Sunday, 23 December 2012

Mr Ripley's Cracking New Books For January 2013

Tim Bowler - Sea of Whispers - Published By OUP -  3 JAN 2013
Somehow the boat was still afloat - another wave had lifted it clear of the first rock and was driving it further inshore. It bumped against the base of Crab Rock and skewed around, then tipped momentarily to starboard...and as it did so, she saw a figure crouching in the bottom.

Hetty's always been a bit of a loner, preferring to keep to the outer edges of the close-knit island community. But when a strange woman is washed up on the shore, Hetty finds herself under increasing scrutiny from the islanders. There's a connection between Hetty and the woman that makes people suspicious, so when death comes to the community the woman is branded a bad omen and Hetty has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

As she heads out to sea, a storm is breaking and the whispers that she's heard before are louder than ever. Voices from the very depths of the sea . . . and they're calling her name.

F E Higgins - The Phenomenals: A Tangle of Traitors - Published By Macmillan - 3 JAN 2013
A twisted adventure of intrigue, magic and superstition from the bestselling F. E. Higgins Don’t go down to the tar pits, children – for their shores are lined with the wretched wraiths of all the traitors and murderers who have drowned in its bubbling depths. In the shadows of this putrid place, an unlikely new alliance is being formed: they call them The Phenomenals, and only they can save us from a hideous fate that will befall the town if the wraiths escape their tarry shackles . . . Meet The Phenomenals: Citrine Capodel - heiress to a corrupt empire and framed for a murder she did not commit; Folly Harpelaine - a merciless destroyer of Lurids, who dabbles in the dark arts; Jonah Scrimshander - a deadly harpoonist, who has already cheated death, and Vincent Verdigris - light-fingered and even lighter on his feet.
Bali Rai - Shivers - Published By Barrington Stoke - 1 JAN 2013
Meeting Cassie was the best moment of Sam's life. So why has everything fallen apart since? Can he really trust her at all? Terrifying ghost story. Sam hates life on the council estate - everyone knows why he and his mum had to move there and they won't let him forget it. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Cassie he quickly falls head over heels. But when Sam's devotion starts to cloud his judgment and his life begins to spin out of control, he still can't seem to walk away. Will the truth about Cassie be more than he can bear? With a reading age of 8+ this is also suitable for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic teens.
Emerald Fennell - Shiverton Hall - Published By - Bloomsbury - 3 JAN 2013
They slowed as they reached the gate; two stone columns, each with its own crumbling angel perched on top. The angels held up a rusty, wrought-iron arch that read, in curling, serpentine letters: SHIVERTON HALL. Arthur Bannister has been unexpectedly accepted into Shiverton Hall, which, as it turns out, is an incredibly spooky school, full of surprises. And it is just as well that Shiverton Hall has made its offer, because Arthur had a horrible time at his previous school, and was desperate to leave. Timely indeed . . . But Arthur has no time to worry about the strange coincidence. He is too busy trying to make head or tail of Shiverton Hall, dogged as it is by tales of curses and bad fortune. At least there are a few friendly faces: George, who shows him around; also Penny and Jake. But not all the faces are friendly. There are the bullying Forge triplets for starters. And then there is the acid tongue of the headmistress, Professor Long-Pitt, who seems to go out of her way to make Arthur's life a misery. Luckily Arthur has his new friends to cheer him up. Although there are some friends that you don't want to have at all, as Arthur is soon to find out.

Niel Bushnell - Sorrowline ( The Timesmith Chronicles) - Andersen - 3 JAN 2013
Twelve-year-old Jack Morrow is used to life being complicated. His mother died five years ago, and his father is now headed for prison. But then Jack discovers he's a Yard Boy - someone with the ability to travel through Sorrowlines, the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person's death - and he is quickly pulled into an adventure beyond anything he could have possibly imagined.

Finding himself in 1940s war-torn London, with his then-teenage grandfather, Davey, Jack soon realises that his arrival in the past has not gone unnoticed. The evil forces of a secret world are determined to find him - and to find out all he knows.

