Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Samantha Shannon - The Bone Season - Quick Q&A - Happy Publication Day!


To mark the worldwide book launch today, Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books has had the opportunity to ask this rising star the following few searching questions about her exciting debut book and her writing:  

1. You mentioned in your acknowledgements 'Thank you all for taking a chance on a dreamer.' Can you explain how you have 'dreamed up' the projected series of seven instalments and the orders that they have come to exist as? 

The Seven Orders are the result of a lot of research into historical types of divination, from Roman augury to nineteenth-century Spiritualism and Native American spirit walking. I wanted there to be a sense of inheritance to my system, but also to put my own unique spin on each sub-type. I sorted them into seven 'orders' after looking at the similarities and differences between the different kinds and wrote them all up in On the Merits of Unnaturalness, a pamphlet that's mentioned in the book.  

2. What or who has been a strong influential force in forming your writing?

Margaret Atwood, John Donne and Emily Dickinson were all big influences. 

3. How have you managed to combine mythological elements with your own fantasy writing?

I wanted the story to have a mythology that drew together threads from multiple traditions, rather than just one. The two main mythological influences were the Greek pantheon -- particularly the legend of Aphrodite and Adonis -- and the Hebrew Bible.   

4. As you started writing novels at the age of fifteen, how has your style changed and developed to become a published author today?

It's come a long way since I was a teenager, especially under the guidance of my editor, who really helped me bring out the best in The Bone Season. I write very differently now to how I did when I was fifteen. I generally wrote in third-person at that age; I've now taken to writing in first, though I hope to try third again one day. I've learned a lot in the past year from my editors at Bloomsbury,  but I still have plenty more to learn. I hope my style will continue to mature and develop as I become a more experienced writer.   

Book Synopsis: The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

This is one of my favourite YA/Adult reads this year, so now it's your chance to read it for yourselves. My book review is here if you would like further confirmation on how good it really is.

Friday, 16 August 2013

New Children's Books Published September 2013 - UK


Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell - Fortunately, the Milk - Published by Bloomsbury -17,  Sep 2013
You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.
Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.


Joseph Delaney - The Ghost Prison - Published by Andersen - 5, Sep 2013
This is the entrance to the Witch Well and behind that door you'd face your worst nightmare. Don't ever go through there.'

Night falls, the portcullis rises in the moonlight, and young Billy starts his first night as a prison guard. But this is no ordinary prison. There are haunted cells that can't be used, whispers and cries in the night . . . and the dreaded Witch Well. Billy is warned to stay away from the prisoner down in the Witch Well. But who could it be? What prisoner could be so frightening? Billy is about to find out . . .


Andrew Lane - Young Sherlock Holmes: Knife Edge - Published by Macmillan Children's Books - 12, Sep 2013
Something sinister is afoot in the house in the west of Ireland in which Sherlock is staying. There are frightened whisperings among the servants and the house's owners are clearly scared. But who - or what? - has terrified them so much that nobody will speak out? Young Sherlock must bring all his powers of deduction to unravelling his greatest mystery yet. Another fast-paced, brilliantly plotted adventure as teenage Sherlock investigates a new crime and comes up against a fresh crop of sinister, clever criminals.

Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre  - Oliver and the Seawigs - Published by OUP Oxford -5, Sep 2013
Oliver grew up in a family of explorers - but his biggest adventure is about to begin! Along with his new friends, a grumpy old albatross, a short-sighted mermaid and a friendly island called Cliff, Oliver goes off in search of his missing parents. But before he can put his rescue plan into action there's the evil Stacey de Lacey and an army of greasy, green sea monkeys to contend with . . .

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Book Review: Chris Priestley - The Dead Men Stood Together - Bloomsbury


Chris Priestley delivers another cracking tale that will move both the spirit and soul through this offering. The book is short on page content, but massive on story content. The narrative rattles around your head like a deadly mist coming in from the sea. It's very bleak and atmospheric, but like all good stories it leaves you thinking. The traditional style is reminiscent of the good old yarns that have been told from generation to generation. In my opinion, this story will get better with age and time. 

I rattled through this book with a delicious appetite for the dark, and the somewhat macabre feeling, which is normally associated with a book written by Mr Priestley. As usual he did not let me down. Elements of this book really make you think, whilst the rest of the story washes over you. The characters take you on a gothic sea adventure that contain a modern day twist based on Coleridge's book 'The Rime Of the Ancient Mariner'. 

In a harbour town long ago, a boy is entranced by his uncle’s stories of adventure in lands far away. Ignoring the crazy talk of the harbour pilot’s son about the uncle being the Devil, the boy boards a ship with his uncle. But the uncle soon makes enemies of the captain and crew. 

A terrible silence followed the thud of a albatross hitting the deck. All heads turned to the sound and each face froze in horror at the sight the bird they had all come to love lying stretched out on the boards. 
I have to say that this was an epic part of the book - I really loved the way that these words pinged off my brain. My mind captured this scene in my head brilliantly.

This book is a compelling contemporary chiller that will not thaw when read. It is another fine example of Chris' great storytelling which doesn't necessarily seek a happy ending. In my opinion, not all stories should have or require one. I want the unexpected to happen and that is what was given yet again. It was such a pleasure to have this book on the reading pile. It's another read that I would recommend to everyone who loves a good spine-tingling adventure which has been painted in the very best way.......

This book is being published by Bloomsbury (hardback) on the 12th September 2013.

Monday, 12 August 2013

New Children's Fantasy Book Picks September 2013 - UK


Dawn Finch - Brotherhood of Shades - Published by Authonomy - 19, Sep 2013
From the chaos of Dissolution rises a secret order, a Brotherhood formed to protect the world of the living from the world of the dead.
Adam, a teenage boy living on the streets of London, knows nothing of the fantastic and precarious world that exists just beyond his reality – until he dies, cold and alone, aged 14. After years of rejection, Adam discovers he is important, and the Brotherhood needs him. His recruitment to their Order will take him on an adventure that spans the worlds of both the living and the dead, as he and a living girl (14-year-old Edie Freedom) battle to solve a prophetic riddle and save the world.


Gwenda Bond - The Woken Gods - Published by Strange Chemistry 3, Sep 2013 
Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke around the world.

This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school.
Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., home to the embassies of divine pantheons and the mysterious Society of the Sun. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way back from school, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn’t what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne “Oz” Spencer, an intriguing Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous relic. The Society needs it, and they don’t care that she knows nothing about her father’s secrets.

Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz–whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn’t? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it.


Justin Somper - Allies and Assassins - Published by Atom - 19, Sep 2013
They killed his brother. Now they're coming for him. . .
As the second prince of Archenfield, Jared never asked to be more than the spare. But behind the walls of the castle is a dark and dangerous court where murder and intrigue are never far below the surface.
Now his older brother is dead. The kingdom is his. And the target is on his back. Can he find the assassin before the assassin finds him?


Jan Siegel - The Devil's Apprentice - Published by Ravenstone - 24, Sep 2013
The Devil is retiring... but who's taking over? When teenage Pen inherits the job of caretaker for a London building with no doors and only a secret entrance from the caretaker's lodge which she must never use little does she know it will lead her into unbelievable danger. For Azmordis, also known as Satan, a spirit as old as Time and as powerful as the Dark, Immortality is running out. In the house with no front door, a group of teenagers are trapped in assorted dimensions of myth and history, undergoing the trials that will shape them to step into his cloven footwear or destroy them. Assisted by only by an aspiring teenage chef called Gavin and Jinx, a young witch with more face-piercing than fae-power, Pen must try to stop the Devil's deadly game plan before it s too late.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

New Children's Horror Book Picks September 2013 - UK


Chris Higson - The Fallen ( The Enemy) - Published by Puffin - 12, 2013
The Fallen by Charlie Higson is the fifth awesome book in The Enemy series.
First the sickness rotted the adults' minds. Then their bodies. Now they stalk the streets, hunting human flesh.
The Holloway crew are survivors. They've fought their way across London and made it to the Natural History Museum alive - just. But the fight will never end while the Enemy lives, unless there's another way. . .
The kids at the museum are looking for a cure. All they need are medical supplies. To get them means a journey down unknown roads. Roads where not only crazed, hungry sickos hide in the shadows.


Darren Shan - Zom-B Baby - Published by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books - 26, Sep 2013
How do you know if you're working for a lunatic? Where do you go when you've run out of people to trust? Have you ever heard an undead baby scream? B Smith is out of her comfort zone ...
Christopher Krovatin - Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones - Published by HarperCollins - 25, Sep 2013
When Ian, Kendra, and PJ are separated from their class on a school hiking trip in the mountains, the unthinkable happens: they come face-to-face with a legion of terrifying zombies. They don't know where they are. They don't know how to get home. They don't know what gruesome creatures lurk in the shadows-but when they find out, will they be able to defeat these monsters and escape the mountain together? Perfect for tween readers who are aging out of R.L. Stine's scary chapter book series, Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones is a mysterious, wild ride that will thrill readers to the very last page.


Rick Yancey - The Final Descent (Monstrumologist) - Published by Simon & Schuster - 10, Sep  2013
Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop have encountered many horrors together—but can Will endure a monstrumological terror without his mentor? Will Henry has been through more that seems possible for a boy of fourteen. He’s been on the brink of death on more than one occasion, he has gazed into hell—and hell has stared back at him, and known his face. But through it all, Dr. Warthrop has been at his side.When Dr. 

