Monday, 31 August 2015

Linda Davies - Longbow Girl - Interview Section 2

Below is a fantastic and insightful video interview extract with Linda telling us all about her debut children's book book. I hope it inspires you to want to purchase a copy and read It. 

You can also watch the first part of the interview extract HERE 

LongbowGirl is a young adult novel by Linda Davies.

A stunningly exciting and dramatic story set in the wilds of the Welsh mountains, where the brave and beautiful Merry Owen, the LongbowGirl, travels back in time to the autocratic kingdom of King Henry V111 to save her ancestors.
Steeped in history, ancient lore and crackling with tension between the central characters Merry and James, LongbowGirl explores the themes of who we are and who we can become when fighting for those we love and for our very lives. Are we prisoners of our history or can we break free? Can we become all that we need to be to meet the ultimate challenge of life and death in the King’s Tournament and in the dungeons of the Black Castle? 

Longbow Girl is published by Chicken House on September 3rd 2015.

To find out more about LongbowGirl:
My book review: HERE

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Tom Becker - Dark Room (Red Eye) - Book Review

WARNING: Not to be read lovers of the Selfie. 

This is the fifth title in the Red Eye series to be published and is coming at you, with killer moves, from September 2015. It is another outstanding written performance by Tom Becker; a YA horror shocker that will have you glued right down to the very last page and, only then, will you be able to take a breath. It's that good that I'm still thinking about the story even weeks after I have finished reading it. 

I'm a very big fan of Tom Becker's previous books; this story is a very clever and a much more mature piece of writing than hisprevious works, in my opinion. It is very reminiscent of Stephen King - it will thrill you and kill you in the same heartbeat. It is a classic 'who done it' mystery consisting of a fantastic villain that will have you considering the final outcome throughout the story. The author sets out his stall from the very first page and leads the reader down a gruesome and grisly encounter that will leave you scared out of your skin . . . 

This story sets the tone brilliantly and left me really intrigued; the author punches the reader with a bloody and brutal vision that will have you fully zoned into Darla's world. Darla and her dad are looking for a fresh start, running from the past again will turn their little world upside down with a bloody bang. They wind up in affluent Saffron Hills, where Darla stands no chance of fitting in with the beautiful, selfie-obsessed teens at her new school.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she starts having somewhat vague visions, which leads the reader's imagination into overdrive . The gruesome snapshots flashing into Darla’s mind seem to suggest she’s going crazy… until she realizes they’re actually a horrifying glimpse into the future. A serial killer is on the loose, known as the "Selfie Slayer", and is coming for Darla through the lens of a camera. A shocking and mysterious past unfolds with fantastic realism. 

Teenagers will love this book, as they should really connect with the characters. The relationships between Darla and her father and friends is very turbulent, but at the same time, they are very engaging and fantastically well portrayed. Darla is not perfect like most of the characters in the other books which I liked. Her reactions to some of the gruesome parts might be a little inconsistent, in my opinion, and may not always contain enough feelings and emotions in places. She appears to react somewhat casually and nonchalantly at times. 

Nevertheless, this story is one of my favourite books of the year. It is a reading pleasure - a large slice of contemporary, american teenage-life full of twists and turns. It will leave you frighteningly shocked and make your spine tingle. It is a fusion of popular culture and violence fused with the power of social media, which is very much in vogue. This is a clever and intriguing story which has a fantastic ending to a fantastic read. 

Are YOU ready for your close up?

Other Red Eye Books: Dare you read a Red Eye?

