Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Barry Hutchison - Invisible Fiends:Mr Mumbles - Book Review

Book Review by Mr Mumbles and Mr Ripley

Mr Mumbles stumbles down a dark alleyway in search of young readers who own a copy of this book. The anticipation and the feeling of horror is what he feeds on as you read the pages which lie within this book. He could be lurking in a neighbourhood near you - his tall hat, big ears and bushy eyebrows, dancing in the moonlight, give a very big clue to this creatures whereabouts. If you unfortunately bump into him in the night, I suggest you run the other way.
Kyle's imaginary friend doesn't exist or he didn't until one day, when he heard something lurking in the attic. The story takes on a twisted tale of persual by his imaginary friend, who becomes not so friendly any more. There is a grudge to settle leaving Kyle running for his life.
This is a new series of exceedingly good books from a new voice in children's horror books. The book first came to my attention in the pre-run up to this years Bologna Book Fair as HarperCollins were showcasing this book; great things were said about this fresh new project.
The imaginative characters in this book feel realistic and as we speak, Mr Mumbles is on a train to Scotland, to find his creator and find out more about himself.
The feeling this book gives is not for the faint-hearted; its twists and turns regarding the families past is too much to bear. The action and the battle scars are also severe.
I loved reading this book as I re-lived all the dangers and heart stopping momments throughout its entirety. It makes it a top read for all children and adults; leaving an everlasting edgy feeling as Mr Mumbles is a well-crafted character in the making. The book has lots to offer and would work really well as a film. I give this book five out five; I will definitely follow Mr Mumbles on his next outing - to the grave yard!

Book published by HarperCollins Children's Books 7 Jan 2010

Book synopsis

Kyle's imaginary friend from childhood is back! with a vengeance. Kyle hasn't seen Mr Mumbles in years. And there's a good reason for that: Mr Mumbles doesn't exist. But now Kyle's imaginary friend is back, and Kyle doesn't have time to worry about why. Only one thing matters: staying alive! A major series from a fresh new talent, brought to you by the publisher that put horror on the map.

About the author

Barry Hutchison is from the Highlands of Scotland, currently writing books for children.
Over the past decade and a bit I’ve written everything from screenplays to magazine articles, but didn’t turn my hand to children’s books until late 2006, at the suggestion of another author, Tommy Donbavand.

Since then I’ve written six 7-9 year old adventure novels for Egmont Press, and have recently sold Invisible Fiends, a six book horror-series, to HarperCollins Children’s Books.

I am thirty-one years old – but on a good day could easily pass for mid-forties – and live happily with my long-term partner and our six year old son.

I am tall – but not like the BFG or that – and like seafood, comics and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Rebecca Stead - When You Reach Me - Guest Review

This looks a great read from the U.S I have heard really good things about this book.

Book Review by Meghan Cox Gurdon (Thanks for this great Review!)

Young readers may not realize how terrific “When You Reach Me” is until they’ve almost finished it. Rebecca Stead’s writing here is so clean and unfussy that it’s ­almost deceptive: The complexity of the story is obvious in hindsight, but only the most attentive children are likely to catch all the author’s clues the first time through. At its heart, the book is a mystery, but ­precisely what puzzle is being solved in these closely plotted pages remains itself a mystery until the end, when the main character has a series of jaw-dropping realizations. We see events unfolding through the eyes of 12-year-old Miranda, who lives with her single mother in a scruffy Manhattan high-rise in 1979. A savvy latchkey kid, Miranda normally walks home from school with her best friend, Sal, past the intimidating boys who lurk by the garage and past the crazy homeless guy who has recently started hanging out on the corner. Then things start going wrong. One of the garage boys ­inexplicably punches Sal in the stomach. Suddenly, Sal won’t talk to Miranda, and someone steals the ­extra key to her apartment. Soon, Miranda begins ­receiving enigmatic notes on bits of paper: “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own,” reads the first message. “The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you.” Readers age 9-15 (and older) will share Miranda’s wonderment as she discovers who has been communicating with her, and why, and are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward.

