Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Neil Gaiman - The Graveyard Book - Graphic Novel Volume One - Adaptation By P. Craig Russell


In the UK, Bloomsbury is due to release the first volume in a graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book which is both a Carnegie and Newbery medal-winning novel. In fact this is the only novel to have won both prestigious awards. The book will be published on July 31st with Volume 2 due to hopefully follow at some point in September.

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 1 is adapted by P. Craig Russell, who has over forty years of experience producing graphic novels, comic books and illustrations. However there are also a number of star performers involved in illustrating each chapter such as: Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott. All contribute to the chapters in their key signature styles. Volume 1 will cover Chapter One through to the Interlude whilst Volume 2 will cover Chapter Six to the very end.

The story follows Nobody "Bod" Owens, a normal boy who lives in a graveyard, and is being raised by the graveyard’s ghosts and an otherworldly guardian.  There are adventures to be had in the graveyard, but Bod must not leave it, or he will have to face the man Jack, who killed Bod’s family.

So it was that Bod was taken in by the graveyard folk – the ghosts of those long since passed – and raised as one of their own. With centuries of knowledge between them, Bod’s education is eclectic if somewhat arcane, but it will stand him in good stead for what his fiercely inquisitive nature will lead him to encounter both inside the graveyard and when he strays oh so dangerously out. Fortunately he has a quiet yet determined guardian in Silas, the very tall man with the very pale skin and the very dark hair. Silas is no ghost as you have probably gathered; nor is he still amongst the living.

The Graveyard retains the adventure and mystery, but now it's picture perfect through a world of illustrations and images. The realism and imagery that Russell brings to the table sharpens the characters and intensifies the gruesome elements of the tale. The story is fully brought to life; the surreal and the sublime are delivered fully. It delivers a classic masterpiece to a new audience of readers and will have to be noted as one of my favourite Graphic Novels for some time. 

I really loved the idea of having six artists all working together on one novel. They all bring their own style and character to the pages through a display of immense technical skill. The use of colour brings an ambience to the story which conveys the mood of each chapter to the reader. It's a theatre of mix media that everyone should appreciate. I'm really pleased to see a favourite story of mine get this treatment and be converted into a graphic format. 

A hand moved in the darkness holding a knife of graphic colour to raise the imagination. The lurking horror that you encounter will grab you by the throat and lead you through the story like no other. It will certainly leave you wanting Vol 2 to arrive very soon. 

This is an enjoyable visual delight that has a fantastic story at heart....

Monday, 28 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's and Teen Books Picks - August 2014


Glen Huser - The Elevator Ghost - Published by 
Groundwood Books 
(Canada) - (12 Aug 2014) - Small Press Pick 
When Carolina Giddle moves into the Blatchford Arms, no one knows what to make of her sequin-sprinkled sneakers and her trinket-crusted car. But the parents are happy there’s a new babysitter around, and Carolina seems to have an uncanny ability to calm the most rambunctious child with her ghostly stories.
Armed with unusual snacks (bone-shaped peppermints, granghoula bars and Rumpelstiltskin sandwiches), candles to set the mood, and her trusty sidekick — a tarantula named Chiquita, Carolina entertains the children with some good old-fashioned storytelling and, at the end, a great Halloween party.
Governor General’s Award winner Glen Huser brings his quirky sense of humor and horror to some time-honored motifs. The artistic Lubinitsky girls find out that artists must be wary of the power of their own creations. Holy terror Angelo Bellini discovers that no one can throw a tantrum like a double-crossed pirate. The Hooper kids, including UFO junkie Benjamin, learn about some eerie goings-on in the New Mexico desert. Timid Hubert and Hetty Croop are practically afraid of their own shadows, until they hear the story of a boy who finds the perfect weapon for overcoming his fear of the dark. And Dwight and Dwayne Fergus, two would-be Freddy Kruegers, finally meet their match in Carolina, and her story of the footless skeleton.
As for Carolina Giddle herself, it turns out that she has a timeworn connection to the Blatchford Arms, and to the ghost who still haunts the building — especially its old-fashioned elevator.

