Saturday, 28 September 2013

New Children's/Teen Fantasy Adventure Books: Published October 2013 - Published US Post Two


Catherynne M. Valente - The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two - Published By Feiwel & Friends (October 1, 2013) - Age 10 - 14
September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers. 

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two is another rich, beautifully told, wisely humorous, and passionately layered book from New York Times–bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente.


James Ponti - Blue Moon (Dead City) - Published By  Aladdin (October 1, 2013) - Age 9 - 13
When Molly Bigelow discovered that zombies shared New York with humans, she didn’t think life could get more shocking. Then she learned that her mother was once one of the greatest zombie killers ever—and she discovered that her dead mother is not technically dead at all (although she isn’t alive, either).

Molly’s efforts to keep these secrets and to help her Omega team track down the identity of the original thirteen zombies will take her from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Her loyalties to friends and family will be put to the test. And her life will be changed in ways she never could have imagined.


John Bemelmans Marciano & Sophie Blackall - The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield - Published By Viking Juvenile (October 3, 2013) - Age 10+ 

Alexander Baddenfield is a horrible boy—a really horrible boy—who is the last in a long line of lying, thieving scoundrels.  One day, Alexander has an astonishing idea.  Why not transplant the nine lives from his cat into himself?  Suddenly, Alexander has lives to spare, and goes about using them up, attempting the most outrageous feats he can imagine.  Only when his lives start running out, and he is left with only one just like everyone else, does he realize how reckless he has been.

With its wickedly funny story and equally clever illustrations, this is dark humor at its most delicious.


Kazu Kibuishi -  Explorer: The Lost Islands - Published By Amulet Books; (October 8, 2013) - Age 9+
The highly anticipated second volume to the critically acclaimed Explorer series, The Lost Islands is a collection of seven all-new stories written and illustrated by an award-winning roster of comics artists, with each story centered around the theme of hidden places. Edited by the New York Times bestselling comics creator Kazu Kibuishi, this graphic anthology includes well-written, beautifully illustrated stories by Kazu (the Amulet series), Jason Caffoe (the Flight series), Raina Telgemeier (Drama and Smile), Dave Roman (the Astronaut Academy series), Jake Parker (the Missile Mouse series), Michel Gagné (The Saga of Rex), Katie and Steven Shanahan (the Flight series), and up-and-coming new artist Chrystin Garland.

Lana Krumwiede - Archon (The Psi Chronicles)  - Published By Candlewick (October 8, 2013) - Age 10+ 
Having used his unique connection with the Heart of the Earth to terminate the use of psi, or telekinesis, in the secluded city of Deliverance, twelve-year-old Taemon bears the burden of responsibility for the fate of its people. With society in disarray, his family missing, and tensions looming with the mysterious Republik, Taemon confronts the startling discovery that he alone can still use psi — and that it comes with a price. In an attempt to find his father and prevent war, Taemon and his friend Amma set out on a dangerous journey to the Republik. But what they find there is far from what they expected, and Taemon’s understanding of the world is challenged. Will his psi and his courage be enough to conquer the obstacles standing in the way of peace?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Guest Post: My Top Five Sci-Fi Films By Jennifer Ridyard + Conquest Book Competition


CONQUEST by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard is the first in a new sci-fi series for young adults. To celebrate the publication day, you can win a hardback copy of the book. All you need to do is to write something interesting about the book ,in the comments section, and I will pick a winner on the 10th October. I look forward to reading your comments ..... this competition is open worldwide. Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to write the follow post.

My Top Five Sci-Fi Films by Jennifer Ridyard

The best science fiction films ever made? You’re asking me? Are you sure?
Well, there’s obviously the canon (Alien/s, Star Wars, et al), and then there are the ones with cannons (Riddick, Mad Max, etc), but these are not necessarily my own favourites, or the ones that made me laugh, or cheer, or sob into my popcorn, or that have simply stayed with me.

So then here they are, my top five sci-fi movies, with no nodding to canons or even cannons, and no apologies either. If you expected more from me then, to quote Ripley, “I’m happy to disappoint you”:

5) Donnie Darko – yes, we’re veering into noir fantasy here, but this has that sci-fi staple of time travel, a rabbit from the future, schizophrenia, and the end of the world too. And love. And a very dark heart.

4) The Terminator – the first of a great series, because you just can’t argue with Arnie. “I’ll be back,” he said, and he didn’t let us down. See also: Total Recall for more Schwarzenegger splendour as well as that sci-fi chestnut, the three-boobed woman.

3) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – because Steven Spielberg has never been sweeter and neither has an alien.

2) District 9 – because sci-fi is often social commentary, and sometimes it can be really witty, but very occasionally it’s both, and this has calorific dollops of spectacular violence thrown in for good measure too. Yes please.

1) Men in Black – watch all three of them. I insist. You’ll pray for a fourth. I laughed until my stomach hurt, and I still do every time. I even love the maligned number two – and quit sniggering at the back, please. What’s not to love about a tiny alien world inside a storage locker at Grand Central Terminal?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Book Review: Philip Caveney - Watchers

I first started this blog back in 2008, if you search back that far you will actually find a post for Philip Caveney's 'Watchers' as an unpublished version. Five years on, I never thought that I'd actually get a chance to read the full book or even see it published. I've been watching, waiting and even flapping my wings waiting to read this. Fortunately, the wee independent  Edinburgh based publisher Fledgling Press have done the honours of publishing it and rightly so. They've commissioned a fantastic front cover by Kylie Tesdale that might just make it on the list of this year's 'Book Cover Wars' perhaps . . . . what do you think?

After all of these years, was the book worth waiting for? Well, the answer is a resounding YES!
I loved every page of this book, in fact so much so that I would have liked to have read even more. It has a really good feel factor to it; a brilliant family read that everyone will enjoy from eight to eighty. It will lift your spirit and soul to enjoyable levels but, at times, it will also take you on a ride that may drag you down to hell. 

This book is very cool - kids will relate to it on many levels. They will discover a ripping good story behind the book cover. It's very funny and witty - you will find yourself chuckling along to some of the antics from each character. However, it's also sad as well as Will Booth has to come to terms with the death of his father in a fatal car accident. Struggling to come to terms with his life, he has a chance encounter with a mysterious tramp called Ari. Will discovers that Ari is a member of a band of new age travellers - The Watchers - a group of fallen Angels that have been cast out of heaven in the "great war". The characters are very well written and somewhat quirky. 

These angels have been sentenced to travel the earth, making up for their past sins, by helping mankind. However the second band of angels, led by the dark and sinister Lou, bring an evil and cruel element to the story. They devote themselves to causing mischief and have their sights on adding to troubled times for Will and his friends. I loved the idea of 'Hells Angels' being real angels and riding Harley Davidson motorbikes causing mayhem - this was really fun to read. 

I would love for many people to read this book, so you may need to track a copy down.  Philip has a great skill of blending his imagination which he uses to great effect in all his books. He really grounds the story in reality whilst also adding a large dollop of strong idealistic ideas which make the whole story sing. It reads like lightning; it is  an adventure with wings that will keep you entertained throughout the journey. This is a fantastic and memorable piece of fiction which was well worth waiting for. It is one that I hope you will also enjoy.

Be a devil and pick up a copy. Read it and let me know your thoughts.....
Published by Fledgling Press (16 Sep 2013)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

New Children's/Teen Books: Published October 2013 - Published US Post One

Peter Lerangis - Seven Wonders: Lost in Babylon - Published by HarperCollins - 29, October 2013 - Age 8+
Percy Jackson meets Indiana Jones in the New York Timesbestselling epic adventure Seven Wonders! Lost in Babylon is the second book in a seven-book series, chronicling the adventures of Jack McKinley and his race to find the Loculi that have been hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In Lost in Babylon, Jack travels to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, where he discovers a world out of time and is faced with a dilemma unlike any he'd ever imagined.
Rick Riordan calls Seven Wonders "a high-octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets. The Colossus Rises is Lerangis's most gripping work yet. Young readers will love this story. I can't wait to see what's next in the Seven Wonders series!        

James Dashner - The Eye of Minds - Published by Delacorte Press - 8, October 2013 - Age 12+
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Ann Aguirre Horde (Enclave) - Published Feiwel & Friends - 29, October 2013 - Age 12+
Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.

Alexandra Bracken - The Darkest Minds, Never Fade - Published by Disney-Hyperion - October 2013 - Age 12+
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children's League call Ruby "Leader", but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children's League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America's children-and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts-has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future-and who now wouldn't recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam-and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart-she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Book Review: Joe Ducie - The Rig (Published by Hot Key Books)


Joe Ducie's first Young Adult novel was the winner of the Guardian and Hot Key books Young Writers prize in 2012, at the London Book fair. A year on, it has finally been published for all of us lucky people to read. The book cover and the synopsis really intrigued me, so I was really looking forward to reading it.

