Thursday, 29 January 2015

Alcon Entertainment Buys Film Rights to Monster-Slayer Series 'Darkmouth' by Shane Hegarty - UK and US

Alcon Entertainment has acquired film rights to Shane Hegarty's fantasy-adventure novel series Darkmouth, Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove announced Tuesday.
Hegarty, who was the arts editor of The Irish Times, got a six-figure advance for the series in 2013 from HarperCollins Children's Books, which will publish the first novel in the series,Darkmouth #1: The Legends Begin, in the U.S. in April out in the U.K and Ireland.  
Darkmouth concerns Finn, a 12-year-old desperate to defend his town from attack by monsters named Legends. Unfortunately for Finn, despite being descended from a clan of warriors, he is among the worst legend hunters in history.
“I talked to Alcon in advance,” Hegarty continued. “And the thing I really liked was that they understood the work. They understood it’s to do with a father and son relationship. They were very much into that.”
Mr Ripley's Book Review HERE also check out  "A trip into the wild universe of Darkmouth" by Shane Hegarty HERE
German book trailer, which is fantastic take a peak...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - February 2015 - US Post

Wesley King - The Incredible Space Raiders from Space! - Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (February 10, 2015)
Lord of the Flies meets Star Trek in this outer space story of adventure, mystery, and fantastical fun from the author of The Vindico and The Feros.

When Jonah wakes up on the Fantastic Flying Squirrel, he’s a bit confused. One second he is in his family’s living room doing his homework, and the next he’s sitting on a very cold floor on a very cold ship with a very strange-looking girl staring at him. Her name is Willona the Awesome, and she’s here to welcome him to The Incredible Space Raiders.

Now that Jonah is on board, the Incredible Space Raiders can set off on an important mission: to venture into the Dark Zone and save the universe from the Entirely Evil Things. But when Space Raiders start to disappear, Jonah realizes that if he’s going to make it to the Dark Zone alive, he’s going to have to step up and figure out what’s going on.

Join the Space Raiders aboard the Fantastic Flying Squirrel for an unforgettable journey where imagination and truth collide somewhere deep in space!

Matt London - Welcome to the Jungle (The 8th Continent) - Published by Razorbill (February 24, 2015)

Rick and Evie Lane have finally converted the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into an eighth continent. But their dream of a new homeland for their family turns out to be short-lived. Because when robots from the villainous Condo Corp crash into their continent, a fatal oversight in the building process is revealed: the land mass was never anchored to the ocean floor!

Now, the eighth continent is sent barreling toward the coast of Australia, thrusting Rick and Evie’s dreams, 23 million people, and countless plants and animals into jeopardy.  If Rick and Evie are ever to get their family back together and have a continent to run—and not run after—they must find a way to root their beloved paradise to the Earth’s crust. Or else everything that they built will go pow like Pangaea!


Guy Bass - Stitch Head - Published by Capstone Young Readers (February 1, 2015)
In the frightening, maze-like dungeon laboratory deep within Castle Grotteskew, mad scientist Professor Erasmus brings his bizarre experiments to life. His first creation, Stitch Head, has long been forgotten. But when a traveling circus ringmaster promises to make him a star, Stitch Head is torn between his almost-life in the castle and the promise of fame outside its walls. But before he can decide what to do, the professors latest monstrous creation has smashed its way to freedom . . . and Stitch Head is the only one who can stop it.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Author Interview with Emma Carroll (Faber & Faber)

Today I'm very lucky to be interviewing Emma Carroll, author of Frost Hollow Hall and The Girl Who Walked On Air. I'd like to thank you for agreeing to do this interview and for taking the time out to answer some questions for Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. I must confess that I've not read this latest book. However, after reading the following answers I will be searching out a copy straight away. I really enjoyed Frost Hollow Hall which I read in 2013. 
1.Tell us a little bit about The Girl Who Walked On Air?

Abandoned as a baby at Chipchase’s Travelling Circus, Louie dreams of walking the tightrope. One night in the big top a terrible accident occurs. The circus is desperate to find a new showstopper and so Louie gets the chance to perform. Yet with the arrival of a mysterious top-hatted man, her dream come true quickly turns into a nightmare. 

2.Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?

Louie has a great talent for walking the tightrope. She is ambitious, brave, a bit of a show off. Yet she trusts the tightrope far more than her emotions. Her biggest fear is confronting her past.

