Sunday, 25 June 2017

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

Jacob Sager Weinstein - The City of Secret Rivers - Published by Walker Books (1 Jun. 2017) 

ISBN-13: 978-1406368857

An exciting subterranean London adventure, the first in a middle-grade trilogy. Hyacinth Hayward has recently arrived from America and is having difficulty adjusting to her new surroundings, especially being in the sole company of her eccentric mother. Everything feels strange. Very strange. And it gets stranger the day she accidentally unleashes the power of a secret river running through London. To prevent a second Great Fire, Hyacinth needs to retrieve a single, magically charged drop of water from somewhere in the city sewer system. Along the way she encounters an eclectic cast of characters - the shambling, monstrous Saltpetre Men who kidnap her mother, the Toshers who battle for control of magical artefacts and a giant pig with whom she has a tea party. The clock is ticking - will she figure out who to trust?

Stewart Foster - All The Things That Could Go Wrong - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (29 Jun. 2017) - 

ISBN-13: 978-1471145421

There are two sides to every story
 
Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he’s taking it out on the
nearest and weakest target: Alex.
 Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan
and his gang are waiting for him at school . . .

Then the boys’ mums arrange for them to meet up and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother. Two enemies stuck together for the whole of the school holidays – what could possibly go wrong? 

Caleb Krisp (Author), John Kelly (Illustrator) Bring Me the Head of Ivy Pocket (Ivy Pocket 3) - Published by Bloomsbury Children's (1 Jun. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1408858721

Our magnificently infuriating heroine is on the very brink of her greatest adventure: bound for London and Prospa House to save Anastasia Radcliff and young Rebecca Butterfield from fates worse than death. But there are difficulties at every turn. The devious Miss Always and her devilish Locks are in hot pursuit. Anastasia is gone, taken by her evil sister-in-law Estelle and hidden in a place no one will ever find her. And worst of all, the Clock Diamond is no longer working, blocking Ivy's route to Prospa. There's a mystery to be unpicked and if anyone can do it, it's Ivy Pocket. After all, she has all the natural instincts of a Russian chess master. 
Ivy Pocket's tumultuous finale is certain to involve breathtaking adventure, bone-shattering courage, and frightful danger. But what price will she have to pay?

Craig A. Thomson - Search for the Sunlight: A Treewood Adventure -  Self Published (18 Jun. 2017) 

ISBN-13: 978-1527210479

The sunlight has mysteriously disappeared. The life-saving tea crops have failed, and a cold grey fog has descended on the land. The great forest is slowly dying… Can four naïve Treewoods (part tree and part human), and a smelly wizard cat called Brian, find the source of the trouble and save the Treewood nation from extinction? Find out as the travellers leave the safety of the forest and embark on an exciting, often dangerous, quest to look for both the missing sunlight and the old astronomer, who set off a hundred years before them and never returned. “Search for the Sunlight” 
www.craigathomson.com

Friday, 23 June 2017

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

Emma Carroll - Letters from the Lighthouse - Published by Faber & Faber (1 Jun. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0571327584

We weren't supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren't even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.
February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he's not used to company and he certainly doesn't want any evacuees. 
Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she's desperate to discover what happened to her. And when a sneaky peek at a letter reveals a clue, she knows she'll have to break all the rules to find her.

Jennifer Bell The Smoking Hourglass (THE UNCOMMONERS) - Published by Corgi Children's (15 Jun. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0552572903

 

Following Ivy Sparrow’s discoveries in The Crooked Sixpence, the adventures continue in the second instalment of The Uncommoners trilogy, The Smoking Hourglass.

As soon as Ivy and her brother Seb set foot back in the mysterious underground city of Lundinor, they know that something has changed . . . Where before there were cobbled streets, now the squares and lanes between the city’s enchanted shops are lush with spring blooms – but something dark is stirring just below the surface, and uncommon traders are uneasy. Ivy and Seb have stumbled into a plot that could condemn every uncommoner to a disastrous fate . . . With the help of Valian, their extraordinary friend – and some exceptional uncommon objects – can Ivy and Seb put a stop to the sinister Dirge’s plans?

