Saturday, 15 December 2018

Wordery 12 Books Of Christmas - What Books Have YOU Bought for Christmas 2018?


12 Books Of Christmas:
New research reveals the 12 books you’re most likely to get under your tree
Wordery unveil the nations best-selling books in the run-up to Christmas

  • Michelle Obama’s page-turning Memoir ‘Becoming’ is the number one bestseller according to Wordery sales data
  • Family favourite ‘The Snowman’ comes in second as it returns for its 4oth anniversary gift edition
  • Two Christmas themed books made the cut with ‘The Snowman’ and ‘We’re Going on an Elf Chase’ both featuring in the list
  • ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris comes in third place, a harrowing tale during the time of the Holocaust and a good read for bookworms.

13th December 2018: Findings released today from Wordery reveal the top 12 bestselling books over the past month. Based on  sales data from the previous month we can reveal the books that are most likely to end up under your Christmas tree.

With nearly 63 million books typically sold in the run-up to Christmas in the UK, which is a third of the market’s annual volume, it comes as no shock that new titles such as ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama are in the race to secure the number one slot in the festive book charts.

With the big day nearing closer, Wordery reveal which 12 best selling books could be under your Christmas tree this year. View the full graphic here.

Wordery’s top 12 selling books:

Rank
Title
Author
1
Becoming
Michelle Obama
2
The Snowman: 40th Anniversary Gift
Raymond Briggs
3
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Heather Morris
4
Fire and Blood: 300 years Before a Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin
5
Milkman
Anna Burns
6
We’re Going on an Elf Chase
Martha Mumford and Laura Hughes
7
My Name Doddie
Doddie Weir and Stuart Weir
8
I Adulted!
Robb Pearlman
9
Golf Rules Quick Referencing
Yves C. Ton-That
10
Dynasties
Stephen Moss
11
Thomas Kinkade: the Disney Dreams Collection 2019 Diary
Thomas Kinkade
12
The Truth Pixie
Matt Haig and Chris Mould


The number one seller ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States is a memoir which was published in November 2018. It details her upbringing in Chicago, motherhood, and her time in the White House alongside lighthearted personal and public moments.

It’s not really Christmas without ‘The Snowman’ taking the silver baton, as this 40th anniversary gift edition comes with a letter from the author Raymond Briggs and also a limited edition illustrative print. This is one for everyone as it’s a true Christmas tradition for generations of children.

The book coming in third is ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’ by Heather Morris, which tells the story of a Slovakian Jewish man who is captured and put to work as a tattooist marking his fellow prisoners. It’s a harrowing tale during the time of the Holocaust and a good read for those bookworms out there.

Barry Magennis, spokesperson for Wordery, comments

“The outcome provides a diverse insight into what people in the UK are buying in the run up to Christmas. It’s great to see with no surprise two festive books making the cut with the classic literary ‘The Snowman’ being our second best seller. Wordery are looking forward to seeing which books do end up as Christmas gifts this year.”

For more information on the best selling books for Christmas, visit Wordery

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Karen McCombie - Little Bird Flies - Book Review (Nosy Crow) Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Bridie lives on the remote Scottish island of Torrnish, the youngest of three sisters. Although she loves her island, with its wild seas and big skies, she guiltily nurses a secret dream of flight - to America and the freedom of the New World. But her family are struggling under the spiteful oppression of the new Laird, and it seems that even some of the Laird's own household are desperate to leave. When the Laird's full cruelty becomes apparent, there's no more time for daydreams as Bridie needs to help the people she loves to escape to safety.

There are so many books to read and so little time to read them. However, it's time for the fluttering wings of Karen McCombie's latest book, Little Bird Flies, to find its way into the hands of many readers. It will soar and swoop to gracefully land in bookshops and beyond from the 10th January 2019. The book will be published by Nosy Crow Books and will be the first novel in a new series that will capture the hearts and minds of the reader in an evocative and charming way. The story takes you on a family journey that harks back to Victorian times in 1861. The setting is both brilliant and captivating; an idyllic Scottish Island where the inhabitants are living a life in total oblivion beyond their own shores.

