Thursday, 13 June 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks June 2019 - Post Two

A . M . Howell - The Garden of Lost Secrets - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (13 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1474959551 - Paperback 

It is 1916 and twelve-year-old Clara’s father has gone to Devon to recover from gas poisoning. Clara, and the terrible secret she keeps hidden in her pinafore pocket, are sent to stay with her formidable aunt and uncle at Gardener’s Cottage in the grounds of a country estate.

Clara soon discovers that her new surroundings hold secrets of their own: a locked room and a hidden key, a mysterious boy who only appears in the gardens at night, covert meetings on misty mornings, and a fruit thief who is stealing precious pineapples from the Earl’s exotic hothouses.

But for Clara to unravel the garden’s secrets, she will have to face up to a truth she can’t bring herself to acknowledge and a war she’s desperate to forget.

Ryan Andrews - This Was Our Pact - First Second (11 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1250196958 - Hardback 

Ryan Andrews's This Was Our Pact is an astonishing, magical-realist adventure story for middle-grade readers.
It's the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they'll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars, but could that actually be true? This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and to ensure success in their mission, they've made a pact with two simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back.
The plan is to follow the river on their bikes for as long as it takes to learn the truth, but it isn't long before the pact is broken by all except for Ben and (much to Ben's disappointment) Nathaniel, the one kid who just doesn't seem to fit in.
Together, Nathaniel and Ben will travel farther than anyone has ever gone, down a winding road full of magic, wonder, and unexpected friendship*.
*And a talking bear.

Louie Stowell (Author), Davide Ortu (Ilustrator) - The Dragon in the Library - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (6 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1788000260 - Paperback 

This is the first book in a brand new series by Louie Stowell. The Dragon in The Library, which will be published by Nosy Crow, will soon hit the bookshops and libraries near you. The book will have amazing Neon artwork which you will be able to see from Mars. Whilst the book cover image has been fabulously illustrated by the very talented and rising star Davide Ortu. His collaboration makes this book a little extra special. Below is one of the inside illustrations to show you just how wonderful and engaging his artwork and the story together really are.  Book Review Here

Jeff Norton - Dino Knights - Published by Awesome Reads (6 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1912892044 - Paperback 

How to Train Your Dragon with Dinosaurs.

Imagine medieval times where the dinosaurs never went extinct. When dinosaur stable boy Henry Fairchild stops a vicious T-Rex from attacking his master, he is invited to join the most elite group in Brecklan, the brave Knights of Panterra, the Dino Knights. But before he can prove himself, the enemies of Brecklan attack with a flock of pterodactyls and kidnap Lord Harding. Whether he's ready or not, Henry and the Dino Knights mount a daring rescue mission...but nothing is what it seems. Dino Knights is a fast-paced chapter book for readers who've enjoyed Beast Quest and How to Train Your Dragon.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Katherine Rundell - The Good Thieves - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Trotting out this summer is the latest installment by Katherine Rundell. The Good Thieves will hit the shops on the 13th of June 2019. The book will be published in a lovely hardback edition by Bloomsbury Publishing. I'm a very big fan of the amazing cover that has been produced by Matt Saunders. In the finished copy, which I have not yet seen, there are some exquisite black and white chapter headers by the illustrator as well. They not only add a little slice of detail but also transport you straight back to the 1920s in New York City

This is an example of one of the images that I've had permission from the illustrator to use from his Twitter feed. You can check out some of his others at: @msaunders_ink

The magic of adventure is here to see in this book. The opening lines of the first chapter are both poetic and captivating. Vita set her jaw and nodded at the city in greeting, as a boxer greets an opponent before a fight. That is probably one of my favourite opening lines to a book for some time. It feels like a quotation from the great boxer, Muhammad Ali.

The plot is focused around a group of children (all fantastically different) who come together to right a wrong. Vita is the main character. A born fighter, she arrives on the wind with her mother from England. Fresh off the boat in New York City, she admires the horizon: tall, grey, blue and beautiful. However, Vita Marlowe is there for a reason. She has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather (Jack) has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again. So, she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. However, will Vita and her newfound friends be up to the challenge?

The story slowly creeps inside you and grips you with a brilliant all-out action heist of a plot like no other. As the adventure slowly builds, the characters personalities seep through and pull you on a journey of friendship and crazy antics that entertain. It's a story of loyalty, bravery and clever thinking. There are some brilliant moments built in which make this book both an entertaining triumph and a joy to read. 

The author has done a fantastic job of capturing the time period - approximately five years after the First World War. The children in the book radiate the feeling of recovery and anticipation as they bring their talents together to overcome any obstacles in their way. It's a fantastic story to escape into; an acrobatic circus of delights and truly wonderful storytelling with nature and wildness running at its heart. 

This is a brilliant story full of heart-stopping moments, thrills, spills and many different smiles. It's a fantastic performance - a pickpocket delight to read - where two boys with unusual skills, two girls full of determination and a host of animals find themselves in a death-defying adventure. What more could you possibly want? 

