Wednesday, 21 July 2021

New Children's Book Picks - Published US July 2021 - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books



  • Joseph Fink - The Halloween Moon -  Published by Quill Tree Books (July 27, 2021) - Hardback 

From New York Times bestselling adult author Joseph Fink comes a wickedly fun middle grade novel about a Halloween-obsessed girl named Esther Gold, who goes out trick-or-treating for one last year, only to find her town under the thrall of a mysterious presence.

Esther Gold loves Halloween more than anything in the world. So she is determined to go trick-or-treating again this year despite the fact that her parents think she is officially too old. Esther has it all planned out, from her costume to her candy-collecting strategy. But when the night rolls around, something feels . . . off.

No one is answering their door. The moon is an unnatural shade of orange. Strange children wander the streets, wearing creepy costumes that might not be costumes at all. And it seems like the only people besides Esther who are awake to see it all are her best friend, her school bully, and her grown-up next-door neighbor.

Together, this unlikely crew must find a way to lift the curse that has been placed upon their small town before it’s too late. Because someone is out to make sure Halloween never comes to an end. And even Esther doesn’t want to be trapped in this night forever.


Ryan Douglass - The Taking of Jake Livingston -  Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (July 13, 2021) - Hardback 
Get Out meets Holly Jackson in this YA social thriller where survival is not a guarantee.
Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can't decide what's worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.
 
Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he's a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win.

Victor Piñeiro - Time Villians - Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers (July 6, 2021) - Paperback 

Story Thieves meets Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library in this wacky, hilarious, and fast-paced middle-grade series starter, with the perfect combination of magic, imagination, and adventure.

Javi Santiago is trying his best not to fail sixth grade. So, when the annual "invite any three people to dinner" homework assignment rolls around, Javi enlists his best friend, Wiki, and his sister, Brady, to help him knock it out of the park.

But the dinner party is a lot more than they bargained for. The family's mysterious antique table actually brings the historical guests to the meal...and Blackbeard the Pirate is turning out to be the worst guest of all time.

Before they can say "avast, ye maties," Blackbeard escapes, determined to summon his bloodthirsty pirate crew. And as Javi, Wiki, and Brady try to figure out how to get Blackbeard back into his own time, they might have to invite some even zanier figures to set things right again...

Greg van Eekhout - Weird Kid - Published by HarperCollins (July 27, 2021) - Hardback

From the author of Cog and Voyage of the DogsWeird Kid is a hilarious and heartfelt homage to everyone who feels like they don’t belong. Perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Stuart Gibb. 

Jake Wind is trying to stay under the radar. Whose radar? Anyone who might be too interested in the fact that he has shapeshifting abilities he can’t control. Or that his parents found him as a ball of goo when he was a baby.

Keeping his powers in check is crucial, though, if he wants to live a normal life and go to middle school instead of being homeschooled (and if he wants to avoid being kidnapped and experimented on, of course). 

Things feel like they’re going his way when he survives his first day of school without transforming and makes a new friend. But when mysterious sinkholes start popping up around town—sinkholes filled with the same extraterrestrial substance as Jake—and his neighbors, classmates, and even his family start acting a little, well, weird, Jake will have to learn to use his powers in order to save his town. 

Alastair Chisholm - ADAM-2 - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

The puzzler from Edinburgh is back with his second exciting novel entitled Adam-2. The book is a summer delight published by Nosy Crow Books on 5th August 2021. The fantastically vibrant and brilliant orange book cover has been illustrated by Dan Munford - it's an absolute beauty brimming with anticipated adventure. 

I've been in a bit of a reading slump for some months now as I've been trying to find not only the time to read but also books that I will really enjoy. I think every prolific reader finds themselves in this situation from time to time. I have read a few books recently that did not hold my attention or were too reality-based when what I really wanted was a book to escape into. Fortunately, Alastair Chisholm hit the nail on the head with this book by providing everything I needed. It's a real fantasy-based book that throws up challenging questions in a world so distant from our very own. The author has set his stall out with a great imaginary world that is so absorbing you will certainly not want to leave it. 

