Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Middle Grade Book Picks (9-12yrs) July 2017 - US Post

Melissa E. Hurst - On Through the Never - Published by Sky Pony Press (July 11, 2017) -  ISBN-13: 978-1510707610

In 2013, Bridger and Alora found a way to prevent Alora’s murder and return her to the century she was born in, preserving the timeline and preventing a possibly disastrous future.  

Back in the year 2147, Bridger is following in his father’s footsteps by wrapping up his military training at The Academy for Time Travel and Research. Alora is adjusting to life in the twenty-second century, and learning to master her powers; as a Dual Talent, she has the rare―and secret―ability to bend both space and time. 

But unrest is growing in the North American Federation. As the government moves to limit the rights of Purists, people who refuse genetic modifications, violent protests break out. At the same time, paranoia and anger about the existence of Dual Talents seem to be growing―both among Purists and within the government itself. 

Then a masked Time Bender arrives from the future. He insists that war is coming, and only Bridger and Alora can stop it. 

There’s just one problem: they have no memory of each other.

Colleen Gleason - The Carnelian Crow: A Stoker & Holmes Book 4 - Published by Avid Press (July 11, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1944665357

The girls are back!
Evaline Stoker (sister of Bram) and Mina Holmes (niece of Sherlock) return in the fourth volume of the steampunk adventure series set in an alternate Victorian London.

Ever since the debacle of the Chess Queen Enigma, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker have laid low, trying to settle back into their quiet lives as young ladies of London. But the Holmesian deductive abilities won't remain dormant for long, and when Mina receives a strange package from a winged, midnight visitor, she is catapulted into a new, mysterious adventure: the search for The Carnelian Crow. 

Meanwhile, Evaline has received some very disturbing news--news that will change her life forever. Along with that unpleasant knowledge is the strange disappearance of her nemesis, the disreputable pickpocket Pix.

When it becomes clear the arch-villainess the Ankh has made her next move, it will take all of Mina's Holmesian ingenuity and Evaline's courage and determination to stop the criminal from executing her boldest and most dangerous plan yet!

Dan Jolley - Five Elements #2: The Shadow City - Published by HarperCollins (July 25, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062411679

The second book in an epic middle-grade series full of awesome elemental powers, nightmarish creatures, and nonstop adventure that will thrill kids who love Avatar: The Last Airbender, Rick Riordan, and Brandon Mull.
Five elements. Two worlds. One city…and one chance to save it.
In the past two weeks, Gabe Conway has fought a six-winged dragon, bound himself to the element of fire, and rescued one of his best friends from the twisted parallel dimension known as Arcadia. Now he has to find a way to do something even more impossible: destroy Arcadia forever—before a sinister cult unleashes its nightmare of death and destruction across San Francisco.
Don’t miss the action-packed series School Library Journal called “extremely entertaining and sure to be popular with fans of Percy Jackson and the 39 Clues series.”

Jennifer Brody - The United Continuums: The Continuum Trilogy Book 3 - Published by Turner (July 11, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1681622637

In the epic conclusion to the award-winning Continuum Trilogy, Aero leads a group insurgents from the Second Continuum to overthrow his rival, Supreme General Vinick, and unite his space colony’s military forces, while Seeker embarks on a secret mission back to her home colony to reinforce Earth's defenses and protect the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra’s nightmares have become a reality as the Dark Thing hurtles toward Earth with designs on eradicating the planet’s fledgling populace. The only thing standing in the way are the three Carriers and those who would join them to fight against a second coming of the Doom.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Janine Beacham - Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Rubies and Runaways Bk 2 (Guest Publication Day Post Top 10 Butlers )

Rose Raventhorpe and the secret society of crime-solving butlers are at it again! Today is the publication of the second book in the series by Little Brown Books for Young Readers. When an orphan goes missing, will Rose and the butlers be able to find her before she disappears forever?

When an orphan boy named Orpheus interrupts the Cathedral's Mistletoe Service, saying that his sister has been kidnapped, Rose vows to help. Solving the mystery will be a lot better than accompanying ghastly Herbert! But the investigation is more complicated than Rose has anticipated and will lead her and her butler friends through fancy tea-rooms, horrible factories, secret underground passages and more...

