Friday, 30 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 29 June 2017

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

N. D. Wilson - The Door Before (100 Cupboards Prequel) - Published by Random House Books for Young Readers (June 27, 2017) - 

  • ISBN-13: 978-0449816776 

Readers everywhere were transported by the 100 cupboard doors leading to 100 worlds of adventure in the bestselling 100 Cupboards series! Now, whether you're new to the series or can't wait to know where the cupboards came from, you’ll want to open the cupboard door to this action-packed fantasy where friendships are forged, dark forces are challenged, and the adventure begins!

 
Hyacinth Smith can see things that others miss, stop attack dogs from attacking, and grow trees where no trees have grown before. But she’s never had a real home. When her father tells them they’ve inherited a house from their great-aunt, Hyacinth sees trouble brewing. Their great-aunt has been playing with forces beyond her control, using her lightning-tree forest to create doors to other worlds. When one door opens, two boys tumble through . . . bringing with them a battle with the undying witch-queen, Nimiane. Hyacinth, together with the boys, must use her newfound magic and all of her courage to journey straight into the witch’s kingdom in a daring plan to trap evil and kill the immortal.

Frank Cottrell Boyce - Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth - Published by Walden Pond Press (June 20, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062643629

Award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce returns with another one-of-a-kind story of heart, humor, and finding one’s place in the universe.

Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That's important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting. And it's even more important when your grandfather can't care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country.

Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik—a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out is an alien, and he's got a mission that requires Prez's help: the Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved.
Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez's life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list Prez has ever made—and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.

Corey Ann Haydu - The Someday Suitcase - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (June 27, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062352750

Readers who loved  The Thing About Jellyfish and Goodbye Stranger will find a mysterious magic and unforgettable friendship in The Someday Suitcase, written by the critically acclaimed author of Rules for Stealing Stars.
Clover and Danny are the kind of best friends who make each other even better. They’re so important to each other that Clover believes they’re symbiotic: her favorite science word, which describes two beings who can’t function without the other. But when Danny comes down with a mysterious illness that won’t go away, the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. So Clover decides to take matters into her own hands by making lists—list of Danny’s symptoms, his good days, his bad days. 
As the evidence piles up, only one thing becomes clear: Danny is only better when Clover is around.
Suddenly it feels like time is running out for Clover and Danny to do everything they’ve planned together—to finally see snow, to go on a trip with the suitcase they picked out together. Will science be able to save Danny, or is this the one time when magic can overcome the unthinkable?

Lisa Bunker - Felix Yz - Published by Viking Books for Young Readers (June 6, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0425288504

“If it wasn’t for the fused-with-Zyx thing, I suppose I would just be normal—whatever that means.”
 
When Felix Yz was three years old, a hyperintelligent fourth-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix—now thirteen—won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them . . . but it may end up killing them both instead. 
 
This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual—time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and a train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most?
 
Told in an unforgettable voice full of heart and humor, Felix Yz is a groundbreaking story about how we are all separate, but all connected too.

Jaleigh Johnson - The Quest to the Uncharted Lands - Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (June 13, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1101933121

From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonflycomes another magical and thrilling story that takes readers on an exciting new adventure.
 
Stella Glass dreams of exploring worlds beyond her home of Solace, but when her famous parents are sent on a historic mission to the Uncharted Lands, it’s simply too dangerous for her to join them. By order of the king, she is left behind.
 
Missing out on the excitement is one thing, but Stella is devastated at the thought of her parents flying into the unknown. So she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of staying with family as planned, she steals away and—right before takeoff—sneaks aboard the airship.
 
But Stella isn’t the only stowaway.
 
In the cargo bay is a boy who is also desperate to get to the Uncharted Lands. And someone else who’s determined to keep the ship from making it there at all. . . .

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.