The book starts with a dark tale where we find Adam-2 locked in a basement. Even worst, we find out he's been there for over two hundred years. I never read the synopsis for this book so, at the start, I had no idea what was going on. I think that really kept me engaged and eager to read on and find out more.  For this reason, I'm not going to mention any of the plot or synopsis in this review so you can enjoy it as much as I did. All I will say is that it is a fast-paced Sci-Fi futuristic read set in Edinburgh, Scotland. Some of the famous landmarks are used to great effect in telling the story. 

The book's characters are fantastically written and develop through the story process with great heart as they uncover what it really means to be human. It really made me think about the choices the characters were making along their journeys. The plot ending was a great climatic roller-coaster that left me both satisfied but very sad to finish. This book is full of explosive action with some epic twists and turns that create a truly stunning cinematic read. 

It's a new world... how can we save it? There's a War between HUMANS and advanced INTELLIGENCE, what more could you want? Make sure you find the time to read this book as it is surely the best book to be published this month. It will really give you a Middle-Grade fantasy boost that will make your pulse rate beat faster with every page turned. 



Thursday, 8 July 2021

New Children's Book Picks - Published July 2021 - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Steve Cole (Author), Oriol Vidal (Illustrator) - Welcome to Trashland - Published by Barrington Stoke (1 July 2021) - Paperback 

A search for treasure reveals the toxic consequences of modern life in this thrilling adventure set against the backdrop of the world’s largest e-waste dump.

Theo lives and works in Agbogbloshie in Ghana, a vast dumping ground for the world’s broken electronics. He spends his days scouring the trash for scraps of metal to sell for cash, while dreaming of going to school and escaping this harsh life. The money Theo makes is barely enough to pay for lessons, so when Emmanuel turns up with talk of buried treasure, Theo sees a chance to get out of Trashland.

But Emmanuel’s presence draws the attention of a local gang, and Theo starts to wonder if his new friend is keeping dangerous secrets ...

Lindsay Littleson - Secrets of the Last Merfolk - Published by Floris Books (22 July 2021) - Paperback 

"One of the swimmers plunged underwater with a flick of his long, dolphin-like tail. The other followed, sending an arc of spray shooting upwards, tail slapping against the choppy waves."


In the quiet Scottish seaside village of Dunlyre, Finn is enduring a winter holiday with his annoying new stepmother, wishing things could go back to how they were, while Sage is enjoying her new home, wishing things would stay as they are. 

Finn has seen mysterious swimmers in the Firth late at night. Then, from the clifftop, first Sage, then Finn, hears an eerie song. Could the local legend of merfolk living amid the waves actually be true? When the new friends meet the magical sea-people, they are amazed and impressed, but the merfolk are hiding a secret. The two human children must put aside their own problems and help in the battle against the young merfolk's ancient underwater enemy before the last of their kind are lost forever.

Kate Wilkinson (Author), Joe Berger (Illustrator) - Edie and the Box of Flits - Published by 
Piccadilly Press (22 July 2021) - Paperback 

A modern classic for readers of THE BORROWERS - about eleven-year-old Edie Winter and her magical box of winged people that only children can see.

When eleven-year-old Edie Winter finds a mysterious box on the London Underground she's amazed to discover that it's home to a family of Flits - tiny winged people. But Impy, Speckle and Nid need Edie's help. Not only do they need supplies (rice crispies, sugar sprinkles, digestive biscuits and raisins) and someone to look after them, but their brother Jot has run away and they need Edie's help to find him.

Set against the backdrop of London and its Underground network, EDIE AND THE BOX OF FLITS is a story about friendship, family and noticing the little things in life. 

With delightful black-and-white illustrations by animator, cartoonist and illustrator Joe Berger.

Lindsay Galvin - A Discovery of Dragons - Published by Chicken House (1 July 2021) - Paperback 
How to Train Your Dragon meets natural history, with real science, in this story of discovery through one of the lens of one of the most historical voyages in history.

It's 1835. Cabin boy Simon Covington is on the voyage of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with the world-famous scientist, Charles Darwin. But when Simon falls overboard during a huge storm, he washes up on an unexplored island. Stranded there, he makes a discovery that could change the world. Now it's not just his own survival at stake - the future of an undiscovered species is in his hands. But perhaps there's one person who could help...Based on the real events of Charles Darwin's legendary voyage, this is a novel that melds science with wonder.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Ella Risbridger - The Secret Detectives - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books


A gripping, beautifully written historical mystery, from an incredible new voice in children's fiction.

