Monday, 30 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks - April 2020 - Post One

This is my first post for some of the best new children's books being published this April 2020. Through these extraordinary times, we are encouraging you to support small independent book shops up and down the country. The sad thing is that, if we don't, we might lose some at a time like this. Therefore, if you fancy reading any of the below books and are thinking of buying a book or two then why not support them - buy directly and let us do our part to support them in these difficult times. They need our love. Check out Twitter for an idea as to which bookshops are posting out @IndieBookshopUK or visit the website which has a handy map for you to look at Thanks for reading and stay safe. 

Anthony Horowitz - Nightshade (Alex Rider) - Published by Walker Books (2 April 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1406389296 - Hardback - Age: 9+
Get ready for action, adrenaline, and adventure in this explosive, brand new Alex Rider mission by bestselling author, Anthony Horowitz.
In this adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the number one bestselling series, Alex Rider is sent by MI6 Special Operations to infiltrate a new and sinister organization known only as Nightshade. Alex is on his own, with the fate of thousands of people resting in his hands.

C. J. Haslam - Orla and the Serpent's Curse - Published by Walker Books (2 April 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1406388480 - Paperback - Age:10+

A spooky and darkly comic adventure set in Cornwall - Famous Five with a twist.
Orla thought she was in for a relaxing family holiday, but when she finds a mysterious glowing necklace in the woods, it turns out there is a slight possibility she may have uncovered an ancient curse. After meeting a coven of old ladies, it becomes clear that Orla's arrival in Poldevel is no longer a coincidence. She's the only one who can solve this mystery, and she'll need help from the only other member of the family with good instincts - Dave the dog.

Alex Milway - Hotel Flamingo: Fabulous Feast - Published by Piccadilly Press (30 April 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1848128392 - Paperback - Age: 4+

On Animal Boulevard the snow is finally melting after a long, quiet winter and Hotel Flamingo is ready to embrace the new season and new guests. Anna knows she needs to come up with a plan to get the hotel buzzing again! And what does Hotel Flamingo have that no one else has? One of the best chefs in town - Madame Le Pig! In a stroke of inspiration, Anna decides that the hotel will put on a Battle of the Chefs. Madame Le Pig will go head to head with prestigious Animal Boulevard chefs Peston Crumbletart and Laurence Toot-Toot in a thrilling live cooking show - and there will be an accompanying feast for all who attend. 

But as ever Anna has a lot to contend with - not just grumpy, demanding chefs but a host of new guests with ever-changing needs, from Simon Suckerlot the flamboyant octopus to Alfonso Fastbeak the stunt pigeon. And when taking centre stage proves harder than expected for Madame Le Pig, the whole team must pull together to buoy her up and pull off the most Fabulous Feast that Hotel Flamingo has ever seen.

Dominique Valente (Author), Sarah Warburton (Illustrator) - Starfell 2: Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale Published by HarperCollins Children's Books (2 April 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0008308438 - Hardback - Age: 8+

The anticipated second book in 2019’s breakout magical fantasy series, Starfell, starring misfit witch Willow Moss. Perfect for readers of 8+ and beautifully illustrated throughout by Sarah Warburton.
Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, recently saved the world. The problem is, nobody can remember it – and, to make matters worse, her magical ability seems broken. Instead of finding lost things, objects keep disappearing against her will … which is especially troubling now that her friend Sometimes needs her help!
Sometimes has discovered how to see ten minutes into the future. Unfortunately, that’s only enough time to find out that his kidnappers are on their way! His only hope is to write an urgent letter to Willow, asking if she wouldn’t mind trying to find him.
As Willow and her friends piece together what has happened to Sometimes, their adventure takes them from an enchanted tower to the magical forest of Wisperia and into dangerous new realms… Can Willow save Sometimes when her own powers are out of control?

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Author Interview with Joan Haig - Tiger Skin Rug - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books


Welcome to the amazing interview with debut author Joan Haig. Her book, Tiger Skin Rug, was published in January by (Pokey Hat Children's Books) Cranachan Publishing. It takes readers on a magical journey from a Scottish village to an Indian mountain and from the back streets of London to the palaces and sewers of Mumbai. The story brilliantly explores the power of legends whilst also focusing on themes such as families, friendship and forgiveness. 

