rival for the position of the ‘Chosen One’ continues to grow stronger, and now he has a Protector of his own.
What does all this mean for Josie? Is she destined to lift the wintery curse of Suncroft or will another take her place as the ‘Chosen One’?
This is the second book in the Josie James series, and I would definitely recommend you read Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer first, as that sets up the world, characters and magical rules for the series.
Josie James and the Velvet Knife dives straight back into the many mysteries of Suncroft. Josie seems to have mysteriously lost her memories of her previous adventure, but is alerted to the fact that something is wrong by strange flash headaches and the feeling that she is being watched by certain unusual animals as she goes about her holiday.
Of course, it isn’t long before she finds her way back to Suncroft and remembers that she is the Chosen One who is set to free the village from its curse of darkness. Or at least, she thinks she is. However, one of the village elders seems to have other ideas and has found a ‘Chosen One’ of his own to put forward. Is Josie really the one destined to save Suncroft?
To add to the intrigue, there is a shadowy figure haunting the village and leaving cryptic riddles. Josie and her friends set their minds to solving the riddles to try to uncover who the Velvet Knife really is and what they want. And this time, Josie is keeping a secret of her own, thanks to her Husky friends.
I was a little uncomfortable with the memory-wiping element of the plot – especially later in the story – but it did add to the feeling of suspense and also highlighted that Josie can’t trust what people are telling her, or even her own senses at times. I hope that the Protector bond she is developing will help her with this aspect of her adventures, as the dogs can clearly see what is going on better than the adult humans!
I loved the riddles and trying to solve the puzzle of what they meant before the characters, and the shock ending left me keen to find out what will happen in book three.
This series is ideal for readers aged 7 and upwards who enjoy adventure stories with magic, animals and mild peril. The setting is idyllic, the characters are engaging and the plot is full of puzzles and mystery. I look forward to seeing what Josie (and Asher) get up to next!
Josie was amazed at the sheer size of the dog. His head was level with the railings, his huge pointy ears pricked and alert. She stared at the husky and the husky stared back with bright blue eyes. Her eyes began to burn, and she rubbed at them, wondering if her hay fever had kicked in again.
What amazed Josie most by the scene was that no one else appeared to notice the huge dog. They walked past without stopping to stroke him or at least acknowledge his presence. One man even brushed right up against the husky on his way into the shop and didn’t bat an eyelid.
“Josie?” She turned at her name and saw that her grandad had reached the till and was now waiting for the paper.
“Sorry, Bamps.” When she turned back to the car park, the Husky had vanished.1
– Lily Mae Walters, Josie James and the Velvet Knife
Josie James and the Velvet Knife is available to buy on Amazon right now.