Julia Lee - The Dangerous Discoveries of Gully Potchard - Published by OUP Oxford ( 7 Aug 2014)
An improbable hero, a spine-tingling adventure, and a surprising twist of fate.. 
Gully Potchard never meant to cause any trouble. He's just an ordinary sort of boy . . . at least that what he thinks. But when an old acquaintance comes knocking, it isn't long before Gully is tangled up in a mess of mischief and skulduggery. Cats and dogs go astray, a child is kidnapped, and ransom notes are delivered to the wrong people! But as a storm rages and a fire blazes, Gully discovers that he has an extraordinary skill that might just make him an unlikely hero after all . . .


Lucy Inglis - City of Halves - Published by Chicken House - (7 Aug 2014)
London. Girls are disappearing. They've all got one thing in common; they just don't know it yet. Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she's saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.



Edward Carey - Foulsham (Iremonger Trilogy) - Published by Hot Key Books (7 Aug 2014)
Foulsham, London's great filth repository, is bursting at the seams. The walls that keep the muck in are buckling, rubbish is spilling over the top, back into the city that it came from. In the Iremonger family offices, Grandfather Umbitt Iremonger broods: in his misery and fury at the people of London, he has found a way of making everyday objects assume human shape, and turning real people into objects. Abandoned in the depths of the Heaps, Lucy Pennant has been rescued by a terrifying creature, Binadit Iremonger - more animal than human. She is desperate and determined to find Clod. But unbeknownst to her, Clod has become a golden sovereign and is 'lost'. He is being passed as currency from hand to hand all around Foulsham, and yet everywhere people are searching for him, desperate to get hold of this dangerous Iremonger, who, it is believed, has the power to bring the mighty Umbitt down. But all around the city, things, everyday things, are twitching into life...

Friday, 25 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books Preview: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare Announce (The Iron Trial) Magisterium Series - First Look


Book One of the Magisterium Series: The Iron Trial. 
Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.
So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.
Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

CAN YOU SAY A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE MAGISTERIUM SERIES?


Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has grown up knowing three rules by heart.
Never trust a magician. Never pass a test a magician gives you. And never let a magician take you to the Magisterium.
Call is about to break all the rules. And when he does, his life will change in ways he can’t possibly imagine.
The Iron Trial is the first book in an epic fantasy series that I’m cowriting with Holly Black.  The Iron Trial, will be released in September 2014 by Scholastic/Doubleday Children's  Books. Four books will follow, one for year of Call’s life from twelve to seventeen, as he comes of age in a world where child apprentices train to be warriors and dark magicians seek to defeat even death. There’s not much else I can say about the books yet, as I’m sworn to secrecy, but I’ve always wanted to write with Holly, and I can definitely say the collaboration has produced characters I love and a story I hope you’ll find as funny, dark, adventurous and unexpected as I do.



PROLOGUE....
From a distance, the man struggling up the white face of the glacier might have looked like an ant crawl- ing slowly up the side of a dinner plate. The shantytown of La Rinconada was a collection of scattered specks far below him, the wind increasing as his elevation did, blowing powdery gusts of snow into his face and freezing the damp tendrils of his black hair. Despite his amber goggles, he winced at the brightness of the reflected sunset.

Still, the man was not afraid of falling, although he was using no ropes or belay lines, only crampons and a single ice axe. His name was Alastair Hunt and he was a mage. He shaped and molded the frozen substance of the glacier under his hands as he climbed. Handholds and footholds appeared as he inched his way upward. By the time he reached the cave, midway up the glacier, he was half frozen and fully exhausted from bending his will to tame the worst of the elements. It sapped his energy to exert his magic so continuously, but he hadn’t dared slow down.

The cave itself opened like a mouth in the side of the moun- tain, impossible to see from above or below. He pulled himself over its edge and took a deep, jagged breath, cursing himself for not getting there sooner, for allowing himself to be tricked. In La Rinconada, the people had seen the explosion and whispered under their breaths about what it meant, the fire inside the ice.

