Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book News World Book Day is 20 years old in 2017 - World Book Day YA Event Waterstones London- 1st March 2017

World Book Day is 20 years old in 2017, and we are celebrating with an extravaganza of a day on Thursday 2nd March 2017. 

Waterstones Piccadilly, 203 - 206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD - : 01 March 2017 @ 5.30 - 6.30pm

As part of the Biggest Book 
Show on Earth tour, we are hosting a special YA event on the eve of World Book Day, 1st March 2017.

Joining us will be David Almond and Michael Grant, authors of World Book Day £1 books Island and Dead of Nightrespectively; presenter and DJ Gemma Cairney whose debut Open is released in March; and author, vlogger and musical actress Carrie Hope Fletcher as chair.

The group will discuss their favourite books; where, when and how they read; the books they are currently working on; and give the audience book recommendations. After the event, there will be an opportunity to redeem £1 World Book Day tokens, meet the authors, get your books signed – and take selfies, of course!

Come join the booky fun! Tickets are free but to reserve a ticket, please click here

By: David Almond
Each year, sixteen-year old Louise travels with her father to the island of Lindisfarne. It’s a holiday, but also a pilgrimage to the place Louise’s mother loved best of all in the whole world. This year things are changing and the beautiful and haunted island is a troubled place. Louise is growing fast, and is yearning for independence. Her father becomes infatuated by an American tourist. And they arrive at the same time as Hassan, a mysterious boy from Syria, who fascinates Louise. He seems to have known this place from long ago, and to be at home here. He’s an acrobat, maybe a sorcerer, maybe a source of great danger. The gang of boys who live in the island’s wilder places want to cast him out.
Over the course of a few days, the forces of love, death, hope and destruction move these characters towards a deeper understanding of themselves and the world. This is a story which shows how the journeys we take and the people we meet shape us forever.
By: Michael Grant
Rio Richlin doesn’t have superpowers. She is an ordinary young woman. A soldier in the American army, wearing a uniform, carrying a rifle, and fighting alongside thousands who are trying to make a difference, trying to change the world.
At least, that’s the plan. Right now she’s part of a squad on a training exercise in some place called Wales. They’re cold, they’re wet, and Rio’s pretty sure they’re also lost. Spending the night in a creepy old inn wasn’t part of the plan at all…
Set in the alternative World War II scenario of his Front Lines novels, Michael Grant, author of the bestselling Gone series, has written this story exclusively for World Book Day.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Mr Ripley's Interview with Andrew Guile - The Amazing Adventures of Skinny Finny and Super Spy Wobblebottom: The Mad Moon Mission

This is the second book by Andrew Guile involving Skinny Finny and his sidekick brother, Tubby. It's a crazy adventure that will make you laugh your socks off. It is a magically illustrated fantasy affair that everyone will love, regardless of age. To tempt you all to read it, I have asked the author a range of questions regarding the book and his writing career. I hope that you enjoy this interview and it will grab you enough to pick up this book and read it. 

The Amazing Adventures of Skinny Finny and Super Spy Wobblebotton is out now. Grab a copy in your flying superhero cape. 

Who do you think will love reading The Amazing Adventures of Skinny Finny and Super Spy Wobblebottom: The Mad Moon Mission?

I would hazard a guess at boys between 8-12 years old. Skinny Finny dreams up all sorts of crazy gadgets and boys often like that sort of thing. I do hope that girls read the book too. I specifically chose to introduce a female viewpoint character in this book for this very reason so I do hope it works!

A good villain is hard to write, how did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book?

I think, if we are honest, we all have a dark side though most of us are good at keeping it hidden. From an author perspective, I suspect it comes down to honesty. If you’ve taken the time to look critically at yourself over your lifetime, you’ll find it easier to tap into the more negative, villainous side of your own personality. I think I’m pretty good at that. I think though that all authors are bound to be influenced by what they have read and watched over the years too, that’s inevitable I guess. I also just try to put myself in the mind of the villain and think of things they can say and do that children would find alarming. I promise though that I have never held any children down and dripped lemon juice in their eyes! Not yet, anyway.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?

I think it’s probably Tubby. Sir Mimsey Parpington definitely has the best name but I have a real soft spot for Tubby. He’s accident prone and is never going to join MENSA but he views the world through rose-tinted glasses and it gives him I’m a vulnerable appeal. He also has a very clear moral compass that his brother could benefit from understanding better.

What inspirations do you think helped to make this book happen?

I began telling stories to my children many years ago. We used to make up stories together, using two or three words each and moving round in a circle with the next person adding their 2-3 words to the story before passing on to the next person, etc. That was great fun and produced some hilarious and bizarre stories. That morphed into me just making stories up myself and Skinny Finny was born. He was named after a kid I went to school with and ‘Wobblebottom’ was a phrase I pinched from Blackadder the Third. I made it into a name and then had Curt Walstead design him.