3.What did you think of the book cover for The Girl Who Walked On Air. Who did it? 

I adore it! Faber have done the most beautiful covers for my books. They use gorgeous fonts and I love the foiled blue of the lettering. The dog on the cover was modeled on my own dog Bagel, which makes it very special. The designer is Julian De Narvaez- his work is fantastic.

4. What are you working on at the minute?

I’ve just started the first draft of my fifth book for Faber. It’s set in the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati, and tells the story of Shelley’s inspiration for ‘Frankenstein’ from the viewpoint of a young housemaid.

5.What was the hardest part of writing your books?

First drafts, definitely. Mine are awful: the writing I’m most proud of tends to come when the story has ‘fermented’ a bit.

6.What inspires you to write?

People, books, photographs. A particular smell or sound. A view from a window. Passengers on trains. Pretty much anything and everything, really.

7.Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?

I’m rubbish at fantasy casting! Um… maybe Ramona Marquez ( the little girl in Outnumbered who doesn’t look like the little girl in Outnumbered anymore)?

8. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

My writing days tend to start with tea and books. Then I go for a quick dog walk to wake up properly and aim to start writing by 10am-ish. I probably work best before lunch, but sometimes it takes a while to get going, so the better stuff comes later in the day.

9. Do you think book bloggers have a role to play in the publishing industry? 

Absolutely! I think it’s especially true on children’s publishing when so little time and space is given via more traditional media platforms. Bloggers are passionate about books and passionate about authors. They are incredibly supportive, intuitive, informative. Since being published, I’ve met some amazing bloggers who’ve given me such brilliant support, and taught me an awful lot about kids’ books. I’m absolutely indebted to them.

10.Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Every year I eat one Cabury’s Crème Egg- just because. I’m gutted to hear they’ve changed the recipe so might have to break with tradition this year.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Abi Elphinstone - The Dreamsnatcher - Book Review

Book Synopsis - Twelve-year-old Moll Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare - the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows...The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher's dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. 

Book Review: The first thing that I'm going to mention is the book cover, which is an absolute peach. With its simple design and bold bright colours, it screams pick me up and read me. This has to be one of my favourites - a book cover that will appeal to many. Well done to Thomas Flintham and
the team at Simon & Schuster. You never know, it could well be a contender for my book cover wars, but what do you think? 

It was really great to read such a fantastic book that oozed passion and breathed a magical feeling from every page. After reading the first few chapters, I could feel that the plot was inspired by the authors enjoyment of reading. I could feel a number of influences creeping through from the dark earthness, which I frequently associate with Michelle Paver, to the amazing world building of Philip Pullman.  

The other aspect I particularly liked about the story was the main character, Moll, and the insight into her Romany gypsy heritage. It really enhanced Molls character and brought her history to life. It gave it a realistic edge within a fantasy plot. The author's travels and adventurous spirit sparkled through the story and helped to set it aside from other books.  

I did perhaps have a slight issue with the ending of the book, as I was perhaps hoping for a slightly different ending. Something a little more complex, perhaps with a dramatic twist. Instead it all fell into place a little too easily for me. Nevertheless, it was very enjoyable and kept me engrossed until the very end of the book. 

The plot content is dark with a supernatural element that will leave a little chill running down your spine. The main protagonist is written as an infectious character - you will be rooting for her as you follow the story. Friendship and family issues will leave you contemplating about what will come next. 

This is a brilliant debut book full of magic and imagination which, in my opinion, is in short supply at the moment.  I have a big feeling in my oracle bones that this book will become a smash hit and will find many a happy reader. This is another cracking Middle Grade read that I thoroughly endorse. I'm looking forward to the sequel 'Soul Splinter' already. 

Watch what you dream, something might take you away in the night...

Published by Simon & Schuster Ltd (26 Feb. 2015)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Children's Middle Grade Book Picks - February 2015 - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Jeffrey Salane - Lawless - Published by Scholastic Press (24 Feb. 2015)
Heists, escapes and double-deals. And that's all before lunchbreak. Welcome to Lawless School. Rule #1: Trust no one. When M crash-lands at the elite Lawless School, it is not what she was expecting. She's soon learning safe-breaking and computer-hacking. Not to mention how to jump off moving trains and steal priceless paintings. Surrounded by trainee criminals, she'll have to keep her wits about her (just as well they re razor-sharp). But will she be good or bad enough for Lawless? The fastest, smartest adventure thriller you ll read all year.