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks June 2019 - Post One

Taran Matharu - The Chosen: Book 1 (Contender) - Published by Hodder Children's Books (4 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1444938937 - Hardback - Age: 11+

In a world far from our own, where enemies come in many forms, the ultimate battle for survival is about to begin ... An epic new trilogy from the bestselling author of the Summoner series.
Convicted of a crime he didn't commit, Cade is facing a year in reform school when he finds himself suddenly transported to another realm.
Populated by bloodthirsty prehistoric creatures and fierce warriors, Cade's surroundings are full of danger. Along with his fellow students, Cade is forced to become a contender in a deadly game of the highest stakes, controlled by invisible overlords.
Who are these brutal rulers, and why did they choose Cade? Before he can find answers, Cade must get ready to fight ...

Julia Green - The House of Light - Published by OUP Oxford (6 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0192771568 - Paperback - Age: 8+

Bonnie is scavenging on a beach when she finds a battered old rowboat. And under the boat, a bare-footed boy-cold, hungry, and in need of help.

The authorities have already been troubling Bonnie and Granda for breaking rules, but how can she leave this boy when he has no-one? 

Bonnie does her best to keep the boy hidden from the border guards, but as their suspicions grow, she wonders if it's time to escape the life she's always known. Under cover of darkness, they set sail to the 'house of light' in search of a new beginning, and a sense of hope.

David Solomons - My Cousin Is a Time Traveller (My Brother is a Superhero) - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (27 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0857639929 - Paperback - Age: 8

Luke is surprised to learn that his cousin is a time traveller. He s even more surprised when she tells him that the machines are becoming intelligent and he must help her stop them taking over the world. It couldn't come at a worse time Zack has decided to give up his superpowers and live life as a normal teenage nerd. So Luke must swallow his irritation and rise to the challenge yet again ...
My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the fifth installment of Luke's laugh-out-loud adventures. From the author of My Brother Is a Superherowinner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the British Book Industry Awards Children's Book of the Year.

Alex Milway - Hotel Flamingo: Holiday Heatwave - Published by Piccadilly Press (13 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1848128057 - Paperback - Age:5+

An enchanting four-book series featuring the adventures of Anna and her array of animal friends
The temperature is rising, which can only mean one thing: it's summer! Bookings are up at Hotel Flamingo and the hotel is getting busy. Anna is excited to receive word from King Penguin royalty asking to holiday in their Royal Suite. But there's a lot to get done, and it's not easy to manage the needs of the penguins when there's a heatwave on and a huge ice shortage. Help! Can Anna get Hotel Flamingo back to its usual shining self and have happy guests all round?

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Julie Pike - The Last Spell Breather - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

This is a review of the debut book from superstar Julie Pike. The Last Spell Breather will be published this July 2019 by the lovely Oxford University Press. The beautiful book cover has been illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova. (I hope I've spelled that right?) It is absolutely stunning and will certainly attract many potential readers. This is a book that I've been looking forward to reading for some time now as it sounded magical. However, the proof is in the reading. As I hold my breath and turn the first page - what will I discover?

After the first chapter, the narrative slowly distills into a story full of spells and unique charm. Rayne and her best friend (Tom) lead you into a story packed with sparkling fantasy adventure. Every page of the book is effortlessly enjoyable. It is very easy to get lost in a magical realm that packs such a fantasy punch. It's a place that you'll just want to explore more and more, especially the GREAT LIBRARY. The imagination and the ideas used in this book are fantastic. Whilst, the magic system feels and is totally original - I loved the concept as it certainly drives the heart of the plot. However, I feel this could have been used more by extending the story to give it greater impact. 

This is a book where you can escape into an immersive world for all of the family. There is a lot for the reader to enjoy including fantastic characters and monsters: a talking fox and the very bizarre fish people. However, my personal favourites were the GROTESQUES 
with their bushy eyebrows which were brilliantly written and very amusing. There are also bouts of warm humour, smugness and a sparkling friendship full of bickering and falling out which slowly builds throughout the story. 

The more you read this story, the more the mystery unfolds. It nicely builds-up the tension with an increasing sense of danger and peril. Finally culminating with some heart-stopping, nightmarish moments that I'm sure will make you run for cover. When the last page is eventually turned and the final breath expelled, the magical fantasy encapsulates the reader forevermore. The positive ending will certainly make you want to join the characters and setting once more in another adventure. It would be lovely to see some illustrations in the next book - I feel these would really make the reading experience particularly special. A fantastic new fantasy voice in children's literature.  

Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne – she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud devils that cover her mother's precious spell book.
But it is spell breathing that keeps her village safe from the dreaded monster curse that plagues their world. It is ancient powerful magic, but as Rayne learns to her horror . . . it is also fragile.
In one clumsy move, the magic that keeps them safe is broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . .