Thursday, 28 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: The Phoenix Presents - Summer Comic Madness Picks 2016

These are some of the best graphical picks for the summer; they are all from the talented bunch at The Phoenix. Here are my personal favourites. I devoured the amazing comic juices of them in a flash. They all featured in the weekly 32 page comic anthology which is suitable for girls and boys alike.

The larger instalments within the weekly comic are both great and entertaining. They are brilliantly illustrated images containing a fantastic story inside that all ages will absolutely love. This summer each will provide great entertainment and a fantastic visual escapism, so check them all out. 

Neill Cameron - Mega Robo Bros (The Phoenix Presents) Paperback – 2 Jun 2016 

London! The Future! Alex and Freddy are just like any other brothers. They squabble. They drive their parents crazy. There's only one difference...they're the most powerful robots on earth! But Alex and Freddy will soon discover that they're not the only super-powered robots around. An evil robotic mind is making sinister plans. And their lives won't stay peaceful for much longer...

Jamie Smart - Bunny vs Monkey: Book 3 (The Phoenix Presents) Paperback – 7 Jul 2016
It’s quiet in the woods today. Isn’t it lovely? Really quiet. Really very –
What’s that?! It’s Bunny and Monkey fighting with all sorts of crazyinventions…
The Helliphant!
The Stench!
A Carrot!
But wait! Something else has just arrived in the woods – something new!
Something called “hew-mans”…
It’s Bunny vs Monkey: Book 3!

Adam Murphy - Lost Tales (The Phoenix Presents) - Paperback – 4 Aug 2016

In the land of the Mi'kmaq, there lived an invisible warrior who longed to be seen. In the Punjab, there lived a poor hermit who renounced riches. In Brazil, there lived a lonely princess who yearned for a playmate. Uncover these tales of wonder from around the world. From Adam Murphy, creator of CORPSE TALK, comes a collection of the most magical myths and legends you've never heard before...

Monday, 25 July 2016

J. K . Rowling - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - New Comic-Con Trailer [HD] - November 2016

More magic and more monsters! A brand new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer debuted at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 23, sending Muggles everywhere into a frenzy.

After Potterheads were instructed to point their wands at the screen onstage, the Fantastic Beasts trailer began to play. The trailer starts with Colin Farrell, who plays Author Percival Graces, investigating the sudden arrival of several dangerous creatures in New York in the mid-1920s.
As fans know, and as is later revealed in the trailer, the so-called “fantastic beasts” escaped from a magical briefcase owned by none other than Newt (Redmayne). Although several promos for the upcoming movie have previously been released, the Comic-Con video gives viewers a first look at the beasts themselves.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
will take moviegoers back to the Wizarding World – a place they haven’t visited in five years, since Harry Potter and the Death Hallows – Part 2 hit theaters in 2011. The film takes place several decades before Harry Potter’s story (in 1920s New York, to be exact), but won’t serve as a prequel to the grand saga of The Boy Who Lived. Rather, Fantastic Beasts will follow the adventures of Newt Scamander (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne), the magizoologist who devoted his life to studying the magical creatures of the world and eventually wrote the eponymous wizard encyclopaedia, based on his findings.

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Sarah Baker - Through the Mirror Door - Book Review

Since the accident, Angela has been alone. When she is invited on holiday with her cousins, it is her chance to be part of a family again if she promises to behave herself. But secrets lie in the walls of the crumbling French holiday home and the forbidden rooms draw Angela in. Soon night-time footsteps, flickering candlelight and shadows in windows lead her to a boy who needs her help. To save him Angela must discover the truth about what happened in the house all those years ago . . . and face the terrible secret of her own past.

Sarah Baker has worked extensively in film, as a story editor, with roles at Aardman Features. She has now turned her creative hand from fashion blogging to the catwalk of writing books for children. Through the Mirror Door is a very good middle grade read that is incredibly immersive and well accomplished for a debut book. It will certainly attract readers of all ages, in my opinion. The eye catching cover is designed by Will Steele and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle; it's very in-keeping with the story as it pulls out the mystery and leaves you wanting to find out more inside the cover. 

You get a really good feel about the plot from the very first page. The plight of the main central character is Angela. She is perhaps not the most well formed character and might need just a little more work around her to fully develop her personality. She is a troubled twelve-year old suffering from the death of her family when she suddenly finds herself embroiled into a mystery story that sucks her into the crevices of the French manor house, Maison de Noyer. 