As Jack struggles to survive, he comes ever closer to unlocking the dark secret at the heart of his family, and to - just maybe - changing his own destiny . . .

Cornelia Funke - Fearless (Reckless) - Chicken House - 7 JAN 2013
After saving his brother, Jacob Reckless faces death from the fairy's curse burning in his heart. In search of a cure he returns to the Mirrorworld, where he is reunited with Fox, a beautiful shape-shifting girl. He has one more chance: a golden crossbow, with the power to both save and destroy life, buried in a dead king' tomb beneath an invisible palace. Jacob must cross continents,ace monsters and men \- including a dangerous rival \- and learn what it means to stay alive.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Favourite Reads 2012

                                          Illustration by Lilli Carre.

             Mr Ripley's Favourite Reads Of 2012

Looking back over the year it has been a good one for me - it has been one that I've really enjoyed in the world of blogging. I've read over a hundred books (children and YA) this year. Many of them I have really enjoyed reading, and therefore, picking out a handful of books was a really hard task. However, I've managed to pick 15 worthy books. I admit that I might have missed a title or two, but I hope that you get some ideas from the list below. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the authors and publishers for their support throughout the year - you've been brilliant, as always. Mostly I would like to thank the many readers and followers of this blog - without you I would not continue with my posts. I wish you all a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I'm looking forward to another stunning year full of fantastic books.

Listed in date order:

  1.  Barry Hutchison - Afterworlds: The 13th Horseman - Published By HarperCollins Children's - 1 March 2012
  2.  Kai Meyer - Arcadia Awakens ( Arcadia Trilogy) - Published By Templar - 1 March 2012
  3. Roy Gill - The Daemon Parallel - Published By Kelpies - 1 March 2012
  4. Tom Becker - The Traitors - Published By Scholastic - 5 April 2012
  5. Alexander Gordon Smith - The Fury - Published By Faber and Faber - 5 April 2012
  6. Garth Nix - A Confusion of Princes - Published By HarperCollins Children's -  17 May 2012
  7. Thomas Taylor - Haunters - Published By Chicken House - 24 May 2012
  8. Oldman Brook - The Wizard of Crescent Moon Mountain - Published By Matador - 1 July 2012
  9. Michelle Paver - Gods and Warriors - Published By Puffin - 28 August 2012
  10. Patrick Carman - 3 Below (Floors) - Published By Scholastic US -  1 September 2012
  11. Kim Curran - Shift - Published By Strange Chemistry - 6 September 2012
  12. William Alexander - Goblin Secrets - Published By Magaret K. McElderry Books - 6 September 2012
  13. Darren Shan - Zom-B - Published By Simon and Schuster Children's -  27 September 2012
  14. Gareth P Jones - Constable and Toop - Published By Hot Key Books -  4 October 2012
  15. Kate Cann - Witch Crag - Published By Scholastic - 4 October 2012

Monday, 17 December 2012

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars Final Winner 2012 - Thomas Taylor - Haunters


Finally Mr Ripley's book cover wars has now come to an end.  After four fantastic heats, it has been yet another brilliant year.

As usual I would like to thank the many people who got behind this little idea of mine. I have found the whole process tremendously exciting and interesting and hope that, you too, have had as much fun as I have - either as an observer or a contender. If you have enjoyed it then please let us know in the comments section as we'd love to hear from you.

This year over 670 votes were cast in the final alone. Whilst over the last two months around 2,600 votes were placed. This just highlights the passion that this competition generates. Anyway, without further ado I'd like to award the title of 'Mr Ripleys Book Cover Wars 2012 book cover of the year' to . . . . . . .  Thomas Taylor for the UK book cover - 'Haunters': published by Chicken House  - May  2012. Many congratulations.