Steve Bryant - London Midnight Ghost Show - Published by Month9books (24 Feb. 2015)
Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember. But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know. 

Like the rest of Luca’s friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters? 
If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.

When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show's enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family? 

Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town

Mike Revell - Stonebird - Published by Quercus (5 Feb. 2015)
When ten-year-old Liam moves house to be closer to his dementia-suffering grandma, he's thrown into an unfamiliar place, with a family that seems to be falling apart. Liam doesn't remember what his grandma was like before she became ill. He only knows the witch-like old woman who snaps and snarls and eats her birthday cards. He wants to fix it, but he can't.
Walking his dog one day, Liam discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways. The gargoyle is alive. It moves unseen in the night, acting out Liam's stories. And stories can be dangerous things...
Seeking revenge against the bullies at his new school, Liam tells a story about the gargoyle attacking them. When one of them ends up in hospital, a regretful Liam vows never to go near the gargoyle again.
But his grandma's illness is getting worse, his mum isn't coping, and his sister is skipping school... What if the gargoyle is the only thing that can save Liam's family?

Arwen Elys Dayton - Seeker - Published by Corgi Childrens (12 Feb. 2015) 
Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.
Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Allan Boroughs - Bloodstone ( The Legend of Ironheart ) Book Review

What is a myth but a truth retold many times over? Atlantis is real!

At the start of 2015, I find that my reading pile is the strongest that it has ever been with a really exciting selection of reads. While everyone is talking about young adult books at the moment, I personally think that middle grade books are being very overlooked by reviewers. Especially as some of the best books that have already been published this year fit into the middle age reading category. However, without further ado let's move on to talk about Allan Borough's book 'Bloodstone'.

This is the second installment in The Legend of Ironheart series. In the first adventure, we were flung into the far reaches of Siberia as part of an epic and exhilarating adventure inspired by Allan's extensive travels. In 'Bloodstone' we are catapulted into a further escapade in the Antarctic with India Bentley.

The story starts with another mission across the globe with Verity Brown, who is known as a notorious tech-hunter scouring the lands for long-lost technology. However, after an unfortunate turn of events, and a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the reader is entertained by the striking descriptions and unique settings that introduced. India and Verity have many choices to make, but can they save humanity?

The story is full of explosive moments that will rocket you to different worlds in the blink of an eye. It's a classic no-nonsense, dystopian adventure that has been written with both passion and perhaps an overactive imagination. It introduces a collection of crazy characters that are very interesting to read about. I was particularly drawn to Professor Moon, a man absolutely obsessed in finding the Bloodstone. The plot is brought together by his crazy contraptions and a whole host of gadgets. 

The ending was inspired and brought about a different feel to the end of an active plot. It was certainly not what I was expecting, but it should enable the next book in the series to enter another dimension. This book was five star entertainment and one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I hope that the next book will be coming very soon, in the meantime, I might just revisit Ironheart. If you've not read any of the previous books, then I would recommend that you do so now.....  

This is another cracking MG read. Thank you Macmillan for sending it to me - your support is very much appreciated. Don't forget to look at my book review for Garth Jennings 'The Deadly 7' which is also by Macmillan. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Author Interview with Jon Mayhew - The Curse of the Ice Serpent? (Bloomsbury)

I would like to thank my good friend Jon Mayhew for taking the time to answer some questions. Many of these relate to his brand new book 'The Curse of the Ice Serpent' which was published on the 15th January by Bloomsbury and is the third book in the Monster Odyssey series. I'm sure that you will have fun reading both the book and the below post.

Tell us a little bit about The Curse of the Ice Serpent? 

It’s the third adventure for Prince Dakkar and once again, he’s up against the evil organisation called Cryptos. This time, he and Georgia Fulton travel North to the frozen wastes of Greenland to stop Cryptos finding another meteor fragment called the Heart of Vulcan. With it the evil organisation will power a flying fortress that will rain fire and destruction down on the capitals of the world. This adventure is a real game-changer and leaves Dakkar isolated and dependent on his own wits. As ever, he is asking who can he trust, who is the real enemy and who is the real monster?

