Thursday, 23 May 2019

Christopher Edge - The Longest Night of Charlie Noon - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

"If you go into the woods, Old Crony will get you."
Secrets, spies or maybe even a monster... What lies in the heart of the wood? Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are determined to discover the truth, but when night falls without warning they find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Lost in the woods, strange dangers and impossible puzzles lurk in the shadows. As time plays tricks, can Charlie solve this mystery and find a way out of the woods? But what if this night never ends...?

We are just about to skip, hop and jump into summer, so why not review the latest book by Christopher Edge at this time. The Longest Night of Charlie Noon will be published in paperback by Nosy Crow books on the 6th June 2019. The brilliant book cover artwork has been produced by Matt Saunders and comes with shimmering lettering that will sparkle both on and off the bookshelves. The illustrated cover inspires the characteristics of the story inside and leaves you asking many questions about the story. It certainly piqued my interest and  encouraged me to explore the story inside. In my opinion, this is an illustration job that has been done very well.

This is another fantastic plot that blends a deep sense of darkness with a science-fiction grounding. The story is told with a real sense of emotion and passion which drives this story into the woods and beyond. The book is inspired by a classic childhood read by Denys Watkins-Pitchford - a book called Brendon Chase. This planted a small acorn of an idea that the author explores and runs with before it explodes into a large Oak tree dangling with fantasy entrails. 

Whilst doing some research for the book, Christoper spent a very scary night in lower woods. This visit for me has has helped him capture the spirit, darkness and the magic beauty of nature and the great outdoors.

The three characters try and find a way out of the forest (an ancient woodland on the border of Gloucester and Wiltshire). However, they soon become incredibly lost and surrounded by ghostly shapes and strange noises. The deeper into the woods they go, the more ethereal the journey becomes. Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are led on a puzzling nightmarish adventure that will have you engrossed in this ghost story/time-travel mystery. As time stops and the heart beat races, what will happen next?

This is a compact story full of wild imagination. The author has an expert eye for pulling on the emotional heartstrings of the characters and the readers. A giggle here, a sob there and a howl from the wind which will rattle the bushes and make you run for cover as the eeriness creeps in and plays with your mind. As with all stories by Christopher, you never just know what is going to happen next. His quirkiness for story telling and the exquisite blending of character dialogues makes his books standout; this book is no exception. 

This is another middle-grade blossom that will bloom to grasp a bigger audience. It's an interesting and great concept for a story. Intelligent, with a clear moral underlining and instilling the author's passion for teaching, science and nature. This book reflects on the world helping other people in finding comfort during the hardest and bleakest of times. It's another great story which captures the beating heart, so pick up a copy and read it sooner rather than later! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: US Kids/Young Adult Book Picks - May 2019 Post One

Laura Ruby - York: The Clockwork Ghost - Published by Walden Pond Press (May 14, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0062306968 - Hardback - Age: 9+

National Book Award finalist Laura Ruby returns with the middle chapter in her epic alternate-history adventure—a journey that will test Tess, Theo, and Jaime and change their lives forever. 
It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further than anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process.
But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on.
But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it.
It's also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.

Sarah Beth Durst - Spark - Published by Clarion Books (May 14, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1328973429 - Hardback - Age: 9+

When a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.

Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country's weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.

Sarah Graley - Glitch - Published by Graphix (May 14, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1338174519 - Paperback - Age: 7+

From comics rising star Sarah Graley, a fresh and funny middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl who must save a virtual world... and her own!
Izzy has an incredible secret -- she can enter the world of her new video game! She meets Rae, a robot who says Izzy is destined to save Dungeon City from the Big Boss. How is this possible?! And how can she fight for this virtual world when she's got a whole reallife to keep up with: her family (though she could do without her mom's annoying cat), and her best friend, Eric. Things get even weirder when Izzy loses a life while inside the game, and she starts to worry about what might happen if she gets a Game Over for good. Meanwhile, Eric has been super upset with Izzy since she's been keeping secrets and bailing on their plans. Can Izzy survive Dungeon City and save their friendship?

Kurt Kirchmeier - The Absence of Sparrows - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0316450928 - Hardback - Age: 8+

Stranger Things meets Alfred Hitchcock in this haunting coming-of-age novel about a plague that brings the world to a halt, and one boy's belief that his town's missing sparrows can save his family.

In the small town of Griever's Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in.

Old Man Crandall is the first to change--human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it's happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky and, at random, people are turned into frozen versions of themselves. There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it.