The main character Birdie is a very endearing character. Through her eyes, you view the natural rugged beauty of the landscape which makes you feel and understand the total isolation of the residents from the mainland, the world and beyond. The story washes over the reader in a carefree and dreamlike state. Looking at the blue sky on a warm summer's day, the story draws you into the plight of the characters and the hard life they have living on the Island. However, things change again as the result of a sudden death that darkens both the story and the hearts of the characters.

I loved the story and the theme. However, I did feel that in some places the chapters came to an abrupt end. As a result, they felt slightly disjointed when the next chapter started although this did not spoil or disrupt the main content or flow of the story.

The story tackles themes of persecution, emigration and human cruelty which makes the story thought-provoking and particularly topical. I was instantly transported to the Scottish Island. In fact, I felt like I was back on Iona running around, exploring the nature and letting the human mind take flight. This story really resonated with me and fuelled my immense enjoyment. It's a lovely slice of Scotland exploring the beauty of the landscape whilst watching the story unfold in devastating fashion

The author has written many other books, most of which I have read and thoroughly enjoyed. However, with this book, the author is connected deeply to the story which makes it a real pleasure to read. It's a family, period-drama adventure that makes your heart yearn for a better outcome. Full of fantastic characters and an amazing story, both of which will ease you into 2019. A further book is due to be published on 4th July 2019 called Little Bird Lands. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Young Adult Book Picks December 2018

Jonathan Ashley - Lily & Kosmo in Outer Outer Space- Published by Simon & Schuster Books for (4 Dec. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1534413641 - Hardback 

Explore outer outer space where dastardly villains await in this hilarious and inventive illustrated middle-grade novel.
Brooklyn, Earth. 1949. 
Lily Lupino is going to be an astronaut when she grows up. For now, she'll have to settle for listening to science fiction programs on the radio. But when certified Spacetronaut Kosmo Kidd crash lands his wind-up rocket ship in Lily's kitchen, it's a chance Lily can't pass up! 
Mistaking Lily for a boy, Kosmo agrees to take her back to his floating treehouse in the stars, but it doesn't take long for the other Spacetronauts to figure out that Lily is a girl. Kosmo has accidentally broken Spacetronaut Rule #1: NO WIMMEN ALOWD!
Banished to the far reaches of Outer Outer Space, Lily and Kosmo explore exotic alien worlds, meet a menagerie of colorful creatures, and tangle with the vilest villain in space, The Mean-Man of Morgo. But Lily's greatest challenge is proving to her new Spacetronaut peers that a girl from Brooklyn can hold her own among the galaxy's unruliest rascals.

Eric Bower - The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate - Published by Amberjack Publishing (11 Dec. 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1944995263 - Paperback 


Waldo Baron awakes one morning to find his inventor parents have turned their house into a flying machine, and they intend to enter into a race across the country in the hopes of winning the $500 prize. His parents' plans go astray when they are kidnapped by Rose Blackwood, the sister of notorious villain Benedict Blackwood, who intends to use the prize money to free her brother from prison. But Rose is not what she seems to be, and Waldo finds himself becoming friends with their kindly kidnapper as they race across the country in the magnificent flying Baron estate!

Ben Guterson (Author), Chloe Bristol (Illustrator) - The Secrets of Winterhouse - Published by 

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (December 31, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1250123909 - Hardback 

Bookish puzzles, phantom mysteries, and evil curses await as Elizabeth returns to Winterhouse in Book 2 of this magical series.

Back at the Winterhouse hotel for another holiday season, Elizabeth and Freddy dig deeper into the mystery surrounding Riley S. Granger, a hotel guest who left behind odd artifacts―one being a magical book that the evil Gracella Winters once attempted to use to gain destructive power over the entire Falls lineage. The two friends follow a trail of clues, inadvertently attracting the attention of a suspicious new hotel guest: Elana Vesper. The clock is ticking as Elizabeth and Freddy struggle to figure out whether Elana is merely a pawn or a player in the plot to revive the spirit of Gracella. If that wasn’t enough, Elizabeth suspects she is coming into her own special powers―and she’s fearful it might lead her right into Gracella’s vicious web. Mystery, adventure, and a winning friendship combine in this much-anticipated sequel.