Fire inside the ice. It had to be a distress signal . . . or an attack. The cave was full of mages too old to fight or too young, the injured and the sick, mothers of very young children who could not be left — like Alastair’s own wife and son. They had been hidden away here, in one of the most remote places on the earth.

Master Rufus had insisted that otherwise they would be vulnerable, hostages to fortune, and Alastair had trusted him. Then, when the Enemy of Death hadn’t shown up on the field to face the mages’ champion, the Makar girl upon whom they’d pinned all their hopes, Alastair had realized his mistake. He’d gotten to La Rinconada as fast as he could, flying most of his way on the back of an air elemental. From there, he’d made his way on foot, since the Enemy’s control of elementals was unpredictable and strong. The higher he’d climbed, the more frightened he’d become. Let them be all right, he thought to himself as he stepped inside the cave. Please let them be all right.

There should have been the sound of children wailing. There should have been the low buzz of nervous conversation and the hum of subdued magic. Instead, there was only the howl of the wind as it swept over the desolate peak of the mountain. The cave walls were white ice, pocked with red and brown where blood had splattered and melted in patches. Alastair pulled off his goggles and dropped them on the ground, pushing farther into the pas- sage, drawing on the dregs of his power to steady himself.

The walls of the cave gave off an eerie phosphorescent glow. Away from the entrance, it was the only light he had to see by, which probably explained why he stumbled over the first body and nearly fell to his knees. Alastair jerked away with a yell, then winced as he heard his own shout echo back to him. The fallen mage was burned beyond recognition, but she wore the leather wristband with the large hammered piece of copper that marked her as a second-year Magisterium student. She couldn’t have been older than thirteen.



Monday, 21 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Top Children's and Teen Series Picks - August 2014 - UK Published


Derek Landy - Skulduggery Pleasant #9: The Dying of the Light - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (28 Aug 2014) 
The FINAL shocking, heart-wrenching book in the jaw-droppingly stupendous Skulduggery Pleasant series.
Valkerie. Darquesse. Stephanie. The world ain’t big enough for the three of them. The end will come…
The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties. Following the loss of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder.
And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals… and Valkyrie’s own murderous reflection.
The war may be over, but the final battle is about to begin. And not everyone gets out of here alive…


Mark Walden - Earthfall: Retribution - Published by Bloomsbury Children's (14 Aug 2014)
It's been several months since the events of Earthfall, yet Sam's attempts to rouse the enslaved people of London from their trance-like state have frustratingly failed. Worse still, the enormous Voidborn drilling device which Sam and his friends disabled in London was one of hundreds scattered across the planet, all nearing the final stages of construction.
Joining up with another resistance group, they plot to disable a drilling machine in Tokyo and in the process implant viral commands that will cause a catastrophic failure of the entire network. Just as that mission appears to have been successful, Sam and the others are double-crossed by the resistance leader.
Earthfall: Retribution will take the series on to a global stage, as the true scale of the conflict being played out on Earth is revealed.


Rick Riordan - Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods - Published by Puffin (7 Aug 2014)
"If you like horror shows, bloodbaths, lying, stealing, backstabbing and cannibalism, then read on..."

Who could tell the true stories of the gods and goddesses of Olympus better than modern-day demigod Percy Jackson?

In this action-packed tour of Greek mythology, Percy gives his hilarious personal views on the feuds, fights and love affairs of the Olympians. Want to know how Zeus came to be top god? How many times Kronos ate one of his own kids? How Athena literally burst out of another god's head?
It's all here in black and white...

Pittacus Lore - I Am Number Four: Book Five - Published By HarperCollins (26 Aug 2014)
The Revenge of Seven is the heart stopping fifth installment in the Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore.
The worst was supposed to be over. We were reunited after a decade apart. We were discovering the truth about our past. We were training and getting stronger every day. We were even happy. . . .
We never imagined the Mogadorians could turn one of our own against us. We were fools for trusting Five. And now Eight is lost forever. I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible. Instead, I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.
I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me. But that stops now. We're going to take the battle to them. We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses. And I finally have the power to fight back.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Niel Bushnell - Timesmith (The Timesmith Chronicles) - Andersen


MR RIPLEY'S BOOK REVIEW.....
We have moved on from Sorrowline, which is the first book in the exciting series of The Timesmith Chronicles, to the second book called Timesmith by Niel. Jack is now thirteen years old and his adventures have only just begun. He has the ability to travel into the past through Sorrowlines which are the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person's death.  Jack needs to travel back again to 1940s London to find his friends and to prevent the evil Rouland from rising from the dead, as the Paladin search for the fabled lost sword, known as Durendal, so it can be used to resurrect the Paladin Master. 

