Thursday, 30 November 2017

Matt Brown - Children's Author of Compton Valance Series - Mr Ripley's Festive Edition Q&A

What a great way to celebrate the festive time and to give your kids a funny book to read. This series of books by Matt Brown (illustrated by Lizzie Finlay) are smashing stocking fillers for kids and big kids with a crazy sense of humour. There are four books, so far, in the series to get your teeth stuck into. Why not check out the author's website to find out more? 

Welcome and thank you very much, Matt Brown, for taking the time out to answer some festive-style questions for Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. 

What makes The Compton Valance series of books tick?
Whenever I write a Compton Valance book the question I’m essentially trying to make myself laugh as hard as possible.  I figure that if it makes me laugh, it’ll make other people laugh.  I think that is what makes the books tick.

If your next book was illustrated, and you could choose any illustrator, who would it be and why?
My grandad was a brilliant watercolour artist and, while he never did any illustrations, I would have loved to had the chance to work with him.  I think he would have got a huge kick out of the process.

Which book characters/authors would you have at a literary New Year dinner party and why? (N.B. You can travel back in Compton Valance's time machine if you want!)
That’s easy, I would have all the authors that I have had on my Word Monkeys podcast because they’re the authors I love reading.  Character-wise I would have Bernard from Not Now Bernard, Mina Murray from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and Dracula), the Artilleryman from War of the Worlds, Nymphadora Tonks, Mr Wednesday from American Gods, Commander James Bond, Miss Marple, and Dr John Watson.

What book would you recommend to readers to get them into the winter/festive spirit?
The Box of Delights and A Christmas Carol.  We’ve got a version of A Christmas Carol that we read aloud, as a family, on Christmas Eve.

Everyone loves books as gifts which book would you like to receive this Christmas?
I’ve asked for loads but in particular the Chrysalids by John Wyndham and Mysteries of the Quantum Universe by Thibault Damour and Mattieu Burniat

What's the meaning of Christmas for you and your characters?
Being with family and friends and trying to eat my bodyweight in turkey sandwiches (I make very good ones).

What's your favourite Christmas film?
It’s a Wonderful Life and Die Hard 2.

Did you read as a child, if so what captured your reading attention? 
I did read, although I was not a voracious reader (I am now).  I read comics and at various points in my childhood had the Beano, the Dandy, Whizzer and Chips and Roy of the Rovers delivered weekly (not at the same time). But the books I remember me and my friends getting and swapping with each other were called Fighting Fantasy books and I can remember loving the Warlock of Firetop Mountain and the Sword of the Samurai the most.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Andrew Norriss - MIKE - Book Review (David Fickling) Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Floyd is a star of under-18s tennis. Since he was little, all he's ever known is the routine of training, of the matches, of trying to be the best. But something strange is happening. A boy called Mike has started turning up - a boy no one else can see. He keeps appearing whenever Floyd is playing tennis and making him lose his game. 

Floyd needs to discover what Mike wants - and what that will mean for him, and where his life is headed. Floyd is at the start of a journey that will lead him into a headlong collision with his family, girls, friendship, and self-discovery.

This is another book from David Fickling that hits the mark both on and off the tennis court. It is a fantastic story from the award-winning author, Andrew Norriss. Mike will be served to the public on the 4th January 2018 and will be a definite ace. The book cover has been illustrated by David Sheldon. The two key themes (fish and tennis balls) have been integrated to produce a visually stimulating design.  

My expectations of this book were not particularly high. Whilst I liked the idea of tennis and sport as part of the story, the blurb to accompany the proof copy did not really appeal to me. However, the mystery person (known as MIKE) really did capture my interest and was particularly intriguing. No sooner had I started reading, I found that Floyd's narrative was whispering inside my head. I connected with him so quickly that the story flashed by me quicker than a Milos Raonic serve. The inner voice was sealed inside my brain. I haven't read a book so quickly in such a long time. I really wanted to know more. 