Book Published by Wendy Lamb Books July 14, 2009

Book Synopsis

Four mysterious letters change Miranda's world forever. By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a new kid for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then Miranda finds a mysterious note scrawled on a tiny slip of paper: I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own. I must ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Philip Reeve - No Such Thing As Dragons Book Review

(Picture used from Amazon)

Mr Ripley's Book Review

I am a really big fan of Philip Reeve's work. So the day I found out he had a new book coming out, I had to find out if I could get myself a pre-publication copy. I am rarely able to wait for books, so when my copy landed from the skies I was chuffed to bits and eager to read it.
This is a new tale from Philip which is told in a simple, traditional way which is both enjoyable and addictive. I literally could not put it down, until I'd read the whole book in one go (the best way to read a book in my opinion.)
This is a majestic tale of dragons, written with a different approach which is neither predictable or repetitive. The story starts when Ansel, a mute boy, is sold by his by his father to a heroic dragon slayer. They both set out to find and kill the mythical beast of a dragon, but is there really a dragon or is it all fantasy?
The book is a great read for all ages and one I would recommend to reluctant readers. I particularly appreciated the small sketches, incorporated into each chapter page, which give a visual depiction of the on-going story. This plot is simple yet descriptive, with an engaging and gripping adventure. The amazing fantasy transports the reader into the eyes of one of the characters used in the book. The ending takes on an unexpected twist which adds to the possibility of a sequel, I hope!! I give this book four out of five.

Book Published by Scholastic 5 Oct 2009

Book Synopsis

Ansel's new master slays dragons for a living. He says he's hunted the monstrous worms all over Christendom and has the scars to prove it. But is Brock just a clever trickster in shining armour? Ansel is sure there are no such things as dragons. So what is the man-eating creature that makes its lair in the crags of Dragon Mountain? Ansel and Brock must climb the ice face to discover the terrifying truth.

More books by Philip Reeve

Hungry City Chronicles
1. Mortal Engines (2001)
2. Predator's Gold (2003)
3. Infernal Devices (2005)
4. A Darkling Plain (2006)
Mortal Engines Quartet (omnibus) (2009)

Buster Bayliss
4. Custardfinger (2003)
The Big Freeze (2002)
Day of the Hamster (2002)
Night of the Living Veg (2002)

1. Larklight (2006)
2. Starcross (2007)
3. Mothstorm (2008)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Daniel and Dina Nayeri - Another Faust Book Review

Mr Ripley's book review

I have to say before I start this review, that this is a style of book that I would not normally read. But for research and exploration in to the unknown I decided to read it anyway.
The book starts out on a journey with five children who vanish from home; five years later they are introduced to the elite at Manhattan Marlowe School by their strange governess. The tale tantalises and grips the reader from this point on, setting a chilling tale with epic proportions. The further this story is entered, the more it leads you into the different worlds of each character. Madame Vileroy manipulates all the children gaining control over their actions. The outcome of each scenario is well-crafted and educated in its setting.
The book has a lot to offer the reader on many levels and is well written; I appreciated its ending. Unfortunately at various points I lost the plot a little due to the overly complicated and detailed character dialogue. I give this book three out of five as it unfortunately proved to be not my cup of tea.

Book Published by Candlewick August 25, 2009 Young Adult

Book Synopsis

One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish — only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary "gifts." But as the students claw their way up — reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty — they start to suffer the side effects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins. At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary re imagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.

About the Author

Daniel Nayeri has held many book-related jobs, including editor, literary agent, and children’s librarian. He is also a professional pastry chef and award-winning stuntman.

His sister, Dina Nayeri Viergutz, is a former teaching fellow in economics who holds both an MBA and a master’s of education from Harvard University. Both were born in Iran and now live in New York City and Amsterdam, respectively.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Charlie Higson Talks about his new book The Enemy

Thanks for the comment about this trailer I thought I would put it up to show you all!
Also see book review on this site.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Matt Hamilton - Strathcarnage Illustrated By Chris Odgers

Book Synopsis (This is not suitable for Children)

As the ragged stranger shuffled into the police station in the small coastal town under cover of darkness, no-one noticed him. Announcing his arrival to the two decadent local lawmen, the visitor claimed to possess details of a mythical Scottish village so notorious and terrifying that even the name had long since fallen from use... But now it had returned. Strathcarnage was alive.

The stranger not only claimed to know where the lost village lay hidden. He had already popped in for a visit.

And he had carried back with him the astonishing and hideous tales to prove it. Would these accounts be enough to persuade his sceptical audience? Could he be trusted? Could any of those present resist the possibility of the ancient town of legend really existing? What tragedy had this man witnessed and what deeply personal mysteries could his information perhaps solve?

Dare you join him as he reveals all, laying bare the twisted secrets at the dark heart of the myth?

