Saturday, 31 October 2009

Alex Scarrow - Timeriders - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review

A new big series is being published next year by Alex Scarrow. The graphic artist has now turned his hand to writing adventure books for the younger reader.
This novel takes you on a journey to the past blending factual, historical events such as the assassination of president Kennedy. The detail used makes for an engaging and thought-provoking read.
The actual plot revolves around three teenagers, who have been saved from sudden death to prevent time travel destroying the world and to protect us, in doing so. It's a roller-coaster of a ride right to the end keeping you on your toes.
I love the idea of time travel and  the fun you can have as a writer but also as a reader, as I was transported to the start of the book and to the end of the book in an array of cosmic flashes. The action is well developed making the book particularly fast paced, and yet the writer still enables the reader to develop a bond with the characters which enables the story to be maximised.
The best part of the book for me, was the character of Bob, who plays the role of  a 'Terminator-like-creature,' who has grown from engineered human genetic data. He starts out life as a mush of human foetus in a perspex cylinder - enough said, I think!
It's a really enjoyable read making way for more great encounters of epic time travelling proportions. This book will appeal to many different readers, so it should do well when it is published. This book gets four out of five - so much more to come, I believe. If you want to read it now you can borrow my time machine - book published by Puffin, out 7 February 2010.

Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029. Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand . . .’ But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose – to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world . . .

Friday, 30 October 2009

New Books Out January Post Three

The Whispering Sand

Soo many new books for January. It will keep you busy for the whole year......

Barry Hutchison - Mr Mumbles:Invisible Fiends - Published by HarperCollins - 7 Jan 2010 (See Book Review)

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.

Ellen Renner - Castle of Shadows - Published by Orchard - 7 Jan 2010
Book Synopsis
 "No clue about why the Queen vanished had ever been found. Until now..."
The day Charlie discovers a scrap of paper that could solve the dark mystery of her mother's disappearance, her world changes. Forever.
Charlie and her friend, Toby, must race against time on a dangerous mission to uncover the sinister truth. But in this shadowy world of secrets and lies, there is more to fear than they can possibly imagine...

Ian Kenworthy - The Whispering Sand - Published by Book Guild Publishing - 31 Jan 2010
Book Synopsis
Gull Cove Cottage is the most peculiar house you have ever seen: perched on top of a cliff overlooking a sandy bay, it started out as a bungalow, but now has tall towers, pointy turrets, at least one spiral staircase (no one is quite sure), extra floors sticking out at odd angles, endless winding corridors and no two windows the same shape or size. How it is still standing is anyone's guess. But Annabeth loves it, because Gull Cove Cottage is home to Grandpa Bambertide, guardian of the beach, keeper of extraordinary pets and as wise as he is eccentric - he knows all the legends of the sea, and goes shrimping in his dressing gown. 

Annabeth has come to stay with Grandpa, but finds him worried and preoccupied: the beautiful bronze sand of Gull Cove is turning grey and dying, whispering songs with its last gasp. Why is the sand dying, and what is the secret of the haunting Songs of the Sea? Annabeth and Grandpa are determined to find out, but solving the mysteries of the sea is not a straightforward task.

If you have ever been terrorised by a giant man-eating lobster, or forced to venture into the murkiest, most remote parts of a rambling cottage on a dark and stormy night, you will know how frightened Annabeth feels. But, with the help of a biscuit-snitching octopus, singing coral and Grandpa's fantastic inventions, Annabeth ventures into the unknown and discovers more about the sea - and her Grandpa - than she could ever have imagined.

Bruno Vincent - Grisly Tales From Tumblewater - Published by Macmillan Books - 1 Jan 2010
Book Synopsis
Warning: Not for the faint-hearted! Welcome to the very damp and woeful world of Tumblewater, home to a creepy collection of depraved characters. Meet a young boy punished most appallingly for picking his nose; a pair of devilish bakers with murderous intentions in their buns; and a dentist whose strange, colour-changing eyes belie his perfectly gleaming smile. This title contains horrifying tales for good children and fair warning for bad!