As you arrive at the foreboding tall dark house, it looms over you in a crumbling state of dilapidated character and rural charm. Three floors, twenty-four shuttered windows, all in total darkness lead you into a world that will intrigue and spook you to the very core as you cross over the threshold. The question is: do you dare? 

Every door that you open, the more secrets you will find as you follow Angela on a twisty and turning adventure that will have you rooting for her. The climatic adventure turns into a pulse gripping race against time to save Julien, a boy, from 1898 France. You will be transported back in time to a time slip period adventure that vibrates into a tale of deceit and survival. It will work up the imagination and lead you down the path of a gripping fantasy novel. It will certainly flex the brain and entertain the sole as you follow the night-time footsteps, the flickering candlelight and a whole host of ghostly visitations. 

This book is essentially a huge atmospheric ghost story, which is layered full of mystery and dark intentions that I really did connect with. The narrative is one of my personal favourites.  You will soon be sucked into a cavernous story; a haunting and enchanted world that has a timeless classic feel. It is historically rooted which leads to pure escapism, but also has a dollop of romance and a big splash of friendship in a tale of hope and fear. 

This is a brilliant debut book and a highly recommended read. It is out now in all good book shops - published by Catnip Publishing.

Thursday, 21 July 2016



Award winning screenwriter Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Sir Terry Pratchett, will pen the adaptation

The Jim Henson Company announced today the development of a feature film based on the great literary legacy of the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s “THE WEE FREE MEN,” part of the wildly popular Discworld series.
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
The long-awaited film adaption will be written by his daughter Rhianna Pratchett, an award-winning scriptwriter for video-games  comics, film and TV. Her work includes the 2013 smash hit reboot of Tomb Raider, the BAFTA nominated Heavenly Sword and the Writers’ Guild winning Overlord and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Pratchett, co-director of independent production company Narrativia, has regularly been named one of the top 100 most influential women in the games industry and won the Women in Games Hall of Fame award in 2013.
“THE WEE FREE MEN,” is the first in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching. A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality. Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, the young witch-to-be must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegles—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men. Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the most powerful force of all - the Queen.
Brian Henson of The Jim Henson Company will serve as producer. Rhianna Pratchett, Rob Wilkins and Rod Brown of Narrativia and Vince Raisa of The Jim Henson Company, will serve as executive producers. WEE FREE MEN is a co-production with Narrativia. 
“I’ve loved the Jim Henson Company’s work all my life, so it’s a great honor to team up with them and bring Wee Free Men to the big screen.” said writer Rhianna Pratchett.
“As a family owned company, we fully understand the importance of legacy properties,” said Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company. “The Discworld series is a richly developed world with devoted fans, myself included, and there is no one better than Rhianna to bring Terry’s beloved project to life on the big screen.”

About The Jim Henson Company

The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for 60 years and is recognised worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy®-nominated Sid the Science KidDinosaur Train, and Pajanimals, as well as the CG-animated preschool series Doozers, the upcoming digital citizenship series for preschoolers Dot., and the Netflix series for young preschoolers Word Party. Top titles currently in production include the groundbreaking marine biology series Splash and Bubbles for PBS KIDS® and the Netflix Original preschool show Julie’s Greenroom, starring award-winning actress Julie Andrews. Features include Disney’s Alexander and the TerribleHorribleNo GoodVery Bad Day, as well as The Dark CrystalLabyrinth, and MirrorMask. Television productions include Fraggle Rock, the sci-fi cult series FarscapeHenson Alternative’s NoYou Shut Up! and the TV film Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow.
With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. The Company is home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character- building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of- the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring Puppet-Up! – Uncensored, a live puppet improvisational show.

About Narrativia

Independent Production Company Narrativia was launched in 2012 by Sir Terry Pratchett. The company owns and controls the exclusive multimedia and merchandising rights to all of Sir Terry's works, including his Discworld characters and creations. With more than 85 million books sold worldwide, Pratchett's writing has created a literary phenomenon across the globe and Narrativia protects and unites the management and development of this brand.
The Executive Team, headed by Managing Director and BAFTA winning producer Rod Brown is based in London, where he works closely with co-directors, celebrated writer Rhianna Pratchett and Terry Pratchett's Business Manager, Rob Wilkins, who all jointly own and control Narrativia.
Narrativia is currently in development and pre-production, hand in hand with a number of high-profile production partners and broadcasters across the globe, on a slate of as yet undisclosed film and television projects, with commencement of filming for the first project due to start in 2016.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Teens/Children's Book Picks US Published - July 2016

