Sunday, 31 January 2010

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Great Reads Of The Week!

This week I have had the chance to sit down and enjoy some quality reading time, as a result I've managed to read many great books. Unfortunately I just don't have the time to review them all. Therefore I have decided to list them, with a brief synopsis, in order for you to read and make up your own mind. Hopefully you'll be able to find a book that takes your eye - there's so much choice!

Here are the books as follows: 
Eoin McNamee - The Frost Child(Book 3 of The Navigator Trilogy) - Published By Wendy Lamb Books - U.S
Book Synopsis
Twice the Harsh have tried to destroy time, and twice Owen and the Resisters have banded together to stop them. In City of Time, Owen killed the Harsh king, and now the Harsh are hungry for revenge. Their massive fleet is ready to set sail on the sea of time and hunt down the wily Navigator. In this third and final adventure, the Navigator and his friends use every last ounce of bravery and endurance to fight the toughest battle ever. As Owen searches for a solution, he travels through time to meet his father and grandfather, and discovers that the mysterious Frost Child holds the key to the power of the Harsh.
Brandon Sanderson - Alcatraz Versus The Knights Of Crystallia - Published by Scholastic Press - U.S
Book Synopsis
When Alcatraz and Grandpa Smedry make a pilgrimage to the Free Kingdom city of Crystallia, the Smedry home base, Alcatraz is shocked to see that he is, in fact, a legend. When he was a baby he was stolen by the Evil Librarians, and his mother, a Librarian herself, was behind the whole scheme. Now, with his estranged father, who is acting indeed strange, Bastille, who has been stripped of her armor, and Grandpa Smedry, who is, as always, late to everything (that's his Talent), Alcatraz tries to save a city under siege. From who? Why, the Librarians of course!
Pierdomenico Baccalario - Ring Of Fire (Century Quartet Book 1) - Published by Random House - U.S
Book synopsis
Every hundred years, four kids from four cities must save the world.
Rome, December 29.

A mix-up with their reservations forces Harvey from New York, Mistral from Paris, and Sheng from Shanghai to share a room with the hotel owner’s daughter, Elettra. The four kids discover an amazing coincidence—they all have birthdays on February 29, Leap Day. That night, a strange man gives them a briefcase and asks them to take care of it until he returns. Soon afterward, the man is murdered.

The kids open the briefcase. In it they find a series of clues that take them all over Rome, through dusty libraries and dark catacombs, in search of the elusive Ring of Fire, an ancient object so powerful that legend says even a Roman emperor couldn’t control it.

In the first book of the Century quartet, Italian author P. D. Baccalario begins a mystery that will take four cities and four extraordinary kids to solve.

Jeremy Robinson - Pulse(Chess Team Adventure) - Published by Thomas Dunne Books - U.S
Book Synopsis
Imagine a world where soldiers regenerate and continue fighting without pause, and where suicide bombers live to strike again. This is the dream of Richard Ridley, founder of Manifold Genetics, and he has discovered the key to eternal life: an ancient artifact buried beneath a Greek inscribed stone in the Peruvian desert. When Manifold steals the artifact and abducts archaeologist Dr. George Pierce, the United States Special Forces Delta operative, Jack Sigler, callsign King, and his 'Chess Team' - Queen, Knight, Rook, Bishop and their handler, Deep Blue - give chase. They must save Pierce and stop Manifold before they change the face of genetics - and human history - forever.
Chris Priestley - Death and the Arrow(Tom Marlowe Adventure) - Published  by Corgi Children's - U.K
Book Synopsis 
Fifteen-year-old Tom helps his father run a print shop in London. When he and old Dr Harker hear of a curious murder in the City, with the victim pierced by an arrow and holding a card of 'Death and the Arrow', they are intrigued. And as more victims are discovered, the mystery closes more tightly.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Sophie McKenzie - The Medusa Project:The Hostage - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review

Teenagers Nico, Kitty, Ed and Dylan were implanted with the Medusa gene when they were babies. Fourteen years later, they have been brought together to work as part of the government's secret service.This is where the story begins, with the character's first mission as part of the Medusa Project. Not knowing what to expect . . . . the mission starts with a visit to 'Fostergames', a computer games software company. Here it is suspected that Damian Foster, the head boss, is hacking into the Ministry of Defence's computer system.

