Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill – FOR FREE! (one day only….)

Special offer – One Day Only! The Kindle edition of my exciting, funny fantasy adventure ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, a finalist in this year’s Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards, is available FREE! This is the second book in the series but it works fine as a standalone novel if you are new to the Vale of Strange.

‘Stranger, more peculiar and utterly delightful,’ says John Guy Collick, author of the ‘Book of the Colossus’ series. ‘Perfectly combines outlandish scares with adventure and wild imagination.’

This special offer is available at Amazon stores worldwide. Make sure you don’t miss out!

The Wishing Shelf Awards

Great news from Grimly Central! Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, the second book in my Vale of Strange series, has made it into the Finals of The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Award! The book is in Category 3, books for 9-12 year olds, and you can see all the contenders in that category here

There are links to purchase all of the books and you should find some great ones amongst them because the great thing about the Wishing Shelf competition is that the children’s books are all judged by real children. So they are books that children actually like, not ones that someone older thinks they ought to like.

The winners will all be announced on April 1 (or thereabouts) so, if you don’t already own a copy of Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, now is the time to purchase yours. Then you can say “I told you so,” if it wins an award!

Just to remind you what the book’s about: In ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, Peter returns to the Vale of Strange with his new friend Mala, hoping to find her father, the hapless explorer Augustus Flipper, who has disappeared in a sudden outbreak of strangeness.

Peter and Mala have to grapple with a number of difficult questions. Why is the unpleasant Percival Crow building a swimming pool even though he never takes a swim? Why have the mysterious four-foot-high bearded Australians taken against Uncle Bob? And what has produced the lights in the sky and the multicoloured bubbles of strangeness all across Mala’s lawn? Peter suspects that something big is happening here. If only they could rely on the reluctant Amanda to help them…

Stranger Days is the sequel to The Shop on Peculiar Hill but it works fine as a standalone book if you haven’t read the earlier one. Here’s what some of the reviewers had to say:

“The author’s vivid imagination, exceptional storytelling and brilliant writing makes this a fantasy novel you will recall in years to come.”

“Absolutely loved this book. Very funny, exciting, and a real page turner. Can’t wait for the next.”

“Weird and wonderful escape from reality. Genuinely new and surprising in its inventiveness.”

“In all honestly, as soon as I’d finished Shop on Peculiar Hill, I was desperate to get my hands on Stranger Days – this is a world with absolutely no finite end point, and I hope this series just keeps going!”

Well, those reviewers seemed to like the book, didn’t they? Do you agree with them? If you’ve read the book, write in and tell us what you think. And if you haven’t read it, this could be the ideal time to get a copy…

Shout Out Time…

“Here is your chance to celebrate some brilliant but overlooked books,” tweeted Andrew Rough a few days ago, and many thanks to the ever-supportive Ian Eagleton for choosing The Shop on Peculiar Hill and Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill amongst his responses. He also selected The Tunnels Below by Nadine Wild-Palmer (which is on my Kindle and will probably be even more exciting if I actually get round to reading it, which I am DEFINITELY GOING TO DO NEXT) and also a new book to me, The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas and Erin E Stead.

Ian himself has an exciting week coming up because his own book Nen and the Lonely Fisherman (with illustrations by James Mayhew) is released on June 1 and there’s also an Instagram reading of the book by none other than Stephen Fry on 29 May!

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas from all at the Vale of Strange! Stay safe – and don’t forget your hat!

Funny, mysterious fantasy stories, The Shop on Peculiar Hill and Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill – Special Kindle prices on both books! Get them now before they’re gone!

Amazon UK 77p

Amazon US 99c

Still time for a Bargain!

I’ve just notified the three lucky winners of the recent competition (run by LoveReading4Kids) to win a signed copy of Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill. I’m pleased to announce that there were no fewer than 1585 entries for the competition, so confirming the enduring popularity of my books – at least on occasions where no exchange of funds is required.

If you happen to be one of the 1582 people who just missed out on winning a book, I’m happy to report that you still have a chance to pick up a bargain. The first book in the Vale of Strange series, The Shop on Peculiar Hill, which is the prequel to Stranger Days, is still available as an e-book from Amazon, priced at just 99p UK or 99c US (and for similarly paltry amounts in other parts of the globe). The paperback version is also competitively priced at just £6-99 UK or $9-99 US.