The myth of Strathcarnage.

Note from Chris Odgers.

Heads up for the novel ‘Strathcarnage’ that is due to be released on the 22nd of July 2009. The debut novel by Scottish author Matt Hamilton concerns tales from a debauched hidden town beneath the Scottish cliffs, having been founded by shipwrecked lunatics generations before. Chris Odgers has provided 19 black and white chapter illustrations to accompany the 305p, hard backed novel.
More information and updates can be found at the author website: www.strathcarnage.com and a few more images at our Sawhorse Books site: www.sawhorse.co.uk
Originally intended to be released by Sawhorse Books, the logistics of publishing a novel we’re a little much for our picture book company, so Matt found a home at Matador, where the book is also available, as well as through amazon, and other online booksellers. Also good high street book shops, if you are in the UK.

I will be also auctioning off the artwork from the book in the very near future for those who wish to own an original documented piece from the town. News on the next Sawhorse picture book release will be updated with images on the sawhorse site very soon…

That’s all for now, thank you for your time and hope this mail finds you well.

About the Author

Matt Hamilton was born in Glasgow in 1969.

After various amusing interludes as a plant labourer, a shop warehouseman and a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant, he escaped to Glasgow University where he studied Mexican politics, Marxist feminism and the post-modern philosophical impact of the subsidised university canteen all day breakfast.

On being offered a Masters degree as a clear enticement to leave, he later returned to the University undercover to both excite and alarm the other members of a creative writing course, before returning into hiding to devote himself full time to the creation of Strathcarnage.

He now lives a monastic existence in Falkirk, within sight of a colossal chemical plant, the billowing fumes from which may be partly to blame for the twisted imagination you shall soon find yourself at the mercy of, and hopefully highly amused by.

Strathcarnage is his first novel, and the first in a series set in the twisted mythical village.

Matt is currently at work on the next installment in the series and on a related book of Strathcarnage verse.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Mark Haddon - Boom! Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review

This book was originally published in 1992 under the great title Gridzbi Spudvetch! But Mark states that he thinks the title didn't entice sales, as no one knew how to pronounce it or had any idea as to the content of the book. As a result the book went out of print. However a call for it to be republished came and Mark has just rewritten the story; introducing it to a new audience and I'm really glad he did.
This is a great family read which will pull in all readers, of any age. It's a really fun adventure which involves a trip to another planet and back, as part of a galactic mission to save Planet Earth. The adventure starts when two school friends (Jimbo and Charlie) bug their teachers' staffroom to find out if Jimbo is going to be sent away to a Special School. But on listening to the overheard conversations of the teachers, they find two of the more 'quirky' teachers talking a strange language. Subsequently this sends them on a mission to find out the mystery behind them.

I found the mix of humour and descriptive language particularly enjoyable to read. The story flowed from page to page in this gravity-action madness. The narrative voice was well written and the on-going plot was not predictable. In fact it became a very addictive read; to the point of the pages being turned faster than a rocket setting off on a space mission to the moon!

This book adds another feather to Mark's cap as he has managed to write yet another good quality book, alongside his other published gems. This book gets a big four out of five as it is a great read for the younger person, we could do with more books as exciting as this one.

Published by David Fickling Books 3 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

From the moment that Jim and his best friend Charlie bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way. But what does 'spudvetch' mean, and why do Mr Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps Kidd and Pearce are bank robbers talking in code. Perhaps they're spies. Perhaps they're aliens. Whatever they are, Jimbo and Charlie are determined to find out. There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end in one way ...with a BOOM. Note: This book was first published in 1992 under the title "Gridzbi Spudvetch!" It has now been completely re-written (Mark has changed pretty much every sentence one way or another) and given a new title that is much easier to pronounce.

About the Author

Mark Haddon is an author, illustrator and screenwriter who has written fifteen books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003. It won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award. Mark Haddon lives in Oxford.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

New Children's Books For September 2009 (paperbacks)

So many great books to be released in September. All these books should keep you busy and excited in the anticipation of getting your hands on a copy. Always look forward to any of your comments and happy reading!