The story starts to take shape when Ketty has a vision involving her brother Lex, who she sees handing over a disk. But as to what's on the disk, and why he's seen to be handing it over - these are the answers that are required.

The characters soon stumble headlong into a dangerous game of revenge. At this point, the story takes on a blistering pace and draws you into their world with great skill. The children need to work together and use their psychic abilities to come out on top. Ketty's visions are a central part to the story - some of her interpretations are not clear though and lead them into further danger.

The narration at times was lacking in parts, especially involving Ketty as the main character. As most of the story evolved around her, I felt it needed to be stronger. 

My favourite aspect of the book involved the use of the children's special powers, which they had to use quite frequently, to get themselves out of tricky situations.The ending of the book leaves a very interesting start to the next one, which is entitled 'The Rescue'. There is also a World Book day offering called 'The Thief' which will be published in March. So lots to look forward to!

Book Published by Simon and Schuster - Jan 2010

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - Beautiful Creatures - Book Review

Book Review
The appearance of Lena Duchannes, into the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina, caused a great stir amongst the townspeople. Not only was she new to the area but she was also a relation of Macon Ravenwood - a man who nobody really knew, or claimed to know, and yet they all spent much time speculating about him.

The book quickly establishes intrigue through Ethan Wate’s disturbing dreams. As the narrator he shares his initial description of falling (in which he smells a distinctive lemon and rosemary scent), as well as his raw emotional feelings, which soon become a significant part of the storyline.

The story is captivating, as many distinctive characters add further developments to an already rich and varied plot. Some aspects of the storyline are answered quickly, whilst others are pieced together over time and yet even then, the route to their final destiny twists and turns to an ending which is not established as an obvious path from the outset. The differing relationships between characters . . . .  soon adds to the unexpected.

The connection between Ethan and Lena is a particularly powerful one. They soon become bound together by an everlasting love for each other, or so they hope, but with the curse of the sixteenth moon - nothing should and can be taken from granted.

The flashbacks, which Lena and Ethan have, add further intrigue to the story - especially as they involve their ancestors. The parallel storyline adds a different dimension, and yet, still delivers vital information to support the ongoing plot. I thought this was very well developed, and as a result, heightened the intensity of the characters.

A gripping and memorable read from a book that I certainly found hard to put down. At least until I‘d eventually reached the final concluding page . . . . . . .

Book Published By Puffin -  4 Feb 2010

Book Synopsis:

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . . There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it. In the end, there is a grave. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.
About the Author
Kami Garcia is a teacher and reading specialist with an MA in education, and leads book groups for children and teenagers. Margaret Stohl has an MA in English and studied creative writing under poet George MacBeth at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. They both live in Los Angeles, California, with their families. Beautiful Creatures is their debut novel.

Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Short List 2010

  • Flyaway by Lucy Christopher - Published By Chicken House
  • In this touching novel for ages 10+, Lucy Christopher explores the remarkable bond between a young girl, a boy and a damaged wild bird - a relationship that will touch everyone who reads it. While visiting her father in hospital, thirteen-year-old Isla meets Harry, the first boy to understand her and her love of the outdoors. But Harry is ill, and as his health fails, Isla is determined to help him in the only way she knows how. Together they watch a lone swan struggling to fly on the lake outside Harry's window. 
  • The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh - Published By Chicken House - 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
  • The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester - Published By Macmillan
  • Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie. Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wits' end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities, whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences. Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.

  • By turns exhilarating and terrifying, an unforgettable story of defiance and courage starring an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.

  • Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur  - Published By Puffin
  • Something terrible has happened. Eleven-year-old Aubrey is on her own. ‘It was fun at first, playing house. Nothing to think about but TV and cheese. A perfect world.Â’ SheÂ’s determined to hide away and take care of herself, because facing the truth is too much to bear. ‘I couldnÂ’t let anyone know that I was alone. I was staying right here.Â’ But with the love of her grandmother and the letters she writes, can Aubrey begin to see that even though sheÂ’s lost everything – all is not lost?
  • The Seven Sorcerers by Caro King -  Published By Quercus - See Book Review
  • Nin had never liked Wednesdays, but this one took the biscuit. On this Wednesday she woke up to find that it was raining buckets and that her brother had ceased to exist. Nin realizes she is the only person to remember Toby because whoever took him is about to make her disappear too. Enter Skerridge the Bogeyman, who steals kids for Mr. Strood. With his spindle, he draws all memories of Nin out of her mother's head. She escapes to the Drift, a land filled with the fabulous and the dreadful. What is the sorcerers' secret and will Nin and Toby escape their fate at the House of Strood?
  • The Toymaker by Jeremy De Quidt - Published By David Fickling
  • What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could put a heart in one? A real heart. One that beat and beat and didn't stop. What couldn't you do if you could make a toy like that? From the moment Mathias becomes the owner of a mysterious piece of paper, he is in terrible danger. Entangled in devious plots and pursued by the sinister Doctor Leiter and his devilish toys, Mathias finds himself on a quest to uncover a deadly secret.
  • Meteorite Strike by A.G. Taylor - Published By Usborne - See Book Review
  • 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?
  • The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies. - Published By Simon & Schuster
  • A very natural and honest version of life's events from the perspective of a young girl - from her suspicions about her neighbours, to her rocky friendship with the girl next door; from the sudden death of her beloved granny to her relentless quest for a pet hamster, only to then find it mysteriously slaughtered - which kickstarts a local investigation of 'suspects'. This is the first in a proposed series of short novels featuring the same characters and setting - with the themes of pets and detective work holding them together.
  • Desperate Measures by Laura Summers - Published By Piccadilly Press 
  • Vicky and Rhianna are twins but they couldn’t be more different. For their fourteenth birthday, Vicky wants a card from the hottest boy in school. Rhianna, brain-damaged at birth, wants a Furby. Instead they get a nasty shock – their foster parents can’t cope and it looks as if Vicky and Rhianna and their younger brother Jamie will have to be split up. How can they stay together? Desperate times call for desperate measures…
  Do you have your favorite?

Goog luck to you all! The winner will be announced on Wednesday 10 February.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Matthew Kirby - The Clockwork Three - One To Watch - Scholastic 2010

About the Book
An enchanted green violin, an automaton that comes to life, and a hidden treasure. . . . THE CLOCKMAKER'S GRIMORE is a richly woven adventure story that is sure to become a classic! 
Three ordinary children are brought together in their struggles by extraordinary circumstances. . .

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the US. But when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom.

Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. There she learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family.

Book Published By Scholastic Press U.S - Oct 2010 - Age 10-14
Giuseppe is a busker, wrenched from his brother and sister in Italy and brought to America to play his fiddle on the streets for the ruthless Stephano.  He sees no way to escape, until the day he finds a green violin that plays magical music.  Frederick is an apprentice clockmaker, with a past he chooses not to remember, but which has left him unable to trust anyone.  His need for independence fuels a secret ambition, the drive to create a clockwork like none ever seen.  Hannah is a maid in a grand hotel, working to pay the rent for her family’s shabby tenement and keep them off the street.  Her life is one of sacrifice and endless drudgery, until a mysterious guest moves into the topmost suite of the hotel, and Hannah overhears a rumor of hidden treasure.
The lives of the three children soon interlock, like the turning gears in a clock, and they all come to realize that each one holds a key to the mysteries and dangers faced by the others.  Their adventures sweep them across their city, from the shipyards to the opera house, from the depths of the Archer Museum to the opulence of the Gilbert Hotel, from the city’s old cemeteries to the darkness of McCauley Park.  Along the way they must learn to trust each other, and in themselves.  For they risk losing those things they hold most dear, and the dangers they face soon become all too real.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Michelle Harrison - The Thirteen Curses - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review
The first book in this series was a 2009 personal favourite of mine. I felt the author had her work cut out, in order to either match or produce something even more spectacular, than she had previously written. Quite a task, and one that could leave many a writer quivering in their own boots of success . . . 

