Monday, 25 July 2011

***Mr Ripley's Book Picks For August 2011***

book cover of 

The Scorch Trials 

 (Maze Runner, book 2)


James Dashner
James Dashner - The Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials - Published by Chicken House - 4 Aug 2011
Thomas was sure that escape from the maze meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one knew what sort of life they were going back to. The earth is a wasteland. Government and order have disintegrated and now Cranks, people driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim\.and meal.Thomas can only wonder - does he hold the secret of freedom somewheren his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

book cover of 

The Traitor and the Tunnel 

 (Mary Quinn Mystery, book 3)


Y S Lee
Y.S Lee - Traitor and the Tunnel: A Mary Quinn Mystery - Published by Walker - 4 August 2011
Queen Victoria has a little problem: a series of petty thefts from Buckingham Palace. She calls the Agency for help, and they put Mary Quinn – on her first case as a full-fledged agent – on the case. Going undercover as a domestic servant, Mary’s assignment seems simple enough. But before long, a scandal threatens to tear apart the Royal Family. One of the Prince of Wales’s irresponsible young friends is murdered in scandalous circumstances and the story, if it became public, would disgrace the young prince. Should the Queen hush things up or permit justice to take its course? Mary’s interest in this private matter soon becomes deeply personal: the killer, a drug-addicted Chinese sailor, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, James Easton’s engineering firm wins a contract to repair some sewers beneath Buckingham Palace. Trouble is, there’s a tunnel that’s not on the plans. Its purpose is unclear. But it seems to be very much in use – it’s just not clear by whom. These overlapping puzzles offer a perfect opportunity for James and Mary to work together again. If they can still trust one another. If they can suppress the emotions that still torture them. If Mary can forget the sight of that exquisite blonde she sees in James’s drawing-room… In this, Mary’s most personal case yet, she faces struggles at every level – legal, political, personal. And she has everything to lose.
book cover of 


 (Magic Next Door, book 2)


Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Nina Kiriki Hoffman - The Magic Next Door Bk2: Meeting - Published by Viking - 4 August 2011                                         
When Maya Andersen and her family moved to Spores Ferry, Oregon, they didn't know there'd be magic right next door. Their new neighbors in the Janus House Apartments all have unusual powers, and the basement is a Grand Central Station to other worlds. Maya and her alien companion, Rimi, are learning how to live together and how to keep their secret-which becomes a lot harder as they help the Janus Housers track down the Krithi, the race who snatched Rimi from her home planet in an attempt to rule the universe.

book cover of 

Doc Mortis 

 (Invisible Fiends, book 4)


Barry Hutchison
Barry Hutchison - Invisible Fiends:Doc Mortis - Published by HarperCollins - 4 August 2011

Kyle wakes up in hospital – which is strange, because he doesn't remember being ill. And that's not all. He's also deliriously flitting in and out of the Darkest Corners, and in the shadow version of the hospital the surfaces aren't clean, and the sharp instruments aren't used for healing.
It's Kyle's most terrifying experience yet, and it's about to get much, much worse.
The doctor will see him now…

book cover of 

Lord Oda's Revenge 

 (Blood Ninja, book 2)


Nick Lake
Nick Lake - Lord Oda's Revenge (Blood Ninja) - Published By Corvus - 1 August 2011

Taro was just a fisherman's son...but then his father was murdered and he was forced to become a Blood Ninja, fated to live by night, doomed to live on the blood of others. But he has had his revenge. He has killed Lord Oda, the warlord who had his father assassinated. But Lord Oda is not quiet in his grave. He has found a way to reach beyond death and Taro and his friends soon find themselves facing samurai armies, a deadly enemy from the past and strange ghostly creatures who suck life from the living. Dangerously weakened, Taro, must recover the one object that Lord Oda was desperate to find before he died: the Buddha Ball, the source of limitless power. But if Taro is to complete his perilous quest - to save himself, his friends, his mother, and the girl he loves - he must go to hell and back and face his arch enemy once again. For Lord Oda has returned - as a Blood Ninja.
book cover of 

Rip Tide 

 (Dark Life, book 2)


Kat Falls

Kat Falls - Dark Life:Rip Tide - Published by Simon & Schuster - 4 August 2011                                       
Return to the subsea frontier with Ty and Gemma, where the mysteries of the deep are deadlier than ever. With time running out for his parents, Ty's desperation leads the two teenagers to the underwater underworld...and into an alliance with the outlaws of the Seablite Gang. But one mystery soon leads to another. How has an entire township disappeared? Why is the local sea-life suddenly so aggressive? And can the Seablite Gang be trusted...or are Ty and Gemma in deeper water than they realise?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Barry Hutchison - Invisible Fiends: Doc Mortis Blog Tour - (The Scariest Ride of your Life)