C E Trueman - Grey Amber - Published by Pen Press - 23 Jan 2010
Book Synopsis
Two years ago, Matt discovered a dark secret hidden behind a door in an alleyway near his home. Now at a new school and suffering at the hands of class bully Leon Bowker, that secret comes back to haunt him. With the help of an unusual new friend, Ollie Kaminsky, Matt is lured on a hunt for some remarkable treasure which will take him across the far reaches of Pembrokeshire. But someone else is trying to get there before him.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

New Books Out In January 2010 - Post Two

Michael Grant - Hunger(Gone) - Published by Egmont Books 4 Jan 2010

The clock is ticking for Sam Temple and the kids of Perdido Beach but it's not the big one-five that they face now; it's starvation that threatens the FAYZ. In an abandoned mine shaft a faceless animal lurks, pulling the strings, toying with human and mutant alike. And he's hungry - hungry in the darkness. An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon, fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in and the mob look to place blame. For the 'normals' the buck must stop somewhere: with the 'freaks'. More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ: talking coyotes, swimming bats and deadly worms with razor-sharp teeth are just the beginning. For Sam Temple the strain of leadership is beginning to show and he's got more than just dwindling rations and in-fighting to worry about - Caine is back with the psychotic whiphand, Drake, by his side. And in the background lies the greatest danger of all - and he too needs to be fed.

Tim Bowler - Blade:Mixing It - Published by OUP - 4 Jan 2010

There's too much at stake now. So I got to play it rough. This is where we find out - who's the hunter, who's the prey? From the Carnegie Medal-winning author of River Boy, Starseeker and Bloodchild comes the sixth title in this startlingly compelling series. Contemporary, pacy, and utterly gripping, Blade takes you on a roller-coaster ride through the secret, dangerous life of its unforgettable narrator. This thrilling series for teenagers combines an enormously likable and engaging central character with the harsh realities of street life and the youth gang culture that is so prevalent in today's news. The mysteries and cliffhanger endings of these short, accessible books will have the power to tempt all readers as they gradually become absorbed into Blade's dangerous world.

A.G Taylor - Superhumans:Meteorite Strike - Published by Usbourne 29 Jan 2010

Sarah and Robert are sure their number is up when their aeroplane crashes over the Australian desert. But this is no ordinary air disaster. A meteorite strike has impacted Earth, bringing with it a deadly alien disease. Thousands fall victim to the virus, falling into a deep coma. Luckily, Robert and Sarah appear to be unaffected - until they begin to exhibit some extraordinary psychic side-effects. This quickly makes them a target for HIDRA, a rogue international agency determined to experiment on them like lab rats in an attempt to control their superpowers. Before long, the children are captured in HIDRA's secret desert HQ, a prison for superhuman kids who can control fire, create storms and tear steel with their minds. This new generation of superheroes must join forces if they are to escape HIDRA. But what kind of world awaits them outside?

Karen David - When I Was Joe - Published by Frances Lincoln Books 7 Jan 2010

When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent.

Terry Deary - Master Crook's Crime Academy 4 - Published by Scholastic Books 4 Jan 2010

The school where scoundrels save the day| Wildpool's filthy rich are delighted - with a new bank in town, at last their money will be safe from thieving hands. But they haven't banked on the wit, skill and genius of the Crime Academy students, who are preparing for the greatest bank robbey of all time| More Master Crook's Crime Academy adventures available: Burglary for Beginners, Robbery for Rascals, Classes in Kidnapping.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

New books out in January 2010 - Post One

New year and new books.
2010 is going to be great year for children's books. So many great reads for you to get your hands on and many more to come in the next post. I look forward to reading them all and discover what's inside.

David Miller - Sea Wolf - Published by OUP Oxford 1 Jan 2010 

HUNTED. TRAPPED. DESPERATE. Shipwrecked after a ferocious storm, Hanna, Ned and Jik come face to face with a murderous foe. They must escape or die. But how do you outrun a bullet . . . Or out swim a shark?