Sarah Beth Durst - Fire & Heist - Published by Crown Books for Young Readers (December 4, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1101931004 - Hardback 

Fans of Cassandra Clare and Julie Kagawa will devour this contemporary fantasy about a teen were-dragon who must steal her first treasure. But a dark discovery during her heist could put her family in incredible danger.

In Sky Hawkins's family, leading your first heist is a major milestone--even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It's a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you're a wyvern--a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family's wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society--a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Dan Freedman - Unstoppable - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


Secrets and lies . . . secrets and lies . . . Fourteen-year-old twins, Kaine and Roxy, used to be close, but now they can hardly bear to be in the same room. Roxy hates the way her brother behaves - Kaine might be brilliant at football but he's always in trouble and cares nothing about his family. And Kaine despises the way his supposedly-perfect sister, dominates their parents in her ambition to reach Wimbledon. But the twins are both hiding dangerous secrets of their own, secrets that could destroy everything they are working towards - and both Roxy and Kaine's survival hangs precariously in the balance. Gripping, twisting, and real, this book is UNSTOPPABLE.

Whilst most people are still preparing for Christmas, I am already heading towards the new year with my first book review for 2019. I'm excited to be able to review Dan Freedman's brilliant book which is called UNSTOPPABLE. It will hit the shops in February 2019 and is due to be published by David Fickling Books. 

There are many reasons to read this book, but one particular draw are the ways that the main characters have been conceived and developed from the author's visits to schools. As a result, this book pulses with everyday reality and tackles real-life situations that any child might be facing within today's society. The author's careful ear in listening to what pupils were saying and understanding the situations they are facing has enabled him to produce an awe-inspiring book. Many themes are addressed and will be related to by many children such as death and bereavement, gang cultures, friendship, and family issues, unemployment, alcoholism, sibling rivalry, teenager survival etc. 

The story highlights two amazing characters who are twins and sports fanatics. One has a passion for football whilst the other is a keen tennis player. However, the father's support and involvement in nurturing these talents differs between each twin. Kane, whilst a talented football player, receives little support from his father. Yet Roxy, the potential tennis star, is showered with enthusiasm and encouragement to achieve well within the tennis world. To begin with, this is a positive experience. However, as the story unfolds a dramatic turn of events happens which places a lot of pressure on family relationships. 

This is a powerful and influential story that is full of passion, drive, and a sporting spirit. However, at times, it is also incredibly poignant and sad. It certainly makes the reader think about and reflect on what it's like to be a family facing difficult times both socially, physically and economically. Nevertheless, even through all these difficulties, the story ends on an uplifting note which will inspire readers young and old.

This is a brilliant gripping story that will make the reader think about other peoples' lives. It is very thought-provoking and, considering the timing of its release, should encourage readers to be both supportive and loving to those around them. A brilliant and memorable young adult read that will stay with you for evermore. Unstoppable and ready to go...

Sunday, 2 December 2018

H.S. Norup - The Missing Barbegazi - Book Review By Sinéad O'Hart, Author of The Eye of the North


Barbegazi are fabled creatures who live in the alps, rather like gnomes. Tessa knows that they exist because her beloved grandfather told her about them. So she sets out to prove to her family and friends that her grandfather wasn’t just a confused old man. Soon she finds not only a family of Barbegazi but also a dastardly plot to kidnap one and keep it captive. But Tessa realises that uncovering the truth carries great responsibilities – and sometimes things have to remain a secret.
The Missing Barbegazi is a delightful debut novel about the importance of family and the power of hope.
Here we have a lovely Guest Book Review by Sinéad O'Hart, author of The Eye of the North (2018) and The Star-Spun Web (2019)
'Beautiful and unusual... this unexpected and striking story is one to be savoured' 

I am fascinated by words, and so the title of H.S. Norup’s debut novel for children grabbed my attention straight away. Who, or what, is a ‘barbegazi’?When the word is explained in the novel, I loved its etymology and meaning, and – wonderfully – I was charmed that knowing where it came from changed how I was pronouncing it in my head. 

That feeling of charmed wonderment sums up my feelings about this book: it’s beautiful and unusual, like a sculpture made from snow. Telling the story of Tessa, a young girl dealing with the death of her beloved Opa (grandfather) and the sickness, possibly heartbreak, of her equally beloved Oma (grandmother), the book takes us through real-life concerns – doing well in a skiing competition, making friends, navigating the world – and also into the heart of an otherworldly, ethereal mystery. 