The Shop on Peculiar Hill has become unexpectedly topical since the onset of COVID-19. The young hero Peter finds that his move to stay with his uncle and aunt on Peculiar Hill puts him in an unfamilar situation. He is told that he is not allowed to go out of the house without taking special precautions like wearing a hat and sturdy boots. His aunt and uncle use weird protective concoctions called unge and glop which they put on the dining table and spread in a ring round the house, while Aunt Maggie will never even leave the house without a long pole to defend herself against monsters. Indeed, she never goes out at all except on a Thursday.

How is Peter supposed to adapt to this strange, unfamilar predicament?

Anne-Marie Reynolds at Readers’ Favorite wrote: “The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ by Grimly Darkwood is a fascinating story, much like a dark version of a fairy tale… This book has it all – death, darkness, fearsome creatures, strange vegetables – everything needed to brew up a fantastical tale. This story is well written in very straightforward language… There is always something going on to keep your interest. The author has written the characters very well, so clearly that you can picture them in your mind – kind of like watching a Harry Potter movie.”

Joanne Owen at LoveReading4Kids said “A riotously imaginative feast of fantastical adventure with lashings of larger-than-life characters and curious goings-on… This book’s whimsical, jaunty language and characterisation make it marvellous for reading aloud. In fact, as you read the dialogue, it’s easy to hear and see the characters in action, replete with tone of voice and physical quirks.”

Ian Eagleton, Creator of the Reading Realm app, wrote: “Thrilling, dark, utterly barmy, funny and surprisingly moving… if you haven’t read it already, please do. What a hidden gem!”

You can find out more about The Shop on Peculiar Hill here on my website. You can also try before you buy! Read the first two chapters here for free…

Competition Extended to 12 August!

Just when you you thought you had missed your chance, I am pleased to inform you that you haven’t! That’s good news, isn’t it? What could be better than that?

Now don’t get overexcited. I’m afraid that some opportunities have indeed disappeared into the mists of time. You’re still too late to attend the 1966 World Cup football final for instance, which may be for the best, because I have a sneaking feeling that the more times we watch it, the more likely it is that Germany is going to win after all. We’re also too late to be the first person to land on the moon. I can vouch for that because they brought me back an authentic stick of moon rock which had little green men on it and a label which said ‘made in Blackpool’ with the ‘Blackpool’ bit crossed out and ‘the moon’ written in.

So that possibility’s gone as well, I’m afraid, But don’t worry because believe it it not, you are still in time to win the most important prize of all: one of three signed copies of that fantastic work of fiction, ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’ because the deadline for entries to the LoveReading4Kids competition has now been extended (by popular demand) to 12 August. So get in now while you’re still in time! Hurry across to LoveReading4Kids to find out all the instructions for how to enter. Those books won’t be there for ever, you know, so don’t miss out!

I understand that if you don’t win a book, you can still pick up a piece of moon rock, though the rumour is that the latest ones don’t come from the moon at all but from a popular range of insolvent garden centres. So that’s hardly the same sort of quality prize as Peter’s mysterious adventures in the Vale of Strange, now is it?

So make sure you win one of those books, personally signed my me, Grimly Darkwood.

And if you win,

a) Don’t forget to read it, and

b) please post an honest review of the book on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, or in some other reputable publication, whether in print or online. Most people who read the Vale of Strange books seem to really enjoy them, with lots of five star reviews, but we need more people, kids and adults alike, to spread the word!

More Signed Copies of Stranger Days to be Won!

If you didn’t get lucky in our previous competition, there’s now a new chance to win one of three signed copies of the paperback edition of Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, this time courtesy of Lovereading4kids You can find out all about how to enter on the lovereading4kids website here, where you’ll also find the Lovereading4kids review of the book.

This is of course the second in the Vale of Strange series, the sequel to The Shop on Peculiar Hill. Lovereading4kids points out that it’s also a stand-alone novel which works very well even if you haven’t read the previous book. They say: ‘this is an exciting book which will certainly be a page turner for those who love all things weird and wonderful’.