For fans of Murder Most Unladylike and The Clockwork Sparrow, these are all fantastic historical mystery reads that will have you gripped with period crimes and a puzzle or two to solve. Why not give them all a go today? :)

Welcome, Janine. Here is her post on Top 10 Butlers.

As a kid I thought it would be great fun to have a butler. He would say, ‘would Miss like tea served on the lawn?’, or ‘shall I run Miss’s bath at the desired temperature?’ or ‘Shall I tidy your room for you, Miss?’ (If you ask your parents to say things like that, their eyes bulge and they start shouting.) There are some wonderful butlers in books, plays, TV series and films. Here are some of my favourites. Some are funny, some are sad, and some you definitely want on your side when you’re in trouble. 

1 – Jeeves. Jeeves is the butler in a series of classic, funny books by PD Wodehouse. He’s technically a valet, but most people think of him as the quintessential butler. He helps the hapless Bertie Wooster out at every turn. Typical quote: ‘It is hardly my place, sir, to criticise the facial peculiarities of your friends.’

2 - Stevens in the novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, and the 1993 film. Poor repressed, duty-bound Stevens. He tries so hard to be the perfect butler he forgets to live a life for himself. Great book, and film portrayal by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Typical quote: ‘A man cannot call himself well-contented until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer.’ 

3 – Edmund Blackadder in the Blackadder TV series, played by Rowan Atkinson. Blackadder is possibly the funniest, most caustic butler ever. Especially when he’s stuck with the stupidest master in London. Typical quote: ‘God, I’m wasted here. It’s no life for a man of noble blood, being servant to a master with the intellect of a jugged walrus and all the social graces of a potty.’

4 – Brabinger in the TV series To the Manor Born. Dear old Brabinger wouldn’t dream of leaving Audrey fforbes-Hamilton when she leaves the Manor. An old-school gentleman. Typical quote: (On hearing the flowers have been arranged in water tainted by a dead pigeon) ‘I thought they lasted longer, Madam.’ 

5 – Geoffrey in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Middle name Barbara. Studied at Oxford, was an Olympic runner, and got slapped by the Queen. Typical quote: (after receiving a small raise) ‘Thank you, sir, and with my newfound wealth, I shall be able to treat myself to a Happy Meal!’

6 – Niles in the TV series The Nanny. Snide and droll, he gives CC Babcock hell and is always on Nanny Fine’s side. Typical quote: (Trying to get into the Professional Butlers’ Association) ‘I happen to come from a long line of butlers, each one a member, until my father, the butler to the Duke of Carlisle, accidentally knocked over a vase … he was wrestling naked with the Duchess at the time.’

7 – Carson in the TV series Downton Abbey. Millions of fans loved Downton. Carson is a tradition-loving, slightly stuffy, loyal and caring man who doesn’t like change. Typical quote: (Told there are worse things in the world) ‘Not worse than a maid serving a duke.’ 

8 – Alfred Pennyworth in Batman (comics, TV series, films). Alfred keeps those bat-costumes looking their best, and no doubt cleans the Batmobile while Batman is swanning about as Bruce Wayne. Typical quote: ‘Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.’ 

9 – Domovoi Butler in the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer. Butler is Artemis’s bodyguard as part of family tradition. I love a butler who can make pithy comments and fight with the best. Typical quote: ‘Argh? Pathetic and inarticulate. Nice combination. Your mothers must be so proud.’

10 – Crichton in the play The Admirable Crichton, by JM Barrie. Originally disapproving of class equality, Crichton takes charge when a bunch of Victorians are shipwrecked. He becomes engaged to a Lady Mary. On the point of marriage, they are rescued, the social order restored, and poor Crichton returns to his humble station. He inspired the equally admirable Kryten in the TV series Red Dwarf. Typical quote: ‘His lordship may compel us to be equal upstairs, but there will never be equality in the servants’ hall.’ 