With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town's missing sparrows will return with everyone's souls before the glass plague takes them away forever.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks May 2019 - Post Two

This May 2019 we have seen so many fantastic books being published. This is the second post of our top book picks. Many of which we have already reviewed so check them out on the site - we are truly spoilt at the moment for choice. 

We certainly need to marvel at the strength and depth of the book covers supporting these wondrous books. With so many books being amazingly illustrated, to accompany such great stories highlights just what a great time for children's books it is. I hope you enjoy the picks of what to read over the next few months. All the best, Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books. (Post One HERE)

Judith Eagle - The Secret Starling - Published by Faber & Faber (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0571346301 - Paperback 

Clara has lived a life of solitude, homeschooled under her mean uncle's strict regime . . . until now! 
The day that Uncle abandons Clara, leaving her with nothing but a wedge of 'guilt money' and a half empty, crumbling manor house, she is determined to do things her way for a change. And when streetwise Peter turns up, with his rescue cat and a surprising array of knowledge, she is sure that between them they have everything they need to survive.
But the house is to be sold . . . and Uncle has lied to Clara . . . and nothing, NOTHING is as it seems.

Anna Fargher (Author), Sam Usher (Illustrator) - The Umbrella Mouse - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1529003970

A timeless tale of courage, resistance, and friendship, The Umbrella Mouse is a heart-stopping adventure drawing on the true stories of animals caught in the conflict of WWII. 
1944, and London is under attack. Young mouse Pip Hanway's safe and quiet world is turned upside down when her home, umbrella shop James Smith & Sons, is destroyed by a bomb. Orphaned and alone, she must begin a perilous quest to find a new home. 
But the only way to get there is by joining Noah’s Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting the resistance in France, operating beneath the feet of the human soldiers. Danger is everywhere and as the enemy closes in, Pip must risk everything to save her new friends.
Beautifully illustrated by Sam Usher, Anna Fargher's debut novel takes you on an incredible journey through a war that reaches even the smallest of creatures.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Author), Steven Lenton (Illustrator) - Runaway Robot - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1509851775

Runaway Robot is a funny and heartwarming adventure about two best friends helping put themselves back together, from the award-winning Frank Cottrell-Boyce, illustrated by Steven Lenton.
When Alfie goes to Airport Lost Property, he finds more than he bargained for. A lot more. Because there's a giant robot called Eric hidden away on the shelves. Eric has lost one leg and half his memory. He's super strong, but super clumsy. He's convinced that he's the latest technology, when he's actually nearly one hundred year's old and ready for the scrap heap. 
Can Alfie find a way to save Eric from destruction - before Eric destroys everything around him?

Lorraine Gregory - The Maker of Monsters - Published by OUP Oxford (2 May 2019) -  ISBN-13: 978-0192768834 

Brat has always lived in the isolated castle on the island, taking care of the vicious creatures that his master creates, waiting in terror for the moment when they are ready to be put to use. But then the unthinkable happens. The monsters get out. Now Brat must overcome his fears, and venture into the world he has hidden from his whole life. For the fate of everyone rests on his shoulders alone. . . 
A thrilling new standalone adventure from Lorraine Gregory.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

William Sutcliffe - The Gifted, the Talented and Me - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

The Gifted, the Talented and Me is the latest YA book by William Sutcliffe to find its way onto the bookshelves this May. Published by Bloomsbury, this will be William's third YA novel and it is very different from his previous books. When I received this book for review, I scanned the synopsis and thought this is not my cup of tea. One of the lines on the press release was "you think Adrian Mole had problems?" I knew at this point that I'd got problems as this was not a book I thought I was going to remotely enjoy. So, you can see that my expectations were set really quite low.

I started to read this book but then, to be honest, the preface left me slightly intrigued. Dad got rich and his mum moved the family to London. Sam, the main character, then takes us on a teenage journey of mixed emotions that actually feel like you are reading an actual account from a real person. The author has really skillfully achieved this in his writing.

Sam and his brothers find themselves moving to a new school, but not any ordinary school. It's the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented. At this point, the idea slowly reeled me in like a little worm looking for some fantasy gold. I actually started to find the story interesting and before I knew it, with a grumpy teenage strop here and an Instagram update there, I found this book to be really brilliant.

I felt like I was sitting on a fantasy fence watching how some families when elevated with wealth, change their lives and their outlook on the world. The Mum in the family suddenly embraces the arts and is laughed at. I also like the blogger side of Mum in the plot - a very neat touch and, for me, particularly relatable to.  Dad is aloof but brings a sense of realism to some of the situations, alongside his many rounds of golf. This book really explores the lives of the three siblings adapting to their new school life. It's brilliantly warm and very comical. It will make you laugh and possibly choke on your tears at the same time.