However, as I have come to expect from Michelle, I was far from disappointed; the writing was exquisite. Whilst the book started fairly slowly it soon gained in momentum, with a steady pace to the very end. The chapters that particularly covered the entrapment of Red, and a host of other misfortunate characters, are superbly written - voiced through a particularly dark and moody tone. I thought they were fantastic, so much so that they are actually at the point of brilliance!

The only aspect that didn't quite gel for me at points, was the sub-plot related to Rowan and Michael's background. I felt it weighted the pace of the story line down at times, and left it feeling slightly unnecessary. I acknowledge that it all ties in towards the end but I would have liked more of the story to have featured in the Fey world.

Red, Tanya and Fabian have to solve the riddle and find all the charms, which take the form of the "Thirteen Curses". This leads them all into head long experiences involving mystery and danger; leaving the reader engaged but also somewhat apprehensive as to what might happen next.

The ending uncovers some great twists and a number of thought provoking moments, these give a different take through the whole journey. This has great appeal for all readers, with something to entice all of you into the realm of the fairies.

Will this be the end or the start of new things to come?

Book Published by Simon & Schuster - Jan 2010

Book Synopsis
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?

About the Author
Michelle Harrison is 29 years old and an editorial assistant in children's publishing. She is a former bookseller at Ottakars/Waterstones in Stafford. Originally from Grays in Essex, she is a keen illustrator as well as writer and now lives in Oxfordshire with her partner. Her debut novel THE THIRTEEN TREASURES won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize in 2009. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Alex Bell - Lex Trent Versus the Gods

Thanks to Sam for sending me more details about this great forthcoming title. I mentioned this book some time ago, in the February picks post, as it looks a great read. I for one, am really looking forward to reading it once it's been published.

About the book...........
Perfect for fans of The Edge ChroniclesLex Trent Versus the Gods is the first in a new comic fantasy series by brilliant Gollancz author Alex Bell. The book turns on its head the notion that cheats never prosper, following trickster Lex Trent as he cheats, swindles and lies his way to the top under the guidance of the Goddess of Fortune.“There are some people who are born lucky. They seem to float through life on little golden wings whilst misfortune, hardship and calamity hurry to get out of their hallowed way. One might say that Lex Trent was such a person.” 

Whilst Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he’s always enjoyed a challenge – which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar ‘The Shadowman’ who has been (luckily) evading capture for years.  But Lex’s luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory – all things that Lex is quite keen on – he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will... and he’s certainly got good experience of cheating.

Book Published by Headline - 4 February 2010
About the author
Alex Bell has always wanted to be a writer but had several different back-up plans ranging from a dolphin trainer to animal shelter vet but then, at fifteen, she had an epiphany involving John and Robert Kennedy and decided to become a lawyer instead.  She studied Law on and off for six long years before the boredom became so overwhelming that she had to throw down the textbooks and run madly from the building. Since then she has never looked back.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Jon Mayhew - Mortlock - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review
I have had this book for quite a while now; I have been keeping it back for the special moment that I know as 'savouring time'. However as the last book I reviewed had a character called 'Mortlock' (The Obsidian Key), I thought that the 'savouring' moment had finally arrived to dust the book down and start the reading journey. . . . .