This story is absolutely brilliant. It is very different as it takes a unique look at character behaviour and Floyd's state of mind. The plot explores the conscious/unconscious experiences and places them into the story cleverly. It is a psychological path of self-discovery involving Floyd's destiny. 

It's a beautiful, poignant story with very moving consequences. The book slips by in an undercurrent of family, friendship, and a large number of councilling sessions. It is a book that highlights the reality and the big world outside the reader's armchair. It provides an up-lifting feeling to get out there and do something amazing. This book will make you look at yourself on the outside, as well as the inside.

I cannot praise this book enough - it is astonishingly good. I am not usually a lover of reality-themed books. I tend to gravitate towards fantasy books and magical tales. However, this absolutely bowled me over and really developed my understanding of the complex nature of growing up with a talent. Whilst it is important to nurture there is obviously a fine line between developing and forcing. It really is difficult being a parent and getting the balance just right. This is a must read for both children and their parents. I'm looking forward to finding out your thoughts.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Jo Simmons (Author),‎ Nathan Reed (Illustrator) - I Swapped My Brother On The Internet - Book Review

'I can get a new brother? On the internet?' Jonny muttered. 'Oh sweet mangoes of heaven!' 
Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another - but for Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with! What could be better than someone awesome to replace Ted, Jonny's obnoxious older brother. 
But finding the perfect brother isn't easy, as Jonny discovers when Sibling Swap sends him a line of increasingly bizarre replacements: first a merboy, then a brother raised by meerkats, and then the ghost of Henry the Eighth! What's coming next?! Suddenly old Ted isn't looking so bad. But can Jonny ever get him back?

This is another brilliant book published in January 2018 by Bloomsbury Kids. I Swapped My Brother On The Internet by Jo Simmons is just the type of book you need to kick off the New Year. Christmas is over, winter is kicking in and you've gone back to school - do we have to? These are the cries that can be heard. Yes, you do as your parents want some peace and quiet. Therefore, what you need is a cracking good read that will make you laugh your holey, odd socks off regardless of age or sense of humour. This is the book for you (and your holey socks!) Oh, I'm sorry, I hear you got new socks for Christmas, what was I thinking....? 

From the start of the book, you will start to see the input from Nathan Reed the illustrator. The drawings are fun and the typeface changes in places to keep the reader engaged in the story. The book cover is strong, bold, bright and eye-catching. With such a combination it should definitely pull the readers in for a closer look. Do book covers make a difference when choosing a book?

You will be taken on a bizarre journey where everything goes wrong in the most spectacular way. It's a comical story written really well and told through a wild imagination. The plot is brilliant and transports the reader on a carpet of laughter and humour that is both engaging and easy to read.

The book takes a close look at the relationship between brothers and what it's like to have a brother. The concept is a brilliant one which the middle-grade audience will relate to and love. The reality side of the book depicts a typical family and school life background. The subplot heads the reader into the unknown and will keep you guessing until the very end of the book. The characters grow with the story and play a fantastic part. At the end of the book, you may FIND a surprising twist that really makes for a satisfactory conclusion.

This is a brilliantly fun and bizarre read that will wash the New Year blues away with a squeak or two.  Would you dare swap your BROTHER?

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Middle Grade Book Picks (9-12yrs) November 2017 - US Post Two

Sarah Porter - Tentacle and Wing - Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (13 Nov. 2017) - HMH Books for Young Readers (13 Nov. 2017)
Twelve-year-old Ada is a Chimera, born with human and animal DNA thanks to a genetic experiment gone wrong. Because being a “kime” is believed to be contagious, she has kept her condition—complete with infrared vision—hidden. But a surprise test outs her, and Ada is shipped off to a quarantined school for kimes.

There Ada meets kids of many different shapes, stripes, and appendages, such as a girl with dragonfly wings and a seal-boy. As she adjusts to her new life, Ada senses that the facility is keeping a secret that could upend everything the world knows about Chimeras. But will someone put a stop to her efforts to uncover the truth?

