Sunday, 31 May 2015

Press Release: UK YA Literature London Convention Returns (17-19 July 2015)

YALC first took place in July 2014, launched by Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2013-2015 Malorie Blackman as one of her major Laureate initiatives. The event was the first large-scale public literature convention dedicated entirely to teen and Young Adult books ever to be hosted in the UK, and saw thousands of young people attending a weekend of events celebrating reading, featuring 50 Young Adult authors.

YALC will showcase the best of UK YA, as well as continuing to play host to special appearances from US YA stars. This year’s event will also feature appearances from some of the authors shortlisted for The YA Book Prize, a brand new prize for UK and Irish YA books from The Bookseller.

YALC 2015 will take place in a dedicated Book Zone at the London Film and Comic Con.  A host of top YA authors will be joining Blackman for the three day convention, which incorporates a programme of author events, hands-on workshop sessions, drop-in activities and book-signing sessions. 

An initial list of just a few of the authors taking part has been announced today, including US YA superstar and creator of the Mortal Instruments series Cassandra Clare. Also appearing at the event will be TV personalities turned authors Charlie Higson and Arabella Weir; creator of the international bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series Derek Landy; and award-winning Young Adult author Patrick Ness. Joining them are Youtube star Carrie Hope Fletcher; author of the Night School series C J Daugherty; and of course, Blackman herself. See the full fantastic list HERE

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Five Favourite Children's/Teen Books Coming Out in Films 2016

I don't really get time to watch many films, as I'm usually far too busy reading! However, I'm really looking forward to the following films which have been taken from some of my favourite books and, in particular, the new adaptation of Tarzan. You'll find the list below indicating some of the early film trailers available. What are you looking forward to seeing?  

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - 4th March 2016 - US

Teenager Jacob follows clues that take him to a mysterious island, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores the abandoned bedrooms and hallways, he discovers that its former occupants were far more than peculiar; they possessed incredible powers. And they may still be alive.
Director: Tim Burton
WritersJane Goldman (screenplay), Ransom Riggs (novel) StarsAsa ButterfieldEva GreenSamuel L. Jackson 
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 18th November 2016 - US
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York's secret community of  witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.


David Yates 


J.K. Rowling 


Eddie Redmayne 

The 5th Wave -15th January 2016 - US
16-year-old Cassie Sullivan tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of an alien invasion that has already decimated the population and knocked mankind back to the Stone Age.


J Blakeson


Susannah Grant (screenplay), Rick Yancey (novel)


Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Maria Bello 

The BFG - 1st July 2016 - US 
The tale of a young girl, the Queen of England and a benevolent giant known as the BFG, who set out on an adventure to capture the evil, man-eating giants who have been invading the human world.


Steven Spielberg 


Roald Dahl (based on the novel by), Melissa Mathison (screenplay) 


Rebecca HallJemaine ClementBill Hader

A Monster Calls - 14th August 2016 - US  

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom's terminal illness.


J.A. Bayona 


Patrick Ness 


Liam NeesonFelicity JonesToby Kebbell 

Cassie Beasley - Circus Mirandus - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)

The Circus is coming to town under a magical veil of mystery, magic and intrigue. This is a fantastic story that has been picked from the publisher that has wings and will easily soar into the heart of the reader through the emotionally charged energy that it holds. It is sensitively told; tackling some of the challenges of life and the sadness of dealing with hope and death. 

Micah's beloved grandfather is gravely sick and close to death. His elusive past brings a magical world of Circus Mirandus to his grandson (Micah) which is stunning and rich in detail. It will have you engrossed from the first to the very last page. The rights have already been sold to be made into a film, even before publication. This story should easily translate to the big screen in cinematic quality.  

Micah and his best friend, Jenny, find themselves on an action journey to uncover the mystery and the truth about Circus Mirandus before it's too late. Does it really exist? Great-Aunt Gertrudis has arrived to take care of Grandpa Ephraim, but she is very bitter and has a personality which is harder than a bag of nails in a boxing ring. It makes you feel for the characters, but it also brings a greater sense of sadness which instills some reality into the fantasy world and poses many questions as to what might happen. 