Honourable mentions: 
Angus Hudson, the loyal Scottish butler in the TV series Upstairs Downstairs. 
Hobson in the film Arthur – acerbic but affectionate minder to Arthur. 
Lurch, in the TV show The Addams Family. 
Mrs Danvers in the novel Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. Yes, she’s the housekeeper, not the butler, but at least one housekeeper should be on this list. Mrs Danvers is menacing, malicious and scary as hell.
Author Biography
A former journalist, Janine Beacham has written all her life. She has always loved fairy tales and fantasy, and as a child would make up games for her friends to play at school. Janine once entered a competition where the prize was a real-life butler - which partly inspired the secret society of butlers in the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series. Janine lives in Western Australia with her family. 
Find her on Twitter:

Monday, 10 July 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: David Solomons - My Evil Twin Is a Supervillain - Book Review (Nosy Crow)

When Luke is confronted with Stellar, his superpowered twin from another dimension, he is highly suspicious. No one travels through time and space without a plan, and that plan is usually EVIL. So what does Stellar want? And why is he so UNBELIEVABLY IRRITATING? From his superhero hair to his rocket-powered shoes, Stellar is up to no good, and Luke must BRING HIM DOWN!

Do you know your superheroes from your supervillains? 

How about Top Trumps from your Cosmic Jenga? 

David has covered it all in the latest installment of My Brother is a Superhero series. 'My Evil Twin Is a Supervillain' is the third and thrilling installment. It is equally as brilliant and engaging as the previous two books in the series. The narrative glides across the open skies along a slipstream of subtle humour and comical adventure that will make you laugh out loud. 

David writes with a dark side that is filled with a screen-like purpose that will appeal to the inner core of every big kid, young or old. It is as if he has donned his cape and is playing top trumps with evil villains. Everybody will love this book; it's easy to read and especially great for reluctant readers. From the very first page, the parallel universes collide with explosive COSMIC capers, sibling rivalry, and Zack's mock exams. 

Will the universe need saving from Luke's evil twin, Stellar?

The reader is heading for a galactic showdown like no other. This is a fantastic narrative full of action and crazy mayhem. It will sock you in the sci-fi world as you follow the young superheroes and/or villains trying to save the multi-universe from self-destruction. Nevermind Gorgon the World-Eater, but who does he think he is?

You will traverse a parallel world, in a flush of a toilet, via IKEA's bedroom department. There, you will uncover a fiendish plot (in a treehouse of cats) and be totally absorbed in a world that will lead you to another fantasy dimension. The story will twist and turn like a snake charmer wearing a scarf and the emotions bubble up like a superhero visiting a volcano. It has all the right ingredients to get you hooked and keep you there. This is another amazing installment from one of the best teenage series around and from the nose that knows a good story.....

Author bio:

David Solomons has been writing screenplays for many years. His first feature film was an adaptation of 'Five Children and It' (starring Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Izzard, with gala screenings at the Toronto and Tribeca Film Festivals). My Brother is a Superhero is his first novel for children. He was born in Glasgow and now lives in Dorset with his wife, the novelist Natasha Solomons, and their son, Luke.

Friday, 7 July 2017

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

Robin Jarvis - Time of Blood (The Witching Legacy) - Published by Egmont (27 July 2017)  - ISBN-13: 978-1405280259

The sinister Mister Dark is more powerful than ever and has enslaved young Verne to his will. Can Lil save her best friend before their enemy unleashes his most audacious and insane plan yet? Even with the help of new, surprising allies - a witch, a mysterious man of many disguises and the secretive aufwaders beneath the cliff - all seems hopeless.
Whitby has never been a more frightening and dangerous place to live, and the murdered dead refuse to rest in peace.

Peter F. Hamilton - A Voyage Through Air (The Queen of Dreams) - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (13 July 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1447291169

War is coming - and every leader of every realm has sided with the War Emperor and pledged to fight the Karrak invaders - apart from Taggie, the teenage Queen of Dreams-to-be.
Aided by an unusual band of allies, including a Karrak Lord, an elf and a feisty skyfolk captain, Taggie knows that the only way to stop the war is to find the long-lost gateway between our universe and the dark universe: the home of the Karrak people.
But where do you begin to look for something that was deliberately hidden? And just how much is Taggie willing to lose in her desperate quest for peace?
A Voyage Through Air is the third and final book in the fantastic The Queen of Dreams children's fantasy trilogy by award-winning author Peter F.Hamilton.