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Prince Dakkar is a young Captain Nemo, the tortured character from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Nemo struggles with trust and the urge to take revenge on the Empires that took away everything he loved. In a sense, I’m starting that journey and hopefully, showing how taking revenge is a destructive impulse. Dakkar is always wrestling with the notion that he could become as bad as the people he is chasing and whose plans he is trying to thwart.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?

Prince Dakkar is a ‘work in progress,’ he can be very proud and aware of his status but his friends bring him down to earth. He is loyal to anyone who shows kindness to him but can be vindictive towards his enemies and he is constantly having to keep his temper in check. Dakkar is a clever boy, inventive and intelligent. He’s an inventor and makes his own improvised weapons, can pick locks, fix and modify machinery. Often, however, sometimes, he needs his best friend Georgia to point the obvious to him. He’s a strong lad and a keen fighter too, he can use a sword and pistol if he needs to but does not like taking life.

What are you working on at the minute?

The fourth Monster Odyssey book is with the editor now and takes Dakkar to the deserts of North Africa to face, well, let’s just say ‘giant creepy crawlies…’

How much research do you do?

The stories run from 1814 to 1816, so I research key events in those years. I also like to have a good idea of setting so a while back, I went to Hartlepool and visited HMS Trincomalee, which is a Leda class frigate of the kind Dakkar might have sailed on. I also research online, especially to get images or information about the locations as I can’t really afford the time to go to Greenland! 

What books have most influenced your life?

There are books that have stayed with me, ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Great Expectations’ for instance and some that have inspired me and influenced my work such as ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ or the stories of ‘M.R.James.’ I love ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar, it’s such a clever plot and a simply-told story. There’s a book called ‘The Five and a half Club’ which was on the reading scheme in my primary school, waaaay back and that put me off reading at the age of nine for a long time. Then there’s ‘A Breed to Come’ by Andre Norton, which probably started me reading again when I was twelve or thirteen.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part is always the middles for me. I generally have a sense of the ending and the overall arc but sometimes I find it hard to find a way in the darkness of the midpoint of the story! Then there’s the redrafting once you’ve had it back from the editor, that can be tough, too, because you’ve written the story out of yourself and probably started falling in love with the next big thing you’re writing and sometimes, it’s hard to drag yourself back to the current work!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learnt a lot of Inuit folktales and monsters. They’re brilliant, slimy and sneaky and they drag you into the freezing cold water before you know what’s happening!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I quite like K.M. Weiland’s website: at the moment and, in particular, her advice on characters and asking, ‘what is the lie your character believes?’ I think there’s a lot of mileage in that, when you’re considering any character and how they develop.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us? 

Ice Serpent is available in all good book shops and probably some middling ones too (if there is such a thing!) 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Fantasy Book Picks - January 2015 (Older Reads)

Samantha Shannon - The Mime Order (The Bone Season) - Published by Bloomsbury Publishing (27 Jan. 2015)

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.
Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

Gareth L. Powell - Macaque Attack (Ack-Ack Macaque) - Published by Solaris (15 Jan. 2015)

This is the amazing conclusion to the award-winning series. The dangerous but charismatic Ack-Ack Macaque finds himself leading a dimension-hopping army of angry monkeys, facing an invading horde of implacable killer androids, and confronting the one challenge for which he was never prepared: impending fatherhood! Meanwhile, former journalist Victoria Valois fights to save the electronic ghost of her dead husband and reclaim his stolen soul from the sands of Mars.

Michael Moorcock - The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - Published by Tor Books (13 Jan. 2015)

Now return to London just after the war, a city desperately trying to get back on its feet. And one young boy, Michael Moorcock, who is about to discover a world of magic and wonder. Between his first tentative approaches to adulthood - a job on Fleet Street, the first stirrings of his interest in writing - and a chance encounter with a mysterious Carmelite Friar, we see a version of Moorcock's life that is simultaneously a biography and a story. Mixing elements of his real life with his adventures in a parallel London peopled with highwaywomen, musketeers and magicians, this is Moorcock at his dazzling, mercurial best.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Dan Smith - Big Game - Book Review & Trailer ( Chicken House)

The idea of this story started its young life as a film script; originally written by Jalmari Helander and Petri Jokiranta. With a sprinkling of author magic and creative direction by Dan Smith, it has been adapted from the original idea into an exciting adventure in book form. It should tie in nicely with the release of the movie, which will hit the big screens in May. Starring the super actor Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States, if it's anything like the book, it should be a blockbuster of a film.