The book starts with some speed, taking you straight into the action from the very first page. The author certainly sets the standard from the beginning and delivers a delicious piece of Gothic horror - you will struggle to find this quality from any other debut author. 

Dark humour is sprinkled throughout the story and gives an added dimension to the book - showing characters' emotions in the face of evil. The book is based upon an original story plot but is greatly enhanced by the incredible description of individual characters; inflicting brutal acts on their victims and intimidating all who have the unfortunate luck to encounter them! My favourite though, are the beaky-like creatures known as 'Ghuls,' who show up at the Great Cardamom house and menace them - all at devastating and perilous lengths.

The plot is developed around the search of a powerful item, known as the Amarant, which holds the power of life and death. Everyone wants to become the master of this object and the owner of these powers. The mysteries that unfold encompass raging battles to find the 'Amarant' first. The backdrop to the story is well executed, keeping  you on edge the whole time. The further you delve into the story the more it freaks you out.

The end swiftly comes to a close but not too quickly. Instead it left me feeling distinctly satisfied (even though I didn't want it to end). The only mystery I was left with, related to whether the story may be further developed into a sequel, as the ending felt fairly final to me.

Book Synopsis
The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible Aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave. Cardamom was one of three explorers on an expedition to locate the legendary Amarant, a plant with power over life and death. Now, pursued by flesh-eating crow-like ghuls, brother and sister must decode the message and save themselves from its sinister legacy.

About The Author
Jon Mayhew is a man with a dark imagination, who has always loved writing and storytelling. An English teacher (to children and teenagers) for 20 years, he now works as a specialist teacher for children with autism. He has four children himself and, when neither teaching nor writing, he plays in ceilidh bands and runs marathons. Mortlock is his first novel. Jon lives between the ancient cities of Chester and Liverpool.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Eleanor J Cramphorn - The Obsidian Key - Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review
This is a great time of the year in which to reflect on books, both past and present, as well as providing an opportunity to look over the bookshelves at forgotten reads. In this particular case this is how I stumbled upon  The Obsidian Key - for some reason this book went un-read . . . . . . until now. 

I was transported to a world of colourful characters, strange lands, and dangerous journeys. All of which have been set against a backdrop of a world fearful of the evil intentions of the militaristic land of Wintermark, and its Prince Regent Sigvard. The book is steeped in historical fantasy; transporting the reader to a magical place in the Orient. It is a breathtaking read, perhaps this is due it being incredibly well written. It is exciting, funny and yet still moving.

The story follows the quest of a teenage boy, Takeshi or Tackers as he is referred to by some of his friends later on, to avenge the death of his family by the evil Sigvard of Wintermark. Along the way we meet all sorts of interesting characters - my favourite by far being Vincent Di Luna, also known as 'Midnight' (a gentleman by day and thief by night). The book has so many levels to it that I think it would appeal to all ages; there's magic, battles, relationships and much much more.

The only downside to this book is that it ends on a cliffhanger, and with no sequel insight! I'm presuming that this is due to it being published by the small, but wonderful, publishing company Pen Press. So the question is, will we see the next book in the sequel to rival this great start and resolve the cliffhanger that I find myself left with?

An excellent book by a brilliant new author; I was very surprised to find such an amazing gem. This is one of the best debut books you will read - if you can still track down a copy, you will not be disappointed. For those who particularly loved Liam Hearn's series of books 'Tales of Otori', I think you will enjoy this book.

Book Synopsis
A cruel and powerful prince with ice-blue eyes and the voice of a dagger sheathed in silk - Sigvard of Wintermark will stop at nothing in his quest to find the Key...But to become immortal, unstoppable, unconquerable, he now needs to find the Lock of Animus. A peaceful, idyllic island off Okoku is savagely invaded and only Takeshi Senshi survives - the rest of his family and the island's inhabitants are brutally murdered. Now Takeshi, the boy with the unusual keyhole-shaped eyes, seeks revenge. Swordfights and sorcerers - this is a gripping story of good versus evil, courage and fear, love and hate.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Book Vote - Favorite Debut Book Author Of 2009 - Plus Book Proof Competition

It's time for another vote to find Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books 'Debut Author of 2009'. The battle is on for eight hand-picked authors to be crowned with this glorious title, so good luck to you all. 