Mark Haddon - Boom! - Published by David Fickling Books 3 Sep 2009

Books Synopsis

From the moment that Jim and his best friend Charlie bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way. But what does 'spudvetch' mean, and why do Mr Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps Kidd and Pearce are bank robbers talking in code. Perhaps they're spies. Perhaps they're aliens. Whatever they are, Jimbo and Charlie are determined to find out. There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end in one way ...with a BOOM. Note: This book was first published in 1992 under the title "Gridzbi Spudvetch!" It has now been completely re-written (Mark has changed pretty much every sentence one way or another) and given a new title that is much easier to pronounce

Simon Holt - The Devouring: Soulstice - Published by Puffin 3 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

Beware the darkness and the light. They will steal your soul in day or night. In summer’s warmth or winter’s cold Your life will end when the Vours take hold. In the fearscape no one can hear you cry, And in its depth your soul will die. Reggie Halloway thought she was finished with the Vours – the demons who had possessed her brother, Henry – forever. She'd once faced them in a deathly battle for Henry’s soul and now she wants to forget them. But Quinn, the Vour she left at the bottom of a lake, is back. And he is not alone.

Mark Walden - Dreadnought (H.I.V.E) - Published by Bloomsbury Publishing 7 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

A renegade faction of the world's most powerful villains is intent on destroying G.L.O.V.E. (Global League Of Villainous Enterprises) and showing the world the true face of evil. The Disciples begin by hijacking Diabolus Darkdoom's Airborne command post, then they kidnap his son and his son's best friend. Unfortunately for them, Nigel Darkdoom (and Franz) also happen to be Otto's friends. Heading out to America, Otto, Wing et al embark on a perilous and highly unauthorised rescue operation. Cut off from the support of H.I.V.E. and on the run from American security forces the hunt for their friends leads to one of the US military's most secret facilities. It becomes clear that the Disciples are not all they appear and in a desperate race against time Otto must work out who his real friends are to prevent the Disciples from completing their true objective. Only Otto can save the world from domination by a sinister new world order but it might be that the price he has to pay is just too high. When it comes to the crunch will he be prepared to sacrifice himself?

Suzanne Collins - Catching Fire (Hunger games Trilogy) - Published by Scholastic 7 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying... The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games.

Josh Lacey - Two Tigers on a String (Misfitz Mysteries) - Published by Marion Lloyd Books 7 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

The second thrilling adventure in the Misfitz series, about four children who share four parents and find themselves caught up in some very unusual mysteries. One afternoon, Frank comes home fromschool to an empty flat. His mother has disappeared. She isn't back that night. Or the next. Where has she gone? How will Frank find her? It's a job for the Misfitz. Together, they sneak out of their home, catch a train across the country and search for clues.They soon find themselves on the trail of a mysterious cult, led by a frightening figure known only as the Tiger.

Mike Wilks - MirrorShade (Mirrorscape) - Published by Egmont Books Ltd 7 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

Something has gone terribly wrong. Mel and his friends have been locked in Deep Trouble prison in the Mirrorscape, while their evil Mirrorshades - who look exactly like them - are free to cause havoc in Vlam. Luckily, their old friends Goldie and Pilfer - the invisible burglar - are on hand to help them break out and try to prove their innocence. But arson, forgery and theft are the least of what their doubles have been up to. They're involved in a plot that could destroy our heroes. The race to find the mysterious Mirrortree is on! Can the real Mel, Ludo and Wren defeat their enemies in time? The third funny, fast-paced adventure in the fantastical world of the Mirrorscape.

B.R Collins - A Trick of the Dark - Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 7 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

Zach and his sister Annis have been uprooted by their parents from their comfortable home to a remote and half-built barn in France. Zach is being removed from his 'bad-influence' friends, their parents are trying to salvage their marriage and still remain on speaking terms whilst the bitterness of their father's affair bubbles underneath the surface. And Annis - Annis just keeps going, keeping her head down, trying to keep it together. So far so normal. And then Zach, uncommunicative and contrary as ever these days, defies everything their parents have said and makes his way to the unsafe ruined building at the edge of their new garden, and leans up against the wall. The wall bulges, totters - and suddenly collapses on top of him. Annis, horrified, sees him crumpled on the ground. Desperate, she races towards him, not daring to think anything at all. She sees him, on the ground, broken, silent, not there any more. And then, unbelievably, he moves. Zach moves. Zach, in an extraordinary and instinctive decision, has broken his bond with his own soul, the essence of himself. By doing so he has cheated death. By doing so he has also cheated life. He is unable to touch any human person again. And the essence of himself, his 'other', his soul, is chasing, chasing him, determined to rejoin what should rightfully be together. Zach is on the run, from himself, whom he can never escape, from death, but also from the life that he can never enjoy again. Perhaps only a sister can help him now. An extraordinary, electric and tautly thrilling new novel from the highly acclaimed debut author of The Traitor Game.

