Sunday, 29 November 2009

Arthur Slade - The Hunchback Assignments - Steampunk Adventure

MR Ripley Say's
A gripping new series combines Steampunk, spying, and a fantastic Victorian London. WOULD LIKE A REVIEW FOR THIS. My copy has been lost in a victorian post office in London on a clockwork gizmo,waited to be delivered by an automated robot. Hopefully I will get my copy for that festive time called "PUNKMAS".

"You will always be ugly," Mr. Socrates had regularly reminded him over the years. "Always. But you are better able to adapt than any chameleon. Be thankful for it."

More about this author at

Synopsis The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockword Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Martin Howard & Colin Simpson - The Wickedest Witch - Book Review

Mr Ripley Say's.........
I've just left the witches coven on my magic broomstick clutching a copy of The Wickedest Witch. I've just finished a loop-the-loop and finally dismounted; now I'm ready to write my book review. 
The story follows Esmelia and the newly apprenticed witch Sam, who become embroiled in a wicked adventure, to be the Most Superior High and Wicked Witch. There are many witch-battling encounters throughout the story which add to the magical experience.
The narrative blends humour into the story line creating many memorable funny moments which develop the personalities of the characters.
This is a great read for both young and old that could be a fabulous Christmas reading treat. The book casts a spell over the reader as turning each page you find that you have been turned into a frog!  
I became really engrossed in this book; loving every page. I would love the opportunity to read more books like this; light-hearted, funny and magical but still very entertaining. This book is beautifully illustrated by the amazingly talented Colin Stimpson, which I feel really enhances the book's character and allure. 
I give this book four out of five - how long until the next installment?

Book Synopsis The headline in The Cackler is grim. Old Biddy Vicious, the Most Superior High and Wicked Witch and owner of the Black Wand of Ohh Please Don't Turn Me Into Aaaaarghhh - Ribbett is dead. But witches like their news on the dark side and there is great anticipation in the witching world. After all, there will need to be a new leader and a diabolical competition to find out who is to become the new Most Superior High and Wicked Witch. Esmeila Sniff fancies her chances, after all she is exceedingly wicked and has warts in all of the right places. As she and her surprisingly cheerful apprentice, Sam, set off to find three other witches to nominate her for the job, the meanest and the baddest witches in the world are hatching their own devious plan to become "The Wickedest Witch".
Also check out the authors web page for more details,and how to buy a

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Bruno Vincent - Grisly Tales From Tumblewater - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review - Warning Not for the faint-hearted

Once upon a time there was a boy called Daniel, who was sent out on a journey to be educated in the fine arts of being a surgeon. His trip took him to place called "Tumblewater" - a very dark and strange place full of mysterious folk, who like the tales of the strange and dark ....

The book covers eight creepy stories that are all rolled into an adventure. Connected to the same story, each tale is told in a macabre and Gothic new voice, that has the reader on edge and leaves a some-what evident feeling of terror.

Daniel soon finds himself being lead by unpredictable circumstances. Whilst the clouded boys past becomes evident through the murky and dangerous underground world he now finds himself in.

I really loved this book; I felt it to be written in a similar style to Chris Priestley's - Tales of Terror books whilst displaying the great storytelling characteristics/traits of Neil Gaiman.

The world of Tumblewater is particularly well written through its imaginative use of description. The ending of each individual story leaves a mild mannered feeling of shock. It's a great piece of Gothic horror; all told in a clever slice of the unnatural, which is gripping to the end.
This is a great debut childrens book and one to look out for next year when more grisly tales will follow. Four out of five and looking forward to more.

Book synopsis: 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!

Presents the very damp and woeful world of Tumblewater, home to a creepy collection of depraved characters. This title features a young boy who is 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.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

David Jowsey - Shattered Truths: An'Tsari Trilogy No. 2: The Past Holds a Secret - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review

I have wanted to read this book for sometime now. I have kept my eye out for this title, as the author is quite local and the book is published by an independent publishing company. So when I found a copy in a rather good bookshop in Whitby I was particularly happy to come across it. 
This is the second book to be written by David in the An'Tsari Trilogy, with the last book to come out sometime next year entitled Summer 2012. The first thing that struck me about the book was the cover, as I am a sucker for a good book cover! 
I enjoyed the first book in the series Dragons In The Sky and I thought I had a good idea as to the style that the second book would be written in but I was surprised to find it totally different.
I found the descriptive work the author used in this book to be well researched leaving the reader engaging with the story. The books overall concept was very intriguing and thought provoking at the possibilities of space travel and life on other planets. The story had an original feel and kept me guessing as to how the story was going to pan out and the ending which followed. Tom Richard's is the central character, we follow his past life and the new experiences he encounters on a NASA space mission to Mars. The truth eventually uncovers itself and questions are answered from book one whilst new questions are asked in preparation for the last installment. This is a spine-tingling encounter of self-discovery and a really good read that gets four out of five.