Alex Bell - Frozen Charlotte -  5th Jan 2015
Lou Morgan - Sleepless - 5th Jan 2015
Simon Cheshire - Flesh and Blood - 2nd March 2015
Graham Marks - Bad Bones - 4th May 2015
Alex Bell - The Haunting - 1st Feb 2016 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Mr Ripley's Children's Book Picks - September 2015 - UK Post One

Jonathan Stroud - Lockwood & Co: The Hollow Boy - Published by Doubleday Children's (24 September 2015)
Lockwood & Co. might be the smallest (some might say shambollic) Psychic Detection Agency in London. But its three agents - Lockwood, Lucy and George - are exceptional Talents. And they get results. When an outbreak of ghostly phenomena grows to terrifying levels in Chelsea, Scotland Yard is left baffled. Even more baffling is that Lockwood & Co appear to have been excluded from the huge team of Agents investigating the Chelsea Outbreak. Surely this is the perfect chance for them to show once and for all that they're actually the best in town? Well, that's if they can put aside their personal differences for long enough to march into action with their rapiers, salt and iron...Ghouls and spectres, thrills and tension in this brand-new instalment in Jonathan Stroud's best selling series. "Stroud is a genius." (Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series).

Tom Becker - Dark Room (Red Eye) - Published by Stripes Publishing (10 September 2015)
The camera never lies...Darla and her dad are looking for a fresh start. But when they wind up in affluent Saffron Hills, Darla stands no chance of fitting in with the beautiful, selfie-obsessed teens at her new school. Just when she thinks things can't get any worse, she starts having visions. The gruesome snapshots flashing into Darla's mind seem to suggest she's going crazy...until she realizes they're actually a horrifying glimpse into the future. With a killer on the loose, can she make sense of what she's seeing before it's too late?

Brian Selznick - The Marvels - Published by Scholastic Press (15 September 2015) 
In The Marvels, Selznick crafts another remarkable artistic and bookmaking achievement that weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories-one in words, the other in pictures-with spellbinding synergy. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heart-rending beauty, and featuring Selznick's most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story.

Tim Kennemore - Circle of Doom - Published by Andersen Press (3 September 2015)
Lizzie, Max and Dan have never liked their neighbours, the fussy and nagging Potwards, so when it appears that Lizzie's magic potion has made them move out, the children should be delighted. Their glee is short-lived, however, as they worry over who might move in, and more magic seems necessary. Soon the three children are caught in a web of secrecy and conspiracy as one spell leads to another, each more powerful than the last. And then Max decides to cast a spell of his own, on his very worst enemy. . .

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Mr Ripley's Children's Book Picks - September 2015 - UK Post Two

Kevin Sands - The Blackthorn Key - Published by Puffin (3 September 2015) 
Follow the clues. Crack the code. Stay alive.       
Potions, puzzles and the occasional explosion are all in a day's work for young apothecary Christopher Rowe. Murder is another matter.
It's a dangerous time to be the apprentice of Benedict Blackthorn. A wave of mysterious murders has sent shockwaves through London, and soon Christopher finds himself on the run. His only allies are his best friend, Tom, courageous Molly, and a loyal feathered friend, Bridget. His only clues are a coded message about his master's most dangerous project, and a cryptic warning - 'Tell no one!'
The race is on for Christopher: crack the code and uncover its secret, or become the next victim . . .

Katherine Rundell - The Wolf Wilder - Published by Bloomsbury Children's (10 September 2015) 
Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora's mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.
When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.

Chris Riddell - Goth Girl And The Wuthering Fright - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (24 September 2015)
People are flocking to Ghastly-Gorm Hall from far and wide to compete in Lord Goth's Literary Dog Show. The esteemed judges are in place and the contestants are all ready to win. Sir Walter Splott is preparing his Lanarkshire Lurcher, Plain Austen is preening her Hampshire Hound and Homily Dickinson and her Yankee Poodle are raring to go. But there's something strange going on at Ghastly-Gorm - mysterious footprints, howls in the night and some suspiciously chewed shoes. Can Ada, the Attic Club and their new friends the Vicarage sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) work out what's going on before the next full moon?

Linda Davies - Longbow Girl - Published by Chicken House Ltd (3 September 2015) 
Merry Owen is desperate for her family to stay on their struggling farm in Wales, in the shadow of the Black Castle, owned by the de Courcys who have been enemies of Merry's family for generations. Skilled in the family tradition of archery, Merry is happiest out riding, but when she finds an overturned tree and a buried chest containing an ancient Welsh text, it leads her into a past filled with treasure, secrets and untold danger. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books : Book Review - Claudia White - Seravlius Window - MP Publishing Ltd

“There was a proverb written more than 2200 years ago: watching the tree to catch a hare,” Dr. Zhang smiled warmly, “which means: the only thing that does not change is that everything changes.”