Normally I read a book in one or two sittings. However, recently, I have been so busy that I've just not had the time to do so. As a result, over the last week or so, this book has been my best friend and the story has been swirling around my head for a little while longer than usual. However I'm really glad that it was this book that was available for me to digest, as I really enjoyed it - it certainly pulled me through my very hectic schedule over the last week. Reading a few stolen chapters here and there, before bedtime, was a real tonic and one that made the story and the characters feel so real. 

Reading this book felt like I was strolling down the road of reality. The timeline to this story was actually quite comparable to the length of time that it took me to read it. The story is told from the perspective of Will Drake who finds himself arriving at yet another Juvenile prison known as the Rig. Stranded in the middle of the freezing Arctic Ocean, every moment is tracked, every door is locked. The challenge is to escape this secure institution which houses some of the worlds worst and most dangerous kids.

The brutality inside this prison is graphic and feels very real through its telling. Drake knows two things: he will have to be tough to survive, and that there is always a way out. I loved the turn of events in this book. The Rig is packed full of dark secrets and fantasy magic that you just don't expect or see coming. It is a great blend of gritty reality and a massive hit of Sci-fi(ish) fantasy which, again, is very unexpected. It certainly gets your imagination fired up and brings a new dimension to the on-going story. 

One of my favourite parts involved the competitive game of rigball. It is a brutal, vicious and physical game which is rather similar to lacrosse. However, the main difference is that both the racquets and the ball are magnetised. Also the ball has to pass between three racquets before a goal can be created and scored. The other side can intercept or steal possession at any point. However, body checking is not only allowed, but encouraged. Hopefully you get the idea that this section reads particularly well and, that to be honest, I really loved this part. 

This is a great debut book published by a major publisher. It is recommended for teenage boys and perhaps even curious teenage girls as well. The book explores friendship and hope as well as being dark and gritty. Certainly some of the very nasty characters create mixed feelings, but will a sense of justice be served up in the end? You'll have to read it to find out!

This is yet another sure fire winner published by Hot Key Books. It is a little reading gem that crosses the genres and feels somewhat different to other books being published at the moment.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mr Ripley's New Children's Books Published October 2013 - Post Two Fantasy/Horror Mayhem


Curtis Jobling - Wereworld: War of the Werelords - Published by Puffin - 3, October 2013
Drew Ferran was born a werewolf. Time has always been his greatest enemy.
Across the Badlands the Catlords have turned on each other. In North Lyssia the Seven Realms' greatest armies gather. And in the frozen city of Icegarden an even deadlier force lies in wait. If Drew wants to save his friends, he must fight - but have the heavens already decided his fate?

All roads lead to war. In the shadow of Strakenberg, and by the light of the full moon, the victors - and losers - will be decided.

Andrew Fukuda - The Trap (Hunt) - Published by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books - 24, October 2013
After barely escaping the Mission alive, Gene and Sissy face an impossible task: staying alive long enough to stop an entire world bent on their destruction. Bound on a train heading into the unknown with the surviving Mission girls, Gene, Sissy, David, and Epap must stick together and use everything they have to protect each other and their only hope: the cure that will turn the blood-thirsty creatures around them into humans again. Now that they know how to reverse the virus, Gene and Sissy have one final chance to save those they love and create a better life for themselves. But as they struggle to get there, Gene's mission sets him on a crash course with Ashley June, his first love ...and his deadliest enemy.

Catherine Fisher - The Box of Red Brocade - Published by Hodder Children's Books - 3, October 2013 
On a mission to recover his father lost in time, Jake finds himself in 1940s London. From the rubble of the Blitzed city, a clue leads him to an eccentric seer of ghosts, three sinister children and three strange prophesies. Two of them soon come to pass, but what is the Box of Red Brocade? Does it hold the secret of destroying the Obsidian Mirror? A talking bird, an invisible girl, a walking wood; the second volume of Catherine Fisher's Chronoptika series is packed with mystery, magic and sinister intrigue.

