Monday, 27 July 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - August 2015 - US Post Two


Austin Aslan - The Girl at the Center of the World - Published by Wendy Lamb Books (August 4, 2015) 
In this fast-paced, exhilarating sequel to the acclaimed The Islands at the End of the World, Leilani and her family on the Big Island of Hawai’i face the challenge of survival in the world of the Emerald Orchid, a green presence that appeared in the sky after a global blackout. As the Hawaiian Islands go back to traditional ways of living, people must grow their own food and ration everything from gas to bullets. Medicine is scarce; a simple infection can mean death. Old tensions and new enemies emerge. And one girl, Leilani, is poised to save her world.



Sonia Gensler - Ghostlight - Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 4, 2015)
Things that go bump in the night are just the beginning when a summer film project becomes a real-life ghost story!
 
Avery is looking forward to another summer at Grandma’s farm, at least until her brother says he’s too old for “Kingdom,” the imaginary world they’d spent years creating. Lucky for her, there’s a new kid staying in the cottage down the road: a city boy with a famous dad, Julian’s more than a little full of himself, but he’s also a storyteller like Avery. So when he announces his plan to film a ghost story, Avery is eager to join in.
 
Unfortunately, Julian wants to film at Hilliard House, a looming, empty mansion that Grandma has absolutely forbidden her to enter. As terrified as Avery is of Grandma’s wrath, the allure of filmmaking is impossible to resist.
 
As the kids explore the secrets of Hilliard house, eerie things begin to happen, and the “imaginary” dangers in their movie threaten to become very real. Have Avery and Julian awakened a menacing presence? Can they turn back before they go too far?




Tony Abbott - The Copernicus Legacy: The Golden Vendetta - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (August 25, 2015)
Filled with pulse-pounding action and cryptic codes, The Golden Vendetta is the third engrossing book in bestselling author Tony Abbott's cloak-and-dagger series for young readers.
It's been two months since the Kaplan family hunted down the Serpens relic, but when the evil Galina Krause suddenly and violently reappears, Wade, Darrell, Lily, and Becca have no choice but to face her again. Now they must race to find an artifact said to be crafted by Leonardo da Vinci himself—perhaps the strangest Guardian of all. Along the way, they uncover another layer to Galina's sinister endgame . . . and there might not be enough time to stop it.

Marika McCoola (Author) Emily Carroll (illustrator) - Baba Yaga's Assistant - Published by Candlewick (August 4, 2015)
Russian folklore icon Baba Yaga mentors a lonely teen in a wry graphic novel that balances gleefully between the modern and the timeless.

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu! Spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola’s stunning debut—with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll—is a storytelling feat and a visual feast.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Philip Caveney - One for Sorrow - Book Review


Tom is back for his third time travelling adventure; this time he hurtles back to Edinburgh in 1881. Just reading a copy of Treasure Island on his kindle serves as a catalyst to a crazy adventure that no one could foresee, even the reader. Tom meets Robert Louis Stevenson, a sickly young author, who has just published the story in a children's magazine called Young Folks in a series of weekly instalments between 1881 and 1882. 

Philip Caveney has cleverly weaved both fact and fiction into this plot and made it very interesting and engaging. The ongoing encounters between Tom, Robert Louis Stevenson and his family were really absorbing and very well written/researched, in my opinion. I felt like I was meeting the characters in real life, standing in their shoes, it was so realistic and a key part of the book. It is one of my favourite books in the series. 

Can Tom persuade Robert to try and publish the book as a novel or will one of the world's greatest adventures be lost forever? 

The story depicts a great insight into one of the greatest children's' writers of the 19th century. It asks questions of the reader and shows the real-life outcome of the publishing world. Decisions that are made in this novel shine out in a multi-layered dimensional way, which pumps your brain with the many possibilities that could and may unfold. This is a definite read for the thinking mind and reader.   

The author has related back to the events and major characters from previous books, like Tom's deadly adversary, The Plague Doctor. He still plays a major part as an utterly menacing, unpredictable and scary character who will continue to shake the living daylights out of you. 

For the first time reader to this series, I really feel that you will need to read the first two book in the series otherwise you will miss a lot of the backstory and, as a result, may have a slight problem connecting with the plot. Especially as the narrative is very lean and keen, which is good in my opinion. 