Published by Sigel Press 15 June 2009

Book Synopsis: Mars 2039 - Tom Richards knows he has been destined to visit the red planet since his childhood encounter with the An'Tsari thirty years before. Can he protect humanity from a dark and treacherous past, or will the existence of an overwhelming power mean the extinction of the human race? "Shattered Truths" is the eagerly awaited sequel to "Dragons in the Sky", and draws the second chapter of the An'Tsari trilogy to a nail-biting conclusion. Thirty-one years have passed since Tom Richards' terrifying childhood encounter with the An'Tsari, but the fears he has struggled so hard to bury will be challenged once again as the truth behind his own destiny is revealed. Mars: 2039 - Tom Richards knows he has been destined to visit the red planet since his childhood encounter with the An'Tsari but as part of a NASA team, exploring the surface of Mars, he finds himself subjected to startling visions of Mars' past. Amongst the visions stands a sinister figure, but who is he, and why is he so desperate to withhold a secret of epic proportions? With the odds stacked against him by a devastating planet-wide storm, and all contact with Earth lost, Tom must fight to protect the existence of the human race. But how can he confront a dark and treacherous power that threatens to destroy everything the human race has achieved, when the individual behind it turns out to be the person he least expects? "Shattered Truths" is the eagerly awaited sequel to "Dragons in the Sky", and the second installment in the exciting "An'Tsar Trilogy.
Some book signings coming up by the author:
                           The signings are:

Borders, Teesside Park - Thursday 3rd December from 5.30pm

Guisborough Bookshop - Saturday 12th December from 12.30pm

Waterstones, Middlesbrough - Thursday 17th December from 4.30pm

Whitby Bookshop - Saturday 19th December from 12.00pm


Friday, 13 November 2009

Random News Of The House - Jonathan Stroud And Andy Mulligan

 The Big Bartimaeus Announcement

Jonathan Stroud is writing a prequel to the existing there books in Jonathan's bestselling Bartimaeus series which has sold 3 million copies in the UK alone. You might remember that when the first book, The Amulet of Samarkand published in 2003, it took the publishing world by storming, racing in to the bestseller charts and Hollywood came a-callin' buying rights to the series for around $3 million. 6 years on and the books are sold in 37 countries and have won countless awards. We are planning a huge splash to celebrate publication of the new novel, currently scheduled for Autumn next year. Also for release next year is a graphic novel which is being adapted by Andrew Donkin ,should also please Bartimaeus fans. It's going to be the year of the djinni.

And more.

David Fickling Books has just acquired an extraordinary novel by Andy Mulligan called TRASH . Which will be publishing it next autumn, simultaneously in the UK and US. Andy, whose first book RIBBLESTROPis shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, says that he wrote TRASH 'hard and fast - it was one of those books where I knew the ending before the beginning, and I found the characters easily: children who survive, against the odds, with a set of instincts and skills that just keep them breathing.' David Fickling says that 'Oxygen levels on the planet will rise when this book gets published. So many people will be holding their breath to see what happens! It is a fantastic nail-biter. The clincher for me is that it is also touching, in places deeply touching, and beautifully written. It says things that need to be said in a way that will be heard. This is just one of those stories that the whole world will want to read.' I am not going to give the plot away - suffice to say we'll be whetting your appetite with more news of TRASH as time goes by.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars Final Winner Is Jon Mayhew's - Mortlock

The book covers battle has been a great adventure over the last few weeks. After four marvellous heats which were finally narrowed down to four wonderful covers, the exciting final developed this week. There soon appeared to be a front runner as Tracey & Kevin Morley's Unravellers amassed a great number of votes within hours. But then towards the end of the week, Jon Mayhew's Mortlock started to make a comeback and began to gain some support, which then developed into a spectacular ending. As a result of this spectacular ending Jon Mayhew managed to storm away with the prestigious accolade of 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover of the Year. My hearty congratulations go to him - well done.
I'd like to thank all of the authors and people who have taken the time to vote or leave comments, you certainly made the battle incredibly tense and exciting at times. The voting has now closed, the winner of the signed and dated book will be contacted tomorrow, thanks for all of your comments.