The book is set in the wildness of Finland and after my recent visit to Norway last year, I could really relate to the extreme landscape and weather conditions described. It's a fast paced adventure with big time action that will both thrill and captivate you at the same time. 

As you skip and dance through the snowy wilderness, you will gain a powerful bond with the lead character Oskari, a 13 year old boy. He sets off into the forest to fulfill an ancient tradition as a test of his manhood. Armed with only a bow and arrow, he has to survive day and night using all of his experience and knowledge to bring back a hunting trophy - something that he did not envisage. 

Unfortunately, his adventure does not go to plan. At this point, the plot intensifies into a heart stopping adventure. It involves the US President running from a group of, shall we say, big game terrorist and, from this moment on, it's electrifying. You will be thrilled and gripped to the core.

This is an action packed story full of danger and explosive moments that will rock you all over the forest floor. I really loved certain pockets of the storyline such as the plane and helicopter. I'm not going to say anymore, as I may spoil your enjoyment of the story, but they are really well written and will definitely gain your attention. You may even find yourself at the point of holding your breath. 

The suggested audience for this book is 10+, but I definitely feel that it will find a comfortable home with older readers as well. If you are looking for adventure and suspense, then this book has it in spades. It is written with a film-like vision right until the brilliant ending. 

This is another great release from Chicken House and is available to purchase now. If you are game, then hunt a copy down. You won't be disappointed.

Book Trailer

Film Trailer

Mr Ripley's First look: The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone - Book Trailer

I am pleased to share with you the brilliant book trailer for Abi Elphinstone's new novel, The Dreamsnatcher. This is being published by Simon & Schuster on the 26th February. Check out my recent interview with the debut author Here. 

Book Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare - the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. 

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher's dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's MG Book Picks - January 2015 - US Post

Jordan Stratford - The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1) - Published by Knopf Books 

for Young Readers (January 6, 2015)

Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!
Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.
Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most especially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humour, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - The War that Saved My Life - Published by Dial (January 8, 2015)

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?
This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.

Gregory Funaro - Alistair Grim's Odditorium - Published by Disney-Hyperion (January 6, 2015)

Grubb, age twelve (or thereabouts), has never known anything beyond his miserable existence as a chimney sweep, paid only in insults and abuse by his cruel master. 

All of that changes the day he stows away in the coach belonging to a mysterious guest at the inn that he is tasked with cleaning. Grubb emerges from Alistair Grim's trunk and into the wondrous world of the Odditorium. Fueled by a glowing blue energy that Grubb can only begin to understand, the Odditorium is home to countless enchanted objects and an eccentric crew that embraces Grubb as one of their own. 

There's no time for Grubb to settle into his new role as apprentice to the strange, secretive Mr. Grim. When the Odditorium comes under attack, Grubb is whisked off on a perilous adventure. Only he can prevent the Odditorium's magic from falling into evil hands-and his new family from suffering a terrible fate. 

Grubb knows he's no hero. He's just a chimney sweep. But armed with only his courage and wits, Grubb will confront the life-or-death battle he alone is destined to fight.

Stan Lee & Stuart Moore - The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence - Published by Disney Press (January 27, 2015)

Stan Lee presents a brand new, magical, super-powered adventure!

When twelve magical superpowers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese-America teenager named Steven will be thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He'll have to master strange powers, outrun super-powered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac. 

James Riley - Story Thieves - Published by Aladdin (January 20, 2015)

A hilarious, action-packed series launches with a story-within-a-story, from the bestselling author of the Half Upon a Time trilogy. Life is boring when you live in the real world, instead of starring in your own book series. Owen knows that better than anyone, what with the real world’s homework and chores.

But everything changes the day Owen sees the impossible happen—his classmate Bethany climb out of a book in the library. It turns out Bethany’s half-fictional and has been searching every book she can find for her missing father, a fictional character.

Bethany can’t let anyone else learn her secret, so Owen makes her a deal: All she has to do is take him into a book in Owen’s favorite Kiel Gnomenfoot series, and he’ll never say a word. Besides, visiting the book might help Bethany find her father…

…Or it might just destroy the Kiel Gnomenfoot series, reveal Bethany’s secret to the entire world, and force Owen to live out Kiel Gnomenfoot’s final (very final) adventure.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Author Interview with Abi Elphinstone - The Dreamsnatcher

Today, I am very lucky to be interviewing Abi Elphinstone, who is the author of The Dreamsnatcher. The book is being published by Simon & Schuster on the 26th February 2015. Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books would like to thank Abi for agreeing to be interviewed - what a fantastic insight into a magical debut book. 
Tell us a little bit about your debut book, The Dreamsnatcher.