This story takes you on a bone crushing adventure; a race for time with a quest to get to the sword first. It is a fight to save the world, as well as Jack's family, as he is hunted by the undead knights of The Paladin. We are whisked through the plot by the characters as they travel to and from different fantasy worlds. The story is very well written - it has just the right amount of detail without going over the top and letting the imagination run wild. More importantly, it never talks down to or patronises the reader.

I love the carefree flow of the storyline. In my opinion, this is an easy to read, and easy to follow, book which would be a great read for both young and reluctant readers.  Reading this book, it is easy to recognise how the author has really enjoyed writing about and introducing the colourful characters and the time travelling theme. The characters can just about do anything so you never know what's going to happen as the adventure unfolds. There are some amazing cinematic battles, some spilt blood, a sprinkling of death and a sting in the tale. However I'm not going to say anymore about this as I want to keep my review spoiler free.

I  thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I think that the author has really added to and developed the story from where the first book left off. Although, I would have perhaps loved to have seen more of the 1940s London being infused into the super plot line. Nevertheless, I loved the mysterious side of the Grimnire, always standing in the shadows and casting a dark atmosphere to the story - it felt very Pratchett-esq. I look forward to reading more about them in the next book.

The ending of this book was much better than the first story; it delivered a cracking finale for the next installment. This series is growing from strength to strength  and one that I would definitely recommend anyone and everyone to read who loves a good magical fantasy story.

SMALL EXTRACT - THE SCREAM
The man buried in the cold earth screamed a motionless
scream.
He had long since given up trying to move; his body
was rotten and useless. Every message his angry brain
threw out went ignored by his wasted, pathetic frame.
Yet he felt everything.
Worms moved through him, wriggling, feeding,
persistently tearing at his human remains. Moisture
formed about his darkened flesh, seeping in with needles
of ice-cold indifference that cracked his calcified bones.
And the sword; even after all this time he felt the mocking
metal of the sword impaling his inert heart. In the
age since his demise the pain had not diminished.
Unimaginable, never-ending pain.
Nothing worked any more. Only his soul, his very
essence, prevailed somewhere deep within. He felt the
passing of time like the slow, maddening drip, drip, drip of
a frozen waterfall. Seconds laughed at him for decades.
Decades scorned him for an eternity. He was buried in time.

And yet Rouland endured it all.
One burning thought kept him going. It was a thought
about a boy, a boy who had beaten him. Rouland was
immortal, unstoppable. He had never been beaten before.
The boy’s face came into his mind and a new wave of
hatred consumed him.
Jack Morrow.
He had bested Rouland. He had plunged a sword
through the centre of his heart and suspended his eternal
existence. He had buried him in this patch of earth and
left him to rot, to die like a mortal man.
But Rouland was not mortal, and his rage sustained
him through the lonely, dark years. He waited, and plotted
and schemed. He knew his day would come. His followers
would find him and restore him and he would have his
revenge on Jack Morrow.
Rouland pictured his victory, and he forgot about the
pain. He was satisfied. Then as the notion subsided
the hurt returned, stronger than ever. Inside the prison
of his mind, hate condensed into pools of agony and
Rouland’s soul screamed . . .
Captain Alda de Vienne screamed.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

MR RIPLEY'S ENCHANTED BOOKS - DARREN SHAN OF HORROR BOOK COVER WARS 2014 + BOOK COMPETITION

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books has decided to do a one off Book Cover Wars featuring some of Darren Shan's amazing book images. I have tried to pick a varied selection for you to consider. This is your chance to vote for your favourite BOOK COVER from the five that I have chosen. 

