Friday, 22 March 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Kids Book Picks - March 2019 - US Published Post Two


Colin Meloy - The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid - Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0062342461 - Paperback - Age: 9+

From the creators of the New York Times, bestselling Wildwood Chronicles comes an original, humorous, and fast-paced middle-grade novel about a band of child pickpockets--imagine The Invention of Hugo Cabret meets Oliver Twist.
It is an ordinary Tuesday morning in April when bored, lonely Charlie Fisher witnesses something incredible. Right before his eyes, in a busy square in Marseille, a group of pickpockets pulls off an amazing robbery. As the young bandits appear to melt into the crowd, Charlie realizes with a start that he himself was one of their marks.
Yet Charlie is less alarmed than intrigued. This is the most thrilling thing that's happened to him since he came to France with his father, an American diplomat. So instead of reporting the thieves, Charlie defends one of their cannons, Amir, to the police, under one condition: he teaches Charlie the tricks of the trade.
What starts off as a lesson on pinches, kicks, and chumps soon turns into an invitation for Charlie to join the secret world of the whiz mob, an international band of child thieves who trained at the mysterious School of Seven Bells. The whiz mob are independent and incredibly skilled and make their own way in the world--they are everything Charlie yearns to be. But what at first seemed like a (relatively) harmless new pastime draws him into a dangerous adventure with global stakes greater than he could have ever imagined.


Thomas Lennon (Author), John Hendrix (Illustrator) - Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles - Published by Amulet Books (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1419734915 -Hardback - Age:10+
Fourteen-year-old Ronan Boyle is the youngest and lowliest recruit to the secret Garda, an Irish police force that handles the misdeeds of numerous magical creatures. Ronan’s parents are in jail, but Ronan is convinced that they were framed by the wee people. So, despite his small size, poor eyesight, and social awkwardness, he’s determined to learn all he can in the Garda in order to prove his parents’ innocence. To show he’s got what it takes, he’ll have to confront a fiery leprechaun, a sinister harpy, and a whole world of monsters hidden in plain sight next to real-life Ireland. Fast-paced, action-packed, and completely hilarious, this is the start to an exciting new middle-grade series by actor and writer Thomas Lennon.


Heather Shumaker - The Griffins of Castle Cary - Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1534430884 - Hardback - Age: 7+

A charming, adventure-filled debut novel that's perfect for fans of The Penderwicks series.
Siblings Meg, Will, and Ariel Griffin are off on an adventure! They can't wait to spend a week visiting their eccentric aunt and her giant, tongue-drooling Newfoundland dog in England. But when they finally arrive, they're faced with a few local secrets that stir up more than a little trouble. 
Add in some very peculiar lights, strange new friends, a police chase and some stampeding sheep, and the Griffin kids are in over their heads--literally. Apparently, this town has a ghost problem and the three children must race to solve the mystery before the ghosts take something that doesn't belong to them.


Keith O'Brien - Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History - Published by Houghton Mifflin (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1328618429 - Hardback - Age: 8+

From NPR correspondent Keith O' Brien comes this thrilling Young Readers' edition of the untold story about pioneering women, including Amelia Earhart, who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s--and won.

In the years between World War I and World War II, airplane racing was one of the most popular sports in America. Thousands of fans flocked to multi-day events, and the pilots who competed in these races were hailed as heroes. Well, the male pilots were hailed. Women who flew planes were often ridiculed by the press, and initially, they weren't invited to race. Yet a group of women were determined to take to the sky--no matter what. With guts and grit, they overcame incredible odds both on the ground and in the air to pursue their dreams of flying and racing planes.

Fly Girls follows the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high-school dropout from North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama housewife; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, a daughter of Wall Street wealth who longed to live a life of her own; and Louise Thaden, who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men--and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all.

Complete with photographs and a glossary, Fly Girls celebrates a little-known slice of history wherein tenacious, trail-blazing women braved all obstacles to achieve greatness.
 
Ruth NicholsCreditCreditThe International Women’s Air and Space Museum, Cleveland, Ohio

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Kirsty Applebaum - The Middler - Book Review (Nosy Crow) Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Heading out into the literary world on 4th April 2019 will be Kirsty Applebaum's debut book, The Middler. The book (published by Nosy Crow Books) supports a brilliant book cover image designed by Nicola Theobald which features the fantastic artwork by art director/illustrator Matt Saunders. This striking design will certainly help to set this book apart from the many other great books being published this coming April. We are certainly in for a literary treat or two.