The book is one of the Lovereading4kids ‘indie books that we love’ and also one of their featured books. There’s lots more about the book, including more reviews, on our own special page here and you can read some free sample chapters here. Good luck in the competition!

Grimly Talks about Stranger Days… plus Books to be Won!

Those really nice people at The Reading Realm app called round for a chat a little while ago (when such things were still possible) and Grimly shared a few thoughts about Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, the second book in the Vale of Strange series. It’s a really good interview. You’ll find out all about one of the new characters in Stranger Days, Peter’s new friend Mala; how Grimly says you can save the world by asking questions; and what might be coming up in the third book in the series. You’ll find it all on the Reading Realm website here.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s a chance to win one of three signed copies of Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill! To find out how to enter, visit @reading_realm on Twitter.

And before you go, don’t forget that The Reading Realm app is a great resource to encourage kids to read, with lots of games, extracts from books (including The Shop on Peculiar Hill), and tools to help you write and draw stories yourself.

Right then, that’s it… Good luck in the competition, keep safe, and don’t forget your hat!

More Reviews of Stranger Days

As I mentioned in the last post (which was, ahem, a few weeks ago now but then we’ve all been busy not meeting people and not going anywhere, haven’t we?) Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill has been chosen as one of the lovereading4kids Indie Books We Love. This means it features on the front page of their website, and to add to the excitement, it is also one of their featured books for 9+ and 11+ readers this month, listed together with other titles such as Liz Flanagan’s exciting Rise of the Shadow Dragons and the new illustrated edition of Ted Hughes’ classic story The Iron Man.

To celebrate, we’ve updated the Stranger Days page here on grimlydarkwood.com with all the latest reviews, many of them five star including this one that’s just come in from an Amazon UK customer called JG, who says: “Weird and wonderful escape from reality. Genuinely new and surprising in its inventiveness. I should have been warned about the big spider.

I’m glad you enjoyed it, JG. I’m sorry if you were startled by the spider (and actually there were three of them but maybe you looked away at that point) but we did say that the Vale of Strange books contain monsters, I seem to remember, so I would have thought that was warning enough. Ok, they were actually giant spiders with really strange webs and the kids almost ran out of unctuous splodger so Amanda almost got eaten but it seems to me that ‘warning – contains monsters!’ just about covers all that, doesn’t it?

What do you think? Should we put more warnings on Vale of Strange books? In which case, what should we warn about? “Caution – contains Uncle Bob!” maybe? Or: “This book mentions chocolate cake rather a lot” Or even: “This book may disturb the balance of the weirdosphere!” What do you think is scary in the books? Write and tell me….

You can contact me, Grimly, via the ‘contact Grimly‘ page (see link in sidebar) or just email me directly at grimlydarkwood03 (at) gmail.com It will be great to hear from you. While I’m waiting, though, there’s something else I need to work out: if something scares you, should I put more of it or less of it in the next book?

(Don’t forget that as well as reading the reviews on the Stranger Days page, you can ‘try before you buy’. Read two free sample chapters here.)

Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill – ‘a LoveReading4Kids Indie Book We Love’

We’re very happy to announce that, like The Shop on Peculiar Hill before it, Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, the second book in the Vale of Strange series, has been chosen by Lovereading4kids as one of their ‘Indie Books We Love’.

Reviewer Charlotte Walker writes “Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill is a new adventure that develops the brilliant ideas firmly established in Grimly Darkwood’s first Vale of Strange book… It follows on from the end of The Shop on Peculiar Hill but recaps the previous events and there’s enough detail for it to be read as a standalone story… After reading, I’m sure children will be racing to enjoy the adventure in The Shop on Peculiar Hill if they haven’t read it already.”

And if you prefer to start reading with the first book, don’t forget that the eBook version of The Shop on Peculiar Hill is still available for only 99p from Amazon UK or 99 cents from Amazon.Com

You can read the whole of Charlotte’s review here.

We’ve also updated our Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill page here on grimlydarkwood.com with all the latest reviews of the book, including this one from an Amazon UK reader: “Absolutely loved this book. Very funny, exciting, and a real page turner. Can’t wait for the next.”