The tales of dreams and imaginings of Claudia White have been fully explored in book three. Seravalius Window is so far my personal favourite. The plot is highly imaginative and combines the ancient story of Gilgamesh and Chinese Proverbs, which is really evident in the plot line. These elements in the book make you think and flex your imaginative brain making it an absolute joy to immerse yourself in the story.   

After the first few chapters, you will be led down the narrative road asking yourself how this book is going to work out. It is surreal, intriguing and very different from the previous two books. However, it still retains all the good aspects from the other books such as the interesting and well written characters, good worldbuilding and easy going dialogue.   

The book is written in three parts and leads the reader down a path of discovery and learning which cleverly collides into a satisfying ending. Although it leaves more questions than answers. This book can work as a standalone novel, but I would recommend reading one of the other books to get a better understanding of the characters and back history, as it may be quite easy to get lost. 

In the first part, 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… 

This is a story of destiny and unexplained memories that will leave you wanting to uncover the mystery within the story. You will travel into a dream like bubble the further you go.  

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… 

This is a pocket size family adventure, full of folk tales and myths, which are all wrapped in a magical fantasy realm. A recommended middle grade read that I would search out in a heartbeat, especially if you are in the U.K. 

  • Book published by MP Publishing Ltd (May 18, 2015)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books : Big Book Cover Reveal - Helen Dennis - River of Ink: Genesis (Hodder Children's)

It's always fantastic to be asked to show off a new book cover for the first time and I particularly loved this one. I'm sure it will appeal to most readers and draw them into picking it up with the amazingly eye catching and rather abstract image. It is very imaginative and uses a great palette of colour - it really should stand out from the crowd! 

This new and exciting adventure series will appeal to both boys and girls. With a strong mystery at the heart, the characters cross Europe on a thrilling quest against time! This could be the Da Vinci Code for kids. 

If this sounds like your kind of book, then you will unfortunately have to wait until the 14th January 2016 to read it. I apologise now as I know that is quite a wait for such a fantastic book. River of Ink will be the first installment in this new series and will be published by Hodder Children's Books in the U.K. 

Book Synopsis: What if a teenage boy washed up on the banks of the River Thames, soaked to the skin and unable to explain who he is?

What if the only clue to the boy's identity is a sketch he made of a strange symbol?

Who would help him? 

Who would hunt him?

Who is River Boy?

When a mystery teenage boy emerges from the River Thames drenched, distressed and unable to remember anything about himself, he becomes the focus of worldwide media speculation. Unable to communicate, the River Boy is given paper and a pencil and begins to scribble. Soon a symbol emerges, but the boy has no idea why he has drawn it even thought it's the only clue to the mystery of his identity...
As the boy begins to build a new life under a new name, the hunt for his real identity begins.
A hunt which will lead him on a dangerous QUEST that he has only one year to complete ...
Introducing the first book in a thrilling new series packed with adventure and mystery.

About the Author: H. L. Dennis was born in Brighton, England. She works part time as a Junior School teacher and has done for 20 years. She lives with her husband, daughter and the laziest dog in the world, in a house at the bottom of the Downs on the Sussex coast in Eastbourne. 'Secret Breakers' is her first series of published books and has already been translated into seven languages.

Find out more about H. L. Dennis and enter the world at

Monday, 10 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Great New Summer Children's Publications by David Fickling Books

Conrad Mason - The Hero's Tomb - Published by David Fickling - Hardback ISBN:978-1910200346 - Out Now!
Azurmouth! In all the Old World there is no city so vast, so sprawling . . . or so dangerous.
Half-goblin boy Joseph Grubb has come to find the truth about his parents. His friend Tabitha has followed him across the ocean, hoping to protect him from the deadly white-coated butchers of the League of the Light. Meanwhile her guardian Captain Newton is determined to recover an ancient artifact stolen by the League’s sinister Duke of Garran.
But in Azurmouth nothing is as it seems. Old enemies will rise. Long-buried secrets will be uncovered. And the League will awaken an ancient power, threatening the Old World with a terrifying new dawn.
Soon Joseph, Tabitha and Newton will have to face their deepest fears, and a final reckoning, at the Hero’s Tomb . . .

Mal Peet - The Murdstone Trilogy - Published by David Fickling - Paperback ISBN: 978-1910200216 - Out Now! 
Philip Murdstone is a writer.
He writes subtle YA books about sensitive boys. Subtle books which don’t sell.
He does NOT write fantasy. He HATES fantasy - even the faintest whiff of goblins and elves brings him
out in hives. But - his agent Minerva Cinch informs him - his career as a writer is kaput if he DOESN’T
write fantasy.
Luckily for Murdstone, it is at this exact moment that he meets a strange creature from another realm.
What could possibly go wrong?

Jon Walter - My Name's Not Friday - Published by David Fickling - Hardback ISBN: 978-1910200438 - Out Now!
Samuel’s an educated boy. Been taught by a priest. He was never supposed to be a slave.
He’s a good boy too, thought- ful and kind. The type of boy who’d take the blame for something he didn’t do, if
it meant he could save his brother.
So now they don’t call him Samuel anymore.
And the sound of guns is getting ever closer . . .
Jon Walter’s second novel is a beautiful and moving story about the power of belief and the strength of the human spirit, set against the terrifying backdrop of the American Civil War.

For more cracking reads check out the David Fickling Website:

Friday, 7 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Linda Davies - Longbow Girl - Book Review - Chicken House

Linda Davies has written five bestselling adult novels and has sold millions of copies worldwide. A former investment banker, she has now turned her talented hand to writing for children. Her first book "Longbow Girl" which is aimed at the 10+ age range will be published by Chicken House on the 3rd September 2015. 

The book cover is not my personal favourite as, in my opinion, it does not reflect the story inside. However, don't be fooled by the cover as the story is fantastically immersive and incredibly vivid from the very first page to the final page. The author has made a fantastic transition from writing adult fiction to children's fiction in the blink of an eye. 

The plot is set in modern day time against the wild backdrop of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons and is stunningly told. You will find yourself being whisked away on a Welsh pony into a beautiful and descriptive landscape that will have you galloping into an unknown adventure and beyond. However, past and present soon collide into an explosive world filled with treasure, secrets and untold danger. The story covers mythology and draws upon the historical times of King Henry VIII and his dictatorial rule. Steeped in ancient lore, the plot is a cauldron of tension, action and mystery that will have you hooked in traditional classical storytelling. 

Merry Owen is a well rounded character and has been written particularly well in my opinion. She is strong willed, intelligent and fiercely talented with a Longbow; a tradition that has been passed down through her family. When she discovers a lost book of Welsh legends, could this be the answer to her family's financial struggles? 

The story is cleverly constructed and told with historical passion. Family life and the interaction between Merry and James give it a big sense of adventure. The plot is full of feeling and emotions that are explored throughout and work really well. The story is grounded in reality and modern day setting which offsets the time travel aspect and enables the plot lines to be tied all neatly together. 

This is a great story of family survival; a fight to save who we are and who we can become. It delves into history through the extraordinary events at the Battles of Crecy and Agincourt. The story is imaginative, very creative and well thought out. It incorporates extensive historical research which makes this book a fantastic and memorable read. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Guest Post by Stephen Bennett - Is writer's block a curse or a fiction?

Writer’s block: 25 proven tips for how to cure writer’s block used by writers.

Post by Stephen Bennett.

The productivity website Stop Procrastinating conducted a survey with 2000 writers to find out what techniques they use to beat writer’s block. Yes, writer’s block does exist. In fact it exists for more than 60% of writers, according to the survey, and is caused by high expectations, fear of failure and pressure of unrealistic deadlines.