Patrick Carman - Mr. Gedrick and Me - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (7 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062421609

New York Times bestselling author Patrick Carman delivers a modern reimagining of the classic Mary Poppins tale in this story about family, grief, and healing--with a dash of magic!
Stanley Darrow isn't sure what to expect when the mysterious Mr. Gedrick appears on his doorstep. He is certain, however, that his family could use Mr. Gedrick's help: Their lives--and their house--have been a mess since Stanley's dad died.
The strange new nanny quickly helps them transform their cluttered home into a sparkling and spotless version of its former self, but it's going to take more than a clean house to help the Darrow family learn to live and love again.
Can Mr. Gedrick help Stanley, his brother, Fergus, his sister, Amelia, and his mom find their way back to each other? And what secrets of his own is Mr. Gedrick hiding behind his crooked grin?

J. W. Ocker - Death and Douglas - Published by Sky Pony Press (16 Nov. 2017) - SBN-13: 978-1510724570

Douglas has grown up around the business of death. Generations of his family have run the Mortimer Family Funeral Home. The mortician and gravediggers are all his buddies. And the display room of caskets is an awesome place for hide and seek. It’s business as usual in Douglas’s small New England town. Until one day an incredibly out of the ordinary murder victim is brought to the funeral home. And more startling: others follow.
On the cusp of Halloween, a serial killer has arrived. And unsatisfied with the small-town investigation, Douglas enlists his friends to help him solve the mystery. With sumptuous descriptions of a bucolic town and it’s quirky people, fascinating yet middle grade–appropriate insider information about the funeral process, and a crackling mystery with a heart-pounding conclusion―Death and Douglas has something for readers young and old.

Matthew Swanson - The Real McCoys  Published by  Imprint (7 Nov. 2017)  

  • ISBN-13: 978-1250098528
Her name's Moxie. Moxie McCoy.
Bold, opinionated, and haplessly self-confident, the world's greatest fourth-grade detective faces her biggest challenge! When someone kidnaps beloved school mascot Eddie the Owl, Moxie is on the case--but she's forced to fly solo now that her best friend (and crime-solving partner) has moved away. 
Moxie must interview her classmates--both as potential new best friends and as possible suspects. She finds clues and points fingers but can't save the owl on her own. Enter Moxie's little brother, Milton. Quiet, cautious, and boring as a butter knife, he's a good listener.

Hannah Moderow - Lily's Mountain - Published by Houghton Mifflin (14 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0544978003

Lily refuses to believe what everyone else accepts to be true: that her father has died while climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Lily has grown up hiking in the Alaskan wilderness with her dad. He's an expert climber. There's no way he would let something like this happen. So instead of grieving, Lily decides to rescue him. Her plan takes her to Denali and on a journey that tests her physically and emotionally.

In this powerful debut, Hannah Moderow has written an authentic Alaskan adventure that crosses terrain both beautiful and haunting--and ultimately shows the bond of family and the wonder of wild. 

“This is a heartwarming novel that is filled with adventure and would be a solid addition to middle grade shelves, especially where survival tales circulate well.”

— School Library Journal

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Abi Elphinstone - Sky Song - Book Review (Simon & Schuster Children's)

In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find. Because Erkenwald is ruled by the cruel Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden; if they are caught in the open they risk capture and imprisonment by the evil sorceress.

Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey to the Never Cliffs and beyond in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .

"Magic winter wonderland full of fantasy treasure"

Here at Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books, we were very excited to see this book arrive for review. We have loved every book that has been written by Abi to date. This fourth book is a brand new story and will hit the bookshops on the 25th January 2018. The book cover, recently revealed on the internet, has been illustrated by Daniela Terrazzini and designed by Jenny Richards. Together, they have created a superb eye-catching design that really replicates the author's intentions as to what lies ahead within this book. 

Our reading moments shape our world - they make a big difference in so many subtle ways. Ripples of emotions and memories can soon turn into seeds and ideas for another book which is exactly how this one was cultivated. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's famous character, The Snow Queen, many similar characteristics are attributed to The Ice Queen within this book.  She leaves you with a terrifying feeling through her displays of wickedness and cruelty. You will definitely love to hate her.  