It's very easy to vote by clicking the links that you'll find at the end of this post. You have one month to vote as the Book Cover Wars will end on the 16th AUGUST 2014. Feel free to tell your friends and other like minded people about this post. 

As an incentive, I will give one lucky person who votes and leaves a comment on the post a Darren Shan book of my choice. This is open worldwide - I will choose one lucky winner at random. Enjoy and get voting.....


BOOK ONE: ZOM-B BABY - UK PAPERBACK COVER - PUBLISHED BY Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (27 Mar 2014) - VOTE HERE


BOOK TWO: ZOM-B ANGELS - TAIWAN BOOK COVER - PUBLISHED BY Crown Publishing Limited - ( 16 June 2014) - VOTE HERE



BOOK THREE: THE THIN EXECUTIONER - US HARDBACK  BOOK COVER - PUBLISHED BY Little, Brown Books (1 August 2010) - VOTE HERE



BOOK FOUR: WOLF ISLAND - UK PAPERBACK - PUBLISHED 
BY HarperCollins Children's Books (27 March 2014) - VOTE HERE



BOOK FIVE: BIRTH OF A KILLER - UK HARDBACK - PUBLISHED BY  HarperCollins Children's Books - ( 30 September 2010) - VOTE HERE



Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Mr Ripley's New Children's/Teen Book Picks - August 2014 - US Post One




Kazu Kibuishi - Amulet #6 - Escape from Lucien - Published by Graphix (26 Aug 2014)
Kazu Kibuishi's #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling series continues!
Navin and his classmates journey to Lucien, a city ravaged by war and plagued by mysterious creatures, where they search for a beacon essential to their fight against the Elf King. Meanwhile, Emily heads back into the Void with Max, one of the Elf King's loyal followers, where she learns his darkest secrets. The stakes, for both Emily and Navin, are higher than ever.





James Dashner - The Rule of Thoughts - Published by Delacorte Press (26 Aug 2014)
Michael completed the Path.What he found at the end turned everything he’d ever known about his life—and the world—completely upside down. He barely survived. But it was the only way VirtNet Security knew to find the cyber-terrorist Kaine—and to make the Sleep safe for gamers once again. And, the truth Michael discovered about Kaine is more complex than they anticipated, and more terrifying than even the worst of their fears. Kaine is a tangent, a computer program that has become sentient. And Michael’s completing the Path was the first stage in turning Kaine’s master plan, the Mortality Doctrine, into a reality. The Mortality Doctrine will populate Earth entirely with human bodies harboring tangent minds. Any gamer who sinks into the VirtNet risks coming out with a tangent intelligence in control of their body. And the takeover has already begun.




Madeleine Roux - Sanctum: An Asylum Novel - Published by HarperCollins (26 Aug 2014)
Haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel ASYLUM.
Perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Featuring real found photographs from vintage carnivals, SANCTUM is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan were traumatised by the summer they shared at New Hampshire College, the former site of the Brookline asylum. They want to move on, but someone is determined to keep the terror alive by sending them anonymous photos of an old-time carnival.
Forsaking plans to never to go back, the teens return during a weekend for prospective students, and realise that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus…
As Dan and his friends visit abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town, they realise that Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than they ever imagined.


Stephanie Diaz - Extraction - Published by St Martin's Griffin (1 Aug 2014)
Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her 16th birthday when she'll be tested for Extraction, in the hopes of being sent from Kiel's toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be "extracted," she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life. What she finds initially at the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface-it's free of hard labour, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid-but life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers-and that means Logan, too. Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet's leaders don't want her running - they want her subdued.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Tim Hall - Shadow of the Wolf - David Fickling


Robin Hood has been reinvented like you've never imagined before in this thrilling debut by Tim Hall. There are no Merry Men, no maidens in distress and no stealing from the rich to give to the poor. This story is loaded with mystery, suspense and a large helping of fantastic atmospheric action. The plot will have you turning the pages in a whirlwind.  This is a savage telling about Robin of Loxley, who was left in the woods by his father at the age of seven years old, but when he returns to the village his family have disappeared without explanation. From this point on, Robin leaves the village to make his own way in life. He receives no help from anyone except nature and the wild lands of the Winter Forest.