Mr Lightbender is a great circus magician who can bend light and grant miracles. However, is he able to deliver these? This story is a stroll down the imaginative path with twists and turns to make you temporarily stumble. It's a timeless classic for the future. Fuelled with excitement, Micah has to navigate a balloon flight of madness, wrestle giant white tigers and meet an elephant who can do maths! The strangeness continues to unfold the more that you read on. 

This is such a thrilling debut voice, in my opinion, and is reminiscent to early Cornelia Funke books (also published by Chicken House). The narrative will appeal to the middle grade audience 9+ and both genders. This book is very funny and yet, only minutes later, it can then become rather sad. However this is the joy of reading such a clever book. A book that rejoices the power of seeing magic in the world through an illusion of hope right until the unexpected end. 

The eye-catching book cover is stunning. The spiral striped edges will help the book to be selected from the bookshelves and tempt all would-be readers, whatever the age. This is a recommended family read with a sequel that will be at the top of my list. 

Published by Chicken House Ltd (4 June, 2015) and Dial Books in the US (2 June, 2015)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's/Teen Book Picks - June 2015 - UK Post One

David Almond - A Song for Ella Grey - Published by Hodder Children's Books (4 Jun. 2015)
I'm the one who's left behind. I'm the one to tell the tale. I knew them both... knew how they lived and how they died.
Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She's there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story - as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

Eoin Colfer - The Forever Man ( W.A.R.P. Book 3) - Published by Puffin (23 Jun. 2015)
You can't outrun your own history . . .
Still trapped in Victorian London, FBI agent Chevie Savano is determined to help her friend Riley find his long-lost brother. But the WARP wormhole has other ideas . . .
Pulled two centuries into the past, Chevie and Riley find themselves in the village of Mandrake. Under siege from prowling monsters that have escaped from the wormhole, the village's only protector is the sinister Witchfinder - a man with a hidden past and deadly powers.
With Chevie branded a witch and sentenced to be burned at the stake, can Riley thwart the Witchfinder's plans before he destroys them all?

Lucy Saxon - The Almost King ( Take Back the Skies 2) - Published by Bloomsbury Children's (4 Jun. 2015)
Thrilling, edge-of-seat fantasy adventure from the author of Take Back the Skies. Set in the same world, but with a new hero and an action-packed dramatic story ...
Aleks Vasin is the youngest of four brothers, each with his path mapped out. But Aleks doesn't want to work in his father's shop in a village in the westernmost corner of Siberene for the rest of his life. Tired of being picked on and treated like the runt of the family, he decides to save his parents the cost of his keep and leave. First he heads south - though everyone tells him not to - to Rudavin, headquarters of the Kingsguard. He signs up for the army, little knowing what brutality it entails. After only a few weeks, Aleks realises that this garrison is full of liars and thieves; he's signed away four years of his life to a commander who steals his money and a captain whose only goal is power. This is not a noble destiny. After a brutal beating, Aleks escapes into the night, hoping to find safety and a new life somewhere in the north. And there, this deserter finds LOVE, ADVENTURE and a SKYSHIP in which he might just prove himself a hero after all ...

Helen Falconer - The Changeling - Published by Corgi Childrens (4 Jun. 2015)
Some of us are born to be magic.
Aoife is an ordinary teenager, hanging out with her childhood friend Carla, putting up with school. The worst she has to contend with is that the boy of Carla’s dreams is trying to get off with her instead.
But then, after chasing a lost little girl no one seems to be able to see, Aoife starts to develop mysterious powers. Eventually her parents confess that she isn’t their real daughter. Their human child was stolen by the fairies, and Aoife is the changeling left behind in her place.
Shocked and disorientated, Aoife turns to Shay, the taciturn farmer’s son who is the only person who might believe her story. Together, they embark on a dangerous journey, which takes them deep into the underworld and changes everything they thought they knew about fairies.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Exclusive Preview - Ian Johnstone - Circle of Stone (The Mirror Chronicles)

This post has been a real labour of love for me. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to be able to share, for the first time, the first three chapters of Circles of Stone. This is the second book to be published in The Mirror Chronicles by Ian Johnstone. The first book, The Bell Between Worlds, is still one of my favourite fantasy reads, even now. If you are interested, my book review can be found HERE. 