Thomas now finds himself in the Ripley Hall of Fame where he accompanies the following three past winners:

2009/10  Jon Mayhew 'Mortlock' 
2010/11  Darren Shan 'Birth of a Killer' illustrated by David Wyatt
2011/12  Curtis Jobling ''Werewolf: Shadow of the Hawk' illustrated by Andrew Farley
2012 /13 Thomas Taylor "Haunters" illustrated by Steve Wells  - 285 Votes

The winner of the competition is Annabelle - Please email me your address,
thank you again, one and all, for your support and enthusiasm over the last two months.                         

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Guest Post: A Day In The Life Of An Author By Henrietta Bond

A day in the life

8am: Alarm goes off. It hasn’t got a chance. What was I thinking when I set it last night? 

9.30am: This is more my idea of an ‘early start’. Apologise to cat that is sleeping on my hip and make way to shower. Shower is once again running cold. Make way to office in my dressing gown (which fortunately is next to the bathroom, on top floor of the house). Find that computer got left on over night and is sulking. Turn off computer and restart. 

10am Computer still sulking. Go downstairs and make porridge. Listen to Radio 4. Look at FaceBook and Twitter.

10.30am Use my mobile to email my editor, to ‘check’ the deadline for the novel. It’s meant to be next Monday but I’m hoping she has forgotten this. Currently I have only written about 25,000 words and it’s meant to be circa 65,000. I don’t tell her this, but I do admit to having a couple of months of ‘writers block’.

11am Computer is starting to cooperate. Check my email and find that a client needs my help. I email her with some reassuring words and suggest she rings me if she needs further help. (I’m a coach, consultant and trainer as well as an author, and the variety is good. It gives me lots of excuses not to get on with my novel.) 

11.30am My editor emails me to say she understands about writer’s block. This is the third book in a series of novels for young adults – (the series title is ‘Control Freak’) so we know each other quite well by now. She says she trusts me because I’m good at delivering the goods at the last minute. I am hugely relieved and very grateful. 

12noon Sending out invoices for some training I did last week. Chasing up some unpaid invoices. Thinking about the novel I am writing for a possible new agent who wants to see something ‘different’ from my current novels. I have already written a bit of this ‘other’ novel but put it on a backburner when I realised deadline was looming for the current one…  

12.30 Receive a text reminding me that Creative Writing Group is going ahead this afternoon. It is run by a friend of mine who is a performance poet. It’s one of the highlights of my week. Do I have time to write a bit of current novel before I go? Probably not – I need to write back to my editor and thank her for the postponed deadline. I also need to worry about whether it’s too late to send my Christmas cards by 2nd post.

1pm Find that all clothes seem to be in the wash. Find a berry-red cord smock that makes me feel like an ‘artiste’. Wear this with velvet trousers and lots of amber jewellery. 

1.45pm Order organic soup and wholesome bread from the cafĂ© where the Creative Writing Group is held. Kiss a lot of people and tell them about my extended deadline. They are all much better poets than me but I’m one of the few published fiction writers in the group, so I have to boost my confidence as much as I can. 

2pm – Two hours of wonderful, crazy activity. We do lots of short bursts of writing about joyfully random topics our tutor has spent hours preparing. Everything is freeform, and the only rules are ‘never apologise/never explain’. Almost without exception the group members are highly creative and adventurous individuals and I spend much of the session laughing my head off at some clever word play or in awe of some profound observation. I learnt long ago not to be put off by other people’s efforts. My own style tends to be a bit sarcastic, a little offbeat, not dissimilar to the way I write my novels. 

4pm A brilliant couple of hours and the creative juices have been flowing…Producing a ten-minute poem inspired by a couple of scholarly quotes and a recent news story about a naked man who insisted on sitting on a statue of a former Duke of Cambridge, was probably the highlight. I have a lot of fun writing the following, which isn’t great art but gives everyone a giggle. 