Louis Bayard - Lucky Strikes - Published by Henry Holt and Co. (July 5, 2016)
With her mama recently dead and her pa sight unseen since birth, Amelia is suddenly in charge of her younger brother and sister―and of the family gas station. Harley Blevins, local king and emperor of Standard Oil, is in hot pursuit to clinch his fuel monopoly. To keep him at bay and keep her family out of foster care, Melia must come up with a father―and fast. And so when a hobo rolls out of a passing truck, Melia grabs opportunity by its beard. Can she hold off the hounds till she comes of age?
Jeri Baird - Tokens and Omens - Published by Jolly Fish Press (July 19, 2016)
In Puck's Gulch, sixteen-year-olds undergo a dangerous trial known as the Quest. During a time of magic, Fate hands out tokens and omens based on their behavior. Zander trusts Fate. Alexa only trusts herself. Now, Fate has given them each a special gift—Zander sees secrets he doesn’t want, and Alexa's thrilled to find she can control events through her embroidery scenes. After Zander and Alexa each earn a omen that makes surviving the quest nearly impossible, they must break the rules and challenge Fate together. If they don't, one will die. And Fate has made it clear—she won't be cheated.

Mike Storey - Teddycats - Published by Razorbill (July 12, 2016)
Bill is a young Teddycat, which means he’s one of the most special--and mysterious--animals in the jungle. Teddycats can climb higher than any other mammal around. And because the Teddycats can climb so high, they get to live way up in the highest branches of the tallest trees, in a well-hidden and protected place called Cloud Kingdom.

There are a lot of perks to Teddycat life, but there’s also a lot of responsibility--and rules--that come with it.
Here are some things that Teddycats CANNOT do:
   • Use their super-strong, razor-sharp claws for anything except climbing or life-or-death situations 
   • Reveal their existence or the location of Cloud Kingdom to humans and other predators  
And the number one thing that Teddycats can definitelyno matter whatNEVER do:

   • Bring outsiders into Cloud Kingdom 

That last rule is the most serious one of all. Unfortunately, it’s also the rule that Bill breaks one fateful day, when he brings his buddy Luke, an Olingo, up into Cloud Kingdom. All of a sudden, predators are circling, the ground beneath Cloud Kingdom is littered with human traps, and the Teddycat sanctuary is under attack. Their secret has been exposed, and Bill’s in danger of being banished for his crime. 
            When a baby Teddycat is trapped and taken by a potentially vicious human, Bill knows he has to make things right. Along with a brave but ragtag team of comrades, he sets out into the jungle, determined to fight for the future of his species. 
S . A . Bodeen - Trapped (Shipwreck Island) - Published by Feiwel & Friends (July 26, 2016)
Sarah Robinson and her family are shipwrecked on a remote and mysterious island. Their food is scarce and there's no sign of rescue. They have seen strange creatures, rescued a mysterious girl, and found the Curator, who has captured Sarah's father and stepbrother to use in a bizarre time travel experiment. And then the only man who knows about the island comes back―he's looking for buried treasure and won't leave without it, even if it means leaving the Robinsons stranded. Sarah knows an important key to finding the treasure, but will she keep it a secret?
Trapped is the thrilling third installment of the middle-grade Shipwreck Island series by S.A. Bodeen, full of mystery and unexpected twists and turns.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Peter Bunzl - COGHEART - Book Review

When 13-year-old Lily's inventor father vanishes after a Zeppelin crash, Lily's determined to hunt down the truth behind his disappearance, helped by Robert, the local clockmaker's son, and her wily mechanical fox Malkin. But shadowy figures are closing in and treachery lurks among the smoky spires of London - along with a life-changing secret.

Here is another exciting book that will hit the bookshops early September 2016. Peter Bunzl's debut title 'Cogheart' will be published by Usborne displaying a brilliantly striking image. The quirky and delightful cover illustration has been created by Becca Stadlander and cleverly designed by Katherine Millichope. It is one of my favourites and, in my opinion, appeals to all readers of all ages. 

This is an enchanting read from the very first page. It is a Victorian tale that will deliver a massive helping of immersive imagination. After reading a non-fiction book called Living Dolls by Gaby Wood, the author was inspired and a seed was planted about automatons. The book provides many thought provoking questions about independent thinking and feelings from the perspective of mechanical robots. 

