Thursday, 31 October 2013

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Dan Stevens on new project - Frankenstein - (Downton Abbey)

Celebrate Halloween with an exclusive video interview of Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens talking about his latest project – Frankenstein (29 Oct). The award-winning actor and narrator has recorded an uncanny audiobook performance of Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel, an epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch exclusively for Audible.co.uk, available for the first time ever to listeners in the UK.


In Frankenstein, the young student Victor Frankenstein tries to create life, unleashing forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.

Posting the behind-the-scenes. 

Best known as Matthew Crawley in the hit ITV drama Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens' other television work includes lead roles in Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty and Andrew Davies's adaptation of Sense & Sensibility.
Dan Stevens is also a prolific narrator of audiobooks: his reading of Louisa Young's My Dear I Wanted to Tell You won the 2011 Audiobook of the Year at the Galaxy National Book Awards. He also recorded Stef Penney's The Invisible Ones.

The Frankenstein audiobook by Mary Shelley is available only from Audible.co.uk, the UK’s leading provider of downloadable audiobooks.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Guest Author Post by Sandra Greaves - The Skull in the Wood

                             

Guest post: Shivers down the spine

As Hallowe’en approaches, Undiscovered Voices 2012 winner Sandra Greaves talks about how she created the creepy atmosphere in her first novel, The Skull in the Wood, and how to get into the right frame of mind to bring on the shivers. 

A contemporary ghost story set on Dartmoor, The Skull in the Wood is the tale of two quarrelling cousins who unearth a curlew skull in the middle of a wood. From that moment, dark things start to happen – birds and animals turn bad, and there’s talk of an ancient evil called the gabbleratchet stirring into life. Which is very bad indeed…

The Skull in the Wood became spookier over several rewrites. In part, it was down to the moor. Dartmoor can be a very scary place, and it got into my blood – we live close by and I did lots of walking there as I was writing the book. It’s vast, strange and empty – 368 square miles of wilderness, and one of the last bits of wild Britain.

And of course it’s a gift of a location – brooding, dark, unsettling. There are countless myths and legends associated with it, and most of them are nasty. Conan Doyle set The Hound of the Baskervilles here, and the folklore is full of tales of giant black dogs that spell big trouble. On top of that, it’s a dangerous place – extremely cold, with mires you can sink into, and the fog can come down without warning, obliterating every landmark. 

All I had to was to bring it to life.

I drew on a number of dark myths to construct my plot. The folklore of birds features prominently – particularly the malevolent reputation of curlews, seen for centuries as birds of ill omen. And I took the European-wide myth of the Wild Hunt, led by the devil, which is prominent on Dartmoor, and entwined it with weird English folk tales about wild geese changing into hellhounds on stormy nights. In some regions this is known as the ‘gabbleratchet’ – a wonderful word that became central to The Skull in the Wood.

What I found along the way was that less was more. Not describing what lay at the heart of the gathering evil was far more effective than trying to spell it out. My editor, Rachel Leyshon, was brilliant in encouraging me to up the scariness and increase the peril at every stage. What worked best for me was to take terror into the everyday – to twist normality a tiny bit so that ordinary things became suddenly chilling.

Often I wrote the most frightening bits after dark. For the scariest passages, I had to get myself into a kind of semi-waking state (often with a glass of wine at my hand). Then I’d type madly, letting the demons in and onto the page.
Happy Hallowe’en.

                          


The Skull in the Wood is out this autumn, published by Chicken House, for 10+ readers. Mr Ripley's Book review find it Here
www.sandragreaves.com Twitter: @sandra_greaves 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Mr Ripley's Three Graphical Delights - Recent Reads From Kendal Comic Festival 2013

                       


Ivan Petrus - The Nieuport Gathering - Published by Editions Lannoo (25 Jan 2012)
In the trenches of World War One three soldiers meet. They have just countered the first attacks of the Germans at the Yzer front. They spend the day together on November 1 1914 and agree to see each other again in exactly 10 years. If they survive the war, that is. This is the story of 3 men, 3 soldiers with their own history and the 3 lives they have led: before, during and after the Great War. A dramatic story, enforced by the beautiful drawings of Ivan Petrus. All of the costumes and details illustrated in this graphic novel are historically correct.
                      

