Thursday, 28 February 2013

Film News: Relativity Signs Mikael Håfström To Direct Epic Adventure Film Tunnels Written By Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams


THE BEST NEWS SO FAR THIS YEAR - Congratulations Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.

Relativity Media announced today they have signed Mikael Håfström (The Tomb1408) to direct a film based on the New York Times' best-selling, internationally-acclaimed fantasy adventure book series Tunnels. The script by Andrew Lobel is based on the adapted screenplay originally written by Joel Bergvall & Simon Sandquist. Tunnels is the film adaptation of the first installment of the novel series from Scholastic/Chicken House publishing, by authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, which has sold over one million copies and has been published in nearly forty countries worldwide.

The authors have already completed five sequels with the sixth and final book in the series, Terminal, to be published in the U.S. this fall. The property was unearthed by Barry Cunningham, the man credited with discovering "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling and whose boutique Chicken House imprint is part of Scholastic, the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and the U.S. publisher of the "Harry Potter" and "The Hunger Games" series.

Tunnels is a thrilling, epic fantasy adventure for all ages. Beneath the streets of London, two teenage boys discover an incredible, hidden underground world where a secret civilization has been desperately waiting for a hero to save them all. The deeper they go, the closer they get to unearthing an evil that could destroy the world above and put an end to the lives they once lived.

Tunnels is being produced by Mark Canton (300Immortals), Neil Canton (Back to the Future) and Danny Davids alongside Relativity's CEO Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter). Relativity's President Tucker Tooley (The Fighter) will executive produce with Kelly Dennis (1408). Atmosphere's David Hopwood will serve as co-producer.

Cunningham said, "Only a few times in my life have I felt that rush of imagination in a story that I know is going to sweep up an audience in its grip, 'Tunnels' made me believe in adventure, bravery and a new world."

Tooley said, "Andrew has written an incredible script and Mikael brings a creative and powerful vision to this project. The 'Tunnels' novels have proven to be one of the most immensely exciting adventure series in recent years and we can’t wait to translate that excitement to the big screen."

"The originality of the book and its sequels, which uniquely combine the adventure of Indiana Jones with the magic of Narnia, along with its franchise potential, is what attracted Relativity, Neil, Danny and myself to 'Tunnels' and I'm delighted to be producing it with them," Mark Canton added. "Having just finished 'The Tomb' with Mikael Hafstrom, I know first hand that he's the perfect person to direct this epic fantasy, and Andrew Lobel's script has captured every bit of the incredible world that Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams have created."

"Barry Cunningham clearly has a keen eye for spotting authors whose epic stories appeal to readers of all ages around the globe," said Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade. "Scholastic is proud to be the American publisher of the bestselling 'Tunnels' series, and we look forward to seeing this underground and imaginative world expand through film."

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Fortunately, the Milk will be a time-travelling adventure for young readers featuring aliens, dinosaurs, volcano gods and a pint of milk that saves the universe! The book will be illustrated throughout by Chris Riddell, and will be the third Neil Gaiman project that Chris Riddell has worked on. Chris has previously illustrated the tenth anniversary edition of Coraline and The Graveyard Book, for which he was Kate Greenaway Medal shortlisted.

2013 is set to be the year of Neil Gaiman. In addition to publication of Fortunately, the Milk Bloomsbury Children’s Books will also publish a new picture book Chu’s Day and Unnatural Creatures, a collection of beastly stories chosen, introduced and featuring a short story by Neil. Headline Publishing Group will publish The Ocean at the End of the Lane for adult readers, and Neil is also scripting a new episode of Doctor Who to be screened this year.

Fortunately, the Milk will be published in hardback in September 2013

Monday, 25 February 2013

Book Review: Seven Wonders: The Clossus Rises - By Peter Lerangis

Peter is the author of over 160 books. Some of his recent books from The 39 Clues have been listed in the New York Times Bestselling Series.  However, this is the first book that has been published as part of a new series of seven books and will be published in the next two years or so. 