‘It is never acceptable to be naked on a statue of a former Duke of Cambridge
Nor is it suitable to disrobe completely in the presence of effigies 
Of Queen Victoria, Nelson Mandela or Edgar Alan Poe.
However should it be deemed necessary, fortuitous or health-restoring
It is occasionally acceptable to remove one’s undergarments
In front of certain paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites,
Although important to accept that galleries require suitable notice
And usually prefer this to happen
Outside normal visiting hours.
A little twirling in one’s bathrobe is also permitted
Before statues of Ethelred the Unready
And should the need completely overcome you,
It is acceptable to appear in your birthday suit
Before Cleopatra’s needle. 

4.30pm I am having hot chocolate and teacakes with members of the writing group. This is what us writer types do, isn’t it? We discuss the importance of forgiveness and all feel very virtuous. 

5.45pm  I drop the group tutor at her house and she invites me in for herbal tea. (Did I mention that she’s one of my close friends). We talk about how I must get on with my novel and how she must finish a picture that’s on her easel… We talk about this for a long time

7.15pm I decide it really is time to go home.  The roads are frosty and my car isn’t impressed. 

7.35pm My husband is home from a shopping trip (he’s taken a day off). He says he has a present for me. I love presents and suspect it’s a book… but it’s a laptop. A new lightweight one to replace the elderly one I currently own, and which is threatening to give out at any moment. I feel overwhelmed by his generosity. I’ve been intending to buy one for a while but the present comes as a total surprise. 

8pm Husband is cooking supper and I’m trying to write the novel. Instead I answer some emails. 

9pm Supper is over and the new laptop has been named Lucinda. I decide it’s too late to write any novel tonight. However when I go to turn off my computer, I notice something that needs editing. 

10pm Still writing but will stop soon as need an early night. Another ‘early start’ in the morning and I will need to be fresh as a daisy

11.30pm Still writing. Main character, Holly is worried about her younger brother, Ryan, who is clearly depressed. Ryan has been depressed through the previous two novels as young men and mental health issues is a big thing of mine… Not sure why my readers put up with me. 

12.35am In bed and about to put out the light. But first I need to check my FaceBook page. Nobody new has liked my Control Freak page but it did get four new followers earlier in the week, so I can’t really complain. 

1.30am Finish ‘liking’ all the cheerful, mindless and significant things other people have been doing all day. And added a few of my own. Cat comes in and perches on my hip while I pummel the pillow into its perfect shape. Goodnight world. 
Thank you Henrietta for taking the time to write this personal account. I realise that you have many deadlines to work to and appreciate that this was an extra one for you, but a big thank you for finding the time to write and send this in. As a matter of interest, how is the book count developing - are you closer to the 65,000 words? Hopefully 'Lucinda' will be helping you along and supporting your productivity!

If you would like to find out more about Henrietta and her other books then please click on the link below:

Web site 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Kindle Book Plug: Peter Quatrine - The Chronicles of the Dragon Sisters

Hello reader,

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Peter Quatrine. I’ve
recently published my debut novel on the Amazon Kindle store.  Mr.
Ripley has very kindly offered me the use of this blog post to help
promote the novel.

The book is entitled “The Chronicles of the Dragon Sisters,” the first
in a series about teenage twin sisters Eva and Jane Fonten.

The estranged twins move from London to a bizarre country house, rife
with dragon decor and motifs.  Follow their adventures as they are
drawn into fantastic and dangerous worlds as they begin to learn of
their heritage and themselves.  The developing relationship between
the girls and their immediate and extended family is a central theme
in the unfolding saga.

Barry Cunningham, publisher and MD of Chicken House, kindly notes in
his 4* Amazon review: “I was lucky enough to read this early - it's a
really excellent story, and I love the Dragon Sisters.  It's not so
common in fantasy to find great girl characters, and these are truly
intriguing in a fantastic and strange adventure.”

If you like contemporary fantasy perhaps you might like to give it a
try.  If you’re a Prime user you can borrow it for free, or buy it
for a £1 or $1.55.

Previews are available for your reading pleasure. The work can be
downloaded onto anything that carries the Kindle app.