The following interview considers the origins and the inspirations behind this incredible story. You'll also get an opportunity to find out more about the author's life. It is hoped that this will encourage you to read and purchase this wonderful book. If you would like to support an Independent Publisher and Debut Author then please follow this LINK

We hope you enjoy!
Fly into the night. What adventure can we expect when we start to read Tiger Skin Rug?
A wild one! The children – brothers Lal and Dilip and their new friend Jenny – set out to help keep an old promise. Their adventure features the London underground, Coventry backstreets and Mumbai rooftops. There’s also a riddle, a street fight, and a villain… and a magical tiger.
The book has a cultural feeling with settings in England, Scotland, and India. How did you make these different places work together to make the plot feel grounded and realistic?
The children visit the sites they do for reasons specific to the plot, but also because I wrote about places and cultures I know. I moved to Scotland from a warm climate when I was a young girl. Lal’s first impressions of the country (and of Coventry and London) are not dissimilar to my own. Similarly, I needed Lal to see things about India that he might not have noticed when he’d lived there – I drew on memories, letters and diaries from living in India as a teenager. In some ways, the different settings work together to show that you can find the familiar in unfamiliar places.
Is there a message in the book you would like readers to connect with?
Most of all, I would like readers to enjoy the adventure. If by the end they’ve gained a connection to one of the characters, paused to reflect on the tiger’s narrative, or are moved by the way the story resolves, I’d be tickled pink. I don’t expect all readers will connect with the same message, though; in my debut-author dreamworld, readers return and see something new each time.
What/who inspired you to write this book?
My Auntie Lilian, the best storyteller in all the lands. She was always going to write about a mysterious tiger skin rug. Her story was stolen by dementia before she told it to anyone. In 2015 after a diagnosis of thyroid cancer, I retreated to Moniack Mhor for a creative writing course; I wanted to write something for my children, who inspire me every day. Auntie Lilian’s story (or its kernel) was stolen again – this time, by me.
What ingredients do you think makes a great book for children but will also be loved by adults?
Ooh, tricky Q. I don’t know if there are any set ingredients, but the right kind of humour is great if you have it to hand. There’s the humour that works on two different levels, but for me the best kind provokes genuine laughter on the same level for everyone. Another ingredient is relatability – in a good book, readers will relate to characters as they do to real-life people, and that isn’t always determined by age. Characters needn't even be the same species. (I’m thinking here of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, or my other five-star rodent read, The World According to Humphrey.) And, of course, sometimes the magic ingredient is... magic (1 tbsp or thereabouts, sprinkled lightly).
Do you think reading for pleasure helps you become the author you are?
I can only speak for myself, but yes. Reading for pleasure has made me the person I am. My childhood in Zambia included packages from Scotland of ‘Storyteller’ audio cassette tapes with read-along magazines; I boarded a flight to India after reading Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy as a teenager; Graham Greene and a posse of poets let me cry on their shoulders throughout university; and a friend who knows me well brought Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle to my hospital bedside. I like to read new books, and widely, but I think it’s been helpful to me as a writer to examine what it is that has made those old favourites stick.
We love the book cover for Tiger Skin Rug. Do you think the book cover plays an important part? 
Very much so – it makes the book stand out before anyone’s even opened it, and it looks awesome on the tables of well-known bookshops 😉 It won the 2019 #BookCoverWars against some seriously tough competition. What makes this contest extra special is that it is open to all. My small Scottish publisher got to compete with its top-notch cover work against some giants in the world of children’s literature. Small publishers are usually priced out of contests; we’re hugely grateful for the inclusivity of the #BookCoverWars. (P.S. The tiger's eyes shine!)
You are taking part in the WriteMentor summer program. Would you like to tell us a little more about that? 
Yes, please! It’s a fabulous scheme set up to support new and aspiring writers. Successful applicants are buddied with a published or agented author who works with them on their manuscript for a YA or children’s novel. The window for applications is 15-17 April. To learn more about my mentoring preferences and promises, please take a look at my website: Let’s shine this summer with #WriteMentor!
What role do you think books can have in helping adults and children through this current situation and beyond?
Such a positive one. Books give us comfort, reassurance, prompts for tricky topics, and opportunities to look at our situation in different ways and walk in other people’s shoes. You can travel and connect across spaces and cultures in books – EVEN during lockdown! Books are portals to other worlds: we need to make sure everyone can access them, and we need to keep them open. Always.
What are you working on at the moment? 
A children’s illustrated nonfiction book with author Joan Lennon for Templar/Bonnier (out in 2021). I can’t wait! I’m also chiselling away at my children’s fiction. At the moment it’s a giant writer’s block – but inside there’s an adventure story about island cats, a storm and a secret (shh!). 