The story is essentially about adapting and finding your own place; playing the LIFE game and dealing with emotions. It has a great message for the reader about staying true to yourself. This, for me, was five-star entertainment from a book that I thought I was going to struggle with. HOW wrong was I? I loved it. A delight and an absolute joy to read from the very first page. It will keep you on your toes with crazy capers until the very last page has been turned and only then will you be able to breathe easily again!

Synopsis: Laugh-out-loud funny and instantly recognisable - not since The Inbetweeners has a coming of age story been so irreverent and relatable. 
Fifteen-year-old Sam is not a famous vlogger, he's never gone viral, and he doesn't want to be the Next Big Thing. In fact, he's ordinary and proud of it.
None of which was a problem until Dad got rich and Mum made the whole family move to London. Now Sam's off to the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented, where everyone's busy planning Hollywood domination or starting alt-metal psychedelica crossover bands. Sam knows he'll never belong, even if he wanted to. And that's before he ends up on stage wearing nothing but a fur onesie ...
A brilliantly funny look at fitting in, falling out and staying true to your own averageness.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Bonnie Bridgman - Guest Post (The Road to Getting Published and Lots of Shrieking)

Today on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books, we have a fantastic guest post by Bonnie Bridgman. The road to publishing can be a time of mixed emotions. This is a post of loud shrieking, dancing and super excitement about the prospect of being a published author. Mr. Ripley would like to congratulate Bonnie Bridgman and welcome her to the best place on the planet, The WORLD OF CHILDREN'S Books. Happy reading everybody.

My debut comes out this year. I can’t even believe the words as I type them. I have a book coming out. This year!

I’m going to write about what happens after the yes email from a publisher. The one that you constantly check your inbox for. Well, lots of things actually.

The first thing to do is shriek. Around the house. Jump. Around the house. And dance. Around the house. It’s at this point you may need to warn your neighbours that you are going to be a published author and that they should expect a lot of shrieking, jumping and dancing around the house.

After jumping around the house. You cannot tell anyone until the publisher says it’s okay to tell people. Imagine that. The best secret ever and the hardest to keep. But you do. Obviously, you tell your husband. And your daughter. Your Mum. Best friend. Stranger in the street. And neighbour due to house shrieking but other than that, not a single soul.

Before you know it, the news is out. It becomes official and everyone wants to know when the book will be published. 

“2019.” I say.
“That’s two years away.” They say. 
“That’s how long it takes,” I shrug.

I get to help find an illustrator. My book is being published by Tiny Tree books and as they are an independent publisher, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the process of finding an illustrator. Let me tell you, the talent out there is incredible and just because you find an illustrator whose work you think would marry well with your text, does not mean they will want to work with you. I was lucky however that our first choice said yes. Louise Forshaw, illustrator extraordinaire was going to illustrate my text.

The first time Louise sent me a sneak peak of an illustration, I did the shrieking, jumping and dancing around the house thing again. I should point out that my neighbours have now moved and I’m hoping it wasn’t because of my very vocal elation. Anyway, you get the roughs (black and white version of the illustrations) and then the colours and then you sit and think. Oh. My. Goodness. I have a book coming out this year!

It’s overwhelming. Nerve-wracking. Anxiety-inducing. Thrilling. Exciting and totally unbelievable. I am soon going to be able to pick up my book, with my name on it and everything, and read my words to children. I know they will love it, Louise’s illustrations have ensured that, I just hope that they love it enough to want to read it again and again. I hope everyone loves it. And that everyone buys it. 

The wait is both quick and endless. So I write as I wait. I write more stories. Picture Book texts, Junior Fiction, middle grade. I write and I write and I write and hope that I will get another ‘yes’. I’m greedy you see. I’m chasing another dream; more published books. I can’t help myself. The constant rollercoaster is addictive.

Catch that Cough will be out in September and I would appreciate all the support You can give.  

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks May 2019 - Post One

Thomas Taylor - Malamander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea) - Published by Walker Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1406386288 - Book Review Here

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…
Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...