This mystery is one which Tessa feels will help her Oma to get well and honour her lost Opa’s memory, and it centres on one unknown quantity: what are the barbegazi? Do they exist? Was Tessa’s Opa making up stories about having seen elves in the mountains? And – chillingly – who else might be on their trail? 

As well as Tessa’s story we have that of Gawion, a young (by barbegazian standards!) creature determined to get to the bottom of who has kidnapped his sister Maeg, and why. I loved his eccentric, long-lived family and their endearing ways, and also the perspective they gave on history and the treatment of the Other in times gone by. Tessa and Gawion make a unique and perceptive team… but can they save Maeg before it’s too late? 

Written in clear and lovely prose, this unexpected and striking story is one to be savoured by readers from 8 and up.

Published by Pushkin Press, 
Paperback 256 pages
Published 04/10/2018

ISBN: 9781782691815




H.S. Norup was born in Denmark and lived in the US, the UK, Austria and Switzerland before moving to Singapore. Now, she has returned to Switzerland with her husband and two teenage sons. This is Helle's debut novel and very much draws on her love of the Alps, her passion for skiing and her belief that magic is all around us - particularly in the love, trust and companionship found in families.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Young Adult Book Picks November 2018 - US Post Two

Mari Mancusi - The Camelot Code, Book #1 The Once and Future Geek - Published by Disney-Hyperion (November 20, 2018) -  ISBN-13: 978-1368010849 - Hardback 

When young Arthur of Camelot accidentally time-travels to the 21st century and Googles himself, he discovers the not-so-happily ever after in store for him once he pulls the sword from the stone. Yes, he'll go from squire to sovereign basically overnight, but he'll also lose the love of his life to his best friend and eventually die in battle. What's a once-and-future king to do? Easy: stay in the future, where he'll actually have a future-and join the football team instead. 

Now, with the help of the great wizard Merlin, modern-day gamer-geeks Sophie and Stu find themselves in a race against time to get that sword pulled from the stone and the stubborn soon-to-be-king Arthur back to the past where he belongs. Complicating the plan? Lady Morgana-Arthur's sister and greatest enemy-has traveled to the future as well, determined to take Arthur out and seize the throne. Can Sophie and Stu use their gaming abilities to defeat the evil Morgana and set the timeline right? With the very existence of their friendship, their families, and the world as they know it (including pepperoni pizza!) at stake, they'll use every skill, power-up, and cheat code they know in their quest to save the day.

Stephanie Burgis - The Girl with the Dragon Heart - Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books (November 6, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1681196978 - Hardback 

Silke has always been good at spinning the truth and storytelling. So good that, just years after arriving in the kingdom as a penniless orphan, she has found her way to working for the most splendid chocolate makers in the city as a master promoter. Although Silke loves her work at the Chocolate Heart, she's certain it's not going to last, and what Silke wants more than anything is somewhere to call home--somewhere safe. But when your best friend is a dragon-turned-hot-tempered-girl, trouble is always right around the corner. 
Then Silke gets the opportunity she's been waiting for: the Crown Princess personally asks her to spy on the Elfenwald royal family during their first visit to the kingdom. In return, Silke will have the home she's always wanted in the secure palace. But Silke has her own dark, secret reasons for not trusting fairies . . . and her mission isn't as simple as she hoped. Soon, she discovers that her city is in danger--and that maybe it's more her home than she ever realized.
Can Silke find out the truth about the fairies while keeping her own secrets hidden?

Lyra Selene - Amber & Dusk - Scholastic Press (November 27, 2018) - 

  • ISBN-13: 978-1338210033 - Hardback 
Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d'Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies. 

So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.

But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to seize what should be her rightful place, she'll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.

An extraordinary, vividly rendered YA debut.



Melanie Sumrow - The Prophet Calls - Published by Yellow Jacket (November 6, 2018) - ISBN-13: 978-1499807554 - Hardback 

 

Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God's chosen people in the Prophet's compound, but when music is outlawed, Gentry and her older brother, Tanner, sneak out of the community. When they return, all bets are off as the Prophet exercises his control.

Born into a polygamous community in the foothills of New Mexico, Gentry Forrester feels lucky to live among God's chosen, apart from the outside world and its "evils."