This is another accomplished story told with imagination and flair. It's a rollercoaster of a time travelling ride that will have you reading into the future in no time. This is a recommended series from Mr Ripley..... 

Published by Fledgling Press (28 May 2015)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Lu Hersey - Deep Water - Book Review



As you plunge deep into the blue cover, it will set you off on a journey of discovery. This is a debut novel that will tantalise you with a story primarily set in a tiny Cornish fishing village. You will take a slow stroll into the history of the characters and be thrust into a spectacular mystery that has a dark feeling of foreboding. All in all this is a brilliant read full of twists, turns and a hatful of discoveries. 

Danni comes home one day to find that her mum has vanished and there appears to be a strange feeling in the house. No one has any idea what has happened to her; this leaves a mystery that will need unravelling. Danni soon finds herself living with her dad in a strange and remote village with a dark and disturbing past. Some of the locals treat Danni like a monster. However, she soon discovers a family past that will have the reader breathing in the salty air of the briny sea. 

I was fully immersed in the plot; a beautiful tale of the sea where the hidden dangerous depths of the ocean are fully explored through some wondrous encounters. The writing will make you feel like you are seeing it and experiencing it first-hand, through the eyes of nature itself, leading the reader to an exciting and imaginative place. 

The only way for Danni to save her family from the bitter curse is to embrace her incredible new gift. With the help of her best friend Levi, who is undeniably a character that has been written really well, she embarks on a journey of discovery. Levi's personality intensifies the feelings in the story and draws the plot together like a magnet. He makes this story work for me. 

I also liked Danni's new age hippy dad, who is brought to life through his interesting taste in t-shirts. In our first encounter with him, he is wearing a ripped Sex Pistols t-shirt. He is not your typical character in a book, but he works really well and adds an element of cool.  

The author has really stamped this book with her own personality and interests. The charm of Celtic myth and folklore is wrapped up tightly in the narrative through Lu's take on the ancient Celtic selkie myth, which has been inspired by belief and tradition for many generations. This to me gives the story an air of magic and surrealness that is enchanting.

This is a story of family secrets and teenage life, with a slight romantic angle running through the plot, which is subtle and not off putting for male readers. It is a great young adult experience which is reminiscent of Helen Dunmore's Ingo adventure books. Lu is a great new voice - I will be looking forward to reading more stories. 

Don’t judge too quickly or fear something just because you don’t understand it.

Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (1st July 2015)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - August 2015 - US Post One


Rick Riordan & John Rocco - Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes - Published by Disney-Hyperion (August 18, 2015)
Who cut off Medusa's head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy. 

Louis Sachar - Fuzzy Mud - Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 4, 2015)
From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holes, winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with the issues of friendship, bullying, and the possibility of ecological disaster, this novel will intrigue, surprise, and inspire readers and compel them to think twice about how they treat others as well as their environment.
 
Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

 
In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.



Livia Blackburne -  Daughter of Dusk (A Midnight Thief Novel) - Published by Disney-Hyperion (August 4, 2015)
After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can't help but feel like a monster. 

Though she's formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra's not sure she can trust him. And with James's fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge's Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.


Katy Towell - Charlie and the Grandmothers - Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 4, 2015)
A visit to Grandmother’s house has never been so frightening. . . .
Charlie and Georgie Oughtt have been sent to visit their Grandmother Pearl, and this troubles Charlie for three reasons. The first is that he’s an exceptionally nervous twelve-year-old boy, and he worries about everything. The second is that the other children in his neighborhood who pay visits to their grandmothers never seem to return. And the third is that Charlie and Georgie don’t have any grandmothers.
 
Upon their arrival, all of Charlie’s concerns are confirmed, as “Grandmother Pearl” quickly reveals herself to be something much more gruesome than even Charlie’s most outlandish fears could have predicted. He and Georgie are thrust into a creepy underworld created from stolen nightmares, where monsters disguised as grandmothers serve an ancient, evil queen by holding children captive as they slowly sap each one of their memories and dreams. 
 
But something is different about Charlie. His worrisome nature, so often a burden, proves an asset in this frightening world. Will he be able to harness this newfound power to defeat the queen and save his sister?

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Unofficial Gamer's Adventures by Winter Morgan -The Endermen Invasion/ Treasure Hunters in Trouble (Minecraft) Bloomsbury 2015

Winter Morgan is not a real person, it's the pen name for an author of numerous books. The author has a Minecraft-addicted son, who inspired the story, and a daughter who is very accommodating since her little brother monopolizes the computer creating mods and mining for diamonds.