John Mcnally - Giant Killer (Infinity Drake, Book 3) - Published by

HarperCollins Children's Books (13 July 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0007521692

Get shrunk! Humour and high-stakes combine in the conclusion to the action-packed Infinity Drake series. A BIG adventure with a tiny hero!
And you thought 9mm was small?
Infinity Drake takes it to a whole 'nother level…
After months of captivity, Finn and Carla reach their final destination; evil mastermind Kaparis's secret lair in the Carpathian mountains.
Once there Finn learns the villain's true purpose – to conquer his paralysis and rise again. To do so Kaparis must shrink a team of medics down to microscopic size to repair his damaged spine, and now he's cracked the Boldklub code it seems nothing can stop him.
Apart, that is, from a microscopic hero…
Join Infinity Drake on his wildest ride yet – deep inside the body of his nemesis, where he must fight for his life… and bring down the giant once and for all.

Laura Fitgerald Marx - The Gallery - Published by  

Puffin Books (13 July 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0142427705
A riveting historical art mystery for fans of Chasing Vermeer and The Westing Game, set in the Roaring Twenties!It's 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family. But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the household--specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room. The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks there's more to the story--and that the paintings in the Sewell's gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of what's really going on with Rose Sewell? 
Inspired by true events described in a fascinating author's note, The Gallery is a 1920s caper told with humor and spunk that readers today will love.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017



Major Children’s Illustrated Literature Festival returns to Loughborough for 3 year from 18-24 October 2017

Newly-appointed Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child will be headlining this year’s Loogabarooga Festival of Children’s Illustrated Literature in Loughborough from 18-24 October 2017.

Lauren Child is a multi-award-winning, bestselling writer and artist, and is the creator of the famous Charlie and Lola, and Clarice Bean characters. She was crowned as the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate in June 2017 to champion children and reading nationwide.

Lauren will be appearing in her own show at Loogabarooga 2017 to talk about the ‘stories behind the stories’ and there will also be a rare chance to see a selection of original work, specially picked by Lauren Child from her private collection in ‘The Art of Lauren Child – Adventures with Charlie and Lola and friends’ exhibition at Charnwood Museum.

The Loogabarooga Festival is for families who love books and illustrated literature. This year, it will include new book trails, free creative drop-in workshops, storytelling sessions, a comic fair, and advice on how to write and illustrate your own book. There will also be appearances from some of the nation’s favourite children’s authors and illustrators.

The unique, hand-painted Book Benches will also return, featuring cover artwork from some of the nation’s favourite Ladybird children’s stories including Shopping with Mother, Cinderella and Bunnikins Picnic Party. This year will also see a Lauren Child Clarice Bean book bench, on loan from the National Literacy Trust for the duration of the festival. The benches will be located throughout the town centre.

More details of the programme will be published in July 2017 on Facebook at, on Twitter @loogabarooga17 or on the website at

Lauren Child commented: ““I'm thrilled to be taking part in Loogabarooga this year and to be having an exhibition at Charnwood Museum. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone at the festival."

Chris Traill, Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods and Community Wellbeing at Charnwood Borough Council, said: “This year marks the third annual Loogabarooga Festival in our wonderful town of Loughborough. We’re delighted to announce the appearance of the award-winning author of Charlie and Lola, Lauren Child, appearing here for the first time.

“Lauren’s talk and exhibition are just two of the many highlights at Loogabarooga 2017. We’re also supporting new talent through workshops and have lots of great interactive authors and illustrators, events and workshops to ignite and inspire young imaginations.”

The Loogabarooga Festival will be organised by Leicestershire Promotions and Charnwood Borough Council, in partnership with Leicestershire County Council and supported by Love Loughborough.

Loughborough has had a long association with children’s literature since the very first Ladybird book was produced by a jobbing printer called Wills & Hepworth in the town during the First World War. Ladybird books were printed at Angel Yard in Loughborough from 1915-1973 and the first Loogabarooga Festival in 2015 coincided with Ladybird Books’ centenary.

Lauren Child burst onto the children’s books scene in 1999 and has since published many bestselling and award-winning books, including those featuring the hugely popular Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort series. She has won numerous awards including the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal and the Smarties Gold Award. Her books have been made into an award-winning TV series and have sold in many languages with runaway success. In June 2017, she became the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate.

This autumn, there is a rare chance to see a selection of original work, specially picked by Lauren Child from her private collection at ‘The Art of Lauren Child – Adventures with Charlie and Lola and friends’ exhibition, to be held at Charnwood Museum in Loughborough as part of Loogabarooga 2017.