Jack McKinley's normal life has just ended. Rushed into hospital he is told that he only has six months to live. However, when he awakes he finds himself on a mysterious island. A secret organisation promises to save his life, but on one condition. Jack and his new found friends Cass, Ally and Marco need to retrieve seven magical objects that, only when combined together, keep them alive. They need to work together on a mission, they have no choice but to undertake the quest. Solving clues and working out the mysteries to the secret locations they find themselves weaving through lost civilisations and mythology.

One of the books hidden strengths is the cast of great characters. You will bond with each one as you follow them through their adventures - battling the consequences of their genetic disorder which enhances their unearthly powers. This aspect of the story reveals many emotions and teenage angst, giving it both a human and realistic quality that I liked. The book also delivers a timely and humorous nature to the story which is played out in a fun way and will have you chuckling along at various points. 

This is a great introduction to the series - an epic fantasy, which is fuelled by high-octane action and great imagination. It will fuel the minds of both the young and old. An immersive book that will be an instant hit with reluctant readers. It's a book in my opinion that is hard to put down unless you have to do so. Well depicted, it is set in a breathtaking fantastical setting, with sparks of both magic and danger around every corner. It finishes on a real nail biter with a hive of film-like quality sequences that will leave you wanting more. 

If this sounds like your kind of book or you need a little more persuading to read it, then check out the book series website. You will also be able to read and download a free prequel ebook (Seven Wonders journals) and lots of other cool things. Just follow this link HERE


Sunday, 24 February 2013

New Children's Book Picks For March 2013 - US Post Edition Two


Joel Naftali - The Hyperlink: The CyberSkunk Files - Published By EgmontUSA (March 26, 2013) 

The sequel picks up where the first book ended, but now Dr. Roach's army is even more powerful. He is so strong that he is able to do the unthinkable--he's able to scan-in the CyberSkunks! What will happen to the skunks and can they survive?
Will Doug and Jamie be able to save their super-skunk friends and finally stop Dr. Roach, Commander Hund, and VIRUS before they take over the world?
In this series, thirteen-year-old Doug narrates the stories in a series of blog posts (many interrupted by either his best friend, smart girl Jamie, or the artificial intelligence who mothers him, Auntie M) about how he's trying to save the world and clear his name after being branded a terrorist and a murderer.

Ian Baucom - Through the Skylight - Published By Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 19, 2013) 

Two tantalizing tales, magically intertwined, cross cultures and span centuries as three kids set out to save the lives of three others—who just happen to live in the Middle Ages!A stone lion roars....
A sleek black cat speaks....
A faun leaps from the canvas of a painting....

When Jared, Shireen, and Miranda are each given one glittering gift from an old Venetian shopkeeper, they never fathom the powers they are now able to unleash; they never expect that their very reality is about to be utterly upended. And the adventure has hardly begun.

For in another time, centuries earlier, another trio—Rashid, Maria, and Francesca—have been thrown together under terrible circumstances: They have been kidnapped and, along with hundreds of other children, will be sold into child slavery. Unless, that is, they can find some way to save them all.

But all their fates lie in the hands of Jared, Shireen, and Miranda. The future—and the lives—of these three very modern children become entirely intertwined with those of the children from the past. Danger, it seems, has a way of spanning centuries.


Keith McGowan and Yoko Tanaka - The Witch's Curse - Published By Henry Holt and Co. (March 19, 2013) 

A shadowy witch and a cursed hunter--it's tricky business for Sol and Connie as they face this awful pair. The brother and sister have a long, dangerous hike through the accursed valley, they're running out of food and water, and the old stone lodge they discover with a collection of animals inside means big trouble. Can anyone save them? A heroic woodthrush? The All Creatures Manager? The Camper Lady? The Know-It-All Cube? Or will they have to save themselves? Sol and Connie--the brother and sister who were almost EATEN in The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children--are back, and this time things are looking even worse, because a centuries-old hunter is waking up . . . thanks to the witch's curse.

Orson Scott - The Gate Thief (Mither Mages) -  Published By Tor Books; (March 19, 2013)
In this sequel to The Lost Gate, bestselling author Orson Scott Card continues his fantastic tale of the Mages of Westil who live in exile on Earth.

Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of thirteen centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can't control him…and they can't control him. He is far too powerful.

And on Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless—he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he still must somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North.