Hilton Pashley - Gabriel's Clock - Published by Andersen - 3, October 2013
Jonathan is in terrible danger. After his home is attacked by faceless monsters in bowler hats, he wakes up in the strange village of Hobbes End. Built by a fallen angel and hidden deep within a forest, Hobbes End protects those who need to be safe - and nobody is more in need of protection than Jonathan.
Jonathan is the only half-angel, half-demon in the universe, and now the forces of Hell want him for their own purpose. Aided by a vicar with a broken heart, a big man with a cricket bat and a very rude cat, Jonathan races to find the mysterious Gabriel's Clock. If he doesn't find it then his family and friends will die, but, if he does, then he risks starting a war between Heaven and Hell that could engulf them all.
Gabriel's clock is ticking . . . and time is running out.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mr Ripley's New Children's Books Published October 2013 - Post One


Lily Herne - Death of A Saint - Published by Much-In-Little - 17, October 2013 
Some secrets are so unthinkable you can't even admit them to yourself . . . Lele, Ginger, Ash and Saint - aka the Mall Rats - are hiding out in the Deadlands, a once-prosperous area of Cape Town, now swarming with the living dead. Exiled from the city enclave for crimes against the Resurrectionist State, the Rats face a stark choice: return and risk capture - or leave Cape Town and go in search of other survivors.But what if the rest of South Africa is nothing but a zombie-riddled wasteland? Now Lele has discovered the truth about why the lurching dead leave them alone, she can't bring herself to tell the rest of the gang. And she's not the only Mall Rat harbouring a dangerous secret . . . Can the friends' survive on the road if all they have is each other? Or will their secrets tear them apart?

Marcus Sedgwick - She is Not Invisible - Published by Indigo - 3, October 2013
Laureth Peak's father is a writer. For years he's been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he's obsessed, Laureth thinks he's on the verge of a breakdown. He's supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.

On impulse she steals her mother's credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.

Sophie Jordan - Hidden (Firelight) Published by OUP Oxford - 3, October 2013
'Inhaling deep breaths I wait for it to begin. The battle I've been waiting my whole life to fight.'
A group of vicious hunters are drawing dangerously close to discovering the secrets of the draki (descendants of dragons with the ability to shift into human form). Reluctantly, Jacinda realizes that running away to be with her beloved Will is no longer an option while the safety of her draki pride is at stake. Jacinda vows to use every last breath of fiery determination to protect the pride and for the right to control her own destiny.

But when the battle is over, Jacinda must decide where her heart truly lies . . . with the pride or with Will?


Catherine Johnson - Sawbones - Published by Walker Books - 3, October 2013 
Sixteen-year-old Ezra McAdam has much to be thankful for: trained up as an apprentice by a well-regarded London surgeon, Ezra’s knowledge of human anatomy and skill at the dissection table will secure him a trade for life. However, his world is turned on its head when a failed break-in at his master’s house sets off a strange and disturbing series of events that involves grave robbing, body switching … and murder. Sparky, persuasive young Loveday Finch, daughter of the late Mr Charles Finch, magician, employs Ezra to investigate her father’s death - and there are marked similarities between his corpse and the others. The mystery takes Ezra and Loveday from the Operating Theatre at St Bart’s to the desolate wasteland of Coldbath Fields; from the streets of Clerkenwell to the dark, damp vaults of Newgate Prison; and finally to the shadowy and forbidding Ottoman Embassy, which seems to be the key to it all…

Friday, 13 September 2013

Book Review: John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard - Conquest ( The Chronicles of the Invaders)

This is the first instalment within the Chronicles of the Invaders series, which has been written by John Connolly and his partner Jennifer Ridyard. It is an epic new science fiction series described by Connolly as "an adventure novel". Inspired by some of John's favourite films such as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (one of my personal favourites), Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Never mind the additional influence from the novels of John Wyndham - all of the above might give you a hint and idea of what you may expect. 

This book is an epic 400 page journey of sci-fi goodness that gripped me right until the very last page.  I was really surprised as to how good this book actually was, to be honest. It really was such an amazing read and a fantastic story. The best way to perhaps sum up this book is as follows: Star Trek meets Aliens but set on earth. It is smart, intelligent writing that ticks all the boxes for me. 

There is a strong female and male protagonist which will appeal to all teenagers and adults who love crossover fiction and science fiction. The novel is set at a time when Earth no longer belongs to us; we have been invaded by a slightly more advanced race called the Illyri - a beautiful, civilised yet ruthless alien species.  A small faction of people called the Resistance Leaders wage war on the invaders with dramatic effect. The storyline is set in, and around, Edinburgh castle and the Scottish Highlands which I thought was a fantastic backdrop to an amazing story. 