Jess Butterworth - Running on the Roof of the World - Published by Orion Children's Books (1 Jun. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1510102088

Join 12-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam in a story of adventure, survival and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India. Filled with friendship, love and courage, this young girl's thrilling journey to save her parents is an ideal read for children aged 9-12. 
There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. 'Dalai Lama.' 
Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash's parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet - and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India. 
And so, with a backpack of Tash's father's mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.

Shane Hegarty - Hero Rising (Darkmouth, Book 4) - Published by HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (29 Jun. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0007545629

The edge-of-your-seat, monstrously-exciting, laugh-out-loud adventures of the most unfortunate monster-hunter ever to don armour… continue.
Things can’t get any worse. Legends are running riot. Half-hunters are out of control. Darkmouth has been taken away from Finn and Emmie, and Finn’s dad Hugo – proud Legend Hunter – is washing dogs for a living.
But something even more terrifying lurks beneath the surface: an ancient horror threatening both our world and the Infested Side.
So scratch that. Things can get worse. Much worse.
More than ever, Darkmouth is going to need a hero…
Sadly, all it’s got is Finn.

Monday, 22 May 2017

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

Laura Ruby - York: The Shadow Cipher - Published by Walden Pond Press (May 16, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062306937

“The first book in an exciting new series that's great for fans of steampunk, history, mystery, and magic. Let the puzzles begin!” (Brightly.com)
From National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner, Laura Ruby comes an epic alternate history series about three kids who try to solve the greatest mystery of the modern world: a puzzle and treasure hunt laid into the very streets and buildings of New York City.
It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.
Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.

Stephanie Burgis - The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart - Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 30, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1681193434

Aventurine is a brave young dragon ready to explore the world outside of her family's mountain cave . . . if only they'd let her leave it. Her family thinks she's too young to fly on her own, but she's determined to prove them wrong by capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.
But when that human tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she's transformed into a puny human without any sharp teeth, fire breath, or claws. Still, she's the fiercest creature in these mountains--and now she's found her true passion: chocolate. All she has to do is get to the human city to find herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she'll be conquering new territory in no time . . . won't she?
A classic fantasy with terrific girl power, perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George.

Laurel Snyder - Orphan Island - Published by Walden Pond Press (May 30, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062443410

"A wondrous book, wise and wild and deeply true." —Kelly Barnhill, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon
For readers who loved Sara Pennypacker's Pax and Lois Lowry's The Giver comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.
On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.
Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

Caroline Carlson - The World's Greatest Detective - Published by HarperCollins (May 16, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062368270

  • Caroline Carlson, the author of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series, returns with The World’s Greatest Detective, a story of crime, tricks, and hilarity for those who know that sometimes it takes a pair of junior sleuths to solve a slippery case. Detectives’ Row is full of talented investigators, but Toby Montrose isn’t one of them. He’s only an assistant at his uncle’s detective agency, and he’s not sure he’s even very good at that. Toby’s friend Ivy is the best sleuth around—or at least she thinks so. They both see their chance to prove themselves when the famed Hugh Abernathy announces a contest to choose the World’s Greatest Detective. But when what was supposed to be a game turns into a real-life murder mystery, can Toby and Ivy crack the case?

Monday, 15 May 2017

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

Peter Bunzl - Moonlocket (The Cogheart Adventures #2) - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 May 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1474915014

It's hard to escape the secrets from the past.
Storm clouds gather over Lily and Robert's summer when criminal mastermind the Jack of Diamonds appears. For Jack is searching for the mysterious Moonlocket - but that's not the only thing he wants.

Suddenly, dark secrets from Robert's past plunge him into danger. Jack is playing a cruel game that Robert is a part of. Now Lily and Malkin, the mechanical fox, must stay one step ahead before Jack plays his final, deadly card...

David Almond (Author), Alex T Smith (Illustrator) - The Tale of Angelino Brown - Published by Walker Books (4 May 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1406358070

Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel. Bert found him in his top pocket when he was driving his bus. Bert and Betty's friends think he's lovely. So do Nancy and Jack and Alice from Class 5K. What a wonder!

But Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a School Inspector. Then there's Basher Malone - big, lumbering Basher Malone. He REALLY doesn't like Angelino. And it looks like he's out to get him...

Geraldine Mccaughrean - Where the World Ends - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 May 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1474921145

Every time a lad came fowling on the St Kilda stacs, he went home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is... In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food. No one returns to collect them. Why? Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they have been abandoned to endure storms, starvation and terror. And how can they survive, housed in stone and imprisoned on every side by the ocean?

Bobbie Peers - William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle - Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (23 May 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1534404724

Blackthorn Key meets The Da Vinci Code in this award-winning novel about a puzzle-solving genius who is forced to use his skills to face a danger that has been lurking in the background for years. 
Twelve-year-old William Wenton is a puzzle-solving genius. He lives with his family in a quiet Norwegian town. They used to live in England, but eight years ago his family suddenly packed up, moved away, and even changed their last name! Neither of his parents will offer an explanation or tell William why he has to keep his talent for solving codes and puzzles a secret. But then a special exhibit comes to the local museum: the Impossible Puzzle. The experts say it is unsolvable, but William's sure that he can crack it if he gets a chance. 
However, when he does, everything begins to go wrong. Suddenly William is whisked off to a strange school filled with robots and kids whose skills are almost as good as his own. But what's really going on? And what's the secret involving William's grandfather? And is there anyone he can trust?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Lorraine Gregory - Mold and the Poison Plot - Book Review


He's got a big heart . . . and a nose to match! 
Mold's a bit of a freak. His nose is as big as his body is puny and his mother abandoned him in a bin when he was a mere baby. Who else but the old healer, Aggy, would have taken him in and raised him as her own? But when Aggy is accused of poisoning the King, Mold sets out to clear her name.  
In a thrilling race against time to save Aggy from the hangman's noose, Mold faces hideous, deadly monsters like the Yurg and the Purple Narlo Frog. He finds true friendship in the most unusual - and smelly - of places and must pit his wits and his clever nose against the evil witch Hexaba. 


Lorraine Gregory’s middle-grade ‘Mold and the Poison Plot’ is a fantastic book to read. Co-creator of , she is a fantastic advocate for children's books as her debut book shows passion and sparkle through the narrative.  


This is a great fantasy story that has a big heart and a smelly tale to tell. You will leap into the action from the very first page and will follow your nose into an adventure full of danger and absolute smelly mayhem. Along the way, you will follow the main character, Mold, into a narrative that will make your mind squelch through footsteps of bravery. The plot is full of deceit, danger and some really epic moments that fall straight off the pages into the subconscious mind. 


A great and distinctive new voice can be heard through the lovable character, Mold. The story starts in the settled life of Pellegarno, a fantasy world, that has been delightfully installed into this easy and fun read with utter skill and grace. However, only a few chapters later things go suddenly wrong. Aggy is arrested for poisoning the King and, with nowhere or no-one else to turn to, Mold must find a way to prove her innocence before it’s too late. It soon becomes a story full of unexpected allies and betrayals.  

It was a real pleasure to read this book, especially when struggling to find the time to read. I picked up this book, looked at the fantastic book cover by the talented Mr Tom Mead (
a surreal character designer and fine artist) and was instantly sold. Tom traditionally works with pen drawings on paper or wood, but recently he has started drawing and painting on a much larger scale. He has completed works in Bristol, Brighton, Iceland and Cape Town. 


This is a fantastic start to a promising writing career. It has all the influences based on many hours of reading and the love of books with a good story. I am looking forward to reading much more from this author in the future. Thank you to OUP for sending this book to me to review. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

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

Bobbie Peers - William Wenton and the Luridium Thief  - Published by Walker Books (6 April 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1406371703

Packed full of magical code-breaking skills, wisecracking robots and a young hero who might just be too clever for his own good, this tech-savvy adventure is perfect for fans of Percy Jackson and Alex Rider. Twelve year-old code breaking genius William Wenton, is trying to make sense of his family's dramatic escape from their home in London. But when his extraordinary talent for cracking codes is suddenly revealed, William must face the danger that has been lurking around him for years.