People can follow the Town Trail to the Charnwood Museum, where they will see original artwork from their favourite Lauren Child books; Charlie and Lola and their friends, Clarice Bean, Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent and more. The exhibition also includes richly detailed collages from the hundredth anniversary edition of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Lauren’s iconic images and the utterly imaginative worlds she creates with her signature collage technique will fascinate and delight both children and adults.

At Loogabarooga 2017, the multi-award-winning author and artist will also discuss her influences and creative process and some of her best-loved characters. Find out the stories behind Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and the amazing spy-kid, code-cracker Ruby Redfort. In an illustrated talk, Lauren will share her fascination with sibling relationships, how watching television as a child shaped her artistic vision and the pleasure of daydreaming.

Lauren will also be introducing her latest Charlie and Lola book, A Dog with Nice Ears

“Silly, surprising, thoughtful and fun, Charlie and Lola are on top form in this fantastically funny story, packed full of dogs of every shape, size and colour.”

Friday, 30 June 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Michael Grant - Monster (The Monster Series) #Gone - Book Review

It’s been four years since a meteor hit Perdido Beach and everyone disappeared. Everyone, except the kids trapped in the FAYZ—an invisible dome that was created by an alien virus. Inside the FAYZ, animals began to mutate and teens developed dangerous powers. The terrifying new world was plagued with hunger, lies, and fear of the unknown. 
Now the dome is gone and meteors are hitting earth with an even deadlier virus. Humans will mutate into monsters and the whole world will be exposed. As some teens begin to morph into heroes, they will find that others have become dangerously out of control…and that the world is on the brink of a monstrous battle between good and evil.
This is the first riveting book in the new trilogy (The Monster Series) by Michael Grant. We are introduced to a range of new, exciting and diverse characters whilst also meeting and catching up with the familiar characters from The Gone Series. Michael has integrated both extremely well to create an exciting and compelling story. It really helps to connect the reader with every aspect of the story and can be read as a stand alone novel. 

Readers will be able to easily relate to one, or a number of characters, through the diversity of personalities which brings the universe crashing down explosively. The dome is down and the story has just begun in a fantastic installment that will change the face of the universe and keep you on your fantasy reading toes.

Set four years after the final book in the Gone series. Michael sets about exploring what it means to be a superhero/villain. The characters' superhero powers and reactions do not always make them a hero. One of the characters, through a series of events, soon find themselves becoming the biggest supervillain. It is fascinating to understand and read the characters' motives. It really highlights and promotes the reader to think about the influences and outcomes on people which can change them.

This is a fantastically articulated story that follows a character you might be all too familiar with called "Shade Darby". She has witnessed events that day, with devastating consequences, and vowed never to feel that powerless again. Now, four years later, she gets her hands on part of the meteor that began it all – and that’s when she changes.

This book features a range of sub-plots that leads the reader down many paths. This helps to connect the reader to the previous series by grabbing the attention of older Michael Grant readers as well as new ones. I really enjoyed reading about, and experiencing, the morphing/mutating from the 'ordinary' character to the one with super-human-powers. The transition was a real eye opener in some cases, as the superhero/villain was a much larger than life destructive force and makes you want to run for cover.

The plot line is very definitely driven by action and dynamic battles with a fantastic narrative that might just blow your fantasy socks off. The character's 'monster' forms are a heady mix of emotions and uniqueness. All are combined to create a fast-paced and heart-pounding sci-fi-thriller. It is incredibly well written but would be equally as effective on the big screen. The high-octane action was dispersed throughout the story rather than just at a particular point. As a result, this really enhanced the characters' interactions and developed the depth of the story.

This book is not out until October, 19th 2017 (UK) Egmont (US) Katherine Tegen so this is a very early review. However, I loved this book so much that I wanted to let the monster urges out so I could not wait to review it. This is the best teenage book that I have read this year - Michael Grant has excelled himself. I understand from Michael Grant himself that Book Two is to be called Villain (2018) and Book three will be Hero (2018). However, this is a long way away and could all change.

Michael Grant lives in San Francisco with his wife, Katherine Applegate, and has written over 150 books - with Katherine, as himself, under pseudonyms and as a ghostwriter. He is best know for the international multi-million-selling young adult six-book GONE series: GONE, HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE, FEAR and LIGHT
Which is your favourite book cover? 
The top one is the UK book cover.
This one underneath is the US book cover. 
I'm very interested to know what you think!