We are very interested to hear your thoughts on the extract - I hope you enjoy it....

Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (2 July 2015) pre-order it now. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Bryony Pearce - Phoenix Rising - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)

Book Synopsis: Sail. Salvage. Survive. Toby's father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they've been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it. The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they're closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting - preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn't want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance? The future is in their hands.

To survive, would you join the Banshee Crew - feared and fearless - or will you ally with the Phoenix Crew - trusting or True?

Book Review: This story was like a breath of salty fresh air rolling on the briny sea. I have been waiting for a book like this all year and finally it landed. This is a swashbuckling adventure with both swagger and attitude. It was so easy to get immersed in this junk-fuelled, dystopian vision. Based around a near future setting, the story takes a look at environmental issues in a candid way. In a world full of political collapse, where fossil fuels have run out and democracy is a distant memory, the main characters set out on a quest to find renewable energy sources.

The book is aimed at a young adult audience. However, it is evident that whilst the story explores a range of serious issues, the characters still retain their playful and carefree side. It is clear that the story and the characters always remain at the core of the book; it is easy going and not too heavy. At times, it reads more like a higher-level, middle-grade read even though it is aimed at age 12 and upwards. In the main, this is due to some mild violence and perhaps a pirate curse or two. 

The book delivers some very interesting and colourful characters with strong male and female protagonists. There is Toby, the heart and the driving engine behind the Phoenix and Ayla, a feisty, no-nonsense all action-hero who is part of the Banshee crew. However, the star of the show for me is Polly the parrot; you'll love her crazy personality that gets them out of a scrape or two! 

This book has everything for me. There is steam-powered action and tense land skirmishes that leave the Phoenix and the Banshee crews with divided loyalties. The book has humour and tragedy, and explosive sea encounters (with many-a-life claimed by a timely rigging hook to the eye, a sword cut to the gut or a club bashing to the head) but these are all in a days work for the pirates at sea. 

This is a thrilling book full of action and more action. It is is the type of book to get the imagination of the young whirring; a burning cauldron of place, setting and time that will entice any young person away from their computer games. It is a cracking new series which has more to deliver in the future and I, for one, am really looking forward to it. 

                Swear your allegiance with #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew 

Published by Stripes Publishing (1 Jun. 2015)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cision Literature Blogs UK Top 10

It is great to be part of the below list alongside many other passionate and dedicated book bloggers. Yet again, I feel that this list represents a varied UK blog community. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit these sites already, then perhaps you may find a moment to explore them for the first time. Thank you to Cision social media expert for compiling another interesting list.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Most Wanted Children's Books - June 2015

Will Hill - Darkest Night (Department 19 BK 5) - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (4 Jun. 2015)
The brave men and women of Department 19 have fought Dracula at every turn, but now Zero Hour has passed and the ancient vampire is at full strength.
Inside Department 19, the Operators are exhausted and fractured. Jamie, Larissa, Matt and Kate are each struggling with their own demons. When the friends need each other most, they are further apart than ever.
Outside the Department, the world reels from the revelation that vampires are real. Violence and paranoia spread around the globe and, when it finally comes, Dracula’s opening move is more vicious than anyone could have imagined.
A final battle looms between the forces of darkness and the last, massed ranks of those who stand against it. A battle that will define the future of humanity. A battle that simply cannot be lost…

Joseph Delaney - Arena 13 - Published by Bodley Head (4 Jun. 2015)
Welcome to Arena 13. Here warriors fight. Death is never far away . . .
Leif has one ambition: to become the best fighter in the notorious Arena 13. Here, punters place wagers on which fighter will draw first blood. And in grudge matches, they bet on which fighter will die.
But the country is terrorized by the creature Hob, an evil being who delights in torturing its people, displaying his devastating power by challenging an Arena 13 combatant in a fight to the death whenever he chooses. And this is exactly what Leif wants . . .
For he knows Hob's crimes well. and at the heart of his ambition burns the desire for vengeance. Leif is going to take on the monster who destroyed his family. Even if it kills him.

Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell - The Edge Chronicles 12: Doombringer - Published by Corgi Childrens (4 Jun. 2015)

Cade Quarter is building a new life for himself in the wild of the Farrow Ridges, miles away from civilization - and from the enemies who are seeking him. But when his new home is threatened by villainous mire-pearlers, Cade and his friends must find a way to defend the land they love.
The second book of the Cade Saga, part of the Edge Chronicles.

Will Mabbit - The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones - Published by Puffin (4 Jun. 2015)
The first book by brilliant new comic author, Will Mabbit.
When Mabel Jones unknowingly commits 'The Deed' she finds herself swiftly bundled into a sack and carried off to the pirate ship the Feroshus Maggot.
Crewed by the strangest bunch of pirates you would ever want to meet and captained by the dreaded Idryss Ebeneezer Split (a wolf with a false leg carved from a human thighbone, a rusty cutlass sheathed in his belt and a loaded pistol tucked in his pants with no fear of the consequences), the Feroshus Maggotwhisks Mabel Jones off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Middle Grade Children's Fantasy Thrillers - May 2015 - US Post

Saundra Mitchell - Mistwalker - Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (May 12, 2015)
When Willa Dixon's brother dies on the family lobster boat, her father forbids Willa from stepping foot on deck again. With her family suffering, she’ll do anything to help out—even visit the Grey Man. Everyone in her small Maine town knows of this legendary spirit who haunts the lighthouse, controlling the fog and the fate of any vessel within his reach. But what Willa finds in the lighthouse isn’t a spirit at all, but a young man trapped inside until he collects one thousand souls. Desperate to escape his cursed existence, Grey tries to seduce Willa to take his place. With her life on land in shambles, will she sacrifice herself?
Michael Buckley - Undertow - Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (May 5, 2015)
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s best chance for survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Michael Galvin & Peter Speakman - Rebels of the Lamp - Published by Disney-Hyperion (May 12, 2015)
Life is a blast when you have your very own genie. But when Parker Quarry is shipped from sunny Los Angeles to live with relatives in a quiet New Hampshire college town and releases a 2,000 year-old jinn from an ancient canister "borrowed" from the university building where his uncle works, the biggest blasts comes from the millennia old power struggle he reignites. Now it is up to Parker, his mild-mannered cousin, Theo, and their wiz-kid classmate, Reese, to stop a battalion of battle-ready jinn from re-starting an all-out war one with humanity in the crosshairs.

Joel Ross - The Fog Diver - Published by HarperCollins (May 26, 2015)
Joel Ross debuts a thrilling adventure series in which living in the sky is the new reality and a few determined slum kids just might become heroes. Perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and Brandon Mull, this fantasy is filled with daring and hope and a wonderfully imaginative world.
Once the Fog started rising, the earth was covered with a deadly white mist until nothing remained but the mountaintops. Now humanity clings to its highest peaks, called the Rooftop, where the wealthy Five Families rule over the lower slopes and floating junkyards.
Thirteen-year-old Chess and his friends Hazel, Bea, and Swedish sail their rickety air raft over the deadly Fog, scavenging the ruins for anything they can sell to survive. But now survival isn't enough. They must risk everything to get to the miraculous city of Port Oro, the only place where their beloved Mrs. E can be cured of fogsickness. Yet the ruthless Lord Kodoc is hot on their trail, for Chess has a precious secret, one that Kodoc is desperate to use against him. Now Chess will face any danger to protect his friends, even if it means confronting what he fears the most.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Marcus Alexander - Keeper of the Realms Book Cover Competition Spring 2015

Marcus Alexander is running a funky fresh competition to produce a one of a kind book cover for the Keeper of the Realms series. Your cover can have any image on the front and produced in anyway that you think best represents Charlie Keeper’s adventures in Bellania. But in order to win any of the truly funky prizes available it’s up to you to let loose both your passion and your creative flow in order to produce an epic book cover that let’s the world see how awesome your imagination is!