THE DREAMSNATCHER follows the story of twelve-year-old Romany gypsy, Moll. As an orphan she’s always felt like an outsider in Oak's camp but when a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks – lures her away from her wagon into the Deepwood, she discovers just how much of an outsider she is. The Dreamsnatcher has taken her dreams and now he wants her life… And together with a wildcat called Gryff, Moll must fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s curse and save the old magic rooted in the Oracle Bones.

Give us an insight into the main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

In the book, Moll tells another character that she’s ‘nippy and meddling’ and that sums her up pretty well. She’s energetic and adventurous but hopelessly headstrong and impatient and she almost always says the wrong thing at the wrong time. On the surface she’s brave and strong (there aren’t many twelve-year-olds who can fire a catapult like she does) but she finds it hard to let people in – so it’s just as well she’s got a wildcat by her side to see her right. What makes her special? By Chapter 3 she’s already catapulted someone in the head. 

Is this book part of a series?

Yes, THE DREAMSNATCHER is the first book in a trilogy, and the sequel, SOUL SPLINTER, comes out in 2016.

If you had to write the book again, would you change anything?

Right now I can’t think of any specific things I would change – but I’m sure that when I’ve written a few more books I’ll think ‘Wow, that chapter of my debut was so clunky and WHAT was I thinking making that character do that?!’ I’m looking forward to (hopefully) getting better as a writer as the years go on but with my debut I gave the best I have right now – and that’s all that really matters.

Where do your ideas come from?

THE DREAMSNATCHER is, in many ways, like an extension of my childhood (minus the witchdoctors and the tree ghouls). I grew up in the wilds of Scotland, where weekends were spent scrambling over the moors, building dens in the woods and jumping into icy rivers. I didn’t have to create Moll’s outdoor world; it grew out of my own. Then I filled it with characters I wanted to write about – gypsies, witchdoctors, wildcats, fortunetellers... I watched one of the last ‘real’ Romany gypsies, Peter Ingram, ‘play the bones’ and carve wooden flowers, I studied wildcats prowling, eating and sleeping in the New Forest Wildlife Park and I travelled to Zanzibar, in Africa, to research sinister witchdoctor masks. But lots of my ideas crop up in everyday life; I pinched a character name from a cocktail list the other day and I developed a plot point from a lyric in the musical, Into The Woods!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

After reading English at university, I moved to London to work in a PR firm. I was, without doubt, the most terrible PR girl imaginable (I just didn’t care about promoting luxury food and drink products to the uber rich) and one day I work up, quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Africa. Out in Tanzania, I began thinking back to my childhood adventures and the books I’d read and loved then. Before long, I was scribbling down ideas for my own story half way up a baobab tree…

Which books have influenced your life the most?

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Skellig by David Almond
The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by CS Lewis
To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Can you share a little bit of information about your current work with us?

I’ve just finished a first draft of the sequel, SOUL SPLINTER (I was so nervous when emailing it to my editor that I gave myself hiccups!). In this book, the gypsies are outlawed from the forest and have to hide out in a secret cove by the sea. Moll’s got codes to crack, riddles to unravel, smugglers to sneak past and mer creatures to contend with now... It’ll be a while before I hear back from my editor so over the next few weeks I’ll start thinking about the third book (set up in the Scottish highlands) and my next series, about an Inuit called Eska and a grizzly bear cub.

What advice would you give to up and coming writers?

One of my favourite quotes is by Leonardo Da Vinci, who said: ‘Rarely do people of accomplishment sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.’ And I believe that if you want to write a book, you’ve got to make it happen. Go on adventures, explore, travel, climb trees you’re not supposed to – because that’s where the stories are. Be humble enough to take criticism on your writing but be determined enough to bounce back from it. DON’T GIVE UP. I had 96 rejections on previous books (the stories were, admittedly, pretty pants) but as my Mum always says, ‘If you don’t fail, you’re just not trying hard enough.’

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Ummmmmmm. I jumped 4metres 97centimetres in long-jump when I was fourteen. I’ve always been really proud of that. I like jumping. Starjumping is my favourite.