                               book cover of 

Doc Mortis 

 (Invisible Fiends, book 4)


Barry Hutchison

Commencing on Monday 1st August, Barry Hutchison and the Doc will be spending a fortnight visiting a number of blogs as part of the Invisible Fiends: Doc Mortisblog tour. You can see the full schedule of the stops on the blog tour by clicking on the banner to the right of this page or going directly to

To see the beginning stages of the schedule please see the outline below. I feel very privileged to have Barry stopping by my blog on the actual publication day. 

I hope that you will follow and tweet about this blog tour. However, be ready for the scariest ride of your live. Do please leave us your comments.

August 2011 – Week 1

Monday, 1st: Tour kicks-off at Bookzone for Boys  – Running extract no. 1 of the ‘Rise of Doc Mortis’ short story

Tuesday, 2nd: Serendipity Reviews – Extract No. 2

Wednesday, 3rd: Sarah’s Reviews  – Extract No. 3

Thursday, 4th: PUB DATE!! Video: Barry Talks Doc Mortis on Mr. Ripley’s Enchanted Books

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Maureen Johnson - The Name of the Star - Book Review

book cover of 

The Name of the Star 

 (Shades of London , book 1)


Maureen Johnson

  • Pages - 370
  • Publisher - HarperCollins
  • Date 29 Sep 2011
  • Age 13+
  • Isbn - 978 0 00 739863 8

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

On first receiving this book, initial indications suggested that this was not my type of book. Normally I would not read or certainly want to read a 'paranormal romance' with a young female teenage as the lead protagonist. The book cover certainly suggested that this book was aimed at the female audience, and as a result, did nothing for me as a male reader. In fact, the only reason that I read this book was the link that it had to the 'ripper' - the main theme of this book.

Therefore, I was intrigued to see how this book was going to unravel. I think it would be fair to say that right from the very start the book did indeed have a 'girly' touch to it. However,  I soon overcame this factor the more that I read the story. 

The particularly chilling aspect of this book involves the killings of innocent victims - all based around the copy cat killings of 'Jack the Ripper'. Going around London brutally killing his victims the storyline was chilling, but yet gripping. 

At the midway point of the story, a twist in the tale focused the plot and gripped me to the very end of the book. The twist was a total surprise and as a result, the story took on a whole new meaning. The turn of events created a more serious element than I expected - the tension left me on tender hooks right until the very end.

The author has obviously undertaken extensive research in order to put real historical elements into this story through the places that have been chosen, the portrayal of the victims and the inclusion of gruesome facts. As a result, the story takes on a particularly realistic feel and adds a modern day 'Ghostbusters' feel to the story. 

I'm actually glad that I have read this book. I did find some of the 'girly' characters a little annoying, but nevertheless the story was a real atmospheric thriller. Dripping with many spine tingling moments right through to the very end. 

This is the first book in the series entitled 'Shades of London'. Many more books have yet to be further published. Will I read the next one in the series? Well, you'll have to watch this space.....

Monday, 18 July 2011

Mr Ripley's Most Wanted - Kazu Kibuishi - Amulet #4: The Last Council

Kazu think this volume is by far the best one in the series, and it is definitely the one that he has put the most effort into creating.  It features a large cast of new characters and a large collection of beautiful new environments, including various locations inside the flying city of Cielis.  The story delves deeper into the history of the stonekeepers, and the characters grow quite a bit during the journey.  He did a lot of work to try and fit as much as he could into the 224 full-color pages of the book, and I think it shows.  Be sure to check with your local bookstore and ask them to order it before it hits shelves on September 1st, 2011!