For full competition details please go to:

Imagination is King and I’ll always be game to champion it.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Sarah Govett - The Territory - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books )

Book Synopsis: Limited Space requires limited numbers: Noa lives in what's left of a Britain where flooding means land is scarce. Everyone must sit an exam at 15. If you pass you can stay in the Territory, if you fail you must go to the Wetlands. Rich families can buy their children an upgrade to help, but Norms like Noa must succeed on their own merits. Noa is a bright funny teenager, not sure which boy she likes, devoted to her friends. The book follows her as she and her friends face the exam. Who will pass and who will fail?

Book Review: If you are looking for a book purely on the quality and uniqueness of the story then this is a great one for you. The team at Firefly Press Ltd are publishing some cracking reads at the moment. Slightly different from other mainstream publishers, this is a super example of one of them. The Territory is an immersive dystopian thriller set in future Britain. It takes a look at how the world would function if land became very scarce due to climate flooding. This kind of topic is very much in vogue and poses many questions for the reader to consider.

In this book it's all about the survival of the intelligent - everyone must pass an exam at 15 years old to stay in The Territory. If you don't, then you are exiled to the disease-ridden Wetlands. The system in place is in the favour of the more wealthy kids, who have the advantage of uploading information through a node in the back of their neck. This concept brings about a brilliant story of family, friends and friendship within a global futuristic world. 

Noa, the main character, is very likeable and has many humorous qualities that I really liked. Following her daily life, her heart and loyalty become pulled in two directions, leaving the average teenage having to think on her feet. It is a story that many readers will be able to relate to, in my opinion. I love dipping my toe into this crossover type of book as it makes the imagination juices overflow. I read it in one sitting and absolutely loved it. 

The story is well plotted; depicting an interesting and disturbing vision of what could be in years to come. It's convincing and sometimes tense. The ending is particularly climatic. Once you've read the last page, you will certainly want to find out what happens next. Please bring out book two fairly quickly so that we can find out soon!

Published by Firefly Press Ltd (14 May 2015)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Lydia Syson Q&A ( Liberty's Fire) Publication Day

I'm really pleased to be sharing with you the following Q&A with Lydia Syson, the author of three historical YA novels. Her new novel Liberty's Fire is being published today by Hot Key Books. 

Tell us a little bit about Liberty's Fire?

Imagine Les Mis, nearly forty years on. When the people of Paris rose to claim their rights in 1871, they were full of hope for the future – hope that was horrifically dashed. Liberty’s Fire is about four young people caught up a revolution that became a civil war, and the story takes place in palaces and opera houses, soup kitchens and cemeteries, on rooftops and in cellars, amid blossom and barricades. The book is full of music, photography, politics and passion.

How much of the book is realistic?

ALL of it! Quite seriously. Unbelievable as it sounds, there’s nothing that happens in Liberty’s Fire that either didn’t or couldn’t have happened in Paris in 1871, to the very best of my knowledge. It’s always a bit of a problem for writers of historical fiction – which I’ve written about before ( - you’re drawn to the most extraordinary, incredible stories, and then people wonder if they could really be true.

Is travel an important aspect in your books?

Yes and no. I’d say a sense of place is hugely important, but I’ve not always been able to travel to achieve that. I’d already been to Spain quite a few times when I wrote A World Between Us, set during the Spanish Civil War, so to begin with I used a mixture of memory, maps, Google Earth, other people’s memoirs and then in fact we did a family housewap in the Basque country just before I was doing my final revisions and we all went to Guernica and Bilbau – though it was another year before I made it to the cave hospital. ( 

That Burning Summer was easy because we spend a lot of time on Romney Marsh and it’s the kind of place that gets under your skin. But for Liberty’s Fire I owe everything to an Arts Council grant – I really couldn’t have written the book without it – which allowed me both time to research and visit and revisit Paris, and that was crucial to getting all kinds of things right, from geography to atmosphere to point of view. As you might have guessed from the book, I’m a great believer in public funding for the arts.