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Dashe Roberts - Sticky Pines: The Bigwoof Conspiracy - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Welcome to STICKY PINES where things just get weirder by the minute. This debut book by Californian author Dashe Roberts is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. It was actually published in February 2020 by Nosy Crow so it might have already slipped by some potential readers. It is a fantastically creative story with a brilliant UFO/Sci-fi narrative. The Bigwoof Conspiracy is an encounter of the weird kind which has both a transatlantic feel and setting to go with it. 

With a click of the old camera and the flash of the night sky, the narrative starts at a rather sedate pace but ends up as a supernatural thriller. There has been a second disappearance in Sticky Pines. Beloved candy-store owner, Mandy Millepoids, has been reported missing. At this point, you find yourself in one of the craziest and most silly adventures you will read this year. It's creepy and yet so funny that it made me laugh out loud. I found myself racing through the pages to uncover the ongoing mystery. 

Lucy Sladen and Milo Fisher are an epic pair of characters who investigate the unexplained sightings and disappearances. Lucy is bold, brave and obsessed with UFO'S whilst Milo is very secretive and loves taking photos in the nearby woods. He often gets dragged along with Lucy's investigations - quite often against his will - but they always stick together. This relationship weaves a memorable thread through the story filled with fun and playful banter. 

This is such a great novel for anyone to read as it's pure fantasy escapism. It is certainly something that we could all do with at this difficult time. The levels of bizarreness increase as events unfold and mysteries become unravelled. The best part of the book, without giving too much away, was the Carnival (chapter nine) called Banana Drama. This was pure fantasy gold - it was very well written and cleverly put together. I have not read anything as good as this for some time. 

For me, this book ticks all the boxes. It is an example of why I love reading children's books. The narrative was not too complicated, very funny (definitely strange) and incorporated a number of classic sci-fi TV shows into it. The story leads you towards some timely banana skins. As you slip and slide through the plotline, there are some great sticky twists and turns. The Villians become bolder and daring which adds to the drama. In fact, it all becomes rather messy in places but I found that very pleasing.

Sometimes the ending of a book can let it down, however, this one was not one of those endings. The author does tie up all the loose ends to eventually satisfy the reader. However, at this point, I felt very sad knowing that I had finished the most entertaining book that I've read this year. Fortunately, I did notice that there will be another book THE THING AT BLACK HOLE LAKE which will be published in September 2020 - if all things still go to plan. I hope so as I know that I can't wait to read it.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Sharon Gosling - The House of Hidden Wonders - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

At the beginning of April 2020, Little Tiger will publish the latest book by Cumbrian author Sharon Gosling. When not writing, she is very busy being creative and, when not being creative, she might be found serving tea or wonderful cakes in her husband's second-hand bookshop. The House of Hidden Wonders has a brilliant title and an amazing book cover illustration produced by the very talented (a favourite illustrator of mine) Hannah Peck. It really makes this book stand out from the crowd and, hopefully, leap into the arms of many readers. They will certainly not be disappointed with the story inside. 

Set in the Victorian period, beneath the murky and eerie streets of Edinburgh, the story is a historical tale featuring some very notable people from that time period. One of the main characters is the young and slightly naive Arthur Conan Doyle. The story follows him in the early days as a medical student and sets the story off with an atmospheric flea in the tale. As a demon moves in the shadow and crimes have been committed, we find ourselves being introduced to Zinnie and her sisters fleeing from the authorities after stealing a silver watch from the pawnbroker's shop window.  As they run down the high street, we are catapulted into a mysterious world of danger and adventure. 

The story is very entertaining and well-written. It captures the place and time very well due to the author's careful research and her good knowledge of the city. Key places like Mary King's Close, which you still can visit today near the Royal Exchange, is used to great effect and helps create the atmosphere both below and above the streets. It leaves the reader with a creepy feeling that keeps you on the edge of the narrative abyss. 