Emily and her friends think they'll find the help they need in Cielis, but something isn't right. Streets that were once busy are deserted, and the townspeople who are left live in crippling fear. Emily is escorted to the Academy where she's expected to compete for a spot on the Guardian Council, the most powerful Stonekeepers. But as the number of competitors gets smaller and smaller, a terrible secret is slowly uncovered--a secret that, if left buried, means certain destruction of everything Emily fights for.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Golems, Ghosts And Daemons Are Shortlisted For The Kelpies Prize 2011

A golem on Corstorphine Hill, mermaids lost in the Clyde and daemons on the loose in Edinburgh Parallel are just some of the problems faced in the three unpublished children's novels shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize 2011.
Edinburgh-based publisher Floris Books today announces the shortlist for the Kelpies Prize 2011. The annual prize is for previously unpublished works of fiction, set in contemporary Scotland and suitable for children aged 8 to 12. Since the end of February deadline, judges have been busy reading their way through a large number of manuscripts to decide on the final three.
The 2011 shortlist (in alphabetical order) is:

How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People) by Alette J. Willis
“You think you’re a fairy godmother or something?” I asked. “Or something,” Michael agreed.
Edda is tired of her nickname, “Mouse”, and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her twelfth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school. There’s something peculiar — and very annoying — about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can’t bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they?
Alette J. Willis was born in Britain but brought up and educated in Canada. She and her husband returned to Edinburgh three years ago. After gaining success writing short stories for adults, she returned to her first love, children’s fiction. For the past two years she has volunteered as a Talking Trees Storyteller at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. She currently works at Edinburgh University as a teaching fellow and researcher.

The Really Weird Removals Company by Daniela Sacerdoti
“Come on children,” whispers Alistair. “Come and meet Camilla.” “Is she your daughter?” “Not exactly. Just a ghost I know.”
Luca has never met his Uncle Alistair before; in fact, he didn’t even know he had an uncle. But as soon as Alistair arrives on the tiny island of Eilean, Luca and his sister Valentina notice a strange shadow perched on Alistair’s shoulder. It turns out to be Camilla, a ghost their uncle has rescued. Uncle Alistair is a supernatural investigator, an expert in warding off feisty fairies, capturing stray trolls, and rescuing mermaids lost in the River Clyde. Whatever your supernatural problem, Alistair has a solution. When he sees that Luca and Valentina share his gift, he invites them to join his new venture, the Really Weird Removals Company.
Daniela Sacerdoti is Italian but moved to Scotland ten years ago. She lives with her husband and sons, and loves Scotland so much she considers herself “adopted”. Daniela has studied at the University of Turin and Strathclyde University. She has been writing, for both adults and children, since she can remember.

The Resurrection Spell by Roy Gill
It was over coffee and biscuits that Grandma Ives offered to return Cameron’s father from the dead...
Cameron’s dad never took him to visit his Grandma Ives — and he’s just found out why! Living with her after his dad’s death, Grandma Ives soon reveals their family’s extraordinary abilities, and introduces Cameron to the Daemon Parallel — the dark and dangerous side of Edinburgh he never knew existed. When Grandma Ives reveals they could use an ancient spell to bring his dad back to live, Cameron enters the deadly daemon underworld to find the spell’s vital ingredients. On this terrifying adventure, Cameron befriends a werewolf, bargains with a giant bat-like time eater, and struggles to escape the clutches of a powerful spider daemon. But will he survive long enough to finish the resurrection spell? And who can he trust in a world where nothing is what it seems?
Roy Gill was born in Edinburgh, where he lives with his partner, and an increasing number of bookshelves. In 2008, having completed Glasgow University’s Creative Writing MLitt, he was shortlisted for the Sceptre Prize for best work-in-progress manuscript. In 2009/10 he was the winner of a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust.

The winner of the Kelpies Prize 2011 will be announced at a ceremony at the Writers Retreat in the Edinburgh International Book Festival enclosure on Thursday 18 August 2011. The winning author will receive a £2,000 cash prize and have their book published in the Kelpies imprint before the end of the year.
This year, the prize will be presented by Scottish children's author, Lari Don. Lari's debut novel First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts won the Royal Mail Award for Younger Readers (8–11 years). She has since written three other children's novels and two picture books for Floris Books. Lari is sure to be an inspiration for the shortlisted authors.

The three shortlisted authors couldn't be more different. Canadian-educated Alette Willis' entry involves a golem who lives on Corstorphine Hill. Italian Daniela Sacerdoti delves into the supernatural as her characters investigate mermaids, selkies, ghosts and fairies trapped in our world. Edinburgh-born Roy Gill, meanwhile, attempts to bring back the dead...

Floris Books is confident that this year's winner will be just as popular as previous Kelpies Prize success stories, such as Caroline Clough who won the Kelpies Prize 2010 with her novel, Red Fever.
Sally Polson, Commissioning Editor for Floris Books, comments: "We have thoroughly enjoyed reading the entries for this year's Kelpies Prize. They've been packed with original ideas and extraordinary characters, and the standard of writing has been higher than ever before. The prize presents a wonderful opportunity for discovering talented new authors, who we can then support in forging successful writing careers."