Monday, 9 November 2009

New books out January - March 2010 - U.S

Just a quick post which is looking into some of the more exciting books to be released 'over the water' in the U.S, early 2010. I have not done this feature for a while and thought I should update you on future releases. Today is the last day to vote on the "Book Cover Wars." Don't forget to vote and leave a comment as you will then be put forward to possibly win a signed, lined book.

Riley Carney - The Fire Stone (Reign of the Elements,Book 1) -  Published by BookLight Press -  1 Jan 2010

Sixteen-year-old novelist Riley Carney works magic in this high fantasy adventure story brought to life by memorable, vibrant characters. The Fire Stone, the first book in the captivating Reign of the Elements series, is rooted in genuine adolescent thought and emotion throughout a journey of danger, friendship, and courage, as a group of teenagers, led by fifteen-year-old Matt, attempt to save their world. Matt knows how to shovel hay, dig trenches, and dodge his father’s whip, but when three terrifying creatures attack Matt, and he is rescued by a wizard, he kidnaps a baby alorath, and is befriended by elves, Matt’s life transforms overnight from dreary to astonishing. When he unwittingly joins a quest to find the Fire Stone, one of the elusive Stones of the Elements which have the power to destroy the world, Matt is thrust into a string of perilous adventures. He soon discovers that magic does exist and that he has extraordinary powers that can change his destiny and determine the fate of Mundaria.

N.D Wilson - The Chestnut King: Book 3 of the 100 Cupboards - Published by Random House - 26  Jan 2010

 When Herny York found 99 cupboards hidden behind his bedroom wall, he never dreamed they were doors to entirely new worlds! Unfortunately, Henry’s discovery freed an ancient, undying witch, whose hunger for power would destroy every world connected to the cupboards—and every person whom Henry loves. Henry must seek out the legendary Chestnut King for help. Everything has a price, however, and the Chestnut King’s desire may be as dangerous as the witch herself.

N. D. Wilson concludes a remarkable, worlds-spanning journey that began with one boy and one hundred avenues to adventure.

James Patterson - Fang: A Maximum Ride Novel - Published by  Little,Brown Books - 15 March  2010

 Being a kid with wings--constantly on the run--has never been easy, and Max and her flock are getting tenser than ever. First, on a trip to Africa, they meet a mysterious billionaire whose intense scrutiny of the Flock makes her fear the worst. Then, a cryptic message from a young girl arrives, warning them "The sky will fall." And as if an impending apocalypse weren't bad enough, canny birdkid Angel makes a dire prophecy about Max's soul mate: Fang will be the first to die. Max's desperate desire to protect Fang brings the two closer than ever. But can the team weather the storm, or will the turmoil rip them apart for the last time?

 Gary Paulsen - Woods Runner - Published by Wendy Lamb Books 12 Jan 2010

 Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war against the King that American patriots have begun near Boston.

But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for the patriot cause. And he learns that he must go deep into enemy territory to find his parents: all the way to the British headquarters, New York City.


Friday, 6 November 2009

David Jones - Meltdown - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review
The first thing about this book is that it's set in space, which is not an over used theme in books at the moment. Then there is the slightly religious undertone which comes from the spaceship full of monks, which is actually a floating cathedral called "Prominence" navigating the solar system. A final addition to this 'interesting' mix comes in the form of space pirates, whose mission it is to steal the monk's valuable pottery (that is made onboard the ship). Now all that stirred together makes one crazy story in space! 

I have to say that this book was a cosmic read and I really relished it. It is certainly  a very different book, from the author's very first book published by Chicken House called "Baboon," which I reviewed during the earlier days of this blog. However back to this book. The plot is very imaginative and unexpected at times. The characters are very well constructed through the way they develop the mood of the story. I found the book to be particularly entertaining at the end, although it did leave me feeling quite sad when the story actually came to an end, as I wanted to continue to follow the characters to find out what became of them, but unfortunately as a stand alone book we will never know.

A particularly interesting part of the book (for me), was the detailed depiction of the monks making their pots and the intricate description regarding the whole process. All in all a 'booktastic' space romp which encompasses a crazy adventure to Sun and back. I give this book four out of five.
For those of you interested, this book has also been released as "Monks in Space," which was published in the U.S and Canada by Annick Press in Sept 2008.