Has your PhD influenced your writing style?

I think it’s influenced my research style more than my writing. It made me confident about using archives and academic papers and journals and following trails in footnotes, and taught me the value of tracing things back to their original source. But I can’t really do a before and after test because though I used to write stories all the time at school, I made the terrible mistake of stopping when I left. It took me decades to get the courage to write fiction again, which is why my best piece of advice to young writers is terribly simple: don’t stop!

Has your PhD influenced your writing style?

I think it’s influenced my research style more than my writing. It made me confident about using archives and academic papers and journals and following trails in footnotes, and taught me the value of tracing things back to their original source. But I can’t really do a before and after test because though I used to write stories all the time at school, I made the terrible mistake of stopping when I left. It took me decades to get the courage to write fiction again, which is why my best piece of advice to young writers is terribly simple: don’t stop!

What helps you to be creative?
Sometimes I think it’s pressure, and sometimes the opposite. I do respond to deadlines – probably because I used to be a radio producer, and if you were a second out you either ‘crashed the pips’ or ‘fell off the air’. But it’s also fantastic to be allowed space and time to write – see Arts Council Grant above! – and not to have to juggle too many different kinds of work at once. The support of my family, near and far, helps a lot. Other things that I find helpful in a refreshing kind of way include being outside regularly - running and gardening and wild camping – and other art forms, like theatre and exhibitions, which give me ideas and help me make connections.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

I’m definitely more interested in meeting dead famous people than living ones, and right now it would probably be the legendary Communarde Louise Michel, also known as the Red Virgin of Montmartre. She’s not well known in this country but in France there are schools and streets and even a metro station named after her, a mark of the fact that ideas that might seem revolutionary to one generation can get taken for granted in another. I’d love to know what she thought of the state of the world now.

Author website: book published by Hot Key Books 7th May 2015. My book Review is HERE

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's Middle Grade Book Picks - May 2015 - US POST ONE

Jonathan Auxier - The Night Gardener - Published by Harry N. Abrams (May 5, 2015)
The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its inhabitants are not quite what they seem. Soon, the children are confronted by a mysterious stranger—and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives.

A mesmerizing read and a testament to the magical power of storytelling, The Night Gardener is a spine-chilling fable in the tradition of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.

K . L . Armstrong & M . A . Marr -  Thor's Serpents (The Blackwell Pages) - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2015)

For fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the thrilling conclusion to The Blackwell Pages, written by New York Times bestselling YA authors, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr.

Thirteen-year-olds Matt, Laurie, and Fen have beaten near-impossible odds to assemble their fellow descendants of the Norse Gods and complete epic quests. Their biggest challenge lies ahead: battling the fierce monsters working to bring about the apocalypse.

But when they learn that Matt must fight the Midgard Serpent alone and Fen and Laurie are pulled in other directions, the friends realize they can't take every step of this journey together. Matt, Laurie, and Fen will each have to fight their own battles to survive, to be true to themselves, and to one another - with nothing less than the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Polly Holyoke - The Neptune Challenge - Published by  Disney-Hyperion (May 19, 2015)

Danger lurks beneath. . . . 

Genetically engineered to survive in the ocean, Nere and her friends are recovering from their treacherous journey to Safety Harbor, an undersea refuge founded by the scientists of the Neptune Project. But plenty of enemies prowl just outside the colony's boundaries, and when two of the children are kidnapped, Nere, her loyal dolphins, and the other Neptune kids must set out on an expedition even more perilous than their first.

Tasked with infiltrating the kidnapper's high-tech undersea base, Nere soon discovers that rescuing the missing Neptune kids isn't all there is to her mission: the secret to saving the world's oceans is hidden somewhere deep inside this vast fortress, and she and her friends will have to risk everything to find it. 