The story is told from the perspective of eleven-year-old Maggie who introduces you to her home in Fennis Wick. It's a settlement isolated and protected from the outside world by a boundary beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam. The plot starts to set the brain ticking by asking the questions regarding what lies ahead. What we find is a story full of lies and propaganda which soon turns into a web of mystery and intrigue. The book gives a timeless feeling to it. It's hard to distinguish when and where the story is actually set - past/future? However, this definitely captures the imagination and attention of the reader.

This story is brilliantly written and well developed middle-grade children's book that will appeal to a wide reading audience for a number of reasons. Maggie the main character is bold, daring and very endearing. She is a middler, a muddler and not very important. Her older brother Jed is special, as the oldest his destiny is to go and fight in the Quiet War. Whilst her younger brother, Trig, has been written very realistically. He is loved by everyone, naive and a little bit soppy. All of the characters depict a family unit who are caring, full of love and looking for, hopefully, a safe future. 

However, one hot September day, Maggie meets Una. She's a hungry wanderer girl in need of help. Maggie's life changes forever as she begins to realise that things weren't quite what she'd been led to believe. The story takes you on an ambling adventure of forbidden friendship in a world of betrayal and deceit; the lies are unfurled page by page. The narrative is both unsettling and yet thrilling to read. It's a very good book for the inquisitive reader as the questions and intrigue wash over you like little ripples; contracting and expanding as the action unfolds. 

This is a fantastic book to read - funny, thought-provoking, tragic but also uplifting. It's an expertly crafted family story about thinking for yourself and standing up for what is right. As a great classroom read and an entertaining page-turner, what more could you want from a book? 

"I was special." 

"I was a hero." 


"I lost the best friend I ever had."


"I will take you on a journey all you have to do is turn the pages and follow me."  


Check out a preview of the book HERE



Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Martin Howard - The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet - Blog Tour


Here we are on a cosmic adventure with Alfie Fleet and Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvemont. The OUTLANDISH blog tour arrives at Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books with an interesting Q&A interview that might just get your Bowells (Mouvement) going in the wrong direction. 

The book has been reviewed here if you fancy taking a quick look at it - Click Here. It will take you to another world! It's certainly not one to miss out on.

There's also an amazing opportunity to WIN your own copy of this brilliant book. All you need to do is send a tweet, write a Facebook comment or leave a message on the blog mentioning the words BRAINS-IN-JARS!

In the meantime, jump aboard Betsy the moped as we set off to INFINITY and BEYOND...


In The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet it says that there is a stone circle in the basement of Number Four, Wigless Square, that opens portals to different worlds. Is that true? 

Alfie: It sounds bonkers but it’s completely true. All stone circles have the same power. Up until now no one knew why Stonehenge was built thousands of years ago. When you understand that it was put there so tourists from other planets could visit Earth it all makes sense though.

Professor: That’s why there are stone circles all over the place, you see. Australia, America and all over Europe, of course. There are some very silly theories about them. Some archeologists think Stonehenge was used as a giant musical instrument, the idiots! The truth is that Earth was very popular with tourists back in the days before all the noise and pollution and celebrities. 

How many other worlds are there? 

Professor: Well, we have the co-ordinates for a few thousand, but there are plenty more to discover. Here at the Unusual Cartography Club we make maps of them and put the best ones in The Cosmic Atlas. This morning we’re off to … ahh … where are we going again this morning, Rupert?

Alfie: It’s Alfie, Professor. My name’s Alfie, remember? And we’re going to visit planet Earwax II. 

Professor: Oh yes, that’s right. Thank you, Rupert. Marvellous place, Earwax II. I discovered and named it myself you know, just after I discovered Earwax I. Couldn’t think of a decent name at the time and I do get a terrible waxy build-up in my ears, so … 

Alfie: We get the idea, Professor. 

Professor: It’s an interesting planet. Very pretty. Some lovely vistas and landscapes only slightly spoiled by the fact that the whole planet is overrun with giant gibbon things that try and pull your arms off. Luckily, we have Derek so giant gibbon things aren’t a problem for us. 