For when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took the responsibility for the Great Gates. And when he comes face-to-face with the mages who call themselves Bel and Ishtoreth, he will come to understand just why Loki closed the gates all those centuries ago.

Sherri L Smith - Orleans - Published by Putnam Juvenile (March 7, 2013)
First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.
After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct…but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.  

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans.  In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Book Review: Liesel Schwarz - A Conspiracy Of Alchemist - Book Review


On a recent trip to Paris, I visited my favourite Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, situated in the breath-taking region of Notre Dame Cathedral. It was an especially welcomed visit on a particularly cold and rainy day. This was the first book that I selected fron the vast shelves of books. The cracking book cover first drew me in. However, it soon turned out to be a book that I particularly liked the sound of. Interestingly, the book begins in Paris in 1903 - that'sfate if you ask me! It will come as no surprise that I really needed to read this book during my wonderful stay. 

This is the first book in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow series. It is a brilliant debut book that encompasses so many fantastic elements into one book. It is based around a nineteenth century gothic setting which is particularly mesmerising to read. It has so much distinctive details that it will take your breath away. The fantastic steampunk elements are set in the golden age of steam with spark reactors powering nearly everything from airships to the coffee machine on the Orient Express. 

The Light and Shadow realms are weaved into the real world - spirited fairies mingling with the Nightwalkers. This brings a much needed supernatural element to the book that will give readers a lot of enjoyment. Blood-thirsty in nature, they roam the dark hours of the night and walk openly among the unsuspecting populace reeking havoc.

The mysterious Mr March is a human Warlock who lives for centuries. However, he showed no particular magical powers throughout the book and, in my opinion, needed perhaps a little bit more spark to do the role justice. The Alchemists on the other hand were great fun to read about as they plotted to unleash a magical apocalypse.  Stylishly written in a particularly imaginative and creative way they really add to the story. 

Elle Chance is the main character - she shares her perspectives and feelings throughout the story. She creates an inner glow that is radiated through every page and leaves you feeling very content. She's a particularly feisty female in charge of her own business - a small flight freight service. However, one day, a cargo that was supposed to be delivered sends her life through a changing set of events. These prove to be pretty spectacular events that hold some punchy twists and turns.

The books attention to detail really makes it stand out and makes for a fantastic reading experience. The only thing that perhaps let this book down was the romantic liaison between the two lead characters. It got a little too much towards the end of the book. I would have preferred to have seen a different approach as it spoilt it a little bit. Nevertheless, this book is a fantastic read full of surprises. As part of a series, I hope that the next book will deliver another eclectic mix of all things good. 

Published February 7th 2013 by Del Rey

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

News: Shortlist for Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2013


The shortlist for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, created to reward and champion new and emerging talent in children’s writing has been announced. Now in its ninth year, the Prize consists of three categories: picture books; fiction for ages 5-12; and teen books, to reflect the breadth of quality in children’s books. Six books will compete within each category to be crowned category winner, with the three category winners then vying for the overall title of Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year 2013.

Picture Books:
  • Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Rabbityness by Jo Empson (Child’s Play)
  • Oh No George! by Chris Haughton (Walker)
  • The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon (Pavilion Children’s Books)
  • Can You See Sassoon? by Sam Usher (Little Tiger Press)
Fiction 5-12
  • The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable (Chicken House)
  • Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray (Faber and Faber)
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Random House Children’s Books)
  • The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters (Nosy Crow)
  • The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey (Puffin)
  • Barry Loser: I Am Not A Loser by Jim Smith (Egmont)
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt (Egmont)
  • Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Hot Key Books)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury Children’s)
  • Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Indigo)
  • Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb (Little Tiger Press)
The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize is unique in that it is voted for by booksellers across the country. Final judging is currently underway.
The winners will be announced on Thursday 21st March. The winner of each category will receive £2,000 with the overall winner picking up an additional £3,000.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Mr Ripley's Graphic Novel Book Pick: Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal Volume 2: Creation Myths by Brian Froud & Brian Holguin