Douglas Bruton - The Chess Piece Magician - Published by Floris Books 10 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

When Corrie's family returns to Uig Bay on the Isle of Lewis for yet another miserable summer holiday, he has no idea of the incredible adventure that lies ahead. He finds a strange figurine on a windswept beach, which looks very like the ancient chess pieces found there centuries ago ...but this one has a magician's staff. Corrie makes friends with local girl, Kat, who tells him the island's legends - of a terrible sea serpent who summoned up never-ending winter, and of a powerful magician who finally banished him. When Corrie hears a voice in the night and the strange little figure starts to glow, he finds himself drawn into an incredible battle between good and evil. Douglas Bruton's brilliant first novel tells a fictional story behind the famed Lewis chessmen, which date from the 12th century and were found in Uig Bay in the 1830s. This gripping fantasy adventure will have both boys and girls on the edge of their seats.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Alan Gibbons - Renegade - Hell's Underground Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review for Alan Gibbons - Renegade

This book arrived unexpectedly in the post this week and I was intrigued to learn more about both the book and author. Interestingly I found out that the author has written many acclaimed books in this field. I was quite intrigued to read 'Renegade' and become more familiar with Alan's style of writing. My only concern was that this was the third book in the series (Hell's Underground) and I wasn't sure if I might have missed a crucial storyline (within previous books) which would affect my understanding of this novel. But on reading it the first thing I noticed was how it read like a stand-a-lone book and never at any part of the story did I become lost, in fact I was gripped by the tale.
This is a truly amazing, well-crafted story, written by a master author who understands this genre well. The book is set in 1830's London in the seedy alleyways of the East End where Paul meets a powerful ancestor. This story is seeped in macabre and dark events which produce an incredibly powerful storyline. I particularly appreciated the atmospheric depiction of London which brought together the series of events that began to unfold.
The imaginative and memorable plot became a drive to finish the book. I found the style both accessible and refreshing, it was both easy and compulsive to read the book in one sitting. The uniqueness of blending reality and fiction within the same realm was incredibly fascinating and intellectually stimulating.
An absolute must for any reader of children's books. I give this book five out of five and have now set myself the challenge to read books 1 and 2 - I'm sure I'll be equally besotted.

Book synopsis

Paul has met his most audacious - and powerful - ancestor yet, Samuel Rector, who seemingly has the entire East End in thrall to him in the 1830s. His legion of 'rat boys' use terror and menace ordinarily, but with the demon seed inside them, their powers know no end. Their only match is Paul, the renegade, the one member of the Rector clan determined to strike each poisoned generation from the family history. But nobody is stronger than Lud, the King of London, struggling against imprisonment in his cell where the city's five gates meet.

About the author

Alan Gibbons is an author of children's books and a Blue Peter Book Award. He currently lives in Liverpool, [England]], as he used to teach in a primary school. His father was a farm laborer, but was hurt in an accident when Alan was eight years old. The family had to move to the city where Alan experienced bullying for the first time, the bullies made comments about his surname. He began to write for pupils as a teacher, but never tried to get any of his work published.
Gibbons trained to be a teacher in his mid-thirties and starting writing short stories for his students. Later, he began to write professionally.In 2000, he won the Blue Peter Book Award in the "The Book I Couldn't Put Down" category for Shadow of the Minotaur. He was a judge for the 2001 Blue Peter Book Awards.
In addition to being a full-time writer, he is an educational consultant and speaks at schools across the UK and abroad He has been a regular speaker at the Edinburgh and London Book Festivals, the Northern Children's Book Festival, Hay on Wye and Children's Books Ireland.His work is published in nineteen languages and he visits many schools internationally.

Hell's Underground series:

1. Scared to Death (2007)

2. The Demon Assassin (2008)

3. Renegade (2009)

4. Witch Breed (2010)

Sunday, 12 July 2009

New Children's Books for September 2009 (Hardbacks)

The back to school month of September is always a busy month for new books to be launched. This year is no exception as there are some great books due to be published. These are some of the best books to tempt you into planing advance purchases.
The next post will be for paperback releases of which there are quiet a few! So it may take me some time to get that post ready for you. Look forward to any comments. Thanks very much for reading.

Henry Chancellor - The Hidden World: The Remarkable Adventures of Tom Scatterhorn - Published by OUP Oxford Sep 2009 (Book Two. I really loved book One.)