Dan Walker - Sky Thieves (Sky Thieves 1) - Published by OUP Oxford (6 April 2017) ISBN-13: 978-0192747013

Love Pirates of the Caribbean? Then prepared to be swept away by this new swashbuckling adventure series. 
Talented debut author, Dan Walker, creates an imaginative world where thieves sail the skies in flying galleons-an action-packed adventure of epic scale.  
Zoya DeLarose has no idea her life is about to change forever when a band of sky thieves 'steal' her away from her orphanage, landing up in the clouds, on board The Dragonfly's deck. There, Zoya discovers a world of meteorite storms, sword fights, midnight raids, floating islands, and long lost treasure. But with a deadly enemy closing in, will Zoya find the strength to face her fears and unlock the key to her destiny, or will she fall from the skies with no one left to break her fall?



Andrew Beasley - The Mummy's Revenge (S.C.R.E.A.M.) - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 April 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1474906920

In the dark and winding streets of Edinburgh, a burglar is on the prowl. But this is no ordinary thief.
Three thousand years old and risen from the grave, this rampaging robber is a rotting Egyptian Mummy - and he wants rubies and revenge!
There's only one crime-fighting force who can deal with a menace like this: Billy Flint & Charley Steel AKA S.C.R.E.A.M. - top-secret investigators of Supernatual Crimes, Rescues, Emergencies And Mysteries.

Joshua Khan - Dream Magic (Shadow Magic) - Published by Scholastic (6 April 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1407172095

In a world ruled by six ancient Houses of Magic, a girl and a boy begin an epic and dangerous journey of discovery . . . Lileth Shadow, princess of darkness, is struggling with her growing powers. Castle Gloom is filling with ghosts, zombies roam the country and people throughout Gehenna are disappearing. Then Lily is attacked in her own castle by a mysterious sorcerer known as Dreamweaver and his army of jewel-spiders whose bites send victims to sleep. Thorn, and his giant bat Hades, must save Lily from the realm of sleep and help her overcome the evil Dreamweaver in order for her to reclaim her kingdom.

M . G . Leonard - Beetle Queen (The Battle of the Beetles) - Published by Chicken House (6 April 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1910002773

Cruel beetle fashionista, Lucretia Cutter, is at large with her yellow ladybird spies. When Darkus, Virginia and Bertolt discover further evidence of her evil, they're determined to stop her. But the three friends are in trouble. Darkus' dad has forbidden them to investigate any further - and Lucretia's disgusting crooks, Humphrey and Pickering, are out of prison. Hope rests on Novak, Lucretia's daughter and a Hollywood actress, but the beetle diva is always one scuttle ahead ...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

MARIA TURTSCHANINOFF - #NAONDEL BLOG TOUR - My Road to Translation

Welcome to Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books and my stop on the “Naondel” blog tour. “Naondel” is the second book in the critically acclaimed “The Red Abbey Chronicle Series” published by Pushkin Children's Books. Naondel will be hitting the bookshops on the 6th April, 2017 so it's not too long to grab yourself a copy and give it a read.  

Here Maria shares with us how the book came to be translated - My Road to translation. 
Have a read and enjoy... 
I owe quite a bit to my translator Annie Prime. It was she who, many years ago, contacted me and told me she was working on translating a sample from my novel Arra as a part of her translator’s exam, and would I like to see it? I did, and thought it was better than the sample translation my agency was using at the time, so I told my agent about it. She ended up asking Annie Prime to do the sample translation of Maresi, when that book came out, and later commissioned a translation of the entire book. It helped that Maresi is such a short novel, I think. And Annie did a fantastic job, which I think is one of the main reasons the sales abroad took off. The fact that the book won the prestigious Finlandia Junior 2014-award helped, too. It’s a testament to the quality of the translation that it’s the one my British and American publishers ended up using. And Annie has done the translation of Naondel, too. I very much hope to be able to continue working with her in the future! As I write this, Maresi has been sold to 20 territories and the trilogy to about 13 or so. And the big news last year was of course that Maresi was optioned for a movie by Film4.