Warthrop fears that Will’s loyalties may be shifting, he turns on Will with a fury, determined to reclaim his young apprentice’s devotion. And so Will must face one of the most horrific creatures of his monstrumology career—and he must face it alone.Over the course of one day, Will’s life—and Pellinor Warthrop’s destiny—will lie in balance. In the terrifying depths of the Monstrumarium, they will face a monster more terrible than any they could have imagined—and their fates will be decided.


William Hussey - Haunted - Published by OUP Oxford - 5, Sep 2013
Milton Lake is a seemingly ordinary town, where tales of hauntings and strange goings on ripple beneath the surface. When a mysterious boy comes to town and moves into a large, derelict house, all alone, his arrival changes everything. Shrouded in secrecy, he senses a kindred spirit in Emma Rhodes, and reveals to her a shocking truth. Someone in Milton Lake is using the fabled Ghost Machine to call the spirits of the dead back to our world. 

Now it is up to these two lost souls to find out who is operating the strange invention before it is too late . . .
For call by call, the dead will be unleashed.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Jonathan Stroud - Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase - Book Trailer & Publication Tour

20th August 2013: Edinburgh International Book Festival
Jonathan will be launching his new series in the UK exclusively at the Edinburgh Book Festival this summer. It will be the first public outing of Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase anywhere in the world, and there are exciting plans afoot (whispers of ghosts, video trailers, kit bags and more). For details and tickets, click the following links:  Public Events  |   School Events

29th August 2013: Lockwood & Co UK publication tour!

London – Thursday 29th August (publication day)
London bookshop signings
London – Wednesday 4th September
Launch event in London venue
Cheltenham Literary Festival – Sunday 6th October
Event details TBC
London – Monday 14th October
School events with Tales on Moon Lane bookshop
Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire – Tuesday 15th October
School events with Chorleywood bookshop
York – Wednesday 16th October
School events in York
Ipswich – Thursday 17th October
School events and an evening FCBG event
Leeds – Friday 18th October
Schools events in Harrogate and Leeds
Windsor – Monday 21st October
School events with Waterstones Windsor
London – Tuesday 22nd October
School events in north and east London
Birmingham - Wednesday 23rd October
School events and an evening FCBG event in Dudley
Worcester - Thursday 24th October
School events in Worcester
Newcastle – Friday 25th October
School events set up with Newcastle libraries
Birmingham - Saturday 26th October
Event at the Youth Libraries annual conference

Also check out my Book Review here.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Book Review - SF Said - Phoenix - Illustrated by Dave McKean - Published by David Fickling


One boy alone . . . . . . can he save the galaxy?

I did not think that it would happen, but just like the brightest light from the furthest star, this book is a creation to behold. Seven years in the making, and the third fantasy adventure from the super talented SF Said, this is one of his creations best yet. It is a breathtaking epic space adventure that will have you gripped in so many ways. It's a pleasure to read and one that I would definitely read again....

Initially this book really caught me by surprise. I knew nothing about it until it came through the post, which was a feat in itself, as it arrived with only the postcode and my name on the parcel! The front cover has an attractive bright yellow image which stands out from the crowd. If you particularly enjoy a good Sci-fi space fantasy then this book is for you - it has certainly rocketed to the top of my favourite reads this year. Even if you wouldn't normally enjoy this genre, I would still recommend that you try this book as it really is that good. 

The opening of this book presents a strong gravitational pull. The words run through your brain like poetry, whilst your eyes trickle over the amazing images from Dave McKean. These are a feast for the eyes and the brain - both the unimaginable and the impossible have been captured expertly in swirls of organic motion. The illustrations are depicted in black and white, whilst particularly hard to describe, they are very atmospheric and particularly captivating. This book is a must for seeing and reading; it is very creative and unique.

From the word go, you will be gripped by both the words and the images - both of which make a captivating story that will stay with you until the very last page. It has everything that is required (and more) such as amazingly imaginative settings and plenty of compelling action - both of which are written particularly well. The main character, Lucky, is very likable and actually felt like a real person. He appears as a very believable and down-to-earth person. Lucky is a human boy, but life soon becomes very complicated when, one night, he dreams that the stars are singing. On awakening, he finds an uncontrollable power rising inside him. . . . . 

On the run with his unlikely Alien friends, the adventure takes the reader on a galactic mission. Lucky finds himself visiting war-torn galaxies, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies. Together they must find a way to save the galaxy. The plot lines are packed full of great detail with many highs and lows around each meteorite. 