Stephen Collins - The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil - Published by Jonathan Cape (9 May 2013)
The job of the skin is to keep things in.
On the buttoned-down island of Here, all is well. By which we mean: orderly, neat, contained and, moreover, beardless.
Or at least it is until one famous day, when Dave, bald but for a single hair, finds himself assailed by a terrifying, unstoppable.monster*!
Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what, most importantly, are they going to do with Dave?
The first book from a new leading light of UK comics, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an off-beat fable worthy of Roald Dahl. It is about life, death and the meaning of beards.
(*We mean a gigantic beard, basically.)


Gareth Brookes - Black Project, The - Published by MYRIAD EDITIONS; (12 Sep 2013)
Getting yourself a girlfriend is easy, according to Richard. All you need is papier mache, string, soft material, a balloon, some old fashioned bellows, and a good pair of scissors. The difficult bit is keeping her secret. Set in an English suburb in the early 1990s, this is the story of Richard's all-consuming passion for creating 'girls' from household objects. But as his hobby begins to flourish, his real life friendships and family relationships deteriorate.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Twinmaker by Sean Williams - Electric Monkey

                           

Twinmaker is the first instalment in a new trilogy that will definitely have you clambering to read the next book in the series. I have never actually read a book by this author, as a solo writer, only the books that he has collaborated with Garth Nix on. Therefore, I was very interested to read this yellow lump of a book which is over 500 pages long. The intriguing idea and the blurb on back was fascinating to me - I really wanted to see how this book would develop.

After two chapters or so the book, in my opinion, was not going too well. I found it really difficult to connect with the two main female characters. On reflection, I perhaps found them a little too overpowering. However, the further I read through the story the more things dramatically changed. More characters were brought into the mix and the whole story unfolded in an amazing way. It soon became an absolute joy to read. In fact, it got to the point where I could not put this book down. I soon found myself reading late into the night.

This book is set in a futuristic world which is strongly led by technology. It explores the themes of identity and social networking, which are both brought to a whole new level. It could be that this vision actually becomes reality in years to come. The ability to step into a booth and be instantly transported, to anyplace that you desire - even space. This fuels an amazing journey that will have you transported to Sean's imaginary world and all from the comfort of your very own armchair. 

Psychologically you will find it hitting the spot for the YA audience. It asks such questions as: if you were given the chance to change something about yourself, would you? What about if it was morally wrong, would you still do it?  The character, Libby, is determined to give it a try when she gets the following message offering 'improvements". . . . 

You are Special.
           You are Unique.
                 And you have been selected.
                           The method is simple.
                               Improvement is certain.
                                  You can change anything.

At this point, the adventure takes a fast rapid turn of events when Libby's friend, Claire, goes in search for answers. This new direction for the reader means that you will be sucked into a maelstrom and spat straight back out into an amazing futuristic world. You'll find yourself zipping from place to place in your own personal d-mat booth. 

The story for me included everything that you would want and more - it has been very cleverly written and thought out. The identifiable poetry quotations add a fascinating and interesting element to the story. Whilst the complex ideas that have been woven into the fabric of the story add another dimension and texture. The characters soon became engaging, interesting and varied. This book was a fantastic surprise for me - a really cool book and a dream to read. I'm ready to crashland back to reality......

Overall verdict: buy it and try it....

Published by Electric Monkey - UK (7 Nov 2013) ISBN-13: 978-1405264334

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

MR RIPLEY'S BOOK COVER WARS 5 - HEAT TWO 2013/14 +SUSAN EE - WORLD AFTER PROOF BOOK COMPETITION

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars are back again for the fifth year - it is that time again where we are looking for a further worthy winner. If you are returning to the site for another exciting year or are new to this competition, then I send you a very warm welcome. It is a delight to have your company in the book cover war zone. Don't forget to share this exciting adventure with your friends and followers - everyone is welcome.

For any follower of this site then this is the chance for you to become part of the weekly book cover wars. Each week, for the next 3 weeks, I am going to select five book covers for you to vote for. NEW RULES - the five book covers who get the most votes over the four weeks will go head-to-head in the final. You may not win the heat, but you could still get to the final of 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars 2013/14'. 