Abi's passion and real-life experiences unlock the imagination and deliver an epic adventure. This makes the book shines even brighter than the NORTH STAR.  Set on a course for a fantastic winter-wonderland fantasy, filled with non-stop adventure, this story will both thrill and chill the fantasy brain. The armchair explorer will revel in the plot and be instantly transported to the artic kingdom of Erkenwald, a place with long cold winters and darkness thicker than hanging fog. Why not take a visit to the Ice Queen's palace, Winterfang, a fortress made from an iceberg and pure evilness. 

The moral of the story lies heavily in current and topical features within the modern world such as the refugee crisis. The qualities of the characters change from having inward and narrow-minded beliefs to being more open-minded and having a greater understanding. Fortunately, these warm and endearing qualities soon thaw the reader's heart. Even with such serious themes, the author manages to keep the story light and magical and really engaging. 

We were definitely not disappointed by this book. It easily lived up to our expectations and beyond. This is an excellent compelling read which is both captivating, entertaining and will delight all audiences. This book will make you explore the outdoor landscape helping you to see the beautiful and wild side of nature and all it has to offer. Beware of the content as it may chill you to the core and leave you craving more brave antics.

Abi grew up in Scotland where weekends were spent building dens in the woods, jumping into icy rivers, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. School came as a bit of a surprise (lots of ‘being inside’ and ‘listening’) but English lessons were great. I loved stories – reading them, writing them, listening to them – and it was back then that I discovered worlds behind wardrobes, teachers called Trunchbull and shape-shifting daemons...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Most Powerful Quotes From Literature Infographic - 50 Book Quotes

Take a note out of these authors’ books and discover this collection of fifty of the most powerful quotes from literature. This collection of quotes provides a glimpse into some of the most tragic, romantic, heart-wrenching and inspirational stories ever told on paper. These quotes are still being referenced today in film, television and theatre adaptations as well. These famous literary quotes have been placed into a fun and eye-catching infographic. 

Provided and designed by Essay Writing Service UK please check out the website for more details.

Please include attribution to  with this graphic.

50 Powerful Quotes From Literature

Friday, 17 November 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Middle Grade Book Picks (9-12yrs) November 2017 - US Post

Linda Fairstein - Digging For Trouble (The Devlin Quick Mysteries) - Published by Dial Books (November 7, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0399186462

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead, she uncovers a mystery in this second book in the thrilling series from New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein.
After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie's found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn’t the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers. 

And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan—to the Museum of Natural History—the case gets even more complicated, even with Dev’s friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her police commissioner mother if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all. This is the perfect read for fans of Nancy Drew and Theodore Boone.

Jonathan W. Stokes - Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan - Published by Philomel Books (November 14, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0399173783


Indiana Jones and James Bond rolled into one, for the middle-grade readers. Addison Cooke's second laugh-out-loud adventure a journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan!

Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.

Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.

Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson’s Treasure Hunters series.

About the Author
Jonathan Stokes has written screenplays on assignment for Fox, Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, New Line, Sony, and Indian Paintbrush, and for actors such as Will Smith, Jeremy Renner, and Hugh Jackman.  Jonathan’s last four spec screenplays were all recognized on The Black List, an annual survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite screenplays. He is also an author with a three-book deal at Philomel Books and a four-book deal at Viking Press, both published by Penguin Random House.
Jonathan has washboard abs, incredible taste in dishware, and 96% accuracy with high-fives. For updates on his current projects, visit the press page.

Amy Wilson - The Lost Frost Girl - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (November 7, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062671486

 A modern-day fairy tale full of frosty magic, Amy Wilson’s stunning debut about a girl who discovers that she is Jack Frost’s daughter will enchant fans of the Emily Windsnap series and Frozen.