Next stop on the #Naondel blog tour is: thepewterwolf.blogspot.com

 
About the author - Website: https://www.mariaturtschaninoff.com/english

Maria Turtschaninoff is a Swedish-speaking Finn who has been writing fairy tales from the age of five. However, there was often a twist: the poor farmer boy and the princess he had just saved from the evil witch did not end up marrying, because they "didn’t feel like it". Her biggest grief as a child was that no wardrobe led to Narnia.

After a detour as a journalist for a few years Turtschaninoff debuted in 2007 with a middle-grade portal fantasy and has since published four more novels, all YA fantasy. Pushkin Press has acquired world English rights to Maresi and the subsequent two novels in the Red Abbey Chronicles.

Book Synopsis: In the opulent palace of Ohaddin, women have one purpose - to obey. Some were brought here as girls, captured and enslaved; some as servant; some as wives. All of them must do what the Master tells them, for he wields a deadly and secret power. But the women have powers too. One is a healer. One can control dreams. One is a warrior. One can see everything that is coming.In their golden prison, the women wait. They plan. They write down their stories. They dream of a refuge, a safe place where girls can be free.

And, finally, when the moon glows red, they will have their revenge.

Monday, 3 April 2017

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

Sarah Driver - Sea (The Huntress Trilogy) - Published by Egmont (6 April 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1405284677

The first book in a stunning new fantasy adventure trilogy, perfect for readers aged 9+ and fans of Philip Pullman, Piers Torday, Abi Elphinstone, Katherine Rundell and Frances Hardinge.
In the sky, the fire spirits dance and ripple. Grandma says they showed our Tribe that I’d be a captain, before I was even born.
Ever since Ma died, Mouse has looked after her little brother, Sparrow, dreaming of her destiny as captain of the Huntress. But now Da’s missing, Sparrow is in danger, and a deathly cold is creeping across Trianukka . . .
Sea-churning, beast-chattering, dream-dancing, whale-riding, terrodyl-flying, world-saving adventure. 

Justin Fisher - The Gold Thief (Ned's Circus of Marvels, Book 2) - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (6 April 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0008124557

From the author of bestselling debut NED'S CIRCUS OF MARVELS… Roll up, roll up, and prepare to be AMAZED AGAIN by Ned and the marvellous, magical, monstrous flying circus!

Ned and his family are trying to be ordinary except for the small fact that they AREN’T. AT ALL. Because on the run up to Christmas everything is ruined when all the world’s gold goes missing, along with its leading scientists. Which doesn't really have anything to do with Ned… until it does. When an oily thief and his pet monster turn up at Ned's door, Ned finds himself on the run again… and racing to find out what this new villain wants.
Meanwhile, in the shadows, a machine with a mind of its own vies for power, and mysterious men in grey suits are watching the Circus of Marvels' every move. Together with his best friend Lucy, his clockwork mouse and his shadow, Ned must use his growing magical powers to try to uncover a secret that could end them all…

Dave Rudden - The Forever Court (Knights of the Borrowed Dark Book 2) - Published by Puffin (6 April 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0141356617

The second book in the brilliant Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy, perfect for fans of Skulduggery Pleasant.

Life is returning to normal for Denizen Hardwick. Well, the new normal, where he has to battle monsters in quiet Dublin bookshops and constantly struggle to contain the new powers he has been given by Mercy, the daughter of the Endless King. But Denizen may need those powers sooner than he thinks - not only are the Tenebrous stirring again but the Order of the Borrowed Dark face a new threat from much closer to home...

Scarlett Thomas - Dragon's Green: Worldquake Book One (Worldquake Sequence 1) - Published by Canongate Books (6 April 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1782117025

Effie's world comes to life with a magical GLOW-IN-THE-DARK cover
'Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It's not.
Most people don't realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can.
Especially you.'

AFTER THE WORLDQUAKE, MAGIC IS SEEPING INTO OUR WORLD 
Effie Truelove is a new pupil at the Tusitala School for the Gifted, Troubled and Strange, with its twisted grey spires and an English teacher so frightening she gives the class nightmares.
When her beloved grandfather is brutally attacked, Effie promises to look after his magical books. But then shady book-collector Leonard Levar gets his hands on them and Effie has to embark on the most dangerous adventure of her life . . .
Effie must travel to the mysterious Otherworld, unlock the hidden meaning of an old book called Dragon's Green, and brave the terrifying Diberi, a secret organisation with plans that could destroy the entire universe.
But Effie can't face the Diberi alone. Can her new school-friends Maximilian, Wolf, Lexy and Raven combine their gifts and discover their true powers in time?