Book Synopsis

Tom is back at the Scatterhorn Museum, looking forward to spending some time there while his parents are away on one of their adventures. But an unexpected visitor called Pearl Smoot throws everything into disarray when she arrives with an incredible story. She says Tom's old enemy, Don Gervase Askary, has taken her father and brother - and what's more, she claims he has Tom's parents too. Together Tom and Pearl set out on a perilous journey to rescue their families - a journey that will take them in and out of time, to exotic foreign lands, and finally into the secret hidden world of Scarazand, stronghold of the terrifying Don Gervase himself . . . A scintillating sequel to the first fantastic Tom Scatterhorn book, The Museum's Secret.

Robert Muchamore - Brigands M.C. (CHERUB) - Published by Hodder Children's Books 3 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

Every CHERUB agent comes from somewhere. Dante Scott still has nightmares about the death of his family, brutally murdered by a biker gang. Dante is given the chance to become a member of CHERUB, a trained professional with one essential advantage: adults never suspect that children are spying on them. But when Dante joins James and Lauren Adams on a mission to infiltrate Brigands Motorcycle Club, he’s ready to use everything he’s learned to get revenge on the people who killed his family ...

Charlie Higson - The Enemy - Published by Puffin Books 3 Sep 2009 - (See Book Review)

Book Synopsis

They'll chase you. They'll rip you open. They'll feed on you...When the sickness came, every parent, policeman, politician - every adult - fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground - the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there - alive?

Jenny Nimmo - Charlie Bone and the Red Knight - Published by Egmont Books Ltd 7 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

This is the eighth and final thrilling magical adventure starring Charlie Bone! The race to find the box containing the secret regarding the Bloors' fortune has become deadly. The Bloors are gathering their evil forces - thieves, poisoners, kidnappers, swindlers and even murderers from Piminy Street and an expert magical swordsman from the seventeenth century. And Lord Grimwald, Dagbert's father, is enlisted to drown Charlie's father and mother on their second honeymoon using his magical Sea Globe. Charlie is determined to stop them from finding the box and destroying it. But with the Pets' Cafe closed down, Billy trapped in Badlock and one of his friends tricked into helping the Bloors, it looks like his only hope might be the mysterious Red Knight. But who is the Red Knight? And can he help Charlie defeat the Bloors once and for all? All the magical threads come together in this amazing finale to a hugely compelling series.

Jessica Meats - Child of the Hive - Published by Book Guild Ltd 30 Sep 2009 (Looking Forward to reading this one.)

Book Synopsis

Will is different... 'special'. He's a genius at maths and even though he's still at school studying for his A levels, he lives on his own in a dingy, run-down bed-sit and has to work at night to support himself. But there's something more that sets him apart - something he has to keep hidden from everyone, even his friends. Otherwise, he risks blowing his cover or, worse, losing his life…

Sophie is 'special' too. Deep in the bowels of a secret government facility she spends her days colouring in seemingly unfathomable patterns on endless sheets of graph paper, never speaking a word. To those around her she seems like a simpleton, but little do they suspect that she, like them, is fighting a secret war - a war against the deadly organization known as the Hive.

Set in a Britain of the near future, Child of the Hive is both a tense sci-fi thriller and a gripping philosophical exploration of what it means to be human in a world of ever-increasing technological sophistication. An unputdownable read.

Mr Ripley's Picture book Pick for September is:

Daniela Drescher - Merlina and the Magic Spell - Published by Floris Books 24 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

It's harvest time, and Merlina the little sorceress and her friend Igor the dragon are busily gathering fruit and vegetables from their garden. When Igor stands on a sharp thorn, Merlina has to find the right spell to make his toe better. Several not-so-magic spells later and the thorn is still there, and poor Igor is still in pain. That is, until he tries a tasty-looking chilli pepper, and gets quite a shock! Maybe magic doesn't always hold the key to their problems...Daniela Drescher brings the charming world of Merlina the struggling sorceress to life with her beautiful illustrations. Each page is packed with delightful details for children to enjoy time and time again.

Mr Ripley's Young Person's Book For September is :

David Melling - Ghost Goblin:Book Five - Published By Hodder Children's Books 3 Sep 2009

Book Synopsis

The land of the goblins is hidden, but not so far away. If you look carefully, you might just find it ...