Experience all the action beyond the game in this exciting Minecrafters series for the young. Search temples filled with treasure, battle against Griefers, Creepers and skeletons, and protect your buildings from invasion. These stories are a brilliant way to enjoy the world of Minecraft from the computer screen.

The Endermen Invasion
Steve is invited to compete in an elite building competition on Mushroom Island, much to the joy - or jealousy - of his neighbours. His dream house is about to be judged when events are disrupted by an Endermen invasion. Who is their leader, why have they come and will they succeed in destroying the competition?

Treasure Hunters in Trouble
During Steve's journey he must encounter spiders in a cave, face hostile chicken jockeys, and get stuck at sea. If he rescues them they will all be rewarded with treasure. But if he doesn't.

Published by Bloomsbury in Paperback on 2nd July 2015, £4.99 each.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Interview with Lu Hersey - Deep Water




Welcome all. Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lu Hersey, who is the author of the debut book Deep Water. Many thanks to Lu for taking the time to answer the below questions. I'm sure that you'll find this post really interesting and will want to read Deep Water because of this. 
Next week I'll be sharing my book review for Deep Water, so please visit again to find out my thoughts. I look forward to your return.
Tell us a little bit about Deep Water?

Deep Water is a Celtic myth-based story, placed in a contemporary setting. When Danni’s mother goes missing, she has to go and live with her dad in some remote part of Cornwall. Strangely, people in the area seem to recognise her…and she finds herself in increasing danger. She needs to find out who (and what) she is, and save her mother before it’s too late…


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Things are rarely as they seem, so be open to possibilities. Don’t judge too quickly or fear something just because you don’t understand it.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write myth based fiction in a kitchen sink paranormal style.


Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?
Elle Fanning was my first choice, but then I thought of Maisie Williams, who’s a really talented British actress and is amazing in Game of Thrones. She has an elfin quality, which is what I had in mind for Danni.


Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
When I get an idea, I immediately see it visually, a bit like the way you draw a caterpillar life cycle diagram – egg, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly. When it comes to writing, I find the egg and the butterfly (ie beginning and end) are usually pretty clear from the start, but the caterpillar and cocoon stages are open to massive amounts of variation (in other words, they’re really hazy!)…I’ve tried to write plans, and they do help a lot, but unfortunately the characters have a life of their own and decide to do something completely different half the time.


What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Starting something has never been the problem – I’ve started lots of things! The problem has been finishing them – and having the confidence to keep going. So to solve this, I did the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. It was a way of giving myself a really expensive deadline with a lot of encouragement to get to the finish line – and it worked. I’m enormously grateful to all on the course – fellow students and course-leaders – and would recommend this path to anyone who is serious about honing their skills.

In fact I’d say being part of a supportive network is invaluable as a writer – whether it’s a writing group, an organisation like the Golden Egg Academy, or simply a network of writer friends on social media. You need all the encouragement you can get.

Can you pass on any tips regarding the writing process to other budding writers?
Put simply, just write! But also, read your work aloud when you think you’ve finished your draft. People always tell you to do it, but lots of writers don’t bother. It really helps to iron out the clunky, awkward bits, because when you read aloud you have a natural rhythm which you want to try and get into your writing. It also helps you spot sections where you need to vary the sentence length, as well as the inevitable bits where you skip through loads of unnecessary description or slip out of a character’s voice and so on.


Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying/reading process?
I think the cover is tremendously important – and interestingly, the writer generally gets very little real say in it at all! Fortunately I think Usborne have done a great job with mine. I love the cover of Deep Water and think it really fits the book – yet avoids being too much of a plot spoiler.


As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to write books – it just took me a really long time to get there!


Is there anything else that you would like to tell us?
According to Kurt Vonnegut, ‘We have to be continually jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.’ I’ve found this to be as true as anything else I’ve read about being a writer.