Alfie: Derek’s my best friend but she’s quite scary. 

Oh yes, Derek’s from a world you visited called Outlandish, isn’t she? 

Alfie: Yes, it’s all in the book. Her full name is Hunter-of-the-Vicious-Spiny-Dereko-Beast and she’s from a tribe called the Children of Skingrath. She was their Under-Sixteens Beating-People-Up Champion. 

Professor: Where is young Derek? 
Alfie: In her room, learning English. She’s learning from her favourite pop songs so she says ‘yeah yeah baby oh yeah’ a lot at the moment. It’s a bit weird, but we don’t mention it.

Professor: Derek is quite likely to pull your intestines out and wear them as a scarf if you say the wrong thing. 

What’s the best world you’ve visited? 

Alfie: I’m new at the UCC so I haven’t seen very many yet but I really loved Outlandish. Apart from all the horrible danger and people trying to kill me every five minutes I had a lot of fun there. Plus they have elves and actual magic. Proper, twinkly, finger-waggling, ka-boom magic, not just people in silly hats pulling rabbits out their sleeves. My mum likes a world called Blysss, which is a beach paradise world. The people there bead your hair as soon as you arrive and you’re forced to lay around in a sun-lounger all day drinking fruit cocktails with umbrellas in. 

Professor: Hmm, that’s a tricky question. I’ve seen hundreds of worlds since I joined the Unusual Cartography Club but I very much like a planet called Sminkey-Sminkey. 

Alfie: Is that one of the worlds where you’re worshipped as a god, Professor?

Professor: Yes, yes it is. The slugfolk of Sminkey-Sminkey always welcome me with open feelers, and they have an excellent Moustache Museum. The Temple of Bowell-Mouvemont is well worth a visit, too … 

And the worst world?

Alfie: The Professor discovered a world he named Maureen a few months ago. It’s just a big desert with sand lobsters and really boring.

Professor: Although it does have three suns, so it’s a good place to get a tan. I once got lost on a lost world called Lost. Had to eat moss and my own dandruff. Plus, the local people would shove me into a sack every week and throw me into a pond. I never did find out why. It wasn’t very pleasant though. 

Professor, you are the President of the Unusual Cartography Club. Can you tell us more about it? 

Professor: No one really knows exactly how old the UCC is, but its members have been mapping planets around the universe for at least ten thousand years. I joined in 1763, when I was just a young lad of fifteen. Of course it was all very different back then. Toffee was made from sheep bladders and there was a total eclipse of the sun that lasted thirty-eight years. Everyone dressed in leaves back then, and had a twitch in their left eye. Is it leaves, or leafs? I can never remember.” 

Alfie: Leaves. And none of those things happened on Earth. You’re thinking of another planet, Professor.” 

Professor: Am I? Which one? 

Alfie: I don’t know. I wasn’t born in 1763

Professor: Well that was silly of you. Those were good times. Happy days. Except for wearing leaves. Surprisingly, they’re not as comfy as they look.

Alfie: You’re supposed to be talking about the history of the Unusual Cartography Club. No one’s interested in wearing leaves. 

Professor: Hardly surprising. It’s the caterpillars, you know. They wriggle into your ears and that feels weird, though a few weeks later butterflies come flapping out. It’s quite lovely when that happens. 

Alfie: The UCC, Professor. 

Professor: Of course. Of course, of course, of course. Where was I? What am I talking about? Who am I?

Alfie: You’re fifteen and joining the Unusual Cartography Club.” 

Professor: Ah yes, so it was 1763, a very good year if you liked skin diseases and stepping in horse poo. Oh, we used to have a lot of horse poo back then. It’s very good for growing cucumbers … 

Alfie: Professor!

Professor: What? Eh? 
Perhaps a different question … What’s next for the Unusual Cartography Club? 
Alfie: Wait and see! The UCC has always been a secret society but we’re going to change all that and open it up to everyone.

Professor: It wasn’t really a secret society, you know. It’s just that people lost interest in stone circles. 