Full of visual characters (both human and alien) who are all seeking for attention is one great aspect of the book. Whilst another is through the gripping and fascinating dark side which runs throughout the story. Encompassing death and sorrow around every explosive corner as well as featuring some rays of warmth from the sun. The feelings and friendships of the characters struggling to overcome races and cultures are explored sensitively and, in my opinion, hold a very strong key to the plot which really pulls off the stark reality to what occurs in the story. The action-packed, explosive and technical battle scenes will have you in awe; they really are some of the best that I've read within this genre for some time. 

I enjoyed reading this book immensely - the imaginative qualities are on another plateau. I will even go as far to say, that it is out of this world. John and Jennifer are a great writing duo. They have created a book that will definitely be in my top reads for the end of the year. I believe that the sequel will be rocketing onto my wish list once it has been published next year. 

Published by Headline (Hardback) -  26 September 2013

Thursday, 12 September 2013

NEWS RELEASES: J.K. Rowling to create a film based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Warner Bros. Announces Expanded Creative Partnership with J.K. Rowling
Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander. The announcement was made by Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be an original story and will mark Rowling’s screenwriting debut. It is planned as the first picture in a new film series. Set in the wizarding world, the story will feature magical creatures and characters, some of which will be familiar to devoted Harry Potter fans.
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world,” said Rowling. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.” (Expanded Rowling quote at bottom of release.)
“We are incredibly honored that Jo has chosen to partner with Warner Bros. on this exciting new exploration of the world of wizardry which has been tremendously successful across all of our businesses,” said Tsujihara. “She is an extraordinary writer, who ignited a reading revolution around the world, which then became an unprecedented film phenomenon. We know that audiences will be as excited as we are to see what her brilliant and boundless imagination conjures up for us.”
In addition to the film series, “Fantastic Beasts” will also be developed across the Studio’s video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses, including enhanced links with, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Harry Potter stories.
The Studio’s expanded partnership with Rowling also covers the continued expansion of its Harry Potter activities, including the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in conjunction with partner Universal Parks and Resorts (currently in Orlando, FL; opening in Hollywood, CA and Osaka, Japan), digital initiatives (including Pottermore), video games, consumer products and visitor attractions.
In addition, Warner Bros. will serve as the worldwide TV distributor (excluding the U.K.) of J.K. Rowling’s upcoming television adaptation for the BBC of “The Casual Vacancy,” her best-selling first novel aimed at adult audiences. This miniseries begins production in 2014.
The relationship will be managed in London by Neil Blair of The Blair Partnership, Rowling’s literary agency, and Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, who will serve as Warner Bros.’ chief business contact for all J.K. Rowling initiatives going forward.
Rowling’s expanded quote regarding “Fantastic Beasts” is below:
“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.
As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.
Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.
I particularly want to thank Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. for his support in this project, which would not have happened without him. I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Press Release: New trailer by budding film makers released for Charlie Higson’s The Fallen

New trailer by budding film makers released for Charlie Higson’s The Fallen

Trailer created by winners of unique film making competition
with Penguin Books and the BFI

·         Over 25’s category, and overall winner:
·         Winning trailer in the 16 – 24s category:
·         Winning trailer in the under 16s category:

A group of young film making enthusiasts have made the official trailer for Charlie Higson’s new thriller The Fallen, after winning a unique film making competition.  The Fallen is the fifth book in cult thriller series The Enemy and is published by Penguin on Thursday 12 September.
Penguin Books teamed up with the British Film Institute as part of the BFI Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film blockbuster project, which runs until January 2014, to run a unique film making competition to make the official trailer for Higson’s new book.  The competition launched in May and entries equates to hundreds of hours’ worth of blood, sweat and tears, from budding film-makers around the nation.

Author Charlie Higson judged the competition and announced the winner at an event at BFI Southbank, London, on Saturday 7 September.  He said, ‘This was a really professionally made trailer, with particular attention paid to sound and music. It also captures the story and atmosphere of the series well and has some really powerful shots. It will be a great advertisement for The Fallen.’
The trailer can be viewed here,  
The competition was open to all ages, in three different categories - under 16s, 16-24s and 25 year-olds and over.  The best film from each category was chosen by Higson, before the overall winner was selected to become the official trailer for the book.