“As magical as frost itself, The Lost Frost Girl is a truly special tale, told with gorgeous prose and filled with compelling characters. I absolutely loved it!”  —Sarah Beth Durst, author of Journey Across the Hidden Islands
With a name like hers, Owl never expected her life to be normal, at home or at school. But when Owl finds out that she is Jack Frost’s daughter, her world shifts beyond what she could ever imagine.
Determined to meet him, Owl delves into Jack’s wonderful world of winter and magic—the kind of place she thought only existed in fairy tales. And as she notices frost patterns appearing on her skin and her tears turning to ice, Owl starts to wonder if being Jack Frost’s daughter means that she has powers of her very own.
At once breathtaking and brimming with heart, The Lost Frost Girl is a story of family, friendship, and the magic of embracing who you are meant to be.

Stel Pavlou - Daniel Coldstar #1: The Relic War - Published by HarperCollins (November 7, 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0062126054

An epic and funny outer space adventure from acclaimed science fiction author and screenwriter Stel Pavlou!

Bestselling author of Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer says of Daniel Coldstar: The Relic War: "Sci-fi has never been so much fun. I loved it!"
Below the surface on a forgotten planet, Daniel Coldstar searches for relics from a lost civilization. Daniel has no memory of his past. All he knows is to do his job and fear the masters of the mines.
Until he unearths a relic more powerful than anything he has ever seen. A relic that might help him escape…
What follows is an epic outer space adventure filled with Truth Seekers, atoms, Leechers, and the evil Sinja who seek to control the universe.
All that stands in their way is a boy named Daniel Coldstar, whose journey will change the galaxy forever.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A.F. Harrold (Author) Levi Pinfold (Illustrator) - The Song from Somewhere Else - Book Review

Frank doesn't know how to feel when Nick Underbridge rescues her from bullies one afternoon. No one likes Nick. He's big, he's weird and he smells - or so everyone in Frank's class thinks.
And yet, there's something nice about Nick's house. There's strange music playing there, and it feels light and good and makes Frank feel happy for the first time in forever.
But there's more to Nick, and to his house, than meets the eye, and soon Frank realises she isn't the only one keeping secrets. Or the only one who needs help. 

One of the good things social media does is highlight important issues. This week it's  where we're celebrating what makes us All Different All Equal. The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold is the exact book that covers this topic in a clever and unique style. The book was published on the 2nd November 2017 by Bloomsbury.

When you turn the book cover, you will be greeted with Levi Pinfold's amazing illustrations. He has done a sublime job of interpreting the story and creating the mood that the plot encapsulates. Levi delivers a FANTASTIC balance of brooding charm that manifests through the illustrations; a CREEPING darkness with a blend of solitude in a black and white world. This is a clever feature that makes the book stand out from the crowd. It is a book that should be bought and read.  

When the first page is turned, you are already on the backfoot as the narrative draws to the loss of the main character's pet cat, Quintilius Minimus. This leads the reader down a wildly imaginative plot that is equally heartbreaking and uplifting. The story engages the reader with the theme of bullying - it is the driving force of the narrative.

The developing friendship between Frank and Nick is deeply moving. Their worlds crash together in an atmospheric tale of difference and isolation. The book explores deep inside the workings of a child covering loss, friendship, betrayal and family life. This is intertwined with another plot that is so far removed from reality. It is a fantastic blend of fantasy involving a Troll and shadow type stick men.

I loved Frank, the main character, she had an internal dialogue with her stomach depicting her feelings and emotions. I found this refreshing as it delivered a naivety and really highlighted the character's perspective and thinking. This is a brilliant read that covers a really serious issue that many kids will be facing today. The story gives readers hope. In the face of adversity, courage and brave actions that lie within the story, give us inspiration and make the book a very special and poignant read. This is a brilliant book that will make you think on your magical fantasy feet - so flex those toes and give it a read. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Kids/Children's Middle-Grade Book Picks - November 2017 - UK Post Two

Connie Glynn - Undercover Princess (The Rosewood Chronicles) - Published by Penguin (2 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0141379852

Lottie Pumpkin is an ordinary girl who longs to be a princess, attending Rosewood Hall on a scholarship.
Ellie Wolf is a princess who longs to be ordinary, attending Rosewood Hall to avoid her royal duties in the kingdom of Maradova.
When fate puts the two fourteen-year-olds in the same dorm, it seems like a natural solution to swap identities: after all, everyone mistakenly believes Lottie to be the princess anyway.
But someone's on to their secret, and at Rosewood nothing is ever as it seems...