To discover some great books published by Floris/Kelpies check out the site.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Tom Percival - Find out more about 'A Home for Mr Tipps' - Book Trailer

This is the book trailer for the forth coming picture book by Tom Percival. The talented author/illustrator last outing was with the wonderful picture book "Tobias and the Super Spooky Ghost" Book. It's a really good book trailer and the sound track to go with it is really catchy,which was all done by Tom himself.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Philip G Bell - The Elfin Child Bk 1 - One To Watch

I have been informed that this book should be available soon in the UK, although it is already available on the Kindle. The paperback form is also available in the US from CreatesSpace the publisher. What a great eye catching book cover that has been designed by the talented illustrator/graphic designer from Brazil, Marcos Porto. For more details check out Philips website.

This is a fantasy story about an 11-year old boy living in late 1950's London and after a prolonged period of illness aggravated by London Smog, he is sent to spend his summer holidays with an Aunt who lives in the countryside. Whilst enjoying a quiet time playing in a nearby wood, he encounters an Elfin Child. He is soon drawn into a parallel world where his own world's time is almost stationary. He discovers that the Elfin Race are threatened by dark forces led by Voros of the Bogenvalk. Prophecy had foretold that only a human child will save the Elves and the Elfin Child was tasked with finding one. Join their quest as they travel through mysterious lands and meet strange characters and creatures. 

Monday, 11 July 2011

Jeyn Roberts - Dark Inside - Book Review


  • Pages - 362
  • Published by Macmillan Children's 
  • Date - 2 September 2011
  • Age 13+
  • Isbn - 978 0 230 75618 2

This is a debut book by the multi-talented lady who grow up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in Canada and started writing at an early age. She also played in an alternative/punk band called Missing Mile before moving to England.

Some time ago, I had the chance to read a small slice of this book before it even found the light of day with the publishers. However, one year later and with some changes, this book is now finally ready to be published within the UK on the 2nd of September. It will then move to be published within the US. 

Listening carefully to people within the publishing industry, I have heard great comments being made about this book. Comments which indicate that this is a brilliant book to read as it is grippingly tense and scary. 

I haven't enjoyed a book so much since Charlie Higson's 'The Enemy'. Interestingly, there are a number of comparisons that can be made between both books. For example, they are both played out through the eyes of teenagers and an apocalypse is depicted through both stories. However, it is the fight for survival that is really the compelling driving force. Whilst full of action and scary moments, no zombies can be found in this story, just Baggers who are crazy, infected humans who have tiny little voices in their heads. Their role is to kill and cleanse the worlds of humans.

Apparently, the story came to the author as tiny little dreams. She then pieced them together to make one big dream about the end of the world. Therefore, four split stories find themselves being woven and merged into the plot through four teenagers, who battle through North America. They find themselves on a long and emotional trail of death and destruction in a final attempt to save both humanity and each other.

This book is the best thing that I have read so far this year. Whilst I loved it, I do recognise that it is not a particularly happy read. It is an emotional roller coaster that pulls at the heart strings. It holds no punches, particularly through some of the graphic detail and information that it shares, which each reader can interpret in many ways. 

The characters are very well written - each displaying and uncovering their own personal thoughts and emotions to actions and situations. This certainly gives added suspense and tension to the storyline.
This is a non-stop action thriller - it is full of rage, hope and survival. With Baggers around every corner, waiting to kill, you wouldn't be wrong to think that the world has finally gone mad. This story will never let you go as no-one can be trusted and nightmares are a reality. 

I highly recommend this book. With a sequel to look forward to in the future, this story has only just begun. . . . .


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Panama Oxridge - "THYME RUNNING OUT" - Book launch Details October 2011


The second part of the Tartan of Thyme - ďThyme Running OutĒ
will be published on October 1st 2011.

However, the TRO book-launch event will be held on Saturday
the 10th of September at the 
Cotswold Bookstore.
Signed & dated copies of ďThyme Running OutĒ will be available,
(almost 3 weeks ahead of the official release date), along with
signed copies of ďJustin Thyme (both hardback and paperback).

If you are unable to attend but would still like a signed copy of
TRO, the nice people at the Cotswold Bookstore are willing to take
orders, and then mail copies out straight after the event so you
will still get your book ahead of the release date.