Alfie: It’s all about how you present the information. If you wander up to people in the street and tell them you just got back from a cheese-eating trip to Cheeseworld they just give you funny looks. But if you give them a glossy brochure offering three week holidays on the paradise planet of Blyssss for a very reasonable price … 

Professor: There’s a Cheeseworld? Why wasn’t I told? Really, Rupert, you know how much I enjoy cheese and I am President of the UCC. I should be informed if you’ve discovered a world of delicious cheeses. 

Alfie: It’s Alfie, and there’s not really a Cheeseworld. I just made it up as an example. 

Professor: And I’m feeling quite peckish. Forget Earwax II. Come along Rupert. Let’s be off. Cheeseworld awaits. Toot toot. Coming through. To infinity and behind … 

Dragging Alfie behind him, the Professor straps on a motorcycle helmet and strides away, bringing this interview to a close. The last thing we notice is that he squeaks when he walks, exactly as if he’s wearing a tight ladies’ corset under his clothes …



Do check out the other stops on the blog tour for more fun, frolics, and mayhem.




Also check out Martin Howard at the following places @MJHowardWrites on Twitter and visit his website: https://booksbymart.pub 

Thank you for reading and have a great adventure. 

Monday, 11 March 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Kids Book Picks - March 2019 - US Published Post

Diane Magras - The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter - Published by Kathy Dawson Books (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0735229297 - Hardback - Age 9+

A heart-pounding adventure starring a strong heroine who is battling the challenges of being a legend--perfect for reading aloud with the whole family.
In this Scottish medieval adventure, after attempting a daring rescue of her war-band family, Drest learns that Lord Faintree's traitorous uncle has claimed the castle for his own and convinced the knights that the lord has been slain . . . by her hand. Now with a hefty price on her head, Drest must find a way to escape treacherous knights, all the while proving to her father, the "Mad Wolf of the North," and her irrepressible band of brothers that she is destined for more than a life of running and hiding. Even if that takes redefining what it means to be a warrior.

Lee Edward Födi - The Secret of Zoone - Published by HarperCollins (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0062845269 - Hardback - Age 9+

Welcome to Zoone: crossroads of the multiverse. In this inventive fantasy, fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lisa McMann will step through an enchanted doorway and into a world filled with infinite portals to new--and sometimes perilous--lands. 
When a bright blue winged tiger appears on his aunt's sofa, Ozzie can tell he's in for an adventure. He's thrilled to follow Tug--a skyger--through a secret door in the basement and into Zoone, the bustling Grand Central Station of the universe, where a thousand doors act as portals to strange and wonderful worlds.
But some doors also hide dangers--and when the portal back to Earth explodes behind him, Ozzie gets more adventure than he bargained for. In a station full of wizards, creepy-crawlies, and the occasional cursed princess, Ozzie has to find a way to repair his door... and possibly save the multiverse in the process. 
Brimming with colorful characters, magical mayhem, and endless adventure, this new tween series has a doorway for every reader--just be sure to close the door behind you!


Wendy S Swore - A Monster Like Me - Published - Shadow Mountain (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1629725550 - Hardback - Age 8+


There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?
Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie's new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She's convinced she is definitely a monster because of the "monster mark" on her face. At least that's what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she's a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.

Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it's only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave--just like her dad did.

Because who would want to live with a real monster?

Rebecca K.S. Ansari - The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly - Published by Walden Pond Press (5 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0062679666 - Hardback - Age 8+

Charlie O'Reilly is an only child. Which is why it makes everyone uncomfortable when he talks about his brother.
Liam. His eight-year-old kid brother, who, up until a year ago, slept in the bunk above Charlie, took pride in being as annoying as possible and was the only person who could make Charlie laugh until it hurt.
Then came the morning when the bunk, and Liam, disappeared forever. No one even remembers him--not Charlie's mother, who has been lost in her own troubles; and not Charlie's father, who is gone frequently on business trips. The only person who believes Charlie is his best friend, Ana--even if she has no memory of Liam, she is as determined as Charlie is to figure out what happened to him.
The search seems hopeless--until Charlie receives a mysterious note, written in Liam's handwriting. The note leads Charlie and Ana to make some profound discoveries about a magic they didn't know existed, and they soon realize that if they're going to save Liam, they may need to risk being forgotten themselves, forever.
Rebecca K.S. Ansari's debut novel is a stunning contemporary fantasy about love, loss, and the power to forgive that we all have inside us--even if we sometimes forget that it's there.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