Vashti Hardy - Wildspark: A Ghost Machine Adventure - Published by Scholastic (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1407191553

A year after the death of her older brother, Prue Haywood's family is still shattered by grief. But everything changes when a stranger arrives at the farm. 
New, incredible technology has been discovered in the city of Medlock, where a secretive guild of inventors has developed a way to capture spirits of the dead in animal-like machines, bringing them back to life. 
Prue knows that the "Ghost Guild" might hold the key to bringing her brother back, so she seizes the stranger's offer to join as an apprentice. But to find her brother, she needs to find a way to get the ghost machines to remember the people they used to be. 
Yet if Prue succeeds, all of society could come apart...

Katherine Woodfine - Spies in St. Petersburg (Taylor and Rose Secret Agents) - Published by Egmont (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1405287050

With Sophie still missing in action after their explosive mission in Paris, Lil decides to take matters into her own hands. On a new mission for the Secret Service Bureau, can Lil find Sophie in misty, mysterious St Petersburg?
Can they uncover the identity of their true enemy and can they trust anyone – even the Bureau? 
It's time for Sophie and Lil to put their spy skills to the test. 
Read the first book in the TAYLOR AND ROSE SECRET AGENTS series: 
Don't miss The SINCLAIR'S MYSTERIES series:

Elly Griffiths - A Girl Called Justice - Published by Quercus Children's Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1786540591

Missing maids, suspicious teachers, and a snowstorm to die for... For a fearless girl called Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, it's just the start of a spine-tingling first term at Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.
When Justice's mother dies, her father packs her off to Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. He's a barrister - specialising in murder trials - and he's just too busy to look after her alone. 
Having previously been home-schooled, the transition is a shock. Can it really be the case that blondes rule the corridors? Are all uniforms such a charming shade of brown? And do schools normally hide dangerous secrets about the murder of a chambermaid? 
Justice takes it upon herself to uncover the truth. (Mainly about the murder, but perhaps she can figure out her new nemesis - the angelic Rose - at the same time.) But when a storm cuts the school off from the real world, the body count starts to rise and Justice realises she'll need help from her new friends if she's going to find the killer before it's too late ...

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Sharon Gosling - The Golden Butterfly - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

The Golden Butterfly danced in the air, beautiful and impossible, yet there before their eyes. Then the Magnificent Marko flicked his wand again. There was a shower of sparks, a bang and ... the Golden Butterfly vanished. 

Let the show begin with the latest book by Sharon Gosling. The Golden Butterfly will be published this May 2019 by Stripes Publishing. The fantastic golden book cover has been produced by the talented Pip Johnson and will certainly sparkle on the bookshelves. The story is set around 1897 and is particularly rich in detail at a time that magic was a spectacular event. It's a fully engrossing period read that makes the reader think back to the golden age of performance. However, it's also a time when women were never permitted to do magic and strict rules were adhered to by the Grand Society of Magicians.

It's 1897 and since the Magnificent Marko dramatically departed the stage, no magician has come close to performing a trick as spectacular as the Golden Butterfly. With her grandfather gone, Luciana feels that the world has lost its wonder. Then the imposing leader of the Grand Society of Magicians appears, searching for something belonging to Marko, and Luciana is drawn into a world of danger and deception. As she battles to protect her grandfather's greatest legacy, can she distinguish reality from illusion?

This book has a theatrical delight that will entertain readers. However, the tiny lights glint on the soft white snow and sadness comes sweeping in as life sadly slips away for Luciana's grandfather - The Greatest Magician - MAGNIFICENT MARKO. Then when a strange man comes looking for a mystery object, the plot once again grazes the reader's fantasy taste buds with a sense of sadness. However, Luciana and her best friend, Charley, are soon hurtled into a headlong adventure full of puzzles to solve. Whilst also hoping to uncover the hidden secrets to one of the best magical illusions ever seen, THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY.  

This fast-paced narrative ticks all of the boxes when it comes to an entertaining read. I was hooked and mesmerised by a story full of colour and a set of strong characters that felt both real and believable; they certainly make you want the best for them. The book shows intelligence and tackles social issues that I felt were well researched and poignantly used in the plot. The story is a fantastic fluttering performance full of suspense, drama, family secrets, and dazzling bravery that will shine and hit you in the heart.

The plot is brimming full of friendship, loyalty and lots of deceitful deeds which makes this journey all the worth following. As the plot unfurls, the sense of mystery will engulf the reader and as the curtain falls, the fantasy soon roars into a middle-grade read that will certainly appeal to everybody. I loved the ending of this book; it wraps the story into a cinematic vision that will leave you breathless and wanting more. You will be desperate for an encore as the joy spills out leaving you enchanted, uplifted and longing for another book. This is a fantastic read from start to finish; an unexpected MARVEL that is very much recommended by Mr. Ripley.