POLL TABLE - Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars 2013/14
  • Niel Bushnell - Timesmith  - 156 VOTES - HEAT ONE 
  • Ian Johnstone - The Bell Between the Worlds ( The Mirror Chronicles) - 122 VOTES - HEAT ONE
  • Dawn Finch - Brotherhood of Shades - 68 VOTES - HEAT ONE
  • Andrew Beasley - The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The Feast of Ravens - 20 VOTES - HEAT ONE
  • Patrick Carman - (Pulse) Tremor - 18 VOTES - HEAT ONE 
As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a different special book each week. Therefore, in order to kick off the competition this week, we have an amazing collectable PROOF copy by Susan EE - World After. A chance to read it early, publication date - 21st November 2013 fantastic book for you to win.

If you are interested then all you need to do is:

  • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll ( click any of the links  VOTE HERE and vote for your favourite book.
  • Leave a comment through this post
  • Sit back, watch the voting develop and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). Please note that this competition is open Worldwide.
  •  Heat Two ends midnight (UK TIME)  30th October 2013. 
So here are the five book covers to vote for this week:
                         

Book One: Ransom Riggs - Hollow City ( Miss Peregrine's Children) - Published by Quirk Books - 25 January 2014 - Cover by Dogie Horner VOTE HERE
                          

Book Two: Jonathan Stroud - Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase - Published by Doubleday Children's - 29 August 2013 - Cover by Alessandro 'Talexi' Taini - VOTE HERE

Book Three: Thomas Taylor - Dan and the Caverns of Bone - Published by A&C Black Children's - 6th June 2013 - Cover by Thomas Taylor - VOTE HERE

Book Four: Teresa Flavin - The Shadow Lantern (Blackhope Enigma) - Published by Templar Publishing - 1st May 2013 - Cover by Lawrence Mann - VOTE HERE
    


Book Five: Philip Caveney - Watchers - Published by Fledgling Press - 10th September 2013 - Cover by Kylie Tesdale - VOTE HERE






Let the voting commence on this years Book Cover Wars 2013/14. Please leave your comments on the post to win that proof.  Also  if your really nice give us an RT or mention use #bookcoverwars or share on Facebook. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Book Review: Nick Valentino - Thomas Riley and The Maelstrom - Zova Books

                     

It has been over two years since I last had the pleasure of reading Nick's first book 'Thomas Riley'. Therefore, I was really looking forward to getting acquainted with the characters again and finding out was going to happen next in the story as Nick takes us back into the steampunk realm in this second eventful adventure with Thomas Riley.

After just a few pages, I found my feet really quickly with the characters and ploughed through this story like a whirlpool full of airships. It's still full of advanced steam powered technologies and fantastical science/tech weapons and gadgets that will blow your mind. It's all told in fantastic great detail, which I found very descriptive and amazingly imaginative from the delights of the airships and rampaging battles. It's fuelled by high octane action where stakes are high, it will have you gripped to the airships steering wheel on a straight course to the deadly perils ahead. 

'Thomas Riley and Cynthia Basset's adventures in their steampunk world have turned down a dark path. After an assassination attempt, the West Canvian heroes receive a message from a mysterious woman about the whereabouts of Cynthia's missing suitor and famous sky pirate, Sam Burges. Cynthia insists on pursuing the lead despite great risk, so the two of them take off with a rogue colonial sky pirate and his eclectic crew to find the man that she loves. On their journey, Thomas and Cynthia learn that Sam has joined with their enemies, the Lemurians, under the supervision of the mad man, Doctor Wolfgang Gerhard. To make matters worse, Sam is in a commanding position on board the secret airship, The Maelstrom, that has the ability to control the weather in a most nefarious way. Thomas and Cynthia's loyalty to their country and to each other are laid on the line in this steampunk tale of love, loss and adventure.'

My favourite element of the story included the colonial sky pirate and the eclectic crew. The story lines connecting these characters were particularly colourful and well thought out. Each character could have easily had a greater spotlight with more explanation into their backgrounds. Perhaps these might be further expanded upon through the next story - I would be particularly interested to read more about Cale and his endeavours on the Seychelles Island. 

Perhaps the only slight disappointment of this book was the ending. I have to state that this is only my opinion, and was purely based on the fact that I was hoping for it to be different and end how I wanted it to. This didn't mean that it wasn't appropriate or effective, but it just meant a slight adjustment from the way that I thought it was going to finish.

Unfortunately, this is not a book that you will come across sitting on the shelves of an ordinary bookshop. However, I do strongly recommend that you really try to get hold of a copy through either the publishing company (Zova Books) or a signed copy through the author's website. Here This is yet another fantastic epic tale that will continue to grab your imagination with full throttle. Full Steampunk ahead.....

Thursday, 17 October 2013

New Children's/Teens Books - Fantasy/Horror/Adventure - Picks November 2013 - US Post



          Book Cover Wars landing page is here, come and have a vote. Click the title....

Andrew Post - Fabrick - Published by  Medallion Press (November 1, 2013) Age 12+ - 544 Pages
Clyde has worked for Mr. Wilkshire for a very long time. Life is comfortable in his keeper's chateau—until Mr. Wilkshire is attacked. Clyde goes into hiding and emerges to find his only friend dead.
Brokenhearted and clueless how to bring Mr. Wilkshire's killer to justice, Clyde accepts the help of a unique group of friends, including Flam the Mouflon treasure hunter and Nevele the royal stitcher. Throughout their adventure, Clyde learns he isn't alone in this world with his magical ability: there are others like him called fabrick weavers, and for all it is both a special gift and a curse. His gift is to ease the conscience of anyone who makes a confession to him, but the curse is that the person’s luck will be reduced in proportion to the severity of the offense.
Having left his pampered life behind to set things right, Clyde joins his new friends traveling into the razed city of Geyser, into the labyrinthine world beneath, and to the palace beyond. Along the way, the group deals with an unrelenting maniac pursuer, a corrupt king, a band of pirates, a small army of guardsmen, and just a few million dog-sized bugs—all while hopefully managing to avoid jinxing their own members.
Yeah, no problem.
                               

Andy Marino - Uncrashable Dakota - Published by Henry Holt and Co. (November 12, 2013) - Age 12+ - 320 Pages

In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.

Now, in Andy Marino's Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel’s final secret wasn’t just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .

What sinister betrayals and strange discoveries await Hollis and his friends in the gilded corridors and opulent staterooms? Who can be trusted to keep the most magnificent airship the world has ever known from falling out of the sky?
    

Robert Paul Weston - The Creature Department - Published by Razorbill (November 5, 2013) - Age 8+ - Pages 352

It’s a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there. . . .
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory.

Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there's a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.

Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.

They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.

But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.
                               

Tim Lebbon - Contagion (Toxic City) - Published by Pyr (November 5, 2013) - Age 12+ - 210 Pages

Jack and his friends are in a race against time to save the remaining inhabitants of a postapocalyptic London from a nuclear bomb.
 
Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the rest of the world, protected by a large force of soldiers (known as Choppers) while the rest of Britain believe that their ex-capital is a toxic, uninhabited wasteland. But that's not true. Jack and his friends know that the truth is very different--and incredible: the few remaining survivors in London are changing; developing strange, fantastic powers; evolving. And the Chopper force guarding London is treating the ruined city as its own experimental ground.

Now, Jack's powers are growing. His friend Lucy-Anne's powers are developing too, and Nomad--that mysterious woman who started it all--is close by. But the Choppers have initiated their final safeguard--a huge nuclear bomb that will wipe out London, and everyone still within its boundaries. Jack and his friends must spread the news of the bomb and save everyone they can. Before that can happen, Jack must face his father, the deadly Reaper, in their fin

Sunday, 13 October 2013

MR RIPLEY'S BOOK COVER WARS 5 - HEAT ONE 2013/14 + ANGIE SAGE SIGNED BOOK COMPETITION

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars are back again for the fifth year - it is that time again where we are looking for a further worthy winner. If you are returning to the site for another exciting year or are new to this competition, then I send you a very warm welcome. It is a delight to have your company in the book cover war zone. Don't forget to share this exciting adventure with your friends and followers - everyone is welcome.

For any follower of this site then this is the chance for you to become part of the weekly book cover wars. Each week, for the next 4 weeks, I am going to select five book covers for you to vote for. NEW RULES - the five book covers who get the most votes over the four weeks will go head-to-head in the final. You may not win the heat, but you could still get to the final of 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars 2013/14'. 


As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a different special book each week. Therefore, in order to kick off the competition this week, we have an amazing collectable book which is a signed, hardback copy of Angie Sage - Fyre. This is a great read and a fantastic book for you to win.

If you are interested then all you need to do is:

  • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll ( click any of the links  VOTE HERE and vote for your favourite book.
  • Leave a comment through this post
  • Sit back, watch the voting develop and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). Please note that this competition is open Worldwide. Heat one ends midnight (UK TIME) 21st October 2013. 
So here are the five book covers to vote for this week:



Book One - Niel Bushnell - Timesmith ( The Timesmith Chronicles) - Published by Andersen - March 2014 -  Designed by James Fraser, art editor Kate Grove. VOTE HERE

                             
Book Two -  Andrew Beasley - The Battles of Ben Kingdom: The Feast of Ravens - Published by Usborne Publishing - September 2013 - Illustrated by David Wyatt , Design by Hannah Copley. VOTE HERE


Book Three - Patrick Carman - (Pulse) Tremor - Published by Katherine Tegen Books - 25 February 2014 -  Book cover designers - Joel Tippie and Amy Ryan. VOTE HERE



                        

Book Four -  Dawn Finch - Brotherhood of Shades - Published by HarperCollins - 26 September 2013 - Designed by Liam Relph. VOTE HERE
                         
Book Five - Ian Johnstone - The Bell Between the Worlds ( The Mirror Chronicles) - Published by HarperCollins - 6 June 2013 - Designed by Blacksheep UK. VOTE HERE

Let the voting commence on this years Book Cover Wars 2013/14. Please leave your comments on the post to win that signed book.  Also  if your really nice give us an RT or mention use #bookcoverwars or share on Facebook. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Press Release: Steve Cole to Write Young Bond Series for Random House Children



This morning it has been announced that Steve Cole has been selected by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, to write four books in the Young Bond series. These books will pick up the story of the young James Bond where Charlie Higson's By Royal Command left off....

A thrilling privilege and an exciting challenge.’ Steve Cole to take on Young Bond.
Random House Children’s Publishers will publish a new wave of authorized
Young Bond titles.
  

Random House Children’s Publishers (RHCP) are delighted to announce that Steve Cole has been selected by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., the Fleming family-owned company, as the author of a new Young Bond series.

RHCP have acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in four titles from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown on behalf of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. and Curtis Brown will represent all foreign rights.

The author to accept this exciting mission is DOCTOR WHO and ASTROSAURS author, Steve Cole, has sold over three million copies of his RHCP books in the UK.

These new titles will pick up where Charlie Higson – the writer of the previous wave of Young Bond titles – left off and will follow teenage James in the aftermath of his expulsion from Eton. This time in Bond’s life has never been explored before and readers can expect all the thrills, action, glamour and tension that are the essential ingredients of a classic Bond adventure.
Cole’s first Young Bond novel will launch with a dynamic marketing and publicity campaign in Autumn 2014. It will be published in hardback on RHCP’s highly respected Jonathan Cape children’s imprint.  

Steve Cole says: ‘I first encountered Bond in print as a teenager, when I read From a View to a Kill. Fleming´s writing was so vivid and authentic, Bond and the world he inhabited seemed suddenly real to me – and the danger and glamour led me through book after book. It´s both a thrilling privilege and an exciting challenge now to be shaping a new era in the life of such an iconic character – with many firsts and surprises to come as James´s life in the dangerous 1930s develops.’

Philippa Dickinson, Managing Director of RHCP says, ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Ian Fleming Publications to publish a new quartet of Young Bond adventures. The period when James Bond would have been a teenager was an extraordinary time – a perfect setting for thrilling storytelling for young adults.  Steve Cole is an exceptional storyteller with a wonderful ability to connect with his readers.  A winning combination.’

Corinne Turner, Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., says, ‘Steve Cole is an imaginative and engaging author whose plots are addictive and gripping, so we were thrilled when he agreed to steer Young Bond through his mid-teen years. As publishers of Ian Fleming’s original Bond books and William Boyd’s new Bond continuation novel, SOLO, Random House are the perfect partner to work with us in bringing the next generation of Young Bond books to life. On behalf of Ian Fleming Publications and the Fleming family, I’d like to welcome Steve Cole to the exciting world of 007 – we can’t wait to see what scrapes James gets into next.’

Sunday, 6 October 2013

New Children's/Teens Books Published in November 2013 - UK Post

                        

Marie Lu - Champion (Legend Novel) - Published by Penguin (5 Nov 2013)
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic - and each other - and now their country is on the brink of a new peaceful existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government's elite circles while Day has been assigned a high level military position.
But when a plague outbreak, deadlier than any other, causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic's border cities, the two are thrown back together. June is the only one who knows the key to her country's defence. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.
With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu's bestselling trilogy, a brilliant re-imaginging of Les Miserables, draws to a stunning conclusion.
                          

Sally Gardner & David Roberts - Tinder - Published by Indigo (7 Nov 2013)
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?
Fairy tales are often the cruellest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.
                        

Jessica Khoury - Origin - Published by Razorbill (7 Nov 2013)
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest. She was raised by a team of scientist who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds the compound andsneaks out. Free in the jungle, she meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin, a truth that will have deadly consequences.
                           

Marcus and Julian Sedgwick - Dark Satanic Mills - Published by Walker (7 Nov 2013)
Set in a near-future Britain, Dark Satanic Mills tracks a young girl's journey from the flooded landmarks of London to the vast, scorched and abandoned hills of the north. Framed for a murder she did not commit, the innocent and beautiful Christie has no other choice but to run for her life. Both a cautionary tale and a rip-roaring road trip, Dark Satanic Mills is altogether an intelligent, captivating and thrilling ride – The Wizard of Oz for a new generation, told in exhilarating shades of light and dark.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Book Review: Sandra Greaves - The Skull in the Wood

                           

This book looked really good when it arrived through the post - it  definitely looked and sounded like my kind of read. As always with books published by Chicken House, it had a reputation to live up to, so I was really pleased to get stuck into this story and to find out more.

Sandra is a prize-winning poet who has now turned her hand to writing books for children. Her first outing is aimed at the 9+ audience which is suitable and appealing to both boys and girls. It really is an impressive start - she is definitely an author that has serious potential. 

The creepy plot is based around the atmospheric backdrop of Dartmoor; desolate, bleak and wild but yet also beautiful. The story ambles along at a steady pace. Mysteriously you become drawn into the storyteller's power - a superb blend of dark imagination that will have you running away in delicious fright. You will never see a spooky wood in the same light once you have experienced Old Scratch Woods. 

As the mist rolls in off the moor, dark things start to happen when a buried skull is found by Tilda and Matt. These two quarrelling cousins soon find themselves cursed by the gabblerachet - a fantastic name but a deadly nightmare. Dreadful things start to happen as the curse thrives on the bad blood between Tilda and Matt. As it feeds off their emotions, black things start to happen such as animals turning bad, dogs turning wild and other unimaginable events. The only way to break the curse is to work together, but will it be enough.... or will the curse end up taking them all?

This is an original ghost story that is both imaginative and enjoyable, which is  a refreshing change. It is a down-to-earth, old-fashioned tale set in a real place but in modern day life. It is a tale of a family full of complications and unpredictabilities that we all can relate to. The flesh and bones of life and emotional turmoil e.g. sadness, happiness, anger and joy. Everything that makes us human is sophisticatedly portrayed in this book.  Psychologically, this page turner will stay with you for a while. It is a book that you will be glad to have read. 

Move over you badly behaved chickens as there is a new voice in town to recommend. This book had now been published in clucking paperback glory and can be found in a hen house near you. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Andy Serkis (The Lord Of The Rings - Brand New Q&A about The Bone Season By Samantha Shannon

                   
                   

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books is really pleased to share the Q&A with Andy Serkis (The Lord of The Rings) on his acquisition and development of Samantha Shannon's internationally bestselling debut novel, THE BONE SEASON, which was published by Bloomsbury in August.