This adventure is filled with automata characters that you will really take to your heart. The mechanical animals and the house servants are a great work of creative imagination. They are a key success to the clockwork beating heart of this book. Peter has done a fabulous job building a fantastical fantasy world that you will truly get wrapped up in. He's unlocked and turned the winding key of his imagination and put it down on paper in a mechanical heartbeat of passion.  

You'll laugh with the cantankerous clockwork fox called Malkin, who has lots of personality and very opinionated. You will also cry with the main character Lily (heroine) and feel her pain and heartache along this deadly adventure of intrigue. You might find some parts of the plot a little stilted in places, as perhaps more action/back story needed at some points, in my opinion. However, with that said, the story creativity is very strong and certainly strong enough to make this book a really enjoyable read.   

In places this story feels deliciously gruesome, which I personally love as a reader. Some characters do die in a rather hideous way, but I will say no more. The book has a massive dollop of mystery that will keep you on your reading toes throughout. At the moment I haven't been reading many steampunk adventure books like this, which are fuelled by murder and some very nasty bad guys. I really enjoyed the European flavour that crept in at times.

This is a classic action adventure, with many film-like qualities. It is a promising start to a great new series, and one that I would certainly recommend to read. With the sequel already poised, this is an absolute cracker from a new voice in town.  

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Loogabarooga Festival of Children’s Illustrated literature October 2016 - Michael Rosen/Harry Potter Exhibition


Programme of events is launched for Children’s Illustrated Literature Festival from 19-24 October 2016

The programme of events for this year’s Loogabarooga Festival of children’s illustrated literature has been launched. The new programme includes many new highlights for families and children who love reading to see and hear from 19-24 October 2016 at venues across Loughborough. 

Performers, workshops and exhibitions at Loogabarooga Festival 2016 include Michael Rosen, best-selling children’s author and poet, and former Children’s Laureate; comedian, entertainer and writer, Julian Clary reading from his latest book, The Bolds To The Rescue; and the Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition at Charnwood Museum, an illustrated reimagining of the blockbuster classic, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 

Tickets for all of the free and paid events can be booked online at Copies of the free programme will be available to collect from Loughborough Town Hall, Charnwood Borough Council offices, Charnwood Museum and venues across Loughborough and Charnwood. 

Following the success of the inaugural Festival in 2015, this year’s programme will also include free creative drop-in workshops, storytelling sessions, advice on how to write and illustrate your own book, with appearances from some of the nation’s favourite children’s authors and illustrators.

The Loogabarooga Festival will be organised by Charnwood Borough Council in partnership with Leicestershire County Council, Leicester Shire Promotions and supported by Love Loughborough. 

Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough said: "This year's Loogabarooga Festival promises to be better than ever. The programme is packed full of exciting events and Loughborough is looking forward to welcoming some very special guests. There is a real buzz around the 2016 festival and I am looking forward to taking part in what promises to be a thrilling line-up." 

Hilary Fryer, Charnwood Borough Council's Cabinet member for Open Spaces and Leisure, said: "We are delighted to be hosting the festival once again and extremely excited to have some really big names coming to Loughborough. 

"The first festival was a huge success and this year is set to be bigger and better. Loogabarooga is not only great fun, but it also celebrates the joy of reading and brings people to Charnwood." 

For all of the latest information, follow the Festival on Facebook at or on Twitter @loogabarooga16

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

KELPIES BIG BOOK COVER REVEAL: Lari Don - The Beginner's Guide to Running Away/The Witch's Guide to Magical Combat (Spellchasers)

It has been a very along time since 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books' has had the opportunity to show you new children's book cover bling. These have come courtesy of indie publisher Floris Books (Kelpies) which is a great Scottish publisher in my opinion of children's books. 

For the first time, I have all three book covers to show you as part of the fantastic new trilogy,  Spellchasers, by Lari Don.  I recently reviewed the first book in the series The Beginner's Guide to Curses (book cover above) which will be published on the 18th August 2016.

All three book cover Illustrations have been produced by the talented artist, Jordi Salano. I personally love these and feel that they work really well across the series. If you also like them then you might want to check out some other great works by the artist HERE.