Drysniff, Sludge and Gusset have been squashed by a pig and turned into ghosts. They've been given a fine new home, but there's just one problem: the Windy Nibblers are living there already. Sounds like the only answer is a haunting competition. May the scariest ghosts win!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Cathy Brett - Ember Fury Book Review

Mrs Ripley's Review

Ember Fury - a great character name and also symbolic of two strong themes that run throughout the book, fire and anger. This carefully constructed book engages the reader through its content and graphics. The word art and attention to detail, regarding the structure and layout , add extra layers to the story dimension.
The lifestyle of a celebrity (Ember’s Dad) is portrayed frankly through exploited friendships and indulgent motives. Interestingly the materialistic world, that many youngsters today aspire to live in, is shown to be a shallow and lonely world where trust and loyalty are not guaranteed qualities within people.
Ned, the character that no-one else but Ember can see, provides an interesting parallel through the role of his loving family unit and fire. Both of which, in the end, have a major influence on Ember’s life.
I thought this book was thought provoking and well constructed. It had many layers of understanding which could engage the reader at different levels. Although at times I felt the story swapped and changed into parallel worlds, a little too much


Pyromania: A mental derangement, excitement or excessive enthusiasm for fire.
Having celebrity parents isn’t as hot as it sounds. Yes, there’s money to burn, fame and some totally smoking guys...But when your dad’s more interested in blazing a trail to the top of the charts than why you got kicked out of school, again, it can make you seriously angry. And if there’s one thing Ember knows, it’s that the smallest spark of anger can ignite a whole heap of trouble...

Published by Headline 6 Aug 2009

About the Author

Cathy Brett has been scribbling stuff for more than twenty years - as a fashion illustrator, as a jet-setting spotter of global trends and as a consultant to the behemoths of the British high street.
She now lectures in design and unashamedly plunders her students' lives for sensational storylines and characters.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Tim Kehoe - The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow - book review

Mr Ripley's book review

I really liked the look of this book. I actually took it to work to read and some of my staff wanted to read it after me, which is something. It's a super cool book with a quirky style sketch on the front and even more super sketches, in the section marked this notebook belongs to: Vincent Shadow, showing all his mad toy inventions. I loved the simple story which had all the imagination of the 'great' Roald Dahl. It's about a boy extraordinaire, who has the creative mind of a genius misunderstood. When his dad re-marries (after his mum dies) he finds himself with three stepsisters and a stepmum, who is not the warmest person towards Vincent. So he finds himself leaving New York, his secret toy laboratory and his inventing days all behind him.
This is a good, refreshing story which leaves a great taste for the reader. I did find some characteristics similar to the Blue Balliett books. This book is aimed at 8-12 year olds but will appeal to everyone.
I give this book four out of five, only on the account that I wanted so many more pages to read. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next episode.

Book published By Little Brown and Company in November 2009 (U.S only)

Book synopsis

Eleven-year-old Vincent Shadow dreamed of being a toy inventor. He had notebooks full of ideas bubbles that carried sound, rockets that pop into kites, and a football that would rather bite than be caught.
Unfortunately, the secret attic lab where Vincent built his prototypes had seen more disasters than triumphs. But a chance encounter with eccentric toy inventor Howard G. Whiz, and the discovery of long-lost inventions by one of the world s greatest scientists would change Vincent s life forever.

Written by award-winning toy inventor Tim Kehoe, The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow is sure to delight young readers and send their imaginations soaring!

About the Author

Tim Kehoe is the inventor of numerous toys, including the world s first colored bubbles Zubbles, which won Popular Science magazine s Grand Prize for Innovation in 2005. Recently named one of America s 100 Best by Reader s Digest, Tim lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife and five children.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

David Whitley - The Midnight Charter (Author Profile)

I have had lots of interest about this particular author and his debut book, so I have published anything and everything I could find on him and his great book.

David Whitley was born in 1984 and graduated from the University of Oxford with a double First in English Literature and a passion for writing children’s fiction.
At age 17 his first children’s novel was shortlisted for the Kathleen Fidler Award and at 20 he won the Cheshire Prize for Literature for a children’s short story, the youngest writer ever to win this prestigious award, presented by Michael Morpurgo.
TV quiz fans will have spotted David on BBC2’s University Challenge where he was a member of the winning Corpus Christi team who beat all comers to become Series Champions in 2005. With viewing figures of over 3 million per show, he still gets stopped in the street by people offering him a ‘starter for ten’!
High profile auctions took place across the globe for David Whitley’s dazzling novel, The Midnight Charter. Puffin’s Fiction Publisher, Sarah Hughes, secured UK and Commonwealth rights. Whilst dealing with power struggles, morality and corruption, The Midnight Charter, aimed at a ten plus readership, is also part conspiracy thriller, and part pure fantasy. It is a wonderfully compelling read which asks important questions about today’s society.