Ella Risbridger is a writer and editor. She is found mostly in her pink kitchen in South London. This is her first children's book which was published in June 2021 by Nosy Crow Books. The book has a fantastically eye-catching cover that showers you with a golden shimmer. The cover has been illustrated by the brilliant Ray Tierney and will certainly stand out in the bookshops this summer. Are you ready to ride the waves and enjoy a spectacular adventure? We hope you are as this one is going to develop the amateur detective skills in YOU! So it's time to roll up your sleeves and turn the pages of this book. 


The body seemed to fall for a long time. There was no splash, or if there was it was lost in the waves. Isobel was frozen to the spot for a moment before her common sense caught up with her and she stepped back quickly into the shadows. This book is a gripping whodunnit thriller that has a rhythm to the plot which is led by the characters. The group of multi-racial children each bring their different backgrounds to the story - their individual strengths and weaknesses make this detective adventure really enjoyable to read. 

The story takes place on board the S. S. Mariana which is a small boat that has set sail from Calcutta to England. One of the children witnesses something being thrown overboard in the middle of the night which leads to the start of an amazing crime to solve. Like all Agatha Christie-type stories, there are a number of great individuals who might have been involved in this despicable act. Intriguingly, what has or who has been thrown overboard the ship and why? The ship's captain insists that NOBODY is missing which provides a great opportunity for the children to solve the mystery in a funny and heartfelt way.

This is a brilliant historical mystery that I enjoyed immensely. It had a real quirkiness about it that I loved. This genre is packed with so many mystery stories but this one stands out for me. I loved the backstory and the colourful characters that we share the journey with. The author has done a remarkable job of bringing this adventure to life. It's full of historical accuracy with some detailed research of the time and period. This is a fast-paced race for time to solve the crime before the ship reaches England.  Are you ready to don your dear stalker and take notes and use your brain? If so, this is the adventure for you. Can you work it out before the children do? All you need to do is follow the clues to the bookshop to pick this one up and give it a READ.  



Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Bryony Pearce - Raising Hell - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books



This is the latest book by Bryony Pearce which was published just this month (June 2021) by Indie publisher UCLan Publishing based in Preston. Raising Hell is a great genre-busting plot that will have you completely engrossed as you romp through this highly entertaining all-out action YA Horror. 

What did you do last summer?  Well, Ivy and her friends did a very stupid thing and now there’s a rift letting dark matter into the world. In walks one of the more colourful characters you are likely to meet this summer, Ivy Elisabeth Mann. 

Ivy and her Matchette (MATILDA) need to save the world from a zombie apocalypse and, even more so, from OURSELVES! As every teenager appears to be raising the dead with badly gone wrong black magic. The HELLHOUNDS are coming but Ivy's gran is trapped inside a cat! This is a very imaginative idea that makes the plot so chaotic and crazy that YOU will have to read it. You'll find yourself fully immersed in this dark fantasy twisted plot that has great depth. I liked the fact that all the main protagonists were generally females. 

Another aspect I really loved was feeding off the emotions of all the different characters involved in the book. Drama, tension, angst, and bags of personality are all skilfully weaved into this story web that tackles the dark forces of nature. Even though it's not meant to be funny, it did leave me chuckling in a few places. However, it might be just my sense of humour in the face of death and facing things from the darkest reaches of HELL! 

I hope you have been able to follow this fast-paced adventure that starts in a school and ends in the cemetery. The book is what I would call teenage COOL - it's very relatable and off the wall. You'll journey between London and HELL in the blink of an eye. It's a gothic rampage set in an urban fantasy slipstream. It's time for action so pick up this book and give it a read. GO on, I can guarantee you will LOVE it. 

Monday, 21 June 2021

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks US - June 2021

 

Kristin L. Gray - The Amelia Six: An Amelia Earhart Mystery - Published by Simon & Schuster (June 1, 2021) - Paperback
Amelia Earhart’s famous aviator goggles go missing and eleven-year-old Millie has to find them before the night is over in this girl-powered middle-grade mystery.