New Children's & Young Adult Book Picks March 2019 - Post One - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Sam Gayton - The Last Zoo - Published by Andersen Press (7 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1783447701 - Paperback - Age 9+

Pia lives in a zoo in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with her parents (both ghosts), several old and cranky genies, a devil, and two young angels. She spends her days trimming genie-beards, trying to avoid being tricked into selling her soul, and waiting for the angels to make a miracle big enough to save the world.
Then the angels go missing. Can she solve the riddles of the mysterious haloes the angels have left behind? Is the zoo’s devil really trying to help her? And what does this all have to do with her best friends, the Rekkers? Pia needs to solve the mystery fast, because everything around her seems to be ending: her friendships, her childhood, and maybe even the world itself.





Patrice Lawrence (Author), Becka Moor (Illustrator)Toad Attack! - Published by Barrington Stoke (15 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1781128442 - Paperback - Age 8+

After a toad lands on his head as he leaves his house one morning, Leo is determined to find out where it has come from and why. Together with his friend Rosa, he needs to come up with some answers before the angry residents of Upper Dab take matters into their own hands and the toads become toast! A brilliantly quirky comedy caper with a diverse and inclusive cast of characters. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers.




David O'Connell (Author), Claire Powell (Illustrator) - The Dentist of Darkness (The Dundoodle Mysteries) - Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books (7 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1408887080 - Paperback - Age 7+

Archie McBudge's lazy summer has just turned into a magical meltdown! The second adventure in this madcap magical mystery series is perfect for fans of How to Train Your Dragon, amateur detectives and anyone who loves SWEETS!
Archie McBudge was planning a sweet summer at Honeystone Hall. Picnics by the loch, watching the honeydragons flying around the hillsides, chasing ghosts through the shadowy castle hallways, and of course, testing out all the new sweets from the McBudge Confectionery Factory. But now the Wyrdie Tree, the source of all the magic in the town of Dundoodle, is dying, and the guardian must save it before Dundoodle's magic is gone for good. And who's the guardian, you ask? That's right, Archie McBudge. With enemies on every side, puzzles to solve and secrets to uncover - not to mention a very scary dentist to avoid - Archie's summer's looking less like a strawberry marshmallow dream and more like a super-sour sherbet lemon with exploding bits that make your mouth go numb for a week!
The follow-up to David O'Connell's The Chocolate Factory Ghost, this is a must-read for anyone who loves ghosts, monsters, toffee, marshmallows, and wants to explore more of the weird and wonderful town of Dundoodle.


James Nicol - A Witch Come True (The Apprentice Witch) - Published by Chicken House (7 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1910655986 - Paperback - Age 7+


The war is over and Arianwyn has discovered the secret of the quiet glyphs, but her troubles are far from over. Her day-to-day work as Lull's Witch is tricky enough: winter has set in, bringing bad weather, ice imps and befuddling Yule traditions. But when Arianwyn's grandmother is abducted by the traitor on the Council, our witch faces her greatest challenge yet. What really makes a witch come true? Our lovable heroine is about to find out ...

Monday, 4 March 2019

Martin Howard (Author), Chris Mould (Illustrator) - The Cosmic Atlas of Alfie Fleet - Book Review


We are on the younger person's book trail with the latest installment by Martin Howard. The Cosmic Altlas of Alfie Fleet will be published with love on March 7th, 2019 by Oxford University Press. The book supports a cracking book cover with delightfully energetic black and white illustrations by local illustrator Chris Mould. The map of OUTLANDISH is very cool and I think I might just have to acquire it from his studio! However, I'll make sure I get a slow getaway on good old Betsy the moped. 

This is a fantastic book full of pure escapism and jolly wild capers. Hop on for the ride of your life at 5 miles an hour! Strap yourselves in and put on your crash helmet. Alfie Fleet's problems started when he was feeling very sad about not having any money. All Alfie wanted to do was give his loving mum a foot spa as she worked long hours on her feet at a fish market. Life could be so dull some times, however, this foot problem took him on an unbelievable adventure. All it took was one add in the local newspaper. HELP NEEDED due to a bad back.

Simple words that then catapult the dear reader into a mighty escapade that will pop all imaginary clogs before you even finish the book. You've been WARNED! 