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Interview With Author Amy Ephron - The Castle In the Mist



Welcome, Amy Ephron, to Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. Amy is an American author and her first novel for children The Castle in the Mist was published back in February 2017 by Philomel, Penguin Kids. The international bestselling author has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about her first children's novel and her writing. Castle in the Mist is an enchanting book that takes you on a fantastical journey into the realms of magic and beyond. Come and have a read to find out what it's all about and to inspire you to pick up a copy and give it a read. 

How would you sum up The Castle in the Mist to potential readers? 

I call “The Castle in the Mist” a modern-day mash-up of an old-fashioned children’s novel. It has one foot in the real world and another foot in… 
Call it magic or fantasy (or might they have imagined it, after all?) When I was little, I thought of books as magical places I could get lost in and I also thought that the characters and the places were real. (I still do sort of think this.)

I wanted to try to do a modern-day version, like Oz or Half Magic, all of which mix the real world with one that may be magical or fantastic two American kids, Tess & Max are sent to stay with their Aunt Evie in Hampshire, England. Tess discovers a key that lets her into the garden of a castle where she meets a young boy, just her age, also eleven, who is just as lonely as she is. 


A lot of magical things happen at the castle. Wishes sometimes do come true. And William warns her, and rightly so, to stay away from the hawthorn trees. And, also, tells her to keep the key because you never know when you might need it. 


One magical night, when there’s a blue moon, a blood moon, and a super moon all at once, strange things start to happen in the sky. Tess’s brother Max is mesmerised by the eclipse of the full moon and, by mistake, he steps into the hawthorn trees and simply disappears. And William runs after him, and he, too, disappears, and Tess has to figure out how to save them as the castle starts to disappear in the mist…. 


And I can’t tell you what happens after that… 


What would the main character in your book have to say about you? 

I would hope that Tess would want me to invite her to stay with me for the summer!! And that she would think that magical things might happen. 

What is important to you, when you write a good story? 

Place, tone, character, voice, that all of them seem real. I do believe that some of the books I love are real, the Oz really exists, that The Secret Garden is almost a work of non-fiction, that Mary Poppins was real and the Banks’ kids never grew up. 
I think the most important thing to me though is voice – how you choose to tell a story. “The Castle in the Mist” is told by a narrator, third person omniscient, which means that the narrator can sometimes see into the character’s heads. It, too, is a little old-fashioned. But some of my favorite books, like Stendahl’s The Red and the Black, are told by a third person narrator. And in the case of “The Castle in the Mist,” it allows for an amazing overview of all of the character’s lives, fears, strengths, and points of view. 

What does magic look like to you? 

Wishing for something and having it come true; coincidences that cannot be easily explained; the mere existence of love; a classroom of kids excited about learning and reading. I think it’s also a magical fact that Mr. Ripley, who I believe lives in England, thinks that I could successfully construct and craft a book set in England. (I have been to England and Hampshire a number of times though and it is a somewhat magical place.) I think Mr. Ripley believes in magic, too.


Does your book have a lesson or a moral behind it? 

Many. Believing in yourself; believing wishes can come true; trusting your instincts; paying attention to past lessons you might have learned (from your parents, teachers, your own experience) and realizing that those lessons can help you/guide you when you may have a problem. Also, believing that the best results occur when we work together. And a funny mantra for me, hash-tagged for modernity 
#believeinmagic.




What did you edit out of this book? 
There were a few flashbacks to Tess and Max’s) earlier semester at boarding school in Switzerland. My editor, Jill Santopolo, and publisher, Michael Green, both felt that the book read better, adventured better, without them. I do deeply miss Mr. Matheson, Tess’s history teacher in Switzerland, and am trying to figure out if he can make a guest appearance if I ever were to write another one… 

Have you written any other books that have not been published? 