Nicholas Bowling - Witchborn - Published by Chicken House (2 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1911077251

It's 1577. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots, and Alyce's mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London - but the chase isn't over yet. As she discovers her own dark magic, powerful political forces are on her trail. She can't help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders ...

Ross Montgomery - Christmas Dinner of Souls - Published by Faber & Faber (2 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-0571317974

It's a dark and lonely Christmas Eve in the dining room of ancient Soul's College. The kitchen boy, 11-year-old Lewis, has helped prepare a highly unusual meal, made with unrecognisable ingredients, cooked by a mysterious chef. And then the guests arrive ... and carnage ensues. They are ex-students of Soul's College, and they are all completely demented. They demand bottle after bottle of wine, flinging their cutlery and howling like banshees until ... silence. The Dean of Soul's College has arrived, and the evening's ceremonies must begin.
For this is the annual meeting of a secret club for those who despise children, warmth, happiness, and above all Christmas. Each member must try to outdo the others by telling the most terrible, disgusting story they know.
A spooky, shocking, bloodthirsty alternative to festive cheer that will appeal to, fascinate and delight young readers.

Joe Pasquale - Deadknobs and Doomsticks - Published by Caffeine Nights Publishing (30 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1910720912

Deadknobs And Doomsticks is a collection of twelve illustrated short horror stories. Ranging from the darkly bizarre to the horrifically surreal, many of the stories are laced with a theme of bullying and bullies.  Dark undertones and malevolent overtones interweave with characters and situations that pull the reader to the edge of their seat. Wit and black humour is prevalent through the stories, each with a delicious payoff for the reader.  Joe Pasquale shows that where there is laughter there is also a dark and disturbing voice that is drawn to the horror genre to find its release.  With illustrations by the author, this collection shows a rich depth of talent as an artist and author. Joe shows he has as unique a voice in the world of horror writing, as it is in comedy.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Philip Caveney & Danny Weston - Exclusive Interview (Down a Dark Alleyway in Edinburgh)

I have been summoned to do an exclusive interview with Philip Caveney and Danny Weston. Wandering down the back streets and alleyways of Edinburgh in search of the elusive duo, a whispering sound of bagpipes mixed with fireworks can be heard overhead. It's a dark and cloudy night in early November and I'm following a slithering shadow of a Scarecrow in search of our rendezvous. We arrive at a large empty house on a deserted street. I knock and enter through the huge creaking door. 

There is one empty large room with ghostly cobweb tendrils sweeping the room. A large table, with three chairs, seat two unsavoury characters glaring at each other. I sit down on the third chair and enter into the following conversation.

Perhaps you’d like to start by telling us a little bit about your new books? 

Danny: Well, Scarecrow is about a teenage boy whose father is a whistle-blower. He’s revealed some information about dodgy dealings in the bank where he works and realises he may have gone too far – he’s named some very powerful people. So he takes his son out of school and the two of them run off to a remote part of Scotland, to lie low. But then, the boy becomes involved with a very angry scarecrow… 

I hear you also have a new book out as well, Philip? 

The Slithers is about a teenage boy living with his father in a remote part of Scotland who finds something amazing beneath the ground – an ancient stone that grants him incredible good luck. But the stone belongs to the terrifying subterranean creatures of the title and of course they want their stone back… so they come looking for it. 

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that both of you have written supernatural books based in Scotland?