Thank you very much,

Peter A. J. Quatrine

Monday, 10 December 2012

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars Final 2012/13 Plus Darren Shan Book Competition

This is the big final for the book cover wars for 2012/13 - are you ready to vote?

Over the last four weeks, different authors and illustrators have battled for their book covers to be voted into the grand final. As a result, we now have four worthy winners who have the chance to be crowned with the title 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted book cover of the year'. So without any further waiting, let the final battle of horror commence . . . . 

A big thanks to all the authors and illustrators who have got behind their book cover and for the enjoyable banter that we have had with you all. 

A big thanks also to everyone who has voted - around 2000 votes have been cast over the last four heats! The last heat was a real battle with only one vote between two book covers.

As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your final favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win two books by Darren Shan 'ZOM-B'  - both the proof copy and a signed hardback of the same book.

If you are interested then all you need to do is:

  • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll (see top right of the page)
  • Leave a comment through this post
  • Sit back, watch the voting develop and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). Please note that this competition is open Worldwide
  • This poll will end on 17th December 2012 - 10PM
So here are the four book covers to vote for:

Book One - Alexander Gordon Smith - Execution: Escape from Furnace Published By Farrar Straus Giroux - November 13, 2012  Cover By Christian Fuenfhausen

Book Two - Thomas Taylor - Haunters - Published By Chicken House -  May 24, 2012 - Book Cover By Steve Wells 
Book Three - Derek Landy  - Kingdom of the Wicked (Skulduggery Pleasant) - Published by HarperCollins - August 30, 2012 Cover By Tom Percival/HarperCollins Team

Book Four - Will Hill - Department 19: Battle Lines - Published by Harper Collins -  March 28, 2012 Cover By Bose. Collins. London

Happy voting and may the horror, be with you!
Please do leave a comment on the post and just say hello!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Book Reveal: Derek Landy & Tom Percival - Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven

This is the new book cover that was unveiled yesterday by Tom Percival and Derek Landy. It's a stand alone novel set in the Skulduggery Pleasant world. Starring Tanith Low it will be published by HarperCollins on the 28th March 2013. This version (see link below) is missing both the words and the title. However, it still shows the full impact of Tom's brilliant work. You can also see both versions over at

Here is the released synopsis for the book:

This time, the bad guys take the stage.
Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke.
When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she's got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself…

Friday, 7 December 2012

Gary Knowelden - The Wreckers - Book Recommendation

‘We have to save the Island Queen! We have to stop them – my parents are on that ship.’

Despite the stormiest weather he can remember, Edward is looking forward to his holiday with his parents in Cornwall. They are staying with his elderly aunt in a large old house by the sea. From the photos he has seen of the place, Edward is sure that the house could well be haunted – or at the very least there might be secret tunnels and passages hidden behind the wooden panelled walls. Either way, it is sure to be fun exploring the old house. 

But he does not have to wait until he reaches his aunt’s house for odd things to happen. His parents are delayed and he has to travel alone on the train. A spooky incident at the station, strange happenings on the train and a bizarre lamp-lit boat ride along dark flooded lanes are just the beginning of a holiday he will never forget. 

What starts off as fun when he meets the ghosts of a young girl and her pet cat soon becomes something far more sinister and dangerous. Edward and his new friends are caught up in a life and death race to save the ship his parents are travelling to Cornwall on from becoming the latest victim of an evil band of undead pirates. 

A wild chase on jet skis along flooded lanes and a struggle to the death on top of the church tower, backlit by the lightning of the worst storm in living memory, all leads to the thrilling finale. Edward, Bruce the grumpy Scottish terrier, Lucy and Sam must work together to stop The Wreckers – and Bruce must escape the clutches of Su Lu, a besotted Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. 

The Wreckers is a gripping work of children’s adventure fiction that will appeal 
to children aged 8-12 years old. 

Publication Date 1st January 2013 - Troubador Publishing