Website: https://luwrites.wordpress.com/ Twitter:  

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Joseph Delaney - Arena 13 (Arena 13 Trilogy 1) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Review


This is the first instalment from the new fantasy trilogy by Joseph Delaney and, in my opinion, it's about time. Especially as The Wardstone Chronicles series has now run its course, in my opinion, so it's time for a fresh start; something new for Joseph to push the creative boundaries on. It's time to give us readers another journey, another fight and an adventure that we will, yet again, remember and treasure....
It's time to get both feet firmly settled into this brilliant new book, so welcome to Arena 13. Like no other arena this one will keep you up all night. Here the warriors fight ferociously, so death is never far away. It's very brutal, totally delicious and very dark. It has a medieval/gladiator feel to it even though it has been set within a futuristic time.  
It feels like magical super glue has been applied as you are led deeper into the complex world of Arena 13. As you traverse its many levels, it reads as if you're peeling away the layers of fantasy onion - the more that you read, the further you are plunged into the world of combat, fighting and danger. 
Leif has one ambition: to become the best fighter, but that will not be easy in the notorious Arena 13. Here, punters place wagers on which fighter will draw first blood. And in grudge matches, they bet on which fighter will die. This feeds the plot with many bloody and gory encounters, which will keep the reader engaged and hanging on for more.  The varied methods of combat used in Arena 13 and the ideology behind it was one of the best aspects of the plot. It was inventive and very coherent - the Midgard Glossary will help you to navigate your way through the book.   
I loved the sub-plot surrounding the mysterious creature Hob, an evil being who delights in torturing people, displaying his devastating power by challenging an Arena 13 combatant in a fight to the death whenever he chooses.  Hob's character is very vague; there's just enough detail to let your imagination fill in the gaps, but it works. It is very powerful and sublime. 

You will rattle through this inventive book like a heard of horses on race day. It might be short on the page count front, but it packs a mighty action punch with a very climatic and eventful ending.

My reading experience was one of pure escapism. I absolutely loved this book. I believe that this is one of the best young adult books that I have read so far this year. I also think that it is one of the best books that Joseph has written to date. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series entitled MY NAME IS KWIN. This new book will introduce more new characters for Leif to battle and to overcome the various challenges that they bring with them. Bring it on soon.....

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/josephdelaneybooks?fref=ts
Website: http://www.spooksbooks.com/


Monday, 13 July 2015

Press Release: Bello to Publish the Forgotten Adult Novels of Richmal Crompton, Celebrated Author of Just William Series


‘. . . for many years I looked on William as “my character”.
He was my puppet. I pulled the strings. But gradually the tables have been turned. I am his puppet.’
– Richmal Crompton, 1958

Lancashire-born Richmal Crompton is best known for her thirty-eight-strong Just William children’s series, which shot her to global fame. Yet it is little known that the incredibly prolific writer expressed deep regret over William dominating her work, most notably her forty-one adult novels and nine collections of short stories. On 27th August 2015, eleven of those adult novels will be brought to a new readership by Bello, Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint.

Despite the popularity of the Just Williams series, Crompton
remains widely misunderstood and many readers assume the children’s adventure series was written by a man. It is Crompton’s perceptive adult novels which offer readers the best insight into her psyche and life. Largely realist, they are centred around family, social and village life, sadness and dissatisfaction, and explore the strains of family life, a woman’s place in society and the lives of older widowed men.

These novels include Marriage of Hermione, The Old Man’s Birthday and There are Four Seasons, each every bit as charming as her beloved Just William series.

Marriage of Hermione, first published in 1932, tells the story of the married life of Charles and Hermione Dereham from their first meeting in 1882 to their golden wedding in 1932, an ordinary and overtly honest depiction of a marriage without sensation. Marriage of Hermione contains much comedy, tragedy and drama, all universal facets of family life, in its Bello to publish the forgotten adult novels of Richmal Crompton, celebrated author of



Just William series

‘. . . for many years I looked on William as “my character”.

He was my puppet. I pulled the strings. But gradually the tables have been turned. I am his puppet.’

– Richmal Crompton, 1958



Lancashire-born Richmal Crompton is best known for her thirty-eight-strong Just William children’s series, which shot her to global fame. Yet it is little known that the incredibly prolific writer expressed deep regret over William dominating her work, most notably her forty-one adult novels and nine collections of short stories. On 27th August 2015, eleven of those adult novels will be brought to a new readership by Bello, Pan Macmillan’s digital imprint.

Despite the popularity of the Just Williams series, Crompton

remains widely misunderstood and many readers assume the children’s adventure series was written by a man. It is Crompton’s perceptive adult novels which offer readers the best insight into her psyche and life. Largely realist, they are centred around family, social and village life, sadness and dissatisfaction, and explore the strains of family life, a woman’s place in society and the lives of older widowed men.