The story takes the reader on a far-flung fantasy adventure filled with fun, FROLICS and rather copious amounts of humour. You will travel a whole universe full of wonders with a crazy old professor and his bristly moustache all aboard the trusty old moped. You'll have a giggle and a google (make sure you check the map first) at the places they visit. It's a book full of eccentric characters that will knock out your teeth or make you smile and then, of course, there is Derek. 

The book is brilliantly creative and will engage all readers regardless of age. It has so much to offer the reader in this original heartfelt story full of action, thrills, and plenty of spills. You'll meet deadly hoarding dragons, elves that want to be supermodels and crazy gods. 
  

The diary style ramblings are a slice of genius and give us an insight into how the main character thinks through the exploits and explorations that take part on the road to INFINITY.  This, for me, worked brilliantly and enhanced the wonderful illustrations which worked in harmony with the ongoing story. It's a very cool plot for the seasoned adventurer; a great pootle of a ride into a world and beyond. This is a fully recommended family read that will uplift your mood in seconds leaving you wanting so much more. Hopefully, to be delivered very soon...

Now, let's take an OUTLANDISH blog tour with the author. Check the banner below for all the visits and come and say BRAINS-IN-JARS. It might give you a chance to win your own copy of the book. You can also Tweet me on TWITTER or contact me via FACEBOOK. The blog tour starts on Tuesday with Book Lover Jo, so don't forget to check it out. 



Bored of the same old routine? 
Longing for a bit of adventure in your life? 
Love living life on the edge? 
Then join Alfie Fleet and discover a whole universe of wonders (and things that are not so wonderful too, but we won't go into that now). 
From giant sand lobsters on planet Maureen and the Twang Bears of Mumsy, to the eerie (yet oddly quite boring) brains in jars on Brains-in-Jars World - there's something for everyone. And if danger's your thing you won't want to miss Outlandish, with its gold-hoarding dragon, take-your-life-in-your-hands cuisine, and welcoming locals who'll fire lightning bolts at you. 
Thrills and adventure await, just hop on board the slightly old and rusty moped of infinity! 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Charlie Pike - Jacob's Ladder - Prepare to be Born Anew - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


This is another exciting YA book from a debut Irish author. In this case, the author is Charlie Pike and it was such a privilege to receive a copy of this book to review. Jacob's Ladder will hit the shops on the 1st April 2019 and has been published by The O'Brien Press in Ireland. It's a brilliantly written dark fantasy story that will hook you from the very first page. Set in the year 2203 (dystopian style vision) the earth is dying, birds are falling out of the sky and people are living in fear of what is to come. 

The story is very brutal and hard-hitting with some scenes that would be more appropriate to late teen/adult fiction, in my opinion. It has an epic fantasy landscape which is incredibly well written. The imagination certainly draws the reader into the world of war, destruction, and chaos. The story takes you into a mission of salvation based on a series of mystery messages, which go like this...

We have heard your call
You no longer need to fear
You will receive five messages, of which this is the first.
The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation. 

This sets up the story leading the reader into a tangible feeling of what might lie ahead. The main character Leon is to come of age in his warrior culture and sets out into an unknown world. The climatic adventure starts from here. However, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen in the story. You'll hurtle through the bizarre plot whilst being showered by a world of dark fantasy and violence. The main characters are devoid of empathy (almost brainwashed) which makes the plot very edgy and intriguing. Interestingly, the narrative changes the more that you travel into the complex world, as the character's perspectives change through the course of their dangerous adventures.

I really enjoyed this book due to the creativeness of the story and the complex feelings of the characters. Ulya is my favourite character as she is mysterious, resilient and very loyal. It's both heartbreaking and emotionally challenging for the reader to follow her. I was on tenterhooks hoping for a better outcome throughout the story as you are led into an immersive dystopian adventure that becomes a living nightmare. You will journey through a world of chaos and maggots in this action-packed thriller that you will not be able to tear yourself away from. 

The ending was not the one I was hoping for. However, the story went in a new direction and the encounters with the worms made me run for cover.  So, if you like chaotic dark Irish fiction with a big dollop of Sci-fi fantasy this is definitely a book for you. I loved every page of this book and would highly recommend it. Don't delay - make sure you find a copy to read and experience this thrilling adventure. 