Readers and fans it is now time to vote for your favourite - 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 proof copy of Andy McNab's new book DropZone, which will be published in February.  I hope this tempts your reading appetite, as I loved reading this book (see my book review).  I look forward to reading your comments and watching the unfolding battle commence. The book competition is open to everyone, so please Twitter this to your friends for them to get involved too.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling

This is My U.S Book pick for February 2010

Book Review 
Fresh from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, 15-year-old Penelope Lumley reports to remote but palatial Ashton Place and discovers just why the advertisement for a governess indicated a strong preference for "Experience with Animals." The three young children are not the offspring of disdainful newlywed Lady Ashton but were recently found in the forest, raised (apparently) by wolves. Lacking magical props but in every other respect a Mary Poppins in the bud, Miss Lumley quickly gets the wild but winning trio out of the barn and into the nursery, washed, properly dressed and thanks to a savvy strategy of "careful demonstration, a great deal of repetition, and the occasional use of tasty treats"on the road to civilized behavior. Tongue so forcibly in cheek that medical intervention may be required, Wood plunges her inexperienced but resourceful heroine into an unusually challenging domestic situation, winds the plot up and closes with an aftermath laced with tantalizing hints that All Is Not As It Seems. 

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.
Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.
But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?

Book Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen 23 Feb 2010

Friday, 1 January 2010

M.G Harris - Zero Moment - Joshua Files Book Review

Mr Ripley's Book Review
This book is more than just a boy action adventure. Under the surface you can actually depict a sensitive side to the story, which I was not expecting.
The start of the book is actually quite deep; rich in its exploration of characters' feelings, emotions and thoughts, which are written in greater depth than in the previous two books within the series.
The book feels like the reader is engaging in a head long rush of excitement and into a long journey containing peril and danger. There's lots of flying that takes place in the 
 Muwan including a visit to Brazil, to the World Capoeira Championships, which is the starting point where the story explodes into life.

As with the other books in the series, the research and knowledge that is crammed into each novel makes for a more detailed and captivating story. This just highlights the greatness of this series for me and makes it stand out from all other books in this genre.

Another great aspect of the book is how it engages the reader throughout. The story, right from the first paragraph, continues to build up layers until it reaches a surreal moment where Josh meets a ghost from the past. I especially liked this part of the book as it was like floating on a little cloud over Mexico looking down at yourself, swimming in the streamline - if you know what I mean?

The idea of time travel is explored within the book, this captivated my full attention - I am a sucker for a good time travel idea! I have to say that I did connect with this book in a big way. It's certainly a great end of year feeling to find such a good book like this. The author believes that a great book is not created by just one person but in fact it is a team contribution that produces such a great book for us to read. So thanks to all of you involved in producing such a book for us to enjoy. The only thing I can do now is give it five out of five.

What can we ask for in the next book? In my opinion just more of the same great writing and perhaps a quicker publication date so that I can read it very soon - otherwise I may have to build me a time machine to read it now!

Book Published By Scholastic; 1 February  2010

Book Synopsis:Josh thinks he has discovered the key to time travel. Should he use it to go back in time and save his father? Ixchel knows what he intends to do. Should she stop him? Before they can decide, Ixchel is kidnapped by the people who want to see an ancient prophecy predicting the end of the world in 2012 come true. It's up to Josh to save Ixchel and possibly save the world. Time is running out in the exhilarating third part of the best-selling Joshua Files. the legendary Ix Codex - a lost book of the ancient Maya containing a prophecy about the end of the world...

If  you like to read more about the book or the author take a trip to M.G Harris web