These novels include Marriage of Hermione, The Old Man’s Birthday and There are Four Seasons, each every bit as charming as her beloved Just William series.

Marriage of Hermione, first published in 1932, tells the story of the married life of Charles and Hermione Dereham from their first meeting in 1882 to their golden wedding in 1932, an ordinary and overtly honest depiction of a marriage without sensation. Marriage of Hermione contains much comedy, tragedy and drama, all universal facets of family life, in its analysis of a marriage marred by monotony.

First published in 1936, The Old Man’s Birthday, is a thoroughly entertaining book offering a dry satire of British village life and a nostalgic treat for fans of the gentler brand of interwar fiction. It is the story of old Matthew Royston’s 95th birthday. A day which, from breakfast to the family dinner party, precipitates climaxes for each member of his assembled family. Teaming beneath the calm surface of village and family life, readers will find a whole world of secrets, desires, hopes and dreams.

In There are Four Seasons, first published in 1937, a young girl Vicki’s faces resentment from her father for resembling the wife who ran away and left him for another man. Following Vicki from her childhood to old age, Crompton explores how this childhood trauma stays with Vicki throughout her life, through marriage and motherhood.

Bello will also reissue Chedsy Place, Narcissa, Merlin Bay, Caroline, The Holiday, Steffan Green, Portrait of a Family, and Journeying Wave.

Richmal Crompton was born in 1890 in Lancashire. She won a scholarship to Royal Holloway in London, where she took part in the Women’s Suffrage movement and studied Classics. She trained as a schoolteacher, before turning to write full time. Richmal Crompton died in 1969 at the age of seventy-nine, having written thirty-eight books featuring William Brown, forty-one novels for adults and nine collections of short stories.

Elizabeth Campbell, Editorial Executive at Bello, comments,

‘Richmal Crompton’s adult works truly are a remarkable testimony to the breadth of her talent as a writer. We are delighted to have unearthed them and to be finally giving recognition to her largely forgotten adult work.’ of a marriage marred by monotony.

First published in 1936, The Old Man’s Birthday, is a thoroughly entertaining book offering a dry satire of British village life and a nostalgic treat for fans of the gentler brand of interwar fiction. It is the story of old Matthew Royston’s 95th birthday. A day which, from breakfast to the family dinner party, precipitates climaxes for each member of his assembled family. Teaming beneath the calm surface of village and family life, readers will find a whole world of secrets, desires, hopes and dreams.

In There are Four Seasons, first published in 1937, a young girl Vicki’s faces resentment from her father for resembling the wife who ran away and left him for another man. Following Vicki from her childhood to old age, Crompton explores how this childhood trauma stays with Vicki throughout her life, through marriage and motherhood.

Bello will also reissue Chedsy Place, Narcissa, Merlin Bay, Caroline, The Holiday, Steffan Green, Portrait of a Family, and Journeying Wave.

Richmal Crompton was born in 1890 in Lancashire. She won a scholarship to Royal Holloway in London, where she took part in the Women’s Suffrage movement and studied Classics. She trained as a schoolteacher, before turning to write full time. Richmal Crompton died in 1969 at the age of seventy-nine, having written thirty-eight books featuring William Brown, forty-one novels for adults and nine collections of short stories.

Elizabeth Campbell, Editorial Executive at Bello, comments,
‘Richmal Crompton’s adult works truly are a remarkable testimony to the breadth of her talent as a writer. We are delighted to have unearthed them and to be finally giving recognition to her largely forgotten adult work.’

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Matt Haig Writes Christmas Book - A Boy Called Hope - Illustrated by Chris Mould


Canongate have acquired a splendid new children's book by Matt Haig. A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS tells the story of the early years of the world's most beloved hero. It is a gripping adventure set in eighteenth century Finland full of elves, reindeer, kidnapping and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas who isn't afraid to believe in magic.

'Father Christmas is the original super-hero. And Matt Haig, master of big hearted story-telling, is the perfect writer to bring his early years to life. In the utterly brilliant Chris Mould, Matt has found the perfect creative partner. I can see this book lighting up so many faces young and old this Christmas, and for many Christmases to come.'


A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS will be published in the UK in hardback on Nov 5th 2015. Canongate have paired Haig with British illustrator Chris Mould who has created over 60 illustrations which help tell this unforgettable story.