About the series: Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths is an original graphic novel hardcover series set one thousand years before the crystal cracked, before the world of Thra fell to strife and destruction. Original Dark Crystal movie concept designer Brian Froud plots, provides the cover, designs characters, and art directs this beautiful hardcover. Written by Brian Holguin (Spawn), and illustrated by Alex Sheikman (Robotika) and Lizzy John.
The synopsis: The Great Conjunction is at hand in this dramatic second volume of Archaia and The Jim Henson Company's trilogy of prequel graphic novels that tell the origin of The Dark Crystal. Aughra, the beloved guardian of Thra, has gone into hiding, while her son, Raunip, leads a team of emissaries to the Crystal Castle. There they will bear witness as the visiting Urskeks attempt to use the Conjunction to power their voyage home. But pain and mistrust fostered by the group leads to events that will corrupt the world to its very core and transform the Urskeks into two distinct races: the gentle urRu and the terrifying Skeksis. Brian Froud, legendary fantasy artist and conceptual designer of Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal film, returns to oversee this crucial chapter that reveals the tragic events that caused the Bright Crystal to darken and shatter.

If you would like to see a digital preview click Here

Published by Archaia Entertainment, LLC (March 12, 2013) 

Monday, 18 February 2013

New Children's Book Picks For March 2013 - US Post Edition One

Melvin Jules Bukiet - Undertown - Published by Amulet Books (March 5, 2013)
In this fast-paced adventure story, Timothy and Jessamyn are towed through the streets of Manhattan riding in Timothy’s family’s sailboat, on their way to the Long Island shore, when the boat comes unhitched from its truck. The teens “sail” backward down a hill in Upper Manhattan, then fall down a huge construction site hole and into the vast sewer system below.
Thrust into an amazing adventure, the kids navigate waterfalls and rapids as they travel through the rain sewers. They meet a graffiti artist their own age, a homeless person named You, and rats the size of large dogs. They fall into the hands of a gangster who claims the sewers as her kingdom and the homeless as her subjects, and acts as a fence for luxury goods! Will she feed Timothy and Jessamyn to the rats.
Gregory Mone - Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic - Published By Square Fish (March 5, 2013)

A stowaway, a stolen book, a murderous villain: an adventure on the most famous shipwreck in history. The great ocean liner Titanic is preparing to cross the Atlantic. Onboard is a sinister thief bent on stealing a rare book that may be the key to unlocking infinite treasure; a wealthy academic traveling home to America with his rare book collection; and Patrick Waters, a twelve-year-old Irish boy who is certain that his job as a steward on the unsinkable ship will be the adventure of a lifetime. In Dangerous Waters, disguises, capers, and danger abound as the ship makes its way toward that fateful iceberg, where Patrick will have to summon all his wits in order to survive.

Chad Morris - Cragbridge Hall: The Inventor's Secret  - Published By Shadow Mountain (March 5, 2013)
Abby and Derick have been accepted to the most prestigious secondary school in the world Cragbridge Hall. Due to the inventions of their grandfather, Oscar Cragbridge, they will be able to experience history in 3D, use their minds to literally project visual interpretations of classic literature, and become animal avatars for zoology. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, Abby and Derick must follow clues Oscar left for them that will reveal a dangerous secret. Along the way, they discover there is much more to one of their grandfather s inventions than anyone has ever dreamed. Saving their family will take all of Derick s mind and Abby s heart as they come face to face with a crazed scientist who desperately seeks to change the past. If they fail, the world past and future will never be the same. This book is a page-turning, time-travel adventure that teaches powerful lessons about choice and consequence, believing you can do hard things, and valuing your history.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Andy Briggs - The New Adventures Of Tarzan: The Savage Lands - Book Review

We are now swinging into the third instalment featuring the world's first eco-warrior, Tarzan. The Savage Lands is Andy's latest explosive adventure which sees Tarzan being brought back to life within a modern day setting. Tarzan will be a hot topic this year as he is celebrating his 100th birthday and an animated Tarzan movie (by Constantin) is due to hit the UK at the end of the summer. Therefore, there is no better read in which to get you into the mood of Tarzan and his fascinating life.

In this epic book we see Lord Greystoke arriving at the logger's camp which is found deep in the Congo. Hoping to track down his elusive long-lost cousin Tarzan, he will stop at nothing to eliminate the potential of him inheriting the Greystoke legacy. However, Lord Greystoke also has other things on his mind, which become much clearer later on in the story.