Pat Walsh - The Crowfield Curse - Published by Chicken House 4 Jan 2010(see book review)

It's 1347 and fifteen-year-old Will, an orphan boy, lives at Crowfield Abbey. Sent into the forest to gather wood, he rescues instead, a creature from a trap - a hob, who shares with Will a terrible secret. Somewhere in the forest behind the abbey where he lives,is a grave. And buried deep in the snow is an angel. But how can an angel die? What has it to do with the monks of the Abbey? When two hooded strangers arrive at Crowfield asking questions about the angel's grave. Will is drawn into a world of dangerous Old Magic. 

Sophie McKenzie - The Hostage(Medusa Project) - Published by Simon & Schuster 7 Jan 2010 

Fourteen years ago, four babies were implanted with the Medusa gene - a gene for psychic abilities. Now teenagers, Nico, Ketty, Ed and Dylan have been brought together by government agents to create a secret crime-fighting force - The Medusa Project. But now Ketty's brother Lex has stumbled into a dangerous game involving his boss and a hidden bomb. It's up to Ketty to save him without letting on what she knows to the rest of the team. But can she control her psychic visions, and her feelings for Nico, without getting the team's cover - and herself - blown sky high?

R J Anderson - Rebel(Knife) - Published by Orchard 7 Jan 2010

Linden's cage glowed with fiery heat, burning her fingers when she tried to cling to the bars. She fluttered helplessly in midair, wing muscles aching with the effort, knowing that she couldn't hover much longer before her strength gave out – and that the moment it did, she would die...

Michelle Harrison - The Thirteen Curses:Bk 2 - Published by Simon & Schuster - 7 Jan 2010


The Thirteen Treasures have become the Thirteen Curses. When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Now trapped in the fairy realm, she begs an audience with the fairy court where she strikes a bargain. Her brother will be returned - but only if she can find the thirteen charms of Tanya's bracelet that have been scattered in the human world. Returning to Elvesden Manor, Red is assisted by Tanya and Fabian and a desperate hunt begins. Soon they make a shocking discovery. The charms now have twisted qualities of the thirteen treasures they represent...and the longer they are missing the worse the consequences will be. Can Red, Tanya and Fabian find all the charms? And even if they do, will the fairies keep their promise?

Monday, 26 October 2009

Sam Osman - Quicksilver - Book Review - Jan 2010

Mr Ripley's Book Review

I last mentioned this book in December 2008 and was particularly looking forward to reading it. Now it's 2009 and I have just been sent a copy to read, but I must say it has been worth the wait. Perhaps when I mention that the book has been longlisted for the Waterstone's Book Prize 2010 and has a great chance of success, you'll begin to realise its full potential.
The story flows really well following the mysterious adventure of three children, who have been brought together by circumstances out of their control. The children find links with each other and their lives, and these discoveries eventually drive them to an ancient thousand-year-old prophesy which has them on a epic course of discovery. It's an epic fantasy novel inspired by the earth's ancient leylines.
The author has a great narrative voice in telling both the story and character dialogue. The historical inter-twining of the ancient past works particularly well to develop realistic events.The plot feels and is original, which can be hard to find in books these days.The further you read into the story, the faster you turn the pages wanting to uncover the untold history and understand the complex system of our planet whilst still engaging with the children and their adventures.
This is an outstanding read which will have every reader gripped to the end. I give this book five out of five - a great ending with lots to keep the reader entertained. I am looking forward to the next book by this exciting new author.

Book to be published by Marion LLoyd Books 4 January 2010 (An older book cover I had back in Dec 2008. Which one do you like the most?)

Dark powers from the past are searching for three extraordinary chilren... Wolfie, Tala and Zi'ib were born on the same day on opposite sides of the world. They are brought together by astonishing coincidence - or so it seems. But only they can fulfil an ancient prophecy - and find a treasure of incalculable power. Can the mysterious energies that flow through the Earth's prehistoric leylines be controlling their lives? And will they discover the chilling truth of who they really are?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Book cover wars update

Thanks to everyone who took time to vote and what a battle it was! This battle actually amounted in the most number of votes and entries for a bookcover, so far. I have now emailed the winner of the book competition, they're the lucky owner of a signed and lined Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve. I will send it out once I have the address details.