Eleven-year-old Amelia Ashford—Millie to her friends (if she had any, that is)—doesn’t realize just how much adventure awaits her when she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime: to spend the night in Amelia Earhart’s childhood home with five other girls. Make that five strangers. But Millie’s mom is a pilot like the famous Amelia, and Millie would love to have something to write to her about…if only she had her address.

Once at Amelia’s house in Atchison, Kansas, Millie stumbles upon a display of Amelia’s famous flight goggles. She can’t believe her good luck, since they’re about to be relocated to a fancy museum in Washington, DC. But her luck changes quickly when the goggles disappear, and Millie was the last to see them. Soon, fingers are pointing in all directions, and someone falls strangely ill. Suddenly, a fun night of scavenger hunts and sweets takes a nosedive and the girls aren’t sure who to trust. With a blizzard raging outside and a house full of suspects, the girls have no choice but to band together. It’s up to the Amelia Six to find the culprit and return the goggles to their rightful place. Or the next body to collapse could be one of theirs.


Eric Grissom (Author), Will Perkins (Illustrator) - Goblin - Published by Dark Horse Books (June 8, 2021) - Paperback 

A Perfect Fantasy Adventure For Ages 10 and Up!

Goblin is a fantasy story about overcoming great odds and about finding light in even the darkest of places.
A young, headstrong goblin embarks on a wild journey of danger, loss, self-discovery, and sacrifice in this new graphic novel adventure.

One fateful night a sinister human warrior raids the home of the young goblin Rikt and leaves him orphaned. Angry and alone, Rikt vows to avenge the death of his parents and seeks a way to destroy the man who did this. He finds aid from unlikely allies throughout his journey and learns of a secret power hidden in the heart of the First Tree. Will Rikt survive the trials that await him on his perilous journey to the First Tree? And is Rikt truly prepared for what he may find there?


Laura Martin - The Monster Missions - Published by 
HarperCollins (June 1, 2021) - Hardback 

From the critically acclaimed author of Float and Glitch comes a new standalone adventure under the sea, perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Dan Gutman!

Berkeley and her best friend, Garth, live on an old cruise ship, scavenging for supplies from the drowned cities left behind on the ocean floor after the sea swallowed up all the land. They think they’ve seen every kind of aquatic creature, but they never expected to find sea monsters…

After awakening a Hydra, Berkeley and Garth are sent to live on a submarine, where they study and hunt sea monsters. But the Hydra wants revenge on their home ship—and if it succeeds, their families will go down with it.

Berkley, Garth, and their crew must find a way to save the ship. But monsters aren’t the only deadly things lurking in the ocean’s depths.


Cindy Lin - Treasures of the Twelve - Published by HarperCollins (June 8, 2021) - Paperback

Bursting with heart and packed with exciting new places, dangerous obstacles, and mysterious powers, Cindy Lin’s sequel to The Twelve is a page-turning race against time that’s perfect for fans of The Zodiac Legacy and Spirit Animals series!

When Usagi first met the fabled Heirs of the Twelve, she had just one goal: saving her sister, Uma.

But despite increasing her zodiac powers by becoming the new Rabbit Warrior Heir, Usagi’s attempts to rescue Uma have failed. Soon Usagi and the Heirs realize that to truly free those they love from the Dragonlord, they must take on a dangerous task: finding the ancient treasures of The Twelve.

Hidden away by the last zodiac warriors, these treasures have miraculous powers. Their wielder can create massive sandstorms, bring the clouds down to earth to enshroud everyone nearby in a thick fog, or even grant any wish they desire—for a brief time.

Usagi and the Heirs must journey farther than they ever have before and take on the riddles and obstacles that await them on their hunt for the ancient relics. 

But will they find them in time to save Uma?

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

The Best New Children's Books Picks - June 2021 - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Victoria Hislop (Author), Gill Smith (Illustrator) - Maria's Island - Published by Walker Books (3 Jun. 2021) 
A dramatic and moving story set in the same world as the international bestseller The Island from the celebrated novelist Victoria Hislop.

The absorbing story of the Cretan village of Plaka and the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece's former leper colony – is told to us by Maria Petrakis, one of the children in the original version of The Island. She tells us of the ancient and misunderstood disease of leprosy, exploring the themes of stigma, shame and the treatment of those who are different, which are as relevant for children as adults. Gill Smith's rich, full-colour illustrations will transport the reader to the timeless and beautiful Greek landscape and Mediterranean seascape.