But as with most conditions there’s a spectrum where some writers may find it difficult to write for a few hours or days and all they need is to adjust their way of thinking, while for other writers the problem may have set in for longer.

The the good news is no matter where they were on the spectrum, all the writer’s beat their writer’s block though a combination of creative motivation techniques and unorthodox routines.

From talking to your cat to having a cold shower or doing the West Wing Walk and Talk, the survey resulted in 25 strategies to help writers be more creative and motivated about their writing. And it’s all in the infographic below: 

Writer's block cure

Courtesy of: Stop Procrastinating

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - August 2015 - UK Post One

Curtis Jobling - A New Hero (World of Warriors book 1) - Published by Puffin (6 Aug. 2015)
Richard 'Trick' Hope is used to getting into trouble, but not like this. . .
On the run from bullies, Trick finds himself transported to the mystical Wildlands, a place where the greatest warriors throughout history have been summoned to fight in a battle for survival - from Romans and Vikings to Knights and Samurai!
A cryptic old man tells Trick that he's there for a reason - to deliver the Wildlands from the evil Boneshaker, who rules with an army of terrifying minions. Trick has been chosen to form a band of the seven greatest warriors to defeat this terrible enemy.
As Trick begins his epic quest the stakes couldn't be higher:defeat Boneshaker or never see home again.

Matt Ralphs - Fire Girl - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (13 Aug. 2015)
Twelve-year-old Hazel Hooper has spent her whole life trapped in a magical Glade created by her mother, Hecate. She's desperate to meet new people and find out about the world. And, more than anything, she wants to be a witch. But when her mother is kidnapped by a demon - everything changes . . .
Suddenly Hazel is alone in the world. Well . . . not quite alone. For it turns out that Hazel does have magic - she's just not very good at controlling it. And she may have accidentally created a grumpy familiar in the form of a dormouse called Bramley.
Determined to rescue her mother, the young witch and her mouse set out to track down the demon and find Hecate. However, it turns out that life outside the Glade is far more dangerous than Hazel ever could have imagined. Witch Hunters are everywhere - and the witches are using demons to fight back!
Luckily for Hazel she manages to enlist the help of a handsome boy called David, and his drunken master, Titus White, who are expert demon hunters.
And witch finders . . .
Fire Girl is a fantastic new magical adventure from Matt Ralphs - perfect for young readers with a taste for the extraordinary!

Jacob Grey - The Swarm Descends (Ferals, Book 2) - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (27 Aug. 2015)
The second book in this gripping, high-impact, high-energy new series.
After the Spinning Man was banished to the Land of the Dead in an epic struggle between good and evil Ferals, Caw’s life has become safer, free of the darkness that had stalked Blackstone for so long. But there’s a new villain in town – and the Mother of Flies will stop at nothing to make crime, corruption and chaos descend once more.
Caw must use every ounce of courage, and every friend he can find, to face-off against some truly terrifying Ferals. Dark family secrets will be revealed – and he will learn to be very careful about who to trust…

Zoe Ferraris - The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis - Published By Random House Books, (10Aug. 2015)

In this first book of an exciting fantasy-adventure trilogy for young readers, contemporary kids are introduced to a galaxy full of pirates, monkeys, and a colorful cast of other creatures both human and otherwise.
 On the night Emma Garton's supposedly boring parents are kidnapped, she is forced to face the truth: they've been lying to her about many things, including the Pyxis, a mysterious amulet that holds the key to saving another world and worse, they aren't even from planet Earth
To find her parents, Emma and her best friend, Herbie, must leave Earth and enter the Strands the waterways of space, where huge galleons ply the intergalactic seas. But a journey through the constellations won't be easy not with evil Queen Virgo and every scoundrel in the galaxy determined to find them.
In this interstellar adventure, YALSA Alex Award winning author Zoƫ Ferraris transports readers to a vast, magical universe filled with fantastical creatures, merciless villains, and fearless heroes.