In the book there are over 150 brilliant black and white illustrations, how did the illustrations come about in the book? 

I always wanted it to be illustrated. I found Curt Walstead on (now and he pitched for the job alongside four or five others. He stood out over all the rest. I was very lucky to find him as he has a great pedigree having worked as an illustrator for Dora the Explorer, Diego and Baby Looney Tunes in California. He specializes in character development and I couldn’t be more delighted with his work.

Which scene in the book made you laugh the hardest?

Definitely the scene in Windsor Castle near the start of the book where Skinny Finny tells Tubby that he’ll do his duty and kick Tubby between the legs if Queen Elizabeth won’t. It’s the earnest way in which Skinny Finny tells it and the fact that Tubby takes him seriously. And then the punch line with the Kit Kat a little later on. It’s perhaps slightly more adult humour than child humour but I think it’s always a good idea for gags to hit different levels. Quite a few children will, I imagine, have the book read to them. It’s wise to entertain the adults too!

What tactics do you have and use when writing? (outline or do you just write)

I am definitely a planner. I can’t start writing the first draft until I have a chapter sketch mapped out. I need to know where the story is going and what the character arcs are going to be, etc. I love that development period where anything is possible.

How did you break into publishing? Tell us about the process you were involved in? 

I have been wanting to write for many years. I have read countless books about the craft and have been on many, many courses and workshops. Being a planner though, I didn’t want to start anything until I felt I knew what I was doing. That time of enlightenment coincided with the desire to write and publish a Skinny Finny story for my three children before they got too old. That came in 2013. I primarily self-published the Crazy Christmas Caper via Amazon.

The Mad Moon Mission is the second book that follows the antics of Skinny Finny and Super Spy Wobblebottom. For this second outing I used Troubador (Matador) who are a self publishing company. I used all aspects of their service including copy editing, typesetting and proofreading prior to publication. I also had an editor, Bella Pearson who helped me with the story structure. She was fantastic and has a great pedigree of her own having previously worked with Phillip Pullman.

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

Looking back, my earliest memories are of my reading books for school. I remember one in particular where the cover image was of two massive pillars at the end of a spooky driveway that leads down towards a derelict mansion. The pillars had gargoyles sat atop them and the story describes how these stone beasts come to life. Amazing! I have always been drawn to fantasy books and sci-fi. I just love the escapism. I can’t imagine writing a story that doesn’t have some element of sci-fi or fantasy.

What are you working on next?

I have stepped away from Skinny Finny for my next book. I’m working on a middle-grade fantasy adventure story. Tim’s life is changed forever when he, his best friend and his sister, find a portal to a world ravaged by warring dragons while on holiday in Cornwall. There he betrays his friend and is forced to face his own fears in order to redeem himself and rescue his friend from the evil Queen and find a way back home. It will focus on similar themes of family and friendship. 

I’m writing this new story while attending the Golden Egg Foundation Course. I’ve sort of gone back to school I suppose! Golden Egg was set up by the great Barry Cunningham (the man who discovered J.K. Rowling) to develop and nurture children’s writers. It’s an amazing course that’s really helping me improve my writing further and I’m really excited for what I may next have in print.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Middle-Grade Book Picks February 2017 - US Published Post

Amy Ephron - The Castle in the Mist - Published by Philomel Books (February 7, 2017)

Tess and her brother, Max, are sent for the summer to their aunt’s sleepy village in the English countryside, where excitement is as rare as a good wifi signal. So when Tess stumbles upon an old brass key that unlocks an ornately carved gate, attached to a strangely invisible wall, she jumps at the chance for adventure. And the world beyond the gate doesn’t disappoint. She finds rose gardens, a maze made of hedges, and a boy named William who is just as lonely as she is.
But at William’s castle, strange things begin to happen. Carnival games are paid for in wishes, dreams seem to come alive, and then there's William's eerie warning: Beware of the hawthorn trees. A warning that chills Tess to the bone.
In a magical, fantasy world that blurs the line between reality and imagination, readers are left to wonder exactly what they’d wish for if wishes could come true. Perfect for fans of Half Magic and The Secret Garden—and for anyone who's ever wondered if magic is real.

Caroline Starr Rose - Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine - Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (February 7, 2017)

Hoping to strike it rich, two brothers escape an abusive father and set out on a treacherous journey to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.
Desperate to get away from their drunkard of a father, eleven-year-old Jasper and his older brother Melvin often talk of running away, of heading north to Alaska to chase riches beyond their wildest dreams. The Klondike Gold Rush is calling, and Melvin has finally decided the time to go is now—even if that means leaving Jasper behind. But Jasper has other plans, and follows his brother aboard a steamer as a stowaway.