About Matt Haig: Suffered a breakdown in his early twenties. After battling depression for a long while he turned to writing. He now believes that reading and writing books saved his life, and believes that 'in a world trying to increasingly isolate us from our environment and our true selves, books are our route to freedom, and to each other'. . His novels include the bestsellers The Last Family in England, The Radleys and The Humans. His books have been translated into 30 languages. All his novels for adults have been optioned for film. He has also written novels for children, including Shadow Forest, To Be A Cat and the new YA novel Echo Boy. His next book is about his experience of depression, called Reasons To Stay Alive.

About Chris Mould: Was born in Bradford and has lived and worked there all his life. He began drawing at a very early age and hasn't stopped since. He trained in Art college for six years altogether starting in Dewsbury College and moving to Leeds, during which time he gained a joint honours degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - July 2015 - US Post Two


S . A. Bodeen - Lost (Shipwreck Island) - Published by Feiwel & Friends  - Hardback (July 28, 2015)
Sarah Robinson and her family are shipwrecked on a remote and mysterious island. Their food is running out, and their fear is escalating-there is no sign of rescue. The mysterious girl they found unconscious at the beach is healing, and what she tells them about the strange island and especially about someone called the Keeper has the family on edge. When Sarah's dad and Marco's younger brother go missing, the mystery becomes dangerous. Now, it's a matter of life and death. Now, the family is truly lost.


Kersten Hamilton & James Hamilton - The Ire of Iron Claw: Gadgets and Gears 2 - Published by Clarion Books (July 7, 2015)
Someone is smuggling secrets out of the Kennewicketts' lab and sabotaging their experiments, putting everyone at the Amazing Automated Inn at risk. In pursuit of the villains, the family of scientific geniuses board their dirigible and take to the skies. Together with their robotic staff and the inventor Nikola Tesla, they must face murderous sky pirates, cross the Alps in a giant mechanical spider, and defy the perilous pigeon Iron Claw and the malevolent magician Madini once more. Will boy inventor Wally and his daring dog, Noodles, be able to defeat the evil Mesmers and their minions a second time? History and technology collide in this fast-paced series narrated by a daring dachshund and brimming with mad science.

James Dashner - A Mutiny in Time (Infinity Ring 1)  - Published by Scholastic Inc. (July 28, 2015)
Time travel is real... and it's our only hope! When best friends Dak and Sera are recruited by the secret society of Hystorians, they learn that nothing in their world is as it should be. Now it's up to them and their new ally, Riq, to visit the past and fix the Great Breaks in history. Their first stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny.

Emma Trevayne - The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden - Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 28, 2015)
What if you found your own grave—and it wasn’t empty? Discover the dark delights of faeries and fortune-tellers in this gently spooky book from the author of Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, sure to appeal to fans of Coraline.

Grave robbing is a messy business.

A bad business. And for Thomas Marsden, on what was previously an unremarkable spring night in London, it becomes a very spooky business. For lying in an unmarked grave and half covered with dirt is a boy the spitting image of Thomas himself. This is only the first clue that something very strange is happening. Others follow, but it is a fortune-teller’s frightened screams that lead Thomas into a strange world of spiritualists, death, and faery folk. Faery folk with whom Thomas’s life is bizarrely linked. Faery folk who need his help.

Desperate to unearth the truth about himself and where he comes from, Thomas is about to discover magic, ritual, and the uncanny truth that sometimes the things that make a boy ordinary are what make him extraordinary.



Tamara Ellis Smith - Another Kind of Hurricane - Published Schwartz & Wade (July 14, 2015)
In this stunning debut novel, two very different characters—a black boy who loses his home in Hurricane Katrina and a white boy in Vermont who loses his best friend in a tragic accident—come together to find healing. 
 
A hurricane, a tragic death, two boys, one marble. How they intertwine is at the heart of this beautiful, poignant book. When ten-year-old Zavion loses his home in Hurricane Katrina, he and his father are forced to flee to Baton Rouge. And when Henry, a ten-year-old boy in northern Vermont, tragically loses his best friend, Wayne, he flees to ravaged New Orleans to help with hurricane relief efforts—and to search for a marble that was in the pocket of a pair of jeans donated to the Red Cross. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Elen Caldecott - Crowns and Codebreakers (Marsh Road Mysteries 2) Book Review



  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's (2 July 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408852713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408852712

This is the second book to be published in the fantastic series 'The Marsh Road Mysteries'. At the time of reading this book, it soon became evident that I had not actually read the first book in the series, which really surprised me. However, I had no problem in picking up the story from page one and really engaging with it; you can jump straight into this contemporary detective mystery and let your imagination run away with you. 