Andy was a great choice of author to write this series of books. He has a fantastic style in which he writes descriptive and realistic settings. Upon reading, you feel like you're actually in the jungle looking down from a massive tree and watching all the action that is going on first hand. It's Andy's personal jungle vision that he shares with us through words, but like no other author does.

It would appear that his involvement in writing movie projects such as Freddy Vs Jason has perhaps, in my mind, given him the experience to pack a book with a lot of screen-like action. Travelling through this high-octane journey you will visit the sprawling ancient city of Opar. It feels like something straight from the movie set of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The evil insane Queen La is an absolute joy to read. She is a seriously twisted and dark-to-the-core female character. I loved her role in the book; I really wanted to read more.

This book finishes with a breathtakingly action-packed finale, which will definitely take a little bit of time to sink in. I really loved reading the Savage Lands. In my humble opinion, this is the best book in the series, so far. This is another fantastic read -  hopefully there's a lot more to come.

Published By Faber and Faber (7 Feb 2013)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

++++ New Children's Book Picks March 2013 - Post Two UK ++++

This is post two as there are so many great books out to read in March.
There might even be a third post, so keep your eyes peeled for more. 

Will Hill - Department 19: Battle Lines - Published By HarperCollins Children's - 28th, March 2013
Dracula is on the verge of coming into his full power. Department 19 is on the back foot. Ladies and gentlemen: welcome to war. The stakes? Mankind’s very survival…
As the clock ticks remorselessly towards Zero Hour and the return of Dracula, the devastated remnants of Department 19 try to hold back the rising darkness.
Jamie Carpenter is training new recruits, trying to prepare them for a fight that appears increasingly futile. Kate Randall is pouring her grief into trying to plug the Department's final leaks, as Matt Browning races against time to find a cure for vampirism. And on the other side of the world, Larissa Kinley has found a place she feels at home, yet where she makes a startling discovery.

Dan Wells - Fragment (Partials) - Published By HarperCollins Children's - 28th, March 2013
Fighting to stop a war that could destroy everyone alive…
Kira Walker nearly died searching for the RM cure, but the battle for survival is only just beginning. The genetically-engineered Partials are inextricably bound to a greater plan that could save both races and give Kira the answers she desperately seeks.
Venturing deep into the wasteland, Kira’s only allies are an unhinged drifter and two Partials who betrayed her yet saved her life – the only ones who know her secret. Back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war. But their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.
It is the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on earth; this journey may be their last.
Claire McFall - Ferryman - Published By Templar Publishing - 1st, March 2013
When teenager Dylan pulls herself free from a train wreck and emerges onto an almost deserted Scottish hillside, she believes she is the only survivor. Seeing the figure of a boy on the bank she enlists his help. But Tristan is no ordinary passerby, and Dylan soon learns that instead of being the only survivor of the wreck, she is in fact the only fatality. And, Tristan is no normal teenage boy - he is her ferryman tasked with guiding her through the wasteland to her afterlife. As the pair journey further together through the dangerous wraith-infested wasteland, they fall deeply in love. When they reach the other side, Tristan promises to cross over with Dylan, but when she steps across the threshold and turns back, he is not there. Confronted with life without Tristan, Dylan vows to find him, but that means traversing the dangerous wasteland without a guide - A truly moving, epic love story, that's exciting, scary, funny, thought-provoking and truly original.
Mark King - Frenzy - Published By - Book Guild Ltd - 28th, March 2013
Daniel leads a peaceful life with his family until he finds out a repulsive secret about the Over-seers, the saviours of humanity , and his security is blown to smithereens. He enters a world where death is the only certainty and quickly learns to kill or be killed. Enter Gwendolyn, with the charm of a snake and a bite that s twice as dangerous. People skills aren t her thing but she knows how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world; she s a hotshot with a bow and arrow and can rustle up a mean rat soup. Mary is the only person left alive over forty. She s not too good at fighting but she knows where to find the one thing that could save their lives; the golden shield. Only Mary can remember life before the invasion, before humanity was brainwashed into following the procedures. Pursued by the Over-seers, the Triclops and the barbaric hunters, can the three brave rebels triumph in their quest for the golden shield? The odds are stacked against them hold tight for a white-knuckle ride through a landscape of devastation!