Phil Earle - When the Sky Falls - Published by Andersen Press (3 Jun. 2021)

1941. War is raging. And one angry boy has been sent to the city, where bombers rule the skies. There, Joseph will live with Mrs F, a gruff woman with no fondness for children. Her only loves are the rundown zoo she owns and its mighty silverback gorilla, Adonis. As the weeks pass, bonds deepen and secrets are revealed, but if the bombers set Adonis rampaging free, will either of them be able to end the life of the one thing they truly love?
Inspired by a true story.

Lucy Ivison - Sequins and Secrets (The House of Serendipity) - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (10 Jun. 2021)
Welcome to The House of Serendipity, where friendships are fashioned and destinies designed amongst the ballgowns, tiaras and trifles! Introducing a gorgeously glamorous new series filled with 1920s period detail, perfect for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Robin Stevens.

Meet Myrtle Mathers and Sylvia Cartwright: two girls from different worlds bonded by a passion for fashion! They know that the perfect outfit can make dreams come true, and their dazzling designs are the talk of 1920s London... So when Agapantha Portland-Prince wants to escape her glamorous debutante ball for a life of adventure, it's their magical talents she needs. But can the girls make all their secret dreams a reality, or will this be the most stylish scandal of the century?

Discover the divine designs that make dreams come true with full-page fashion illustrations

Thiago de Moraes - A Gladiator Stole My Lunchbox - Published by Scholastic (3 Jun. 2021)

A thrilling illustrated tale complete with lions, gladiators, assassination plots and a dare-devil rescue.

A funny and easy look back at history and some of the key players from each time period, all alongside the brilliant illustrations’ My Shelves are Full

Full of historical nuggets, brilliantly illustrated and full of fun!’ A Little But a Lot

Henry is back in the present day - but he isn't happy about it. 

His little sister is driving him mad and no one believes that he travelled through time.

But all that is about to change when Henry finds himself travelling back to ancient Rome - where he soon realises that sibling rivalry can take a darker turn...

  • A toga-tickling, gladiatorial gallop through Ancient Rome! A Gladiator Stole My Lunchbox is a time-travel adventure with a difference.
  • From talented author-illustrator Thiago de Moraes, creator of A Mummy Ate My HomeworkHistory Atlas, and Myth Atlas.
  • Packed full of accidental assassination attempts, marauding lions and steaming piles of poo!

Monday, 7 June 2021

Sinéad O’Hart - Skyborn - Blog Tour Day One - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books



Hello Everybody and WELCOME to Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books. We are really delighted to be starting the #SKYBORN blog tour today celebrating the imminent release of Sinéad O’Hart’s third Middle-Grade children’s book. Which is being published by Stripes Publishing. 

The book cover is a cracker - we particularly love the choice of colour and sparkle. It has been illustrated by the very talented Sara Mulvanny and really sets the mood well. 

The other sites to visit, each day, as part of the blog tour are listed on the banner below. Make sure you drop by and say HELLO. There is a fantastic competition on Twitter to go with this post. To have a chance to win a copy of the book and a £10 Book Voucher and a bar of chocolate, all you have to do is head over to our pinned Tweet and find out more @Enchantedbooks 

Anyway, we’re now ready to kick off this amazing blog tour with our spoiler-free book review.

A watchful girl stands before the walls of a silent city. As we look over the walls, we take our first steps into a fantasy wonderland. The story starts with a rather intriguing prologue but as you turn the pages, a vortex of imagination and world-building leads through the narrative on a high wire adventure. Deadly and perilous situations lead to both surprising and captivating outcomes. 

The plot is very mysterious and enticing as it features magical and slightly dark supernatural theme. The second part of the story features a struggling circus that features larger-than-life characters who you may come to love or hate. The circus element of the story feels realistic without too much detail as it brings the story to life. It sparkles like a performer's sequin leotard!

I love books based on circus themes - the traditions and the history are all fascinating. It is easy to become immersed in this world as you do in the BOOK. You’ll find yourself instantly transported to the big top circus tent! 