Philip: Yes, well that’s because I moved to Edinburgh about a year ago and started finding inspiration there – and, of course, Danny decided to follow me… 

Danny: No I didn’t! I’d always planned to move to Edinburgh! In fact, I think I thought of it first. 

Umm… yes, well… does it ever annoy you that people tend to mix the two of you up? 

Danny: Well, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… 

Philip: What’s that supposed to mean? 

Danny: I’m just saying… The Slithers. That’s exactly the kind of book that I’d have written. 

Philip: Are you suggesting that I’ve copied you? 

Gentlemen, let’s keep this civil, shall we? Danny, you must be very pleased with your recent successes: Your first book, The Piper, won the Scottish Children’s Book Award in 2016, and your recent novel, The Haunting of Jessop Rise has been shortlisted for several prizes. I believe you’ve just been nominated for a Carnegie Medal?

Philip: Can I just say, that prizes really don’t matter that much? It’s the satisfaction of knowing that you've written the best book you can that makes it all worthwhile. 

Danny: Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you? 

Philip: What’s that supposed to mean? I’ve won prizes! 

Danny: Hmm. Not for a while, though… I seem to remember something back in 2012… a school’s prize of some kind?

Philip: Look, you need to get things in perspective! Don’t forget I’m currently celebrating my fortieth year of publication! You’ve only released four books in total. I’ve published nearly fifty!

Danny: Yes, but you know what they say. It’s quality not quantity. 

Look, guys, we really don’t need an argument here. Can we just try to…? 

Danny: I think it’s pretty clear who’s doing the best out of the two of us. Vincent, which of the two books do you like best?

Oh… er… umm (sounds of me choking on a cobweb....)

Philip: Come on, tell the truth! Which one? 

Vincent: Looks underneath the table ...

Well, I think… we need to leave it there. Thanks to both of you for summoning me to this strange place. You can read my reviews of the books on the website. Why don't "you" (the readers of Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books) settle this debate. Grab both of the books above, read them and then leave your comments on this post. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Plan Your Own Arthur Ransome Swallows & Amazons Litreature Adventure in the Lake District Cumbria

Both children and adults alike have been enraptured with Arthur Ransome’s classic tale of adventure and friendship, Swallows & Amazons, since its release all the way back in 1930.

With a thrilling narrative that combines treasure hunting, swashbuckling and the carefree exploits of childhood – the story has undoubtedly stood the test of time, even receiving a film adaptation as recently as 2016.

One of the main draws of his writing are the vividly beautiful environments he describes. The best part about this? You can visit them!

Check out our infographic to find out how you can cast off into your very own Swallows & Amazons adventure.

Thank you, Francesca and Craig Manor Hotel for this Infographic.  
Check out the website:


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Anna Day - THE FANDOM - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books) - Chicken House 2018

What if you could be Katniss - for real. Sounds cool, right? But then you remember, you can't fire a bow and arrow, or climb trees, and you have zero survival skills.

Or what if you could be Tris? You'd get to kiss Four, what could be bad about that? But turns out he's a bit of a wimp. Oh, and your gorgeous best mate is making a play for him too.

Don't panic, you can always go home, back to the safety of your normal, fangirl life. But what if you couldn't...

This is what happens to Violet when she enters her favourite, dystopian world. She replaces her heroine, with all the associated perks -- adventure, love, drama. But turns out, Violet likes predictability and being alive more than she realized!

The Fandom by Anna Day is set to be published by Chicken House on the 4th January 2018. This is a highly anticipated debut book by the clinical psychologist as an earlier concept of the book (The Gallows Dance) was recently shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition. The inspiration for the new book has been based on this as well as combining the winning story from Angela McCann from The Big Idea competition. This is a fantastic and unique collaboration that makes this a very special book. 

The concept behind this story is a very smart and trendy one. It will resonate very easily with teenagers who love books/comics and meeting up at social events. This is a book that they will surely gravitate towards on publication day. 

What's your favourite book? Have you read it so much that you know all the words? Do you know the characters inside and out? Are the setting and the key storyline known in detail? How about a crush on the main character?
Is this sounding familiar? If so, then this will be the book for you.  