Philip Reeve - Goblins Vs Dwarves - Published by Marion Lloyd Books - 4th March 2013
Another fantastically exciting novel set in a land of magic from the award-winning Philip Reeve. The heroes of GOBLINS continue their adventures outside the walls of Clovenstone castle. Awaiting Skarper and Henwyn are powerful dark forces that must be vanquished, monstrous creatures to be fought, and astonishing mysteries to be solved.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Sharon Gosling - The Diamond Thief - Book Review - Published By Curios Fox

Today for review is one of the first books to be published by Curious Fox. This is a new imprint offering young readers, of all ages, creative and jaw-droppingly enjoyable books. These books promise to take readers on a journey of new adventures and experiences. Therefore, with this statement in mind, can these books deliver that promise or not?

With curiosity stated as a focus of the publishing company, The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling is my first opportunity to test the waters. Overall, the production of the book sparkles to match the title. It shines out to the potential reader through the very attractive book cover. However, is the content equivalent to a shiny gem or a bit of rusty old copper in need of a polish? 

The start of the book is particularly good - it wastes no time in setting up the murky waters of the Thames and the smoky hard times of Victorian London. Sharon has the great ability to paint a picture for you to visualise.

Remy is the main protagonist in the book; she is fantastically written and very likeable. Plucky in spirit, she is portrayed very well by making the reader want the best for her. As a result, we are treated to some interesting twists and turns, and some fantastic reading moments.

At points in the book you are hit with little steampunk elements. Whilst the great action scenes will have you lapping up the pages. The introduction of the mysterious Professor and his amazing lab certainly starts to get the ball rolling. In fact one of my favourite scenes involves the Professor and his gas pistol. The idea of the micro transmitting/tracking device that he uses not only creates a great effect, but is also really cool! 

From this point on the book goes into overdrive - making for a more gripping and imaginative read. Abernathy's plotted scheme comes to light. The underground chambers and an array of crazy metal monsters are well thought out. Although they could have perhaps had a little bit more focus at times. Nevertheless, the story still weaves its magic on the reader and will leave you wanting more.

Sadly, I have encountered just a couple of issues with the story. Firstly, I felt that in some places the author took a slightly safe route. For example one of the characters is trapped and suddenly develops a magical and mysterious ability out of nowhere. Interestingly, the character is able to help them escape in the nick of time. Finally, the relationship between Rémy and another leading character, Thaddeus Rec, was also an issue for me. I think the author managed to focus on this too much at the end of the book, and it just became too overpowering for me. I felt that it stole, what could have been, a really brilliant ending.

I really enjoyed reading this book and actually didn't want to stop reading it in order to go to work. It has shiny amounts of storyline and a sparkle of creative ideas which are full of promise. The ending perhaps needs a little bit of polish. However, this author is certainly one to watch in the future.

Published By Curios Fox, 14 February 2013 - ISBN-13: 978-1782020134



Egmont Press is thrilled to announce the acquisition of a major new series for readers of 9+, Mars Evacuees, by bestselling adult author Sophia McDougall. 

Sarah Hughes, Fiction Publishing Director at Egmont Press, bought two books with UK and Commonwealth rights in a keenly contested auction from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. The first title in the series will publish in Spring 2014. This is Sophia's first book for children.

Mars Evacuees is the story of a group of children who are evacuated to Mars when their future on Earth is under threat. None of them knows what to expect at their destination. And when the adults in charge of them disappear, they are on their own…

‘This is my first major acquisition since arriving at Egmont in December,’ said Sarah Hughes.  ‘I was looking for a very special project: something that not only has fantastic child-appeal and editorial integrity but that also has a killer hook. I didn't expect one to cross my desk so quickly and I am thrilled. Sophia has a lightness of touch and an eye for the kind of detail that makes her writing incredibly distinctive and memorable.’