Bastjan is the main character who will do anything he can to save his home and the circus. Even if it means participating in a death-defying new act. We are also introduced to a mysterious man by the name of Dr. Bauer. He and the ringmaster together make plans, however this creates a good plot twist. 

There is so much to keep you on your flexible toes. The eclectic mix of ideas make this book so enjoyable. For example, the runaway child called Alice who is a pickpocket and thief. There are also secret shape-shifting creatures, a mysterious island, a strange box, and a ride in an airship! All of which you will not want to miss. It's a pop fizz of static, a roller-coaster ride fuelled on adrenalin. There’s a lion’s roar here, an elephant's trumpet there followed by an acrobatic tumble. Finally, it all ends in a brilliantly climactic finish that you will just LOVE. Finishing this book may require a cup of YORKSHIRE tea, a chocolate biscuit, and a lie-down. This book is one to be read and savoured. 



Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Children's Book Picks - June 2021 - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Kate Gilby Smith - The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody - Published by Orion Children's Books (10 Jun. 2021)
On the day Alex was born, crowds surrounded the hospital. On her first day of school, people spied from the gates. And recently, strangers came to watch her perform in her school play ... as the llama.

But why? Alex has always been a nobody.

Then a mysterious boy named Jasper starts at school and he alone seems to know the answer. But before he can tell Alex, he disappears ... into the year 2100. Can Alex brave traveling into the future to discover what's happened to him and to unravel the secret of her own astonishing destiny ... before time runs out?

Lauren St John (Author), Rachael Dean (Illustrator) - Wave Riders - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (10 Jun. 2021)
Twins Jess and Jude Carter live a dream life sailing from one exotic destination to the next with their guardian, Gabriel. But after Gabe vanishes and a storm smashes up their lives, they’re left penniless and alone. When a wealthy, glamorous family offers them a home, everybody tells them they’re the luckiest children in the world. But the Blakeneys’ stately mansion is full of secrets – secrets that seem entangled with the twins’ own fate. As they race to uncover the truth, Jess and Jude must confront their deepest fears.

How do you solve a mystery when that mystery is you?


Efua Traore - Children of the Quicksands - Published by 
Chicken House (3 Jun. 2021)

City girl Simi is sent to stay with her long-lost grandmother in a remote Nigerian village. There's no TV, internet or phone. Not a single human-made sound can be heard at night, just the noise of birds and animals rustling in the dark forest outside.

Her witchlike grandmother dispenses advice and herbal medicine to the village, but she's tight-lipped about their family history. Something must have happened, but what?

Determined to find out, Simi disobeys her grandmother and goes exploring. Caught in the sinking red quicksand of a forbidden lake, her fantastical journey begins ...

  • A richly imagined magical fantasy adventure set in West Africa by a prize-winning new voice in children’s writing.
  • Introduces readers to Yoruba myths and legends whilst showcasing the wealth of culture, traditions, adventure, fun, joy, celebrations, music, pride and love found in Nigeria. 
  • Beautifully explores themes of grief and belonging.
  • Efua is the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018.                                      


M. G. Leonard - Twitch - Published by 
Walker Books (3 Jun. 2021)
  • From the internationally bestselling author of Beetle Boy and the Adventures on Trains series, comes the first book in The Twitchers, a brand new mystery adventure series celebrating friendship, bravery and the incredible world of birds, starring a birdwatching detective called Twitch!

    Can a birdwatcher outwit an escaped convict?

    Twitch has three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for birdwatching. On the first day of the summer holidays, he arrives at his secret hide to find police everywhere: a convicted robber has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Can Twitch use his talents for birdwatching to hunt for the dangerous prisoner and find the missing loot?

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

C. J. Dunford - FAKE NEWS - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

C. J. Dunford is a visiting Alien and former playwright. She placed the magical true story inside a plastic bag on Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh hoping that, one day, a wonderful publisher would find the account of real-life events that took place sometime last year. After all, the media and government would not want us to know that we may have been fooled by a group of highly-trained school children.  However, Fledgling Press is publishing the whole eye-witness account which has been obtained through an Alien's persuasive powers. The book will be published on the 31st of May 2021 with real banana skins woven into the cover. It's the first time this has ever been done in the publishing world and is courtesy of the inventor and illustrator, Graeme Clarke.  

Fake News is full of the truth. Do you believe in everything you read on the internet? Did you ever question what you might think to be true? This is a fantastic story that will have you scratching your head as we follow the lives of four children (and one dog) who cross paths in the most bizarre way.  The book's plot is a narrative triumph and one of my favourite reads for some time. The story really goes deep into bringing the characters to life in such a dramatic and thrilling way. The journey, as a reader, is both gripping and emotional. However, it is also very amusing at times whilst remaining true to life, in my humble opinion. 

I really think teenagers will love this book as much as adults, as there is so much in this story to inspire our own lives. The book covers a lot of sensitive subjects in a fantastic but public way. It's about being true to yourself. This is shown through the characters as they launch their own news site detailing amazingly shocking stories. The reader is required to make up their own mind as to whether they are TRUE or NOT. The characters intend to come clean, but the publicity goes to their heads. Other life events then come crashing into one mass adventure which makes for a viral calamity. This is dealt with in a very brilliant way bringing the story to a great climatic end.

The book delivers a fantasy Sci-fi element that works really well. It is full of Aliens and spies, secret services, slimy journalist investigators, and a hacker or two. There are also eco-crazy parents and some rather witty but challenging school teachers which all add to the mayhem. Not to mention the school bully! The characters plan to show people they should never believe what they read on the internet. However, this backfires in a comical way that made me laugh so much.

This is a really great book. It's slightly different from the usual books that I tend to read and love. I think it is an absolute work of genius. It's thrilling, emotional, thought-provoking, and very topical. Yet it's told in a clever, comical, and imaginatively contemporary way. It's a book that I would recommend to you all. I would love to hear your thoughts if you do read a copy.  

As this book is published by a small publisher, I have put a link (if you are interested) to buy a signed copy while stocks last. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. https://www.fledglingpress.co.uk/product-page/fake-news

P.S Don't slip on the banana skin whilst leaving this website. We take your safety as our top priority. This review has been brought to you by Radio Ripley City Central - the book review website you can trust or can you?!

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Jaclyn Moriarty - The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 


Welcome to the third book in the series The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty. It has already been published by Levine Querido (23 March 2021) in the US. However, the book was first published in the author's native country (Australia) by Allen & Unwin last year (2020). The UK version will be published by Guppy books this coming September (2021). I'm really looking forward to seeing the UK book cover which will be very different from the one above. 

This series is one of my personal all-time favourites. The author is the Queen of Australian children's books as she has written some absolutely stunning stories. This series is so quirky and original that it is an absolute delight to read. The depth of characterisation and the way the storyline connects all the books in the series together is a real work of art. The humour is written cleverly at many levels from deadpan, to truly outrageous. 

The story is another master class on how to keep the reader engrossed without knowing where the plot is going to take you. It's both simple yet deceptive, uplifting, and moralistic. The storyline explores the personal feelings of the characters. We really get to know some of the new characters and find out more about the older ones which is really interesting. 

Imagination and creativity are other amazing attributes to both the book and series. The story is set around Katherine Valley Boarding School which helps to weave the magical story to life with social interaction and keeps you on your fantasy toes. 

This is a book that needs to be explored again and again. It's a very MEMORABLE READ full of mayhem and craziness which is all told in an authentic voice that you will not be able to get out of your head for some time. I would read this book in the order of the series, so if you are in the UK you have time to read the first two books now. However, wherever you are in the world, I would urge you to take a look at which books have been published near you and buy copies today without delay. You will not be disappointed, dear reader.  

Here is the synopsis below for this book.

Esther is a middle child, in her own mind a pale reflection of siblings who are bright, shining stars. Her mother doesn't show the slightest bit of interest, no matter what Esther does. Still, she's content to go back to school, do her best, hang out with her friends, and let others take care of things. 

But her best friends aren't AT school when she gets there. Why didn't they tell her they wouldn't be coming back? Why were they silent all summer? But stuff like that happens. And it's bad luck that her new teacher makes Esther the butt of all kinds of jokes. Mrs. Pollock is rumored to be an ogre--and maybe she IS one. Could be. 

Then things go from unfortunate to outright dangerous. The mountains surrounding the school--usually sparkling with glaciers and lakes, alive with Faeries, and sheltering a quaint town with really great bakeries--are now crowded with Shadow Mages, casting a noticeable pall, and clearly--to Esther--signifying something very dark and threatening. As the people she might have depended on to help are either strangely absent or in hiding, it's left to ordinary, middle-child Esther (just Esther) to act. But she'll have to burst out of the box of mediocrity she's been but in, and do something absolutely extraordinary. 

Sunday, 16 May 2021

The Best New Children's Book Picks US - May 2021 - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Brian Young - Healer of the Water Monster - Published by Heartdrum (May 11, 2021) - Hardback 

Brian Young’s powerful debut novel tells of a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster—and comes to realize he’s a hero at heart.

When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation, he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer, with no electricity or cell service. Still, he loves spending time with Nali and with his uncle Jet, though it’s clear when Jet arrives that he brings his problems with him. 

One night, while lost in the nearby desert, Nathan finds someone extraordinary: a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story—a Water Monster—in need of help. 

Now Nathan must summon all his courage to save his new friend. With the help of other Navajo Holy Beings, Nathan is determined to save the Water Monster, and to support Uncle Jet in healing from his own pain.

The Heartdrum imprint centers a wide range of intertribal voices, visions, and stories while welcoming all young readers, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.


Sam Subity - The Last Shadow War - Published by Scholastic Press (May 4, 2021) - Hardback 

Percy Jackson meets Thor in a laugh-out-loud, action-packed adventure inspired by Norse mythology.
Twelve-year-old Abby Beckett is proud to come from a long line of elite Viking warriors known as the Aesir. She's spent her entire life training to hunt the horrific creatures known as Grendels--the ancient foe of the Aesir--just like her mother did before she died. But there's just one, small problem: No one has seen a Grendel in centuries, and the Viking Council wants to disband the Aesir . . . forever.

When her father is injured in an attack that leaves him in a coma, Abby is forced to take refuge at Vale Hall, a mysterious school in Minnesota where nothing is quite as it seems. She soon discovers the tables have turned and a Grendel is hunting her, but when she tries to alert the Viking Council, they accuse her of making up stories for attention . . . just like her mother did.

Desperate to protect her father and clear her mother's name, Abby goes on a dangerous quest to discover the truth--a journey that brings her face-to-face with some unlikely foes, including a Ping-Pong-playing sea monster with a wicked backhand, and a dark Valkyrie with a fondness for bingo. Abby quickly realizes that someone at the school is trying to stop her progress and destroy the Aesir for good. And only she can unravel the sinister plot before it's too late.


Jacqueline West - Long Lost - Published by Greenwillow Books (May 18, 2021) - Hardback 

Lost is an atmospheric, eerie mystery brimming with suspense. Fans of Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces and Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts series will lose themselves in this mesmerizing and century-spanning tale.

Eleven-year-old Fiona has just read a book that doesn’t exist.

When Fiona’s family moves to a new town to be closer to her older sister’s figure skating club—and far from Fiona’s close-knit group of friends—nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. Alone and out of place, Fiona ventures to the town’s library, a rambling mansion donated by a long-dead heiress. And there she finds a gripping mystery novel about a small town, family secrets, and a tragic disappearance.

Soon Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. With a little help from a few odd Lost Lake locals, Fiona uncovers the book’s strange history. Lost Lake is a town of restless spirits, and Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places—maybe even from the sister she thinks doesn’t care about her anymore.

Fran Wilde - Riverland - Published by Amulet Paperbacks (May 11, 2021) - Paperback 
The story of two sisters who must journey to a magical world to save their home in this stunning middle-grade novel, which won the 2019 Andre Norton Nebula Award—now in paperback

When things go bad at home, sisters Eleanor and Mike hide in a secret place under Eleanor’s bed, telling stories about how one day, their real parents will come and save them. Often, it seems those stories and their mother’s house magic are all that keep them safe from busybodies and their dad’s temper. But when their father breaks a family heirloom, a glass witch ball, a river suddenly appears beneath the bed, and Eleanor and Mike fall into a world where dreams are born, nightmares struggle to break into the real world, and secrets have big consequences. Full of both adventure and heart, Riverland is a story about the bond between two sisters and how they must make their own magic to protect each other and save the ones they love.