This is a mouthwatering adventure that has been chosen as a launch title for the newly independent David Fickling Books. It's deliciously dark, twisted and very gritty. Robin soon sets out to find Marion Delbosque, his only friend, who was taken under mysterious circumstances. The rage boils inside him, as he sets out to find his only friend. Robin's character goes through many changes in this story, without giving too much away, it is a really fascinating read. Never mind the dark and nasty events that occur on the way to make your blood boil.

The surreal setting and elements of the plot feel like you are watching part of the story unfold inside a swirling mist - it really feeds your imagination. At times, I got a little lost from the complexity of it at times, but nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.

Nothing stirs without his notice - the vixen in the undergrowth, the woodcock in the bracken, every disturbance tells him a story.  Robin finds himself roaming around the Winter Forest amongst strange, powerful Gods and a host of dangerous monsters. The epic battles and skirmishes make the story sing with dark intensity that I really gulped up with gusto. This book is an epic adventure that you can't put down; it is a fast paced action with arrows whispering through the trees with magical intensity that never miss their target. Many a swinging axe, sword on flesh and spilled blood keep the reader gripped by revenge, death and survival.

This is perfect pitch book for the hungry teenager. The fantastic book cover image from Richard Collingridge will draw any reader into picking up this book and giving it a chance; it certainly won't let you down. Forget everything that you've ever heard about Robin Hood as the truth is a lot darker than you could ever imagine. Be prepared to witness a new series that has a new spin and a sting in its tale! This is a cracking read from Tim Hall - David Fickling fans of my blog should truly love this book. Grab yourself a copy now.... I'm looking forward to hearing your comments.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Picks:Teen/Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy - August 2014


John Hornor Jacobs - The Incorruptibles - Published by Gollancz (14 Aug 2014)
In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way up stream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it - from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. 

The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.
In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire. When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together.

For Fisk and Shoe - two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other - their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky.
And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.


Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent - Fiefdom: A Kingdom Novel - Published by Abaddon Books (14 Aug 2014)

New York Times best selling author Dan Abnett is to write an original novel set in the world of his hit 2000 AD comics series Kingdom. Co-written with Nik Vincent, Fiefdom is set one hundred years after the events of Kingdom, in which a geneticallyengineered dog-soldiers fought giant marauding insects in a post-apocalyptic future. Kingdom took us to the isolated wastelands of the southern hemisphere, where Gene the Hackman and his fellow Aux listen to the voices of The Masters as humanity hibernates, awaiting the destruction of the alien Them. In Fiefdom the action moves into the northern hemisphere, where Them are now a folk memory and the Aux war with one another in the ruins of what was once Berlin. Inspired by the legends of Gene, young Evelyn War begins to question the Aux's situation as she hears the first rumours about the return of Them...


Edgar Cantero - The Supernatural Enhancements - Published by Del Rey (14 Aug 2014)
Everybody loves a ghost story.
The heir to Axton House and his companion are delighted to find themselves living in one.
With it come nightmares, a secret society and a curse.
A ghost may soon be the least of their worries.

Part ghost story, part cerebral mystery, this is a dazzling and wholly original supernatural adventure.


Carrie Patel - The Buried Life - Published by Angry Robot (7 Aug 2014)

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation - Recoletta's top-secret historical research facility. When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs -

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Preview: Lucy Inglis - City of Halves - Chicken House


Lucy Inglis - City of Halves - Published by Chicken House;  (7 Aug 2014)

London. Girls are disappearing. They've all got one thing in common; they just don't know it yet. Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she's saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.


Book Preview.

Okay, so what have we got?’ Lily’s dad paced the kitchen in
his shirt and tie, running his fingers through his fading blond
hair.
Lily put her chin in her hand and stared at her laptop. ‘I told
you, Dad. Not enough. The guy who sold her the papers is a
visa-passport-whatever faker. Facial recognition on the CCTV
has had him in the City a few times recently, but he doesn’t stay
anywhere long enough to get caught. And without him, we’re
not going to get any further.’ 
Her father rubbed his face, then folded his arms. ‘What’s he
doing in the City?’
She shrugged. ‘Pubs, mainly. Probably meeting clients.
Although there are a couple of places he goes that I can’t figure
out. Most likely dead drops, just leaving the papers for people
to come and collect. One derelict alley in Bow Lane in
 particular.’

Her father picked up his briefcase, a long black court gown
and the box containing his barrister’s wig. ‘We’ve only got a few
more days on this one. Till next week at the latest. If we can’t
find him, they’ll deport her.’
‘I know. But he’s left no online trail, and officially he doesn’t
exist. He accesses his email from random coffee shops. I’ll keep
trying, but . . .’ She shrugged and took a sip of tea from a large
white mug.
He rubbed her curly head as he passed. ‘Good girl. Wish me
luck.’
She grinned. ‘You don’t need luck. You’ll ace it.’
‘Thanks to my star researcher.’ He winked.
‘For a big corporation with so much to hide, they were
sloppy. That firewall wouldn’t have kept out the cold, let alone
anyone who actually wanted to get into their system.’ She
smiled. ‘Besides, it was you who taught me how to find fraudulent transactions.’
Her father paused suddenly, looking at her.
‘What?’ she said. 
He hesitated before replying. ‘Nothing.’ He blinked. ‘You
looked so like your mother then, I . . . it just caught me up
short, that’s all.’

Lily glanced towards the photographs on the table against
the sitting-room wall. The most recent had been taken in
Temple Gardens on her sixteenth birthday, the vivid autumn
leaves behind her picked up by the colours in her hair. She was
a smaller, sharper version of the mother she had never met, but
they shared the same soft ringlets in a shiny mixture of gold and
bronze. They also shared pale skin and large green eyes framed
by dark lashes and eyebrows. 

Lily’s father turned for the door. ‘There’s money on the table
if you need anything. Why don’t you go and meet your friends?’
‘Thanks. I think Sam’s busy. Her cousins are over from
Canada or something.’ 
‘Right. Well, make sure you eat, please.’ He straightened his
tie in the hall mirror.
‘Yes, Dad. Go, or you’ll be late.’
He reached for the door handle. 
‘And good luck!’ she called after him. The latch clicked and
she turned back to her computer. Through the window the
gulls wheeled against a leaden midday sky. 
Lily and her father lived quietly, in a routine formed around
his work, her school and shared mealtimes. Their flat was
cramped and old, and Lily knew he didn’t earn that much, as
lawyering went. They lived in Middle Temple on the edge of the
City of London, a sort of ancient village full of lawyers with a
dining hall and library, right on the river. Lily’s bedroom had
white bedding, a desk and the Macbook her dad had given her
for Christmas. She adored it. Next to it was her brick of a
laptop, scuffed and scratched from too many accidents. It 
was full of tag ends of code, script written on long, quiet
afternoons. 
Coding was something Lily had discovered she was good at
by accident, after her school had run a short course in
computer programming. But creating programs that compared
consumer interest in products through Facebook ‘likes’ had
soon morphed into hacking Facebook, then the school system,
then the systems of corporations her father was up against in
court. It had become like an addiction, one Lily and her father
tried to put to good use. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Big Idea Competition - Barry Cunningham/Tess Daly - Have You Got One?


GREAT NEW IDEAS FOR CHILDREN’S STORIES GET THE CHANCE TO BE TOLD!

Tess Daly joins nationwide search to discover the next big story idea for children

Judged by experts from the book, film, TV and theatre world

Challenging convention on how great ideas become stories today

Britain has created some of the greatest children’s stories in history. From J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the nation has produced ideas that have become part of our cultural heritage and captivated audiences around the world

Now the search is on to find Britain’s next ‘big idea’ with a major new competition to discover original story ideas for children. The Big Idea will be encouraging the nation to get creative this summer, giving participants the chance to see their ideas nurtured and developed by experts in the world of family entertainment. The competition challenges convention on how ideas can be brought to life and made into new narratives in book, film, TV, theatre or gaming.