We now have four bookcover winners who willl do battle in the final, which will be Monday 2nd November. Good luck to the winners who are Steve Feasey - Changeling, Tracey & Kevin Morley  - Unravellers, David Whitley - The Midnight Charter (U.S cover) and the last bookcover winner, Jon Mayhew - Mortlock.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Cherie Priest - Boneshaker - (A Steampunk Adventure) Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review

This is a new author to me and I was interested to read the book after visiting another website. The synopsis sounded very good and I loved the last 'SteamPunk' adventure I read.
The book is set in the civil war period where a machine goes on a malfunction underground rampage and brings down Seattle's Banking District, causing mass destruction. In the process it uncovers a vein of 'Blight Gas' which turns everyone who breathes it into the living-dead; intent on killing and eating human flesh. A great build-up to some magical 'SteamPunk' adventure. 
The world Cherie has depicted is one of immense quality and every page read leaves you wanting more. This is a boneshaker of a ride with airships, Zombies and colourful characters that are all well written. The gruesome and gory scenes are depicted realistically and in a terrifying way. 
It's fast paced with lots of action, it has great imagination and I really recommend this book to older readers who might be seeking another outing in the fantasy world of Steampunk. I give this book five out of five - a darn skippy read!
Cherie has a second novel in the series entitled 'Dreadnought' which is coming in 2010 with Tor. Also to come is Clementine which is expected to be published by Subterranean Press 2010.

To find more about the author and her books please take a look at her web site.

Also you may want to try Paolo Bacigalupi - The Windup Girl published by Night Shade Books (September 15, 2009)

Book Synopsis
In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Book Wars Week Four - Plus New Book Prize - Philip Reeve - Fever Crumb

Thanks for all of your votes last week it was a great battle, which finally decided on another winner - David Whitley - The Midnight Charter - U.S Book cover edition.  This now finds its way into the final with Steve Feasey's - Changeling and Tracey and Kevin Morley's - Unravellers. However we now have four more fresh book covers for you to vote for and then the final for all four heat winners.
Thanks for all of your votes last week which finally decided on another winner - Tracey + Ken Morley - Unravellers. This now finds its way into the final with Steve Feasey's - Changeling. However we now have four more fresh book covers for you to vote for.

Thanks to our last lucky winner, your book is on its way to you. Hope you enjoy it!

This weeks book-give-away is a signed lined and dated copy of Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve. All you have to do, to have a chance to win, is to vote and leave a comment on this post, email me or send a message to me via Twitter. I will then put you into The Mr Ripley's Random Hat where a lucky winner will be plucked out at random once the poll has closed. This competition is open to worldwide entries.

Thanks to our last lucky winner, your book is on its way to you. Hope you enjoy it!

Book One is Jon Mayhew - Mortlock - U.K Cover

Book Two is Frank Beddor - The Looking Glass Wars - Arch Enemy - U.S Cover

Book Three is Brandon Sanderson - Alcatraz v The Knights of Cyrstallia - U.S Cover

Book Four is Tommy Donbavand - Scream Street - Invasion of the Normals - U.K Cover

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Rick Yancey - The Monstrumologist: The Terror Beneath - Book Review And Trailer

Mr Ripley's Book Review
Yancey Rick takes us into the world of the unknown and manages to scare the pants off us at the same time! This gruesome Gothic-horror tale of flesh-eating creatures, which are depicted throughout the book, sets the mood of the story particularly well. The adventure starts and quickly sets the tone of the book in the first few chapters. Will Henry (assistant to a doctor) whose speciality is monster-hunting and the study of other such like creatures; late one night becomes embroiled with a mystery corpse - brought to the doctor's house by Erasmus Gray, a local misfit. The scene is then set as the young doctor and his assistant spend the night in the basement, cutting up the specimen known as an Anthropophagi - a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in his chest. The story then takes the reader on a macabre but very well written journey that is not for the faint hearted!
The author has a very adept way with words, writing an intelligent story - full of great description and yet still with the imagination of a killer zombie army! This is one of the best books written in this genre that I've read for along time, making my blood trickle and bones crunch. Five out of five for an epic tale of monstrous, horrific proportions. A very thrilling read and with another book to be published in the future, only the start of an epic series. This book comes with a 13+ guidance rating - so be warned.