This book was really entertaining - it was both original and inventive. When I turned to the very last page I was filled with great sadness as I didn't want the story to end and also because of the tragic turn of events. I would really love to see a sequel, but I'm very doubtful that one might come. I would really recommend buying or borrowing this book otherwise I feel that you might regret it.  

Published by David Fickling - 1st August 2013 - Hardback. Available in all good bookshops now........

Friday, 2 August 2013

Book Review: Roger Davenport - Wanderer - Published by Sky Pony Press

The best introduction that I can come up with for this book is that it is a big time story with lots of heart and soul. It is published by Sky Pony Press in New York who sent me this review copy. I'd like to thank them for sending it over and giving me the opportunity to read it.

I was very keen to read this book when I found that the story portrayed a post-apocalyptic world. I have to say that this theme is difficult to get right when it is featured in books, but when it works it is amazing. So did this book and story live up to my expectations? Well, I have to say yes, in the main it did. This book has a great vision - the author paints the picture in full colour with some great fantasy elements that work particularly well. 

The story takes place in a lost valley in which society has been split into two: the Wanderers and the people who live in the pyramid city of Arcone. The Wanderes, by in large, have a very difficult and turbulent life - they have to battle against the elements, the arid desert landscape and each other. Whilst the people, who live in the pyramid city of Arcone, have a closed environment with a tightly controlled society which enables them to maintain a more civilized basic existence in the face of an environmentally devastated planet. I really did enjoy reading this book; it's highly imaginative and very well written. It is a fast-paced easy to follow story aimed at the 13-17 year old market but it also has a strong pull to older readers, just like myself!   

The characters are varied and very interesting; they are mostly likeable and take you along on a hair raising adventure. One of my favourite parts of the story involved the gas propelled balloon journey which took me on a breathtaking ride. It was really engrossing and set up the vision for the rest of the book. I loved the small attention to detail that you will find throughout this book - it really does make the story stand out from some of the other books within this genre.

The action intensifies the further that you travel into the story. However, it then very abruptly stops leaving the outcome, for me, to end too early. Perhaps the author took a little too long to set up the story for the next book and then made the story feel like two adventures in one book. That was my only gripe about this book really - I would have liked a stronger ending.

I really would like more people to find a copy of this book as it had a really good pace and rhythm to it. It has a gripping, fantastical world element that will have you engaged by following the characters' hardships, friendships and survival. There were some particularly great scenes and epic battles involving the survival of the main characters that will keep you immersed in the story. I really did enjoy reading this book as it was easy to follow, well written and really engaging from the start. The story included many great ideas which were well thought out and all told with a twist of mystery and a sense of adrenaline. I would recommend reading this book, so track down a copy if you can......

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Floris Kelpies Children's Prize Shortlist 2013


Every year as part of the Kelpies Prize, we look for the best unpublished children’s fiction with a Scottish twist. Since February, our editors have been working their way through a record number of entries to find our three finalists for this year’s prize – and they certainly weren’t disappointed.
We’re delighted to announce that the books shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize 2013 are:
  • Never Back by Barbara Henderson
  • Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens by Alex McCall
  • The Great Moon Mission by Shona McQuilken
Never Back is an exciting Scottish thriller about a dangerous journey to remember who you really are. TJ and Levi have no memory of their life before New Dawn, brainwashed to forget by the Authorities. Can they discover their past before their present catches up with them?
Barbara Henderson has taught English and Drama, and started her own small puppetry business. She won the Nairn Festival Short Story Competition in 2012.
It’s an age-old question, but why did the chicken cross the road? To start the giant robot chicken apocalypse, of course. In Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens, there’s something fowl going on in Aberdeen as the city is terrorised by giant robotic chickens. But Jesse and his friends aren’t going to let the chickens rule the roost any longer …
Alex McCall grew up in Aberdeen, which may be why it is the first city he has destroyed in print. He has published several poetry and short story anthologies.
It’s an out-of-this world experience in The Great Moon Mission. Jimmy and his friends were expecting canoeing or sailing for this year’s class trip, not the chance to blast off into space! But as they begin to wonder what this mission is really about, Jimmy and his friends find themselves in a race against time, and slime, to save Earth from some little green men.
When her school careers advisor told her that being an author wasn’t a proper job, Shona McQuilken decided to become a scientist instead. The Great Moon Mission combines her two passions.
It won’t be long until you can find out which will be the latest addition to our Kelpies list. The winner of the Kelpies Prize 2013 will be announced at a ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Thursday 22nd August 2013.

Want to enter next year’s Prize?

Manuscripts are now invited for submission to the Kelpies Prize 2014. The deadline is 28 February 2014 and for full rules and guidelines, you can read more here.