At a time when we have many more books being published in this vein, the thought to be considered is whether this series is worth reading. I would definitely say yes, as the book is centered around the classic elements of a good detective story; the plot contains many influences and topics which are very engaging. 

The narrative is based around five likeable children: Piotr, Minnie, Andrew, Flora and Sylvie. Each character represents the British population rather than the average stereotypical portrayal in books over time.  Through these brilliant characters, friendships and family life are explored. Each aspect is well written and instills a good sense of reality and humour to the adventure. 

When Minnie's gran comes to stay, we are introduced to a character that is more colourful and larger than life. She is much brighter than the book cover itself. The infusion of Nigerian culture, through Minnie's gran, makes the heart of a good story humming with warmth, feeling and depth which makes it standout from the crowd. 

The story has an intriguing start as Minnie's Gran notices that she's picked up the wrong suitcase at the airport. This one is full of boy's clothes, and not her favourite tea. But when their house is burgled and the only thing that is taken is the suitcase, Minnie realises there'll be much more trouble than she bargained for. This is a real page turner as you follow the gang's teamwork and detective skills to solve this imaginative story. 

Classically loaded with plenty of red herring moments, this story is set in an urban environment which mystery lovers will relate to and fall in love with. It's cool, well plotted and full of sleuthing and action. The book explores current topics and issues like art smuggling and child exploitation that make you really think as you follow the investigations. It's a more think outside the box plot which makes it different to the rest. 

This is a very engaging read with some hand-in-your-mouth moments. It is a mystery aimed at the middle-grade audience that will be a sure fire winner and is a great complement to the first instalment 'Diamonds and Daggers'. Hopefully the third book in the series will be out early 2016 - I'm really looking forward to that.  In the meantime, I am going to start by reading the first book for myself. 
    

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sophie McKenzie - All My Secrets - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)


We have a brand new title from the bestselling, award-winning author, Sophie McKenzie. This book will intrigue you as a reader and deliver a hatful of surprises, as always. Sophie entertains us with a different tale and writing, but in her trademark style, which is fantastic. However, I don't feel that this is her best book to date. As always though, I never know what to expect from Sophie as she is such a diverse writer encompassing all ages. 

What I do expect is a great story and here is another......
The preface for this book is a 10 million pound inheritance from a woman called Irina Galloway. Evie wants to know who Irina is, and why she has been given this money. However, the discovery soon turns Evie Brown's world on its head. This is the start of a mysterious ride of self discovery when Evie finds out some hard hitting truths from her parents. 

Turning detective, she uncovers the mystery benefactor, a bucket load of unanswered questions and finds herself on the Scottish Island of Lightsea searching for answers. Catapulted into danger - the story brings a crashing wave of tension and suspense which, in my opinion, is what the author does best. 

A thrilling storm is whipped up full of mystery and a dark edge tone, which will have you riding the wave of ghostly appearances and spooky mayhem. This is fantastically clever, well constructed, very engaging and is probably the best part of the book. 

The early part of the setting connected with me in a special way. It really brought back my time staying on Rose Street (Edinburgh) making the plot feel very realistic. I could see and smell the flat, as well as hear the pedestrians slapping up and down the busy street. It brought back a vibe and so many happy memories. The book explores some emotionally charged topics which will make you think and help you to relate to modern teenage life. 

The writing is concise uncovering revelations and some dark secrets that will rock you to the core.  I really loved Evie as she is a normal and realistic teenage girl. Although, I would have perhaps liked to have seen more teenage angst pumped into the character's personality. Nevertheless she is very strong willed and a natural born fighter which I really took to in a big way.  

I had no problem following this story; pure escapism for me. Whilst this story is specifically aimed at teenagers, I feel a younger audience (10 years+) would especially devour and love this book, in my opinion. The book ties together all of the loose knots in a satisfactory and climatic way, which suggests that it is a standalone book with no other book to follow.    

I would definitely recommend The Medusa Project series by Sophie McKenzie; these are some of my all time personal favourite books. 

Published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books (2 July 2015)