With bloodthirsty shark mutates and savage kids roaming the corridors, will Nere and her companions find a way to save their friends, themselves, and their underwater world? The stakes couldn't be higher in this thrilling sequel to the award-winning The Neptune Project

Claudia White - Servalius Window - Published by MP Publishing Ltd (May 18, 2015)
Servalius Window is a story of destiny, change, knowledge and time, combining the ancient story of Gilgamesh and Chinese Proverbs to tell the story of two worlds inextricably linked: Servalius and Earth. Written in three parts, with the first part on Servalius, the reader learns of a perfectly ordered world where everything and everyone lives according to their destined journey. Servalians have no knowledge of their celestial journey that began on Earth but celebrate the images of the Earth’s vibrancy through Enya Harding’s art and Alfred Canat’s music. But when twelve year old Mia learns that she does not fit into her destined path things change forever… In part two, the reader is introduced to Indigo Jasper, a friend of Felix Hutton who is gifted with strange and unexplained memories and extraordinary knowledge. Felix knows that Indigo is different from his other classmates but believes that her exceptional intelligence is what sets her apart until she and everything associated with her ceases to exist and only Felix and other Athenites can remember her at all. Part three involves the reappearance of Indigo’s ghostly form as she provides some of the answers to her mysterious disappearance, her travels on Earth and what awaits her when she returns to Servalius (as Mia) having completed this part of her destined journey…  

Monday, 4 May 2015

Lydia Syson - Liberty's Fire - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Review

Book Synopsis: Paris, 1871. Four young people will rewrite their destinies. Paris is in revolt. After months of siege at the hands of the Prussians, a wind of change is blowing through the city, bringing with it murmurs of a new revolution. Alone and poverty-stricken, sixteen-year-old Zéphyrine is quickly lured in by the ideals of the city's radical new government, and she finds herself swept away by its promises of freedom, hope, equality and rights for women. But she is about to be seduced for a second time, following a fateful encounter with a young violinist. Anatole's passion for his music is soon swiftly matched only by his passion for this fierce and magnificent girl. He comes to believe in Zéphyrine's new politics - but his friends are not so sure. Opera singer Marie and photographer Jules have desires of their own, and the harsh reality of life under the Commune is not quite as enticing for them as it seems to be for Anatole and Zéphyrine. And when the violent reality of revolution comes crashing down at their feet, can they face the danger together - or will they be forced to choose where their hearts really lie?

Book Review: If you've ever walked the back streets of Paris, you'll know what I mean when I say about the sense of wonder and history that you feel. It's such an amazing place to visit; a cultural metropolis and one that I absolutely love. However, after reading this book (Paris 1871 setting) this brought my timeless memories crashing down on me.  

I was immediately transported back to the world, and time, when the Paris Commune was the radical municipal government elected to run the French capital (March 1871). This is a forgotten period in history which is brought to life through the magical words and detail used by Lydia. It's beautifully written and, in my opinion, both well researched and thought out. You can really feel the passion the author has for this period - the politics, the equality and rights for women. 

As you follow the four young characters along this compelling plot, it will leave you breathing and living both the sadness and happiness at this time. It depicts the seventy two days of madness, when Paris burned for a week and thousands of Communards were slaughtered on the streets of the city.  This is such a powerful telling of historical events that occurred that I really felt I was living them through the eyes of the characters. 

I felt both the romantic and naive side of the four main characters. They washed over me like blossom petals falling down from a tree on a warm summer's day. I felt every heartbeat through this winding tale of destiny - tragedy, violence and drama. It really made me think about current day life and freedom. This is a book that would be great to take on a trip to Paris as it will certainly open your eyes and connect you to this wonderful city. 

This book is a historical gem. It is a story that I would not normally read, but I'm really glad that I did! It would have been great to have incorporated some period photographs of the time perhaps, especially from the perspective of the lens of Jules. In my opinion, this would have just been the icing on the cake to what is already an amazing story.  

This book was tense, moving and written deeply from the heart. It is a great teenage/adult read that I think more people should be reading and talking about. As you follow the characters, you'll fall in love with the time, the place and them. Hope for a happy ending though as it may not come. Be inspired and read it....   

Paperback: 368 Pages - Publisher: Hot Key Books (7 May 2015) ISBN-13: 978-1471403675