I have written a number of novels that have been published – “A Cup of Tea,” based on a Katherine Mansfield short story (which I bought the rights to.); White Rose/una rosa blanca, set in Cuba in 1897, a novel based on a true story; One Sunday Morning, also period, set in New York City in the twenties; a book of essays, “Loose Diamonds,” some of which originally appeared in The New York Times’ and Vogue. I do have a couple of unfinished, not quite half-done manuscripts that may or may not ever go back to. I have a secret book of poetry that I’ve never shown anyone, at all. 

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? 

I can’t really speak to that. I know when a cover is just perfect for a book. “A Wrinkle in Time” comes to mind. For me, the hard copy cover of “A Cup of Tea” was simply gorgeous and perfect. I love the cover of “The Castle in the Mist” and the interior maps. I was incredibly touched – I had to do a mock-up of the map for the artist and I hand-lettered it, so he could see the castle was a castle, Aunt Evie’s house was Aunt Evie’s house, the invisible wall, the hawthorn trees... And he liked my handwriting so much that he recreated it for the map. And then Philomel created a downloadable font so that’s actually my handwriting in the chapter headings in the book, which I think is very fun and I’m very touched by it! 

What are you working on at the moment? 

That’s a secret. But I promise you, as soon as I can tell, I will!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

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

Karuna Riazi - The Gauntlet - Published by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (March 28, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1481486965

A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?

Gordon Korman - Masterminds: Payback - Published by Balzer + Bray (March 7, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-0062300058

The thrilling finale to the New York Times-bestselling Masterminds series from middle grade star author Gordon Korman. Perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and James Patterson. 
After a serious betrayal from one of their former friends, the clones of Project Osiris are on the run again. Now separated into pairs, Eli and Tori and Amber and Malik are fighting to survive in the real world.
Amber and Malik track down the one person they think can help them prove the existence of Project Osiris, notorious mob boss Gus Alabaster, also known as Malik’s DNA donor. But as Malik gets pulled into the criminal world—tantalized by hints of a real family—his actions put him and Amber into greater danger.
Eli and Tori get sucked into even bigger conspiracies as they hunt down Project Osiris’s most closely guarded secrets—who does Eli’s DNA come from? With a surprising new ally and another cross-country adventure, the four will have to work together to overcome the worst parts of themselves if they are going to end Project Osiris once and for all.

T . Ariyanna - The Mage's Son (Of Magic) - Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 17, 2017)  ISBN-13: 978-1543295627


Harry Potter clashes with Beauty and the Beast in T. Ariyanna’s stunning steampunk debut... 

Arion was born different. After enduring years of torment at the hands of his abusive father, the arrival of his thirteenth birthday reveals a shocking secret... he has magic. Arion discovers he’s a Mage, a magical person able to craft intricate pieces of technology and do incredible things.

Arion is hopeful that maybe, his newfound abilities will help him fit in for the first time in his life. 
Then a rouge spell goes awry, and Arion is unable to contain its consequences. Arion finds himself scarred with the face of a beast and fighting to contain a malicious, wisecracking demon, who’s taken up refuge inside his head. Declared a devil by the townspeople, Arion flees to an enchanted castle hidden within a dark forest. He continues to practice magic, while attempting to win the heart of Kaitlyn, the kindly maiden who has befriended him. But can Kaitlyn’s beauty tame the evil inside? After all, who could ever love a monster? 

Carol Goodman - The Metropolitans - Published by Viking Books for Young Readers (March 14, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1101997666

The day Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, four thirteen-year-olds converge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where an eccentric curator is seeking four uncommonly brave souls to track down the hidden pages of the Kelmsbury Manuscript, an ancient book of Arthurian legends that lies scattered within the museum's collection, and that holds the key to preventing a second attack on American soil.  


When Madge, Joe, Kiku, and Walt agree to help, they have no idea that the Kelmsbury is already working its magic on them. But they begin to develop extraordinary powers and experience the feelings of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Morgan le Fay, and Lancelot: courage, friendship, love...and betrayal.  Are they playing out a legend that's already been lived, over and over, across the ages?  Or can the Metropolitans forge their own story?