Onboard the ship, Jasper overhears a rumor about One-Eyed Riley, an old coot who's long since gone, but is said to have left clues to the location of his stake, which still has plenty of gold left. The first person to unravel the clues and find the mine can stake the claim and become filthy rich. Jasper is quick to catch gold fever and knows he and Melvin can find the mine—all they have to do is survive the rough Alaskan terrain, along with the steep competition from the unscrupulous and dangerous people they encounter along the way.

In an endearing, funny, pitch-perfect middle grade voice, Caroline Starr Rose tells another stellar historical adventure young readers will long remember.

Aimée Carter - Simon Thorn and the Viper's Pit - Published by  Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 7, 2017)

Simon Thorn only recently discovered that he's an Animalgam--one of a secret race who can shift into animals. Now, for the first time in his life Simon has real friends to train and study with at the secret Animalgam Academy. The only missing part is his mother, held captive by his evil grandfather, Orion, who's bent on taking over the animal world. 
To rescue his mom, Simon must head cross-country with his friends, battling rogue Animalgams and their own doubts and torn loyalties along the way. But if Simon's going to succeed, he will need to keep Orion from gathering together the fragments of a terrible weapon, or the lives of everyone Simon loves will be at risk.
With plenty of action and adventure and characters full of heart, this story is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull.

Kevin Emerson - Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star) - Published by Walden Pond Press (February 14, 2017)

Last Day on Mars is thrillingly ambitious and imaginative. Like a lovechild of Gravity and The Martian, it's a rousing space opera for any age, meticulously researched and relentlessly paced, that balances action, science, humor, and most importantly, two compelling main characters in Liam and Phoebe. A fantastic start to an epic new series.” —Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series
“Emerson's writing explodes off the page in this irresistible space adventure, filled with startling plot twists, diabolical aliens, and (my favorite!) courageous young heroes faced with an impossible task.” —Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of the Unwanteds series
It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova far sooner than anyone expected. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we have prepared for a second trip: a 150-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.
Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed. 
Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Andrew Guile - The Amazing Adventures of Skinny Finny and Super Spy Wobblebottom: The Mad Moon Mission - Book Review

Ten-year-old Skinny Finny and his twin brother, Tubby, are beginning a new life in London when their arch enemy, the evil Dr Buttscratcher, and his shadowy sidekick begin terrorising unsuspecting joggers and the elderly. Skinny Finny's hopes for a 'normal' life are shattered as he is set on a collision course with Dr Buttscratcher and his crazy plans for world domination. Will Skinny Finny join forces once again with the British Agent, Super Spy Wobblebottom? And who is the dastardly doctor's mysterious new apprentice? With over 150 black and white illustrations throughout, The Amazing Adventures of Skinny Finny and Super Spy Wobblebottom is a funny, enthralling and humorous tale for children aged 7 and over. This explosive children's book guarantees high adventure and hilarious mayhem for the enjoyment of all young readers.

Are you ready to enter the world of Skinny Finny? 

You only need to look at the book cover, which has been fantastically illustrated by Curt Walstead, to know that you are in for a crazy time. This is a story that will gather you up into a madcap caper and transport you to a place of laughter and comical humour. It will hit you on so many levels that it 
will definitely be loved by any age group, and any reader, who has a good sense of humour. 

One thousand feet high and the Shard (London) is the starting point for this brilliant story. There you are thrust into the lives of Skinny Finny and his whimsical twin brother, Tubby, along with his rather mysterious and strange family. You will be rocketed into a fantasy action-adventure full of zany shenanigans and a fiendish plot. 
You will find yourself flying into space on a mysterious futuristic spacecraft, that will rattle your fantasy teeth into orbit, and back again, but with the Queen of England!

The story is full of complex and crazy characters doing, and saying, silly things at any given moment, especially in times of danger. My favourite character is Super Spy Wobblebottom; he is just brilliantly well written and full of comical style. He is very distinctive, for a hero type character, and not typical at all. You will certainly remember him for a very long time to come, as he runs around in his own slapstick caper that will make you chortle. With his over-active personality, a cracking aura (his big bottom) and his rather outlandish behaviour and crazy actions, you will soon find yourself giggling like a school boy.    

I really loved every minute of this book. I was fully absorbed into this fantasy world - part reality and part nonsense. You walk the tightrope of danger, with quirky monsters of fur, and the biggest set of teeth that you are ever likely to see. 
Every page, and every chapter, is one big dollop of crazy imagination. It delivers a high-octane adventure which is full of mayhem and mischief. It's very cool, fun and will appeal to kids who love to be absorbed in a story that visually feels straight out of the pages of a comic book. 

This is one of my favourite reads so far this year, as it is original and very stupid. However, it also tackles the themes of good versus evil and develops empathy with the characters. It is all wrapped up with sci-fi goodness and a fantastic feel good factor ending, what more could you ever want?