Sophia McDougall said, ‘I first had the idea for Mars Evacuees when I was nine; I was fascinated by Michelle Magorian’s novels of children evacuated to the English countryside or to America in WWII, and I wondered, in a future war, where else could you send people? Obviously Mars. And what would happen to them next? It’s taken me almost twenty-five years  to come up with the answers, but I’m so happy to be going to Mars at last with Egmont – I was so impressed by their energy and enthusiasm for the book.’

Sophia McDougall is the author of bestselling Romanitas trilogy (Orion/Gollancz). Her short stories have been published by Jurassic Fiction, Solaris and NewCon press. She has appeared on Radio 3's Night Waves discussing Mars in literature with Samira Ahmed and A Clockwork Orange with Will Self.   She was a panellist at the 2012 'How the Light Gets In' arts and philosophy festival in Hay.  She is 33 and lives in London

Thursday, 7 February 2013

++++ New Children's Book Picks March 2013 - Post One UK ++++

Kate Kae Myers - The Vanishing Game - Published By Bloomsbury - 3, March 2013
The Vanishing Game Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived, and with help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah. 

Derek Landy - Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven - Published By HarperCollins - 28, March 2103
A brilliant, hilarious one-off novel in the Skulduggery Pleasant universe, from number-one-bestselling author Derek Landy
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…

Andrew Beasley - The Claws of Evil (The Battle of Ben Kingdom) - Published By Usbourne Publishing - 1, March 2013
Welcome to Victorian London; the home of the Artful Dodger, Sherlock Holmes...and Ben Kingdom, cocky street urchin - and the saviour of mankind. Unknown to mere mortals, an ancient battle is being waged across the city. Below the streets lurk the Legion, an evil gang of miscreants and criminals in league with the monstrous Feathered Men - determined to unleash Hell on the streets of London. Above the city's rooftops soar the Watchers, a ragtag band of orphans, mystics and spies, dedicated to protecting the vulnerable and guarding London against evil. Only Ben can put an end to this war - the only problem is, he doesn't know which side to choose. 

Simmons Kristen - Breaking Point (Article 5) - Published By Tor Teen - 13, March 2013
After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed. Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance - an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumours are flying about the sniper's true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion...Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself. Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can't even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and "laying low" is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways. With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding...or fight back?                          

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

+++ Tom Becker - While The Others Sleep - Book Review +++


I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before about Tom Becker, but he is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. Therefore, when I received this book in the post I was very excited to read it. Especially as it is a book that I have really wanted to read this year.

This is the seventh book that has been published so far by Tom Becker and I hope there will be many more to come. He has written five great books in the fantastic Darkside Series. However, the sixth book 'The Traitors', which is Tom's first standalone book, is one of my favourite reads from last year and has been longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013.  

With this book, While The Others Sleep, Tom has pulled out another cracker. He has written a good, old-fashioned, supernatural thriller that will surely become a classic one day. Alfie Mandeville is the newest patient to be sent to the sanatorium for children. Sent by his father for treatment to make him better, as he suffers from sleep insomnia, he finds himself in a complicated situation. Be warned that reading this book will not help with the curing of any sleep insomnia. Alfie tries to uncover what is going on, but he ends up wrestling with his need for a logical explanation against his sleep-deprived imagination.

Scarbrook House is a sanatorium for wealthy children, it's a fantastic setting for this book. Picturesque on the outside whilst creepy and edgy on the inside; it's a dark place full of twisted secrets. Terrible things have happened within the house and are still continuing to happen throughout the story. This book delivers a mixture of both supernatural horror and mayhem.

Many of the characters have an eerie and disconcerting quality about them. Each character has a story to tell; they are all patients with sinister ailments that need to be overcome. However, they all seek treatment from a rather drunk Dr Grenfell who, in my opinion, needed a little bit more life injected into him as a character and perhaps more background detail in order to enhance the story. 

I think that you will love this book as much as I do. You may find that there are some similarities with another book (e.g. stately building with a twisted historical past told as a psychological thriller) that I have already reviewed this year, but that was also a cracking book. 

This book finishes with a climatic seat-of-your-pants experience. It is written in a very clever way with some amazing touches of imagination. It is a book that certainly lived up to my very high expectations and in more ways then one. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.  

Published By Scholastic - 4 March 2013