Published by Simon And Schuster 1 October 2009

Will Henry is an assistant to a doctor with a most unusual speciality: monster hunting! In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown used to late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was feeding on her, Will's world changes forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi - a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest - and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to consume our world and find the rest of the monsters before it is too late...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Book Cover Wars Week Three - Plus Book Competition - Charlie Higson - The Enemy

Thanks for all of your votes last week which finally decided on another winner - Tracey + Ken Morley - Unravellers. This now finds its way into the final with Steve Feasey's - Changeling. However we now have four more fresh book covers for you to vote for.

This weeks book-give-away is a signed copy of Charlie Higson's new book The Enemy plus I'm going to throw in some additional promotional items to accompany the book. All you have to do, to have a chance to win, is to vote and leave a comment on this post, email me or send a message to me via Twitter. I will then put you into The Mr Ripley's Random Hat where a lucky winner will be plucked out at random once the poll has closed. This competition is open to worldwide entries.

Thanks to our last lucky winner, your book is on its way to you. Hope you enjoy it!

Book One - Ian Beck - Pastworld

Book Two - David Whitley - The Midnight Charter - U.S Book Cover

Book Three - Barry Hutchison - Invisible Fiends

Book Four - Steve Augarde - X Isle

Friday, 2 October 2009

Malcolm Rose - Forbidden Island - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review

This book worked really well - taking a child like vision of a secret, undiscovered island and the enchanted magic that it brings. The children embark on a great adventure until it all goes horribly wrong. They set sail in a small boat, finding a small island off the Scottish coast that doesn't appear to exist on any map. The story trail then leads to amazing findings, giving the story a severe and realistic feel. Emotions run high as the stakes increase uncovering more underlying plot themes. The dialogue flows really well and the story uses real-life facts to enhance the narrative.
It's a gripping novel in a world of conspiracy and cover-ups. The ending is unexpected and leaves an everlasting impression on the reader. A great quick read, I look forward to reading more of his books. I give this book three out of five,I found the story lacking in detail and the book could of used alot more pages to do this story justice.

Book published by Usborne publishing Ltd - 29 May 2009

About the book

Forbidden Island
Mike and his four friends ignore the clear warning sign. They decide to explore the mysterious island that doesn’t appear on any map. Not realizing how dangerous it will turn out to be, they stumble across a deadly secret. Alone and stranded on the island, they become the next victims of its terrible history.
It’s a world of conspiracies and cover-ups, twists and turns, revelations, and some shocking science.
‘This compact, tense and gripping story begins like an adventure for readers of eleven or so, but its serious political themes, moral dilemmas and physical outcomes make it best suited to a teenage readership. Although the cause of the danger lies 70 years ago, it is the behaviour of present-day security services and the government which drives the story, and makes it highly topical in a society where the balance between national security and individual rights and freedoms is a living issue. Forbidden Island is a very good thriller, fast-moving and highly readable. It is also a thoughtful and effective parable of modern Britain.’ Books for Keeps.
‘What starts as a traditional adventure story - four wealthy kids go out on their boat and discover an island unmarked on their maps - soon develops into a much more complex and chilling thriller. The island where the teenagers become stranded after a helicopter destroys their boat is contaminated - and if they don't escape they will die. Based on the true story of Gruinard island off Scotland, this pacy read asks uncomfortable questions.

About the author
began writing stories while I was carrying out research at York for my DPhil degree in chemistry. Writing became a means of escape from everyday life. While I was at York, my then girlfriend (now wife) read my efforts and commented that I ought to try and get something published. I had never thought of writing as anything other than a hobby. Besides, as I thought then, a budding chemist couldn’t possibly be any good at it! Anyway, I joined a writers’ club to find out how to submit a manuscript to a publisher and, to cut a long story short, found a publisher in William Collins for my first novel, Rift.