This Article is from the Chester Chronicle Written by Michael Green. Thanks very much!
Young Chester writer has debut novel snapped up by publishing giants
May 5 2009 by Michael Green, Chester Chronicle

A NOVEL approach to literature has garnered a promising young writer a big book deal for his first work.

The debut novel of 24-year-old David Whitley, The Midnight Charter, will be published by Puffin Books this summer.

At 17, his first children’s novel was shortlisted for the Kathleen Fidler Award and at 20 he won the Cheshire Prize for Literature for a children’s short story – the youngest writer ever to win the award.

He began The Midnight Charter while reading English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford – and won University Challenge in the meantime.

In a similar vein to Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy, David’s novel tells a fantastical tale with a worldly message.

He said: “After I finished my course, my parents said they would support my plan to take a gap year and have a go at writing. Assuming nothing would come of it, I planned to go back to university and do a masters.”

But when now agent Charlie Viney expressed an interest in his style of writing, David’s work was sent to publishers worldwide. Even before it hits the shelves here, the book has been released in Germany – one of 18 countries and 12 languages the book will be released in.

He added: “It starts to feel normal then I think about things like that. It’s still a huge thrill.”

Part conspiracy thriller, part fantasy, The Midnight Charter is a children’s book dealing with morality, corruption and power. It is set in the fictional 18th century city of Agora where anything can be bought and sold and even children are possessions until their twelfth birthday.

David says encouragement at King’s provided the impetus to pursue his writing talent.

“Going to King’s sparked off the love of writing and reading,” he said.

“My English teacher Anne Marie McMahon was hugely encouraging, not only on the English front but she also directed me in Hamlet. I played Claudius so that was very useful for writing villains!

“She was always willing to help you beyond the normal lessons.”

The author says he would “leap at the opportunity” to see a movie made based on the book and the rights are currently in the hands of an intelectual property group in Hollywood.

David has already written the sequel – currently being sent to publishers – and plans a third.

The Midnight Charter is published on August 4 in paperback. RRP £6.99
Please see book review.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet - Witch & Wizard Book Review

Mr Ripley's Review

First things first, I'm not the biggest fan of James Patterson's work but I did like the look of this book. Once I'd started it, it read with an ease of simplicity, which surprised me. I felt it had the makings of a great storyline.
The two main characters, Wisty and Whit (slightly confusing!) are brother and sister. They are arrested on allegations of being a witch and a wizard. Life changes for them from this moment in time as they discover magical abilities which empower them.
The concept of the story is original (apart from the magical aspect - obviously) as it doesn't over dramatise the plots. The structure is tight and keeps the story focused. The portrayal of brotherly/sisterly love is poignantly written and again shows realistic empathy.
Subtle yet stark scenes adorn the structure. They graphically describe key actions but manage to keep the visual image fairly tame. A tricky aspect to juggle in order to keep the reader both informed yet engaged.
With the past and future all rolled into one - will the legend of prophecy show the way in book 2? Whatever challenges lie ahead within future writing, I look forward to viewing their development. I give this book four out of five due to the slightly confusing character names and slowish start.

The book is due to be published in the U.K. by Century on the 8th October 2009. The book review below has been taken from the U.S edition, which is published by Little Brown in December 2009. Just to let you know this information in case the editions differ in anyway, as I've written my review based on the US edition for children.
(Ages 9-12 based on the U.S edition.)

Book synopsis

The world is changing - the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now kids are disappearing. For fifteen-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside-down when they are hauled out of bed one night, separated from their parents, and thrown into a secret compound for no reason they can comprehend. The new government is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. Imprisoned together and condemned to death, Wisty and Whit begin exhibiting strange abilities and powers they never dreamed of. Maybe there is a reason they were singled out. Can this newly discovered witch and a wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents - and maybe the world?

About the Author

JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade: the Women's Murder Club, the Alex Cross novels and Maximum Ride, and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son. James is passionate about encouraging both adults and children alike to read. This has led to him forming a partnership with the National Literacy Trust, an independent, UK-based charity that changes lives through literacy.