The winners are a group from the over 25s who made the film on a budget of £300.  It took just over a week and was shot at Kingston University, where one of the group studies.   They had two make-up artists on the team, which was led by 24 year-old James Lee from London. 
He comments, ‘Two of us had worked on a short film a month earlier and were really motivated from that experience. We wanted to work on another film project from the ground up and see what we could do.  It was a great experience but quite intense, as we came to the competition quite late.  Coming up with the idea and script didn't take too long and I tried to write it in a way that would make it easy to create. After working on the project, I'm excited to get my hands on the books and dive into the world Charlie Higson has created. I would definitely do something like this again!’

The winning group is made up of twelve people including James Lee (24).  The others are Saruta Puff Pisanwalerd (25), Poom Saiyavath (25), Carl Ward-Reid (25), Mui Vattanasiriporn (24), Luke Doolin (32), Leanne Alamiri (19), Claudette Fruchier (33), James Pickering (35), Emmett Glynn (22), Maxwell Sweeney (22) and Ed Matthews (30).

In addition to the main prize, the group will also have the chance to meet with industry specialists at the BFI Film Fund.  Each of the category winners gets £350 vouchers for film making equipment, BFI Membership and signed copies of The Enemy series.  In addition, the winners of the 16-24 category, win a mentoring experience with IdeasTap.

The category winners:
Winning trailer in the under 16s category:
A group of twelve children who made their trailer during a BFI Future Film DIY film-making workshop in August, won the under 16s category.  They include Ava Bogdanovic, Luc Dellaway (10), Joe Walker (11), Jamie Moreland (13), Jack Moreland (10), James Rantell (12), Izabelle Chappell (13), Victor Jack (14), Grace and Beth Volante(13),  Bill MacKillop (11) and Fred MacKillop (9).

Charlie said: ‘The trailer really encapsulates what kids love about zombies and the fun they must have had making these films. It was great to see so many trailers with all members of the family getting involved and I think the kids making them must have had a blast being chased around by zombie adults. This trailer also had the added detail of the two little boys remembering how things used to be. The shots of them are really strong and make this video stand out.’

Joe Walker said: ‘I love the books because of the action, suspense and fun. I also liked the children being in control.  Making the trailer was a fantastic experience and overall just a brilliant day. We were so lucky to have professional directors helping us. We learnt so much about filming and make up.  I really hope we do get to meet Charlie Higson, he is so Epic that would definitely be the icing on the cake!’
·         Winning trailer in the 16 – 24s category:

The winning film was created by a group led by Samuel de Ceccatty, a 23 year-old French-American living in London. He worked with animator Caroline Landry (22), composer Gaston Ardisson (17) and producer Manon Ardisson (24).

Charlie comments, ‘This was a really strong category with a huge number of entries, so it was very hard to pick an overall winner, but I loved how original and spooky this trailer was – so different to all the others. The clever use of animation and the ghostly figures of the children are very effective and this trailer really sticks in the mind.’ 

Samuel de Ceccatty said: ‘I entered the competition because it combined the two industries I'm interested in: my ambition is to become a film director but I work as a book cover artist.  I'm also really interested in zombies.  The experience was creative and intense! I worked with illustrator Caroline Landry non-stop for two weeks. She designed and animated the characters in photoshop and then I integrated them in photographs I took around London.  I graded the whole film to give it a zombie-like feel.  It was great working with Edward Newgate on the music! He sent me some initial suggestions and then we spent a day tailoring the soundtrack to the trailer.’

Monday, 9 September 2013

Fantastic Four Fantasy Books Published In September 2013 - US Post


Anne Ursu - The Real Boy - Published by Walden Pond Press (September 24, 2013) - Age 8+
The Real Boy, Anne Ursu’s follow-up to her widely acclaimed and beloved middle-grade fantasy Breadcrumbs, is an unforgettable story of magic, faith, and friendship.
On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy named Oscar. Oscar is a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the village, and spends his days in a small room in the dark cellar of his master’s shop grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on the island generations ago. Oscar’s world is small, but he likes it that way. The real world is vast, strange, and unpredictable. And Oscar does not quite fit in it.
But now that world is changing. Children in the city are falling ill, and something sinister lurks in the forest. Oscar has long been content to stay in his small room in the cellar, comforted in the knowledge that the magic that flows from the forest will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.