The Big Idea is working with six respected judges who have a wealth of relevant industry experience between them:

·               Tess Daly – TV broadcaster
·               Neil Blair –  J.K. Rowling’s agent
·               Barry Cunningham OBE – Children’s publisher
·               Debra Hayward – Film producer
·               Sonia Friedman – Theatre producer
·               Philip Ardagh – Children’s author and literary critic

The judges will work together to choose six winning ideas. The winners will each receive £1000 plus the chance to see their idea come to life, with one overall winner offered the prize of a publishing contract and the promise of their idea being nurtured, developed and written by a well-known author. As Neil Blair explains, ‘The Big Idea is an exciting new way to bring new children’s stories to life by going to the heart of every one of them: the big idea at their core.’

The overall winner’s publishing contract will be in line with industry standards, with a shared royalty on every copy sold. The six winners could additionally see their idea work across a variety of media platforms, including film, TV, gaming, websites, apps and stage, with a commensurate royalty share.

Entering couldn’t be easier, and creative writing ability isn’t a requirement – entrants simply need to outline their original idea in up to 750 words, describing what happens in the story, who’s in it, where it takes place and the type of audience it’s intended for. Entrants can visit the website at www.thebigideacompetition.co.uk for creative advice and look out for top tips and inspiration on The Big Idea’s social media channels. The competition opens on Monday July 7th and the winning ideas will be announced in early November.

Tess Daly adds, ‘All the best children’s books come from a great idea, and a great idea can come from anywhere! I’ve joined forces with The Big Idea to celebrate Britain’s talent for storytelling and creativity. There are so many people who have a seed of an idea for a book, film or TV programme but don’t know what to do with it, so this is their chance to get support from the best. I love sharing and making up my own stories with my children – so I can’t wait to help uncover the next big story idea to be loved by adults and children alike.’



Competition closing date: 2nd September 2014

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Key to Kashdune by Claudia White - MP Publishing




This might be a pocket size book but inside is a super sized adventure for younger readers. One year on and Key to Kashdune is the next installment to Aesop's Secret featuring the Hutton family. Melinda is still able to transform into any animal that she can think of - sometimes with comical and crazy consequences. However once she discovers four mysterious journals, in a cave in Turkey, that reveal the secret to travelling to the Earth's music; the adventure soon sets off once again....

This is too freaky,” Felix sighed. “First, because I didn’t think that I believed that stuff about music in the air and second, because why would the music that supposedly identifies Paris be recorded in hieroglyphs found in journals written thousands of years ago in Turkey?”

The story is very imaginative, infact it floats off the page like a big dream as you suddenly find yourself fly off in the form of a kestrel to the fabled island of Kashdune. High above the clouds and, over the sparkling blue sea, the story establishes an adventure that no younger reader would be able to resist. Danger lurks around every corner through characters such as Professor Horace Stumpworthy. After learning about the Utopian Island, he soon attempts to use the ancient Athenite knowledge to exact his revenge upon the Hutton family. 

Augustina straightened up, a puzzled look on her face, “I didn’t mean change into other clothes…I was talking about changing into something like fur or even feathers…however you might be more comfortable.”

This is a thrilling little read with a big heart and lots of imagination. I really enjoyed reading this book as it transported me back to my 'carefree' childhood. I really think that Claudia has written a great story that allows the reader to explore the plot easily and comfortably. Elements of mythology, mystery and mayhem whip up a super story to ensure that we all love and enjoy it. 

“Augustina reads minds,” Melinda added while attempting handstands on the grass. “But she doesn’t do it all the time. She said that most people’s thoughts aren’t that interesting. All Athenites are supposed to be able to do it.”  Having failed at another handstand, Melinda lay crumpled on the grass. “Did you know that she can disappear too?”

This is a great entertaining read which has a hidden melody to lift you into the fantasy cloud for the duration of the story. A heartwarming, funny and charming family quest that will take you on a journey that you won't want to end. When it finally does, you'll definitely want to read the next installment very soon. This is Mr Ripley's Younger Read recommendation for all children but especially girls.

Published by MP Publishing (10 Jun 2014)