Just imagine what would happen if you were going about your normal teenage life and then, you were suddenly catapulted into your favourite book with two of your best friends and a brother. Everything suddenly appears so familiar; the setting, the characters, it is just how you imagined it in minute detail. You are now part of the story for real, but your appearance makes the story go slightly off-kilter as you've just killed off the hero. The one thing that you have to do now is to put the plot back on track or face deadly consequences - like hanging from the gallows. 

This is an amazing and compelling read. It's a fantastic story - a free-flowing adventure set in post-apocalyptic London. It takes a familiar and well-worked genre but flips it on its literary bottom. The plot is expertly written and is full of amazing detail that makes reality and fiction explode in a big way. The characters are definitely relatable as we are exposed to their interesting personalities through their flaws and strengths.  

The author has produced a fantastic book full of classic dystopian tropes and fandom culture. It is bursting with action twists and turns in a non-stop racy fantasy adventure. I really enjoyed reading this book. In fact much more than I expected for a  fashionable YA read. It is definitely one of the best reads in this genre and makes a great start to 2018. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Middle-Grade Book Picks (9-12yrs) November 2017 - UK Post

Neil Patrick Harris - The Magic Misfits - Published by Egmont (30 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1405290333

The first in a funny and magical new children's books series from Emmy award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris. 
Perfect for children aged 8 to 12 years old and fans of Lemony Snicket, David Walliams, David Baddiel, My Brother is a Superhero . . . and magic!
Cover illustration by David Litchfield, winner of the Waterstones Children's Books Prize 2016 for The Bear and the Piano. 
This book contains a BIG SECRET. Read on if you dare . . .
Do you believe in magic?
Carter doesn’t. He knows magic tricks are just that – tricks. And as a street magician he’s also pretty good at them. But then Carter runs away from his conman uncle and he finds himself alone and in danger from dastardly carnival ringleader, B.B. Bosso. He could really use some magic now . . .
A chance encounter with the mysterious Mr Dante Vernon leads Carter to a magic shop, where he teams up with five other like-minded kids and the MAGIC MISFITS are born! Can the gang use their magical talents to save the day and stop B.B. stealing a priceless diamond?
And now for the BIG SECRET . . .
Inside this book you will find a treasure trove of tips, codes and stage tricks that will help YOU join the Magic Misfits and make some magic of your own. (BUT DON'T TELL ANYONE.)

Hilton Pashley Michael'S Spear - Published by Dome Press (16 Nov. 2017) -ISBN-13: 978-0995672352
The Universe is coming apart at the seams. As Jonathan and his friends fight to save it, their every move is being watched from the shadows. Lilith, the last Archdemon has plans of her own, and with the legendary Michael's Spear under her control.  Jonathan has never faced a more lethal foe. With the odds stacked against him, Jonathan will need all the help he can get if he is to fulfill his destiny. It's time for Gabriel's grandson finally to spread his wings...

Kerr Thomson - The Rise of Wolves - Published by Chicken House (2 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1911077695

Innis Munro is walking home across the bleak wilderness of Nin Island when he hears the chilling howl of a wolf. But there are no wolves on the island - not since they were hunted to extinction, centuries ago. He decides to investigate his island home and accepts an ancient challenge: he who jumps the Bonnie Laddie's Leap wins a fortune. As the wolves rise from the darkness of history, and long-buried secrets resurface, Innis's adventure truly begins ...

Helen Cooper - The Hippo at the End of the Hall - Published by David Fickling Books (2 Nov. 2017) - ISBN-13: 978-1910989753 

Helen Cooper is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator whose picture books include Pumpkin Soup, The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed. Both of which won the CILIP Kate Greenaway award. Her debut novel, The Hippo at the End of the Hall, will be published by David Fickling Books on the 2nd November 2017 which is a fantastic accomplished debut and an absolute joy to read. It is a visual story that will you not forget. Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - BOOK REVIEW HERE