Serkis, whose Imaginarium Studios are currently in the process of adapting the book for the big screen, talks specifically about THE BONE SEASON - the first novel in this phenomenal new seven part fantasy series, which flung 22 year-old author Samantha Shannon into the spotlight when she was hailed as 'the next J K Rowling' by the international press.

'We all immediately saw its potential as a fantastic feature film,' Serkis told us of THE BONE SEASON. 'She’s very warm and a passionate storyteller - dedicated beyond belief. We’re working very closely with her on all aspects of bringing the world of the book to the screen. We’ve been involving her with all the early concept artwork that we’re beginning to put together. Obviously it’s her world so we want to make sure we bring it to life in the way that she wants.'

Serkis also talks about other upcoming projects, how working with Peter Jackson has influenced his career, and of course, about Gollum and The Hobbit

ANDY SERKIS Q&A
1. What is it about The Bone Season that compelled you to include it in The Imaginarium Studio's very first slate of films?

We first came across the manuscript at the London Book Fair and immediately fell in love with the scope, the scale and the exceptional detail of the world Samantha had created. It’s a really compelling story with such a great central character – we all immediately saw its potential as a fantastic feature film.

2. Have you met Samantha Shannon and how involved will she be in the film's production?

Yes of course – she’s a delightful, incredibly intelligent person. She’s very warm and a passionate storyteller- dedicated beyond belief. We’re working very closely with her on all aspects of bringing the world of the book to the screen. We’ve been involving her with all the early concept artwork that we’re beginning to put together. Obviously it’s her world so we want to make sure we bring it to life in the way that she wants.

3. Can you tell us about how the creative process for adapting a story like The Bone Season begins?

It begins with knowing the story you want to tell. There are thousands of stories contained within the world that Samantha has created- we have to be very disciplined about opening up the world in a way that will lead us on to further investigation in the rest of the series. We need to find the emotional heart of the story; the relationships; the tension; the suspense and the drive, and of course working closely with Samantha is going to make it much easier.
At this very early stage it’s about finding the right writer and the right approach to telling the story. Hand in hand with developing the screenplay it’s also about developing the visual world and bringing that to life, finding the right visual effects team who understand Samantha’s concepts.

4. You have been part of bringing some of the world's most famous and well-loved fantasy worlds to contemporary audiences. Which of your experiences across film, tv, stage and video games would you say has been most helpful in preparing you to produce The Bone Season?

It would be impossible to single out any one single experience, it’s an accumulation of all my experiences to date, but obviously having worked on The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien’s extraordinary world with Peter Jackson is incredibly useful. Peter basically gave me the opportunity to work on a lot of extraordinary characters in a lot of extraordinary worlds and has opened up my eyes to a genre that I knew very little about before.

5. Will performance capture will come mostly into play when portraying Shannon's Rephaim race on screen in The Bone Season? Can you give us any insight into how you'd like these characters to appear?

We’re in very early stages of designing how we want to portray these characters, and are exploring a variety of avenues to bring these characters to life. We’re certainly not tied to any one production technique at this early stage.

6. Animal Farm is the other film on your inaugural slate. What can you tell us about this project?

We’re extraordinarily excited about Animal Farm. We have been working on the methodology this year, the development of the characters and the story. We’re working with a wonderful character designer and very pleased with how the animals are developing as visual characters.
In terms of story, we’re remaining very truthful to the original book however we are relocating the setting as if Orwell were writing in the present day - we’ve been working very closely with the Orwell estate on this.

7. You're talents are very varied! If you could only do one thing for the rest of your career, which would you choose (stage/tv/film/video game roles, voice roles, director or producer)?

Mountain Climber.
                    


Even a dreamer can start a revolution.....
The year is 2059 and nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, employed to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige has an unusual gift, she is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and in her world she commits treason simply by breathing. But outside the repressive boundaries of Scion, a powerful, otherworldly race waits in the shadows. The Season has come and Paige’s life is about to change for ever.