They can be contacted at:
20 High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0AF.
Their telephone number is: 01608 - 652666
Or you can email them at
Meanwhile, the most up-to-date details regarding ďThyme
Running OutĒ and the launch event can always be found at
Tartan of Thyme Blog.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Ransom Riggs - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Book Review

  • Pages - 352
  • Published by Quirk Books
  • Date - 7 June 2011
  • Age 10+
  • Isbn - 978-159744761
It's been a very long time since such a book has specifically been brought to my attention, not only through the telling of a great imaginative story, but actually through the physicality of the book itself. Unfortunately, the more that reading trends advance the more the likelihood that the physical hardback will be unavailable. Especially, as we are now in the digital era of e-books - I find it such a great shame. Therefore, to find this book being published with such care, thought and attention really caught my eye. 

The cinematic charm of the vintage photographs throughout the book really made the story come alive. The reader is able to imagine from the very start what the story entails. However, you never actually know until you turn that very first page and find the voice inside.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I think that the best way to sum up this book is indeed "peculiar", but not in the way the author was meaning. The vision of this story is like no other story that you'll have read before. In fact, it may not be seen again until the next book in this series. In a world that has so many books, some of which lack originality or a unique voice, such uniqueness is refreshing. 

As I've already mentioned, I was sucked into the charm of this book through the book cover. However, the book delivered so much more that I anticipated once the story was finally told. The voice of each character instantly transported me into my own subconscious mind as the story flutters on the wonderfully weird and strange. It left me flipping the pages until there were no more left to turn. However, many more questions were left unanswered by the end.

The book takes you from the reality of a mundane life in America to a fantasy story based around a mysterious island in Wales. Many spine-tingling moments, with interesting outcomes and an emotional trail of the past and the present, produce some very good reading moments. There are many thought provoking moments along the way and friendship bonds with people who all share something in common. 

This book is a really good read for everyone, it might not be what you would expect  but it definitely not be one that you will forget. This is a great debut book with, I believe, film potential.


Monday, 4 July 2011

Alyxandra Harvey Haunting Violet - Competition - Bloomsbury


The wonderful Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey is out today! To celebrate we are offering one lucky winner the opportunity to win an incredible iPad 2, along with a signed copy and goody bag for 10 runners up. Head to the Facebook page to find out how to enter:

Sunday, 3 July 2011

++++ Three Good Books Published in the US in July 2011 ++++

book cover of 

The Wizard of Dark Street 


Shawn Thomas Odyssey
Shawn Thomas Odyssey - The Wizard of Dark - Published by Egmont - 26 July 2011

Oona Crate was born to be the Wizard’s apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind.

Despite possessing the rare gift of natural magic, Oona wants to be a detective. Eager for a case to prove herself, she wants to show her uncle—the Wizard of Dark Street—that logic is as powerful as magic. But when someone attacks the Wizard, Oona must delve even deeper into the world of magic to discover who wanted her uncle dead.

Full of magic, odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, 
The Wizard of Dark Street will have you guessing until the very end.
Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, performing for admiring crowds on her traditional Indian stringed instrument. Her particular instrument used to be her grandmother’s—made of warm, rich wood, and intricately carved with a mysterious-looking dragon.
Sheela Chari - Vanished - Published by Hyperion - 26 July 2011 
When this special family heirloom vanishes from a local church, Neela is devastated. As she searches for it, strange clues surface: a teakettle ornamented with a familiar-looking dragon, a threatening note, a connection to a famous dead musician, and even a legendary curse. The clues point all the way to India, where it seems that Neela's intrument has a long history of vanishing and reappearing. If she is able to track it down, will she be able to stop it from disappearing again?
Gillian Neimark - The Secret Spiral - Published by Aladdin - 26 July 2011
It’s just another boring Wednesday in May for ten-year-old Flor Bernoulli of Brooklyn, New York. As soon as school is out she hurries to the popular Sky High Pie Shop down the block, owned by the wonderfully mysterious Dr. Pi. But when she gets there, her life changes forever. Dr. Pi reveals he is actually an ancient wizard, in charge of a very special cosmic fire that keeps nature in balance. Without him, every single thing that has the shape of a spiral—from seashells to galaxies to the inside of your ear—will cease to exist. Flor wonders if Dr. Pi has lost his mind, but then two tall blond strangers from another planet show up, hoping to steal Dr. Pi’s fire for themselves. The adventure of a lifetime has begun. As she travels in time and travels in space, Flor learns that only she has the magic to help Dr. Pi protect the fire, save the spiral, and keep the world spinning just as it should.