Synopsis: We have heard your call You no longer need to fear. You will receive five messages, of which this is the first. The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation. Two hundred years from now, the earth is dying, scorched by powerful flares from the sun. A series of messages from an alien civilization sent to humanity over two centuries promise rescue to those strong enough to survive on their planet. Initiate Leon is a member of the True Path warrior culture and preparing for his Rising. But when his test comes - to kill in cold blood - he cannot do it. To redeem himself, he must journey to find the earth's fifth and final message from the Saviours, with the help of his resourceful servant, Martha. Out in the wild, Leon discovers alarming changes in his body - he can drink water through his skin and has poison barbs buried deep in his flesh. Martha reveals to him the secret that the True Path has kept from him all this time: Jacob's Ladder, an adaptation for life on the alien planet, has lain dormant in his genes and is now being activated. He is part alien and part human, and he is in grave danger from those who wish to take what is in his body.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

New Children's & Young Adult Book Picks March 2019 - Post One - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

David Almond (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator) - Joe Quinn's Poltergeist - Published by Walker Books (7 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1406363197 - Hardback 
A dark, powerful and moving short story from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig.
Joe Quinn tells everyone about the poltergeist in his house, but no one believes him. No one that is, except for Davey. He’s felt the inexplicable presence in the rooms, he’s seen random objects fly through the air. And there’s something else … a memory of his beloved sister, and a feeling deep down that somehow it might be possible for ghosts to exist.


 Steven Butler (Author), Steven Lenton (Illustrator) - Sea-ing is Believing! (Nothing to see Here Hotel) - Published by  Simon & Schuster Children's UK (21 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1471178733 - Paperback 

Welcome to The Nothing to See Here Hotel! A hotel for magical creatures run by Frankie Banister and his parents.
Frankie Banister and his family are preparing to celebrate Grandad Abraham’s 175th birthday – an occasion that’s going to be even more HONKHUMPTIOUS now that Abe’s ghost has showed up!
 
When the unexpected spook reveals a secret UNDERWATER wing of the hotel that’s been hidden away for years, the Banister’s decide there’s only one thing for it … a whopping welcome home bash in the spectacular BRINY BALLROOM.
 
But memories aren’t the only things waiting at the bottom of the ocean. Secrets and sea monsters are lurking in the shadows, and is everything as it seems with Grandad Abraham’s ghost? Or is there something fishy going on?


 Paul Stewart (Author), Chris Riddell (Author) - The Edge Chronicles 13: The Descenders: Third Book of Cade - Published by Doubleday Children's (7 Mar. 2019) - Hardback
Cade Quarter has spent the last few years of his life running from an enemy he’s never even met – the ruthless and power-hungry High Professor of Flight, Quove Lentis. But Quove’s deadly agenda has finally caught up with Cade, and now he must leave his home and flee once more, this time to the legendary floating city of New Sanctaphrax. But even reuniting with his uncle, Nate Quarter, isn’t the end of Cade’s troubles – and now, more than ever, he must find the courage to defy his enemies, unite his friends, and unlock the secrets of descending. 

The Descenders is the third and final book in the Cade trilogy - the fifth and final saga in Stewart and Riddell’s internationally bestselling series, The Edge Chronicles, which has featured on the Times and New York Times bestseller lists and sold more than 3 million copies. 2018 marks twenty years of the series, now complete with thirteen titles across five separate but interlinking sagas.




Fleur Hitchcock - The Boy Who Flew - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (7 Mar. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1788004381 - Paperback - See Book Review Here
Athan Wilde dreams of flight. When his friend, Mr Chen, is murdered, Athan must rescue the flying machine they were building together and stop it falling into the wrong hands. But keeping the machine safe puts his family in terrible danger. What will Athan choose – flight or family?
From the acclaimed author of Murder In Midwinter, Fleur Hitchcock’s The Boy Who Flew is a thrilling, murderous tale set among the steep rooftops and slippery characters of Athan’s intricately imagined world. Perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Peter Bunzl and Philip Reeve.
Here’s an exclusive early look inside the book: https://issuu.com/nosycrow/docs/repro_theboywhoflew_prelims_hi-res