Book synopsis 
Aboard the Prominence, a spaceship abbey filled with holy treasures, is a 14-year-old novice-monk. But Bart is more interested in flying the old ship than worshipping the sun. When the Prominence goes to the aid of an unidentifiable spacecraft, it’s Bart who realises the danger of stopping. For not only are the passengers space-pirates, but the Prominence’sengines then fail. Temperatures soar as monks and pirates alike drift closer to the sun.
It’s up to Bart to risk everything or it’s meltdown.
An out-of-this-world, adventure from the extraordinary imagination of Baboon author David Jones. Meltdown is filled with zero-gravity action, memorable characters and mounting suspense as the end of hope draws near.
Published by Chicken House, January 2010 

Monday, 2 November 2009

Book Cover Wars Big Final - Book Prize Kate Forsyth - The Puzzle Ring - Signed/Lined

The time for the final of the book cover wars has now arrived. All four winners are now locked in the battle to be crowned Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover of the Year - good luck to you all. Readers and fans it is now time to vote for your favourite book cover - don't forget there's a prize for one lucky person, who leaves a comment on this post. The stunning prize this week is a signed, lined and dated first edition of 'The Puzzle King' by Kate Forsyth, I hope this tempts your reading appetite. I look forward to reading your comments and watching the unfolding battle commence.

Book One - Jon Mayhew - Mortlock - Published by Bloomsbury - 2010

Book Two -  Tracey & Kevin Morley - Unravellers - Published by Book Guild Publishing 2009

Book Three - David Whitney - The Midnight Charter - Published by Roaring Book Press books 2009 U.S

Book Four - Steve Feasey - Changeling - Published by Macmillan Books 2009

Matthew Cody - Powerless (Guest Book Review )

Guest Book Review

In a wholly satisfying debut, Cody tackles themes of heroism, sacrifice and coming-of-age, as played out in a comic book–inspired good vs. evil scenario. Soon after arriving in the small town of Noble's Green, Pa., where his family has moved to take care of his ailing grandmother, 12-year-old Daniel Corrigan discovers the existence of real-life superheroes. In this town, certain kids develop superpowers, which they use in secret to perform good deeds (for the most part). One catch: as soon as they turn 13, their powers and all related memories vanish. As Daniel forges a friendship with these extraordinary youths, he uses good old-fashioned investigative skills rather than superhuman abilities to uncover the secret of their powers' origins and the dark force that has been preying on the town's children for decades. What do comic books from the 1940s, a pulp hero, a burned-down orphanage and a pair of superhuman bullies have to do with the mystery? It all comes together in a tightly woven narrative characterized by a persuasive premise, memorable characters, a bit of intrigue and a sense of wonder. Ages 10–up. 

 Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 27, 2009)


Twelve-year-old Daniel, the new kid in town, soon learns the truth about his nice—but odd—new friends: one can fly, another can turn invisible, yet another controls electricity. Incredible. The superkids use their powers to secretly do good in the town, but they’re haunted by the fact that the moment they turn thirteen, their abilities will disappear—along with any memory that they ever had them. Is a memory-stealing supervillain sapping their powers?

The answers lie in a long-ago meteor strike, a World War II–era comic book (
Fantastic Futures, starring the first superhero, Johnny Noble), the green-flamed Witch Fire, a hidden Shroud cave, and—possibly, unbelievably—“powerless” regular-kid Daniel himself.

Superhero kids meet comic book mystery in this action-filled debut about the true meaning of a hero.

About the author divides his time between writing and teaching college English. He lives with his wife and young son in New York City, where he is at work on his next novel for Knopf.

Judith Pybus - The Ladder - authorhouse publishing

Some good reads I have read from the self publishing company of authorhouse in the last week or so.

The story takes place in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and involves eight children who find adventure in the grounds of an old Elizabethan house.

The children discover a shaft in the dilapidated kitchen garden, and decide to explore it further.  The house, which for many centuries was private owned and handed on through the same family, is now a rest home for ladies and gentlemen, and owned by the local council.

The eight friends construct a ladder and descend into their adventure which takes them along tunnels to the sea, into caves and to a room under the old house which becomes their “Aladdin’s Cave”.  However, the mysterious room holds a secret and three of the boys eventually become trapped and must use their ingenuity to find a way out.

Carmen Roberts -  Inseparable:The Tale of the Amulet


What do a mysterious locket, time travel, Charles Dickens, an ancient Irish monastery, a massive explosion in London, a fiery ring, and a raging flood all have to do with three best friends Meredith, Madeline and Molly? Find out as the adventure of a lifetime begins when Mollys grandmother entrusts her with precious heirlooms that have been handed down through Mollys family for centuries. Loyalty is questioned as the girls struggle to overcome a shadowy stalker who may know more about the mysteries surrounding them than he admits.  The girls face the ultimate challenge to their long friendship, one that will test whether or not they truly are Inseparable.

Lot's more books to take a look at the authorhouse web site.