There will be three books, all connected, to make one giant Scottish ride of magical fantasy that you will not want to miss. The sequel will be: The Shapeshifter's Guide to Running Away (Book 2) and is scheduled to be published in spring 2017. Whilst the final book in the series, The Witch's Guide to Magical Combat (Book 3), will be published in the autumn of 2017. I hope that you really enjoy the book covers. Thanks for looking! 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Teen Book Picks UK Published - July 2016 - Post Three

Marten Sanden - A House Without Mirrors - Published by Pushkin Children's Books (28 July 2016)

Thomasine has spent months living in her great-great aunt's dusty, dark house with her father, and her aunt, uncle and cousins. While her father's siblings bicker about how much the house must be worth, her distant, elderly aunt is upstairs, dying, and her father has disappeared inside himself, still mourning the death of Thomasine's little brother.
But one day, her youngest cousin makes a discovery: a wardrobe, filled with all the mirrors missing from the big house. And through the mirrors, a different world - one in which you can find not what you most wish for, but perhaps what you most need...

Michelle Harrison - Other Alice - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (28 July 2016) - (See my book review here)

What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This is a story about one of those stories . . .

Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and – most of all – stories. Especially because he's grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer.

When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, The Museum of Unfinished Stories, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town.

Sarah Baker - Through the Mirror Door - Published by Catnip Publishing (7 July 2016)

Since the accident, Angela has been alone. When she is invited on holiday with her cousins, it is her chance to be part of a family again if she promises to behave herself. But secrets lie in the walls of the crumbling French holiday home and the forbidden rooms draw Angela in. Soon night-time footsteps, flickering candlelight and shadows in windows lead her to a boy who needs her help. To save him Angela must discover the truth about what happened in the house all those years ago . . . and face the terrible secret of her own past.

James Nicol - The Apprentice Witch - Published by Chicken House Ltd (7 July 2016) - (See book review here) and (interview here)
Arianwyn fluffs her witch's assessment. Awarded the dull bronze disc of an apprentice - to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma - she's sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor's favourite niece - and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby forest. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, it's soon clear there's much more than her pride at stake ...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: The Beginner's Guide to Curses: Spellchasers 1 By Lari Don (Kelpies)

Molly Drummond is cursed: whenever a dog barks, she turns into a hare -- which can make life quite dangerous...So she does the sensible thing and attends a curse-lifting workshop, run by a local witch. She tumbles into a world of magical beings, all desperate to reverse their curses. But will the power that feeds on the curses prevent them from returning to their normal lives? By the author of the bestselling Fabled Beasts Chronicles series, this is the dramatic first instalment in the brand new, long-awaited Spellchasers trilogy.

This is the start of a new spirited adventure series which has been born out of Lari Don's great love of storytelling. There will be three books, all connected to make one giant Scottish ride of magical fantasy, that you will not want to miss. The follow up books will be: The Shapeshifter's Guide to Running Away (Book 2) which will be scheduled to be published in spring 2017 and The Witch's Guide to Magical Combat (Book 3) which will hopefully be published in the autumn of 2017.

In the first book you will learn a valuable lesson not to annoy your neighbours as you are likely to get cursed in the process. Unfortunately this curse is not the easiest of things to lift and so, like Molly, you might need to undertake a CURSE-LIFTING WORKSHOP. There's no need to panic though, as in chapter 2 you take a visit to Skene Main's shop where you can enrol in one. On slight draw back is that you have to be between the ages of 11 and 21 years old. Nevertheless the course has guaranteed results and they also sell great organic vegetables! The potatoes are to die for, but you have to dig them up yourself. 

You will hurtle into a brilliantly created world of Scottish myth folklore and fantastic wild outdoors. This is a captivating adventure for the young at heart which will enchant the socks off any magical beings through its mystery, dark danger, humour and riddles. The book includes some really great character friendships, regardless of their backgrounds, and will make you feel warm at heart. The story is a fast paced, family read which will leave you breathless as you chase headlong into danger through a race against time. You will encounter some deadly pecking crows, sleeping trapped wyrms and nettle knickers, do I need to say more....?!

The further you venture into this book the more you get caught up with the characters as they discover a deadly secret which turns them all against each other. The suspense and the tension hits the reader in the face and brings about a different side to the characters which turns out to be rather unpleasant.....

I really loved the eclectic mix of characters which included: a tree spirit, a kelpie, a shapeshifter and a mysterious frog found just at the start of the story. It really gets your fantasy taste buds going. It's a vivid fairytale-like story set in Speyside, which is the place where the author grew up and famous for its wee tipple of whisky. Just like the drink, it creates a distinctive blend of flavours, a dash of wild imagination, a natural splash of Scottish landscape and some immersive climatic action all distilled in a magical dark folklore twist.  This is a great start to a series with so much more set to come...