On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophet calls from prison and announces he has outlawed music in their community and now forbids women to leave.

Determined to play, Gentry and Tanner sneak out. But once they return, the Prophet exercises control from prison, and it has devastating consequences for Gentry and her family. Soon, everything Gentry has known is turned upside down. She begins to question the Prophet's teachings and his revelations, especially when his latest orders put Gentry's family in danger. Can Gentry find a way to protect herself and her family from the Prophet and escape the only life she's ever known?

This realistic, powerful story of family, bravery, and following your dreams is a can't-miss debut novel from Melanie Sumrow.




Thursday, 29 November 2018

Nick Cook - Fractured Light: (Fractured Light Trilogy Bk1) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Review

THEY UNCOVERED A THREAT TO EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET.
NOW AN INVISIBLE ENEMY IS HUNTING THEM DOWN.
What would you do if you started to see something lurking in the shadows of our everyday world? 
That's the reality that Jake Stevens has been pitched into and now he’s questioning his sanity.
Jake’s been an outsider in his hometown Stoneham, England, ever since his life was shattered when his father's experiment into dark energy exploded, killing himself and many others.
When Jake witnesses a satellite crash-landing and starts to receive garbled messages that hint at a conspiracy, a chain of events is unleashed that will threaten the very existence of all life on Earth in a dystopian nightmare.
Can Jake, and the best friend that he froze out of his life, Chloe Haze, a coding genius who’s heavily entrenched with the underground hacking network, figure out the connections of the mystery that link all the events before it’s too late?


This book comes with the following warning: Watch the DARKNESS because the SHADOWS are coming for you. This is the first book in the Fractured Light Trilogy that has been recently self-published (August 2018). The overall appearance of the book is brilliant. In fact, the cracking book cover illustration by Ryan Schwarz featured in this year's book cover wars. Sadly, I see no accreditation to the artist in the book. Nevertheless, in my opinion, he has done an amazing job by making the book appealing to all potential readers. 

The reading experience is an epic sci-fi story which has been written with intelligence and includes some fantastic detail. This surely is down to the research and the author's passion for the subjects he has written about within the novel. I was very impressed (and even slightly thrilled) to enjoy this book as much as I did. I was instantly hooked from the first page and when I had to put it down, I felt like I needed to pick it back up again to carry on reading. I have not felt like this about a book for some time within the YA/teenage genre. 

The book for me is set in the here and now. Ordinary lives are found to be caught up in an extraordinary situation which could be reflected in our future advancements of technology/sciences. The plot is extremely imaginative; I loved the Artificial Intelligence aspect to the well-worked plot. It really pulled me into the story and sucked me into the world of stars and beyond. I loved the Tesla car scene - this was very creative and captured the essence of the story. 

The characters are really well written, especially Jake and Chloe. They felt like real teenagers as you could certainly relate to them. Their personalities definitely shone through and each personal backstory made the adventure more realistic. I was certainly engaged in the ongoing plot. The book certainly has everything that I love in it - bumps, scrapes, near misses and plenty of immersive action sequences. 

This is pure five-star entertainment full of exhilarating and non-stop action. It is littered with factual references and heartwarming character relationships. The book has a great ending to a fabulous story which leaves you feeling satisfied. It will make you want to read the next book in the series .... which is exactly what I'm reading now! The next book, Fading Light, has already been published so you can track down a copy now. It will make a great Christmas present and, at the same time, you'll also be supporting a self-published author. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

CONGRATULATIONS - FINAL WINNER OF MR RIPLEY'S BOOK COVER WARS 2018/19


Mr Ripley's book cover wars final 2018/19 has now come to an exciting end. After four cracking heats, we now have another fantastic winner ....... 

I would like to thank all the people who have supported the book cover wars. I hope that you have enjoyed it as much as we have. It's been very exciting and very nail-biting.  I would like to thank everyone who has taken part and supported this long-running competition. Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars was started to give credit to the unsung heroes of some of our favourite book covers and the creative teams behind them. I hope we've done that HERE. 

Altogether, over 1,600 votes were cast over five weeks. Thank you all once again FOR VOTING. The winner of the £10 Book Voucher and the Book will be announced on Twitter. 