Emily Rodda - The Third Door (Golden Door) - Published by Scholastic Press (September 24, 2013) - Age 8+
Three magic Doors are the only way in and out of the walled city of Weld. The golden Door is grand and majestic -- a Door for heroes. The silver Door hints at mystery and knowledge -- a door for schemers. But the plain wooden Door has always held the most appeal for Rye and his friend Sonia. And now, at last, they have the chance to open it.

The city of Weld is under attack by skimmers, flying beasts that terrorize the night. If Rye and Sonia can't discover the enemy sending the skimmers in time, Weld has no hope. Twice before, Rye and Sonia left Weld on a quest to save it. Twice before, they failed.

Now there's just one Door left -- one last chance to save the people of Weld. Rye and Sonia know everything depends on them. But nothing can prepare them for the horror that waits behind the wooden Door.

S. A Bodeen - The Fallout ( The Compound) - Published by Feiwel & Friends (September 24, 2013) - Age 12+ 

Eli and his family lived in an underground shelter they called the Compound for six years. They thought they were the only survivors of a nuclear attack, but when Eli learned that it was all a twisted experiment orchestrated by his tech-visionary father, he broke the family out. His father died trying to keep them imprisoned.

Now, the family must readjust to life in the real world. Their ordeal has made them so famous, they must stay in hiding—everyone from fatalists preparing for doomsday to the tabloid media wants a piece of them. Even worse, their father’s former adviser continues to control the company Eli and his twin brother are the heirs of.

As Eli tries to determine who the family can trust, he learns the nightmare of the Compound—and his father’s experiment—might not be over. The Fallout is S.A. Bodeen's highly anticipated, thrilling sequel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


Carey Wallace - The Ghost in the Glass - Published by Clarion Books (September 3, 2013) - Age 12+ 

In a 1920s seaside town, Clare discovers a mysterious glass house in the backyard of her new summer home. There she falls in love with Jack, the ghost of a boy who can’t remember who he was before he died. Their romance is a haven for her from the cruel pranks of her society friends, especially her best friend, Bridget, who can’t wait to grow up and embark on romances of her own. As Clare begins to suspect an affair between her mother and Bridget's father, she retreats to the glass house. But that haven begins to crack when she realizes that Jack has lied to her about his name . . .
From a dazzling and fearless new voice comes a shimmering story full of wonder and mystery, in a world where every character is haunted by lingering ghosts of love.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Book Review: Chris Riddell - Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

Welcome to Ghastly-Gorm Hall - the home to yet another brilliant read. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is one of the best books that I have read by Chris Riddell as a solo writer. It is brilliantly funny and an absolute joy to read.

The first thing that you will notice is how gorgeous this book both looks and feel. There is a great deal of attention to detail which is brilliant to see within this digital era. The hand-held hardback is in the same style as the much loved Ottoline series which was published way back in February 2007. The book will definitely jump off the bookshelves to potential readers through the striking and quirky image of Ada on the front cover. 

Before you even start to read the book, another two aspects that will capture your attention are the iridescent purple page edges and the silver gilt skull motifs on the endpapers. Both of these elements work particularly well, in my opinion. These are definitely the best endpapers that I have seen for a very long time. The silver gilt skull motifs on black paper shine with so much light that you will need sunglasses on just to look at them. They really make the book come alive before you even start to read the fantastic adventure inside. 

When Ada Goth wakes in the night to find the disgruntled ghost of a mouse on her bedroom carpet, she is more intrigued than scared. The mouse, formally known as Ishmael, is rather cross about his ghostly predicament so Ada decides to befriend him. In a house where it is believed that little girls should be heard not seen, which means Ada has to walk round Ghastly-Gorm Hall with large oversize boots, a whim of her eccentric father Lord Goth. 

Whilst exploring the mysterious halls and winding corridors, Ada and Ishmael uncover a dastardly plot to sabotage her father's annual Metaphorical Bike Race and Indoor Hunt. 

As you follow Ada and the Ghost mouse through this tale you will be both enchanted and delighted in this family adventure. It is a perfect book to read to your children - the fantastic pen/pencil detailed images scattered throughout this beautiful book add another outstanding level of fantasy to enhance the story.

Chris Riddell has excelled himself with this book. It is a witty homage to some of the most famous literary classics, which have allowed him to run riot with his spectacular ideas. It is a warm, funny and highly imaginative tale of courage, friendship and loyalty. All of which have been told in a deliciously dark and gothic way. What more could you want? Well there is a little bonus at the end, but I shall say no more!

We need many more books like this.........
Published by Macmillan Children's Books in Hardback on 12th September 2013