This book needs to be tracked down, in my opinion, and read. However, there might be some difficulty in finding it in any big chain bookshop, but go and search it out and give it a try as you will not be disappointed. Published by Matador 11th January 2017.

Philip Pullman Unveils Epic fantasy Trilogy The Book of Dust - The Chapter in His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman has been writing the Book of Dust for a very long time. He has been writing it for several years. He has just recently announced the exciting plans for the publication. 

The new trilogy will be called The Book of Dust and the first volume is set to be released in October of this year by David Fickling.  It has been 17 years since the release of The Amber Spyglass, the last of Pullman’s His Dark Materials novels.

The new book will return to the worlds and characters of His Dark Materials, Pullman said, and heroine Lyra will be pivotal to the new story — but not in the way she was before. 

The first thing Philip Pullman has to say is that Lyra is at the centre of the story. Events involving her open the first chapter, and will close the last. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College and, in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. 

This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her 20 years later.

So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is… an equel. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.
Third: why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. 

Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife 10 years before His Dark Materials, and at the centre of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more. Questions about our existence are infinitely interesting to me. There’s always more to explore.

Philip Pullman 
I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. I loved the feeling of making marks on a piece of paper, but it wasn't until some time later that I learned to connect that pleasure with a quite different pleasure, that of being absorbed in a story. Because I loved stories too - every kind of story, from fairy tales to Superman, from school stories to horror stories. As a matter of fact I still do.
What I like about being published by DFB is that David Fickling loves stories too. He first published a book of mine in 1985, and we're both still going, and that book is still in print; so that must say something for my luck. The DFB list is so varied and so full of good stories that I feel very privileged to be part of it.
Actually, I feel lucky just to be doing what I do every day. If I were to go back fifty years, or more, and ask the little boy I used to be what he most wanted to do when he grew up, I think he'd say "Write stories!" In fact, I know he would. So he started, and he never stopped. There'll be more coming soon.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Middle Grade Book Picks (9-12yrs) Feb 2017 - UK Published Post Two

Will Mabbitt/Ross Collins - Mabel Jones and the Doomsday Book - Published by Puffin (9 Feb. 2017)

Would you agree to go on a perilous TOP SECRET mission to save your best friend from the creaking gibbet?
Mabel Jones is on her way to the city of Otom in search of the legendary Doomsday Book - an ancient document that might help her save the hooman race.
But Otom is a dangerous place, packed with soldiers, spies and stinking rebels. Can Mabel escape with the book, or will she fall victim to the dreaded Grand Zhoul . . . ?
The third adventure in the hilarious Mabel Jones series, written by Will Mabbitt and illustrated by Ross Collins.

Trenton Lee Stewart - The Secret Keepers - Published by Chicken House (2 Feb. 2017)

When Reuben discovers an old pocket watch, he soon realizes it holds an incredible power: it can turn you invisible for fifteen minutes. He can't resist the lure of disappearance: for a time, he can vanish from the despotic regime of New Umbra. But the watch's power is even more extraordinary than he imagines. Soon, he's on the run from New Umbra's ruler, The Smoke, who's determined to possess it for himself ...

Ian Beck - The Carmody Casebooks (The Casebooks of Captain Holloway) - Published by Corgi Childrens (2 Feb. 2017)

The Disappearance of Tom Pile 
When bright lights are spotted above a tiny village in Dorset, the locals suspect German bombers. 
Jack Carmody believes otherwise. He is part of a secret government department, set up to explore the supernatural and the unexplained. 

Then a boy – Tom Pile – is discovered, alone and scared.

Tom went missing forty years ago

The Miraculous Return of Annick Garel

One year later two French fishermen see strange lights over the channel – and discover the body of a girl, still alive. 

Annick Garel drowned in a storm thirty years ago. 

Both children have powers that could change the course of the Second World War. Both sides in that war want their secrets

These are two extraordinary stories. 

These are the Casebooks of Jack Carmody.

Alwyn Hamilton - Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands Trilogy 2) - Published by Faber & Faber (2 Feb. 2017)

This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.
Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince's message has spread across the desert - and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible. 
Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl's instinct for survival. For the Sultan's palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper's nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive... But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani's past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

Ally Kennen - The Everything Machine - Published by Scholastic (2 Feb. 2017)

Eleven year old Olly has a very special delivery - a 3D printing machine, stamped with PROPERTY OF M.O.D and BRITISH SPACE AGENCY. WARNING. DO NOT TAMPER, which has magical powers... It has a name, it speaks, and it can print ANYTHING Olly asks it to - a never-ending supply of sweets, a swimming pool in the shed - but what Olly really wants is... his dad, who has separated from his mum and moved out of the family home. Cue the creation of Dad-Bot - he looks just like Dad (on a good day) but is totally chaotic - and his antics tip Olly and co into a heart-racing and heart-warming adventure!