Anyway, without further ado, I'd like to award the title of 'Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars - Book Cover of the year 2018/19' to . . . . . . .  
  

Vashti Hardy - 'Brightstorm: A Sky-Ship Adventure' - Book Cover illustrated by George Ermos 

Many congratulations to the winner. This book cover will be placed in the Mr Ripley's Hall of Fame where it will accompany the following worthy past winners:


2009/10 - Jon Mayhew 'Mortlock' 
2010/11 - Darren Shan 'Birth of a Killer' illustrated by David Wyatt
2011/12 - Curtis Jobling ''Werewolf: Shadow of the Hawk' illustrated by Andrew Farley
2012/13 - Thomas Taylor - 'Haunters' illustrated by Steve Wells 
2013/14 - Niel Bushnell - 'Timesmith' - illustrated by James Fraser 
2014/15  - M. G. Harris/Gerry Anderson's - 'Gemini Force One' Black Horizon by Blacksheep. 
2015/16 -  M. G. Leonard - 'Beetle Boy' - illustrated by Julia Sarda 
2016/17 - Roderick Gordon - 'Summerhouse Land' - Book Cover by Stanley Donwood

Monday, 26 November 2018

Paul Magrs - LOST ON MARS+ THE MARTIAN GIRL + THE HEART OF MARS (The Lora Trilogy) - Festive Gift Ideas


We are getting closer to Christmas, so it's time to start thinking of ideal presents, stocking fillers and, of course, great books to warm you up throughout this festive period. Instead of me promoting this new book, I'm delighted to be able to introduce Lora to tell you more about this amazing series.

Hi, I'm Lora and Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books has kindly let me take over his blog, so that I can tell you about the story of my family on Mars. It's a story like no other a story - you will need to read it to believe it. We are lucky enough for Paul Magrs in writing a truthful account and for FireFly Press for publishing our little family tale. We call it the (The Lora Trilogy) The first in this epic Sci-Fi series Lost on Mars was published in May 2015  and the sequel The Martian Girl was published in September 2016. The last in the trilogy, The Heart of Mars, was published in March 2018. Mr Ripley has been a great supporter of the books and would like to recommend them to you all. This is a great Christmas present for everybody young and old. 

So here is more of my tale so you may know what lies ahead...

Dear Everyone,

There’s not many of us left now. Not after the Disappearances and all the terrible things that happened.

Life was tough on our Homestead, but we liked living there, out on the red Martian Prairie. There was Mum and Da and our crazy Granny with the mechanical leg and the laser eye. Then there was Toaster, our robot, who did loads of work around our place, and who used to be a sun bed once upon a time.

Why did the people of the first landings ever bring a sun bed to Mars? Where the sun’s so blistering all the time? When the heat gets wild and the dust storms come rolling over the plains, destroying our crops and bringing with them the terrifying ghosts of dead Martians.

Oh, yes. That’s where my tale begins. This whole epic adventure begins with the time that the storms came in the late autumn and ripped away all our fields of green corn. We were going to go hungry and cold that winter anyway, and that was bad enough. 

But then folk started getting Disappeared. 

We lost our Gran. She got whizzed away in the night, leaving just her electronic leg and eye behind. Then our Da went too, and we knew who’d got him.

The Martians were haunting us and taking us away one by one…

Heeee heeee heeeeee…

I could hear their laughter when I sat up late at night and my brother and little sister were asleep.

And I knew the Martian ghosts were coming for all of us. 

And I knew that we had to get away. I took the decision for all of our sakes. We would choose the most essential of our belongings and pack up the Hovercarts. We’d saddle up the great lizards who carried all our burdens…

So we set off into the great scarlet wilderness, looking for a new home. We followed the strange signals that came out of the last of our radios. We didn’t know what they were telling us, but there were people out there somewhere, calling us into the unknown…

And there were a whole lot of challenges and dangers that we had to face…

I kept a journal the whole time. I knew that the day would come when I would have to tell you all about our journey and our adventures. 

I knew I would tell you eventually about what happened when those few of us from our town were lost on Mars.

Yrs,

Lora.

'This series really is one of my all-time personal favourites; it is a science fiction delight that everyone should read... (it) will leave you feeling like you've read something really special by one of the best authors around.' Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books