The characters are all very likable; the genuine dialogue makes you engage quickly with them and help punch an element of realism into the plot. Especially as they all need to work together quickly to uncover the mystery surrounding The House of Wonders and the owner. Sinister activities are afoot with ghostly apparitions and an owner who seems to know more about this than they are prepared to let on. 

This is a brilliant read for anyone who loves an action-packed adventure full of drama. It's a historical gem capturing the very essence and feeling of the time; it will surround you in a fantasy bubble that you will simply not want to burst. 

Other books to read similar to this include: 
Philip Caveney - Seventeen Coffins -  Published by Fledgling Press.  Book Review Here.  
Robert J Harris - The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries - Published by Kelpies.  Book Review Here.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Young Adult/Teen Book Picks US - March 2020

  • Author: Joe Simonds
  • Book Title: The Chair: Daniel and the Twin Fountains of Alcazar
  • Paperback: 203 Pages
  • Age Range: 10+
  • Publisher: Independently Published 
  • Date: March 5, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1707404285

In this amazing new fantasy story, America is caught in a cyber-war with an evil underground civilization, which is attempting to shut down the United States power grid. Daniel Ruhlin, a teenager in a wheelchair, turns out to be the only one who can save the world... He has never walked or talked a day in his life. Daniel's severe cerebral palsy has left him confined to a wheelchair under the care of his widowed father. He has never had any real friends, played a sport or musical instrument, attended a party, or done anything that most teenagers would take for granted. He spends his days in the library learning how to hack into computers for fun. However, all of that is about to change when he discovers a magical fountain near an old, abandoned hotel. This fountain leads him into a mystical new world known as Alcazar. During his perilous journey through the underground, he develops friendships, discovers who he is, and uncovers a family secret, which has been hidden for decades. He learns of the fountain of youth, which gives him the ability to walk and talk again. Little does he know, he has been selected to thwart a plot to take over America by an evil, underground empire. Everyone from the citizens of Alcazar to the President of the United States is counting on him to save both worlds, but he will have to face his biggest fears in order to defeat these evil forces... 

Author: James Ponti
Book Title: City Spies (1)
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Date: March 10, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1534414914

Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Before she knows what she’s doing, Sarah is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team.

No one said saving the world was easy…

  • Author: Kenneth Oppel
  • Book Title: Bloom (The Overthrow)
  • Age Range: 10 and up 
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
  • Date: March 10, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1524773007

The first book in a can't-put-it-down, can't-read-it-fast-enough action-thriller trilogy that's part Hatchet, part Alien!
The invasion begins--but not as you'd expect. It begins with rain. Rain that carries seeds. Seeds that sprout--overnight, everywhere. These new plants take over crop fields, twine up houses, and burrow below streets. They bloom--and release toxic pollens. They bloom--and form Venus flytrap-like pods that swallow animals and people. They bloom--everywhere, unstoppable. 

Or are they? Three kids on a remote island seem immune to the toxic plants. Anaya, Petra, Seth. They each have strange allergies--and yet not to these plants. What's their secret? Can they somehow be the key to beating back this invasion? They'd better figure it out fast, because it's starting to rain again....

  • Author: Kaela Noel
  • Book Title: Coo
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Date: March 3, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062955975

  • In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.
    Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known. But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt.
    Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds. Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world is infinitely more complex―and cruel―than she could have imagined. 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Martin Howard (Author), Chris Mould (Illustrator) - Alfie Fleet's Guide to the Universe - Blog Tour Book Review

Step this way people as the UNIVERSE is now open for business. This is the second installment in Martin Howard's brilliant Alfie Fleet's series and has been given the title Alfie Fleet's Guide to the Universe. It is guided superbly by Chris Mould's expertly produced black and white illustrations and maps showcasing the narrative. This book is out in all galactic bookshops especially on OUTLANDISH, WINGSPAN and other holiday hotspots destinations around the globe now. You don't have to wait to join and enjoy this amazing adventure, so pick up a copy now.

Back in business with the Unusual Cartography Club or the UCC to its members, Alfie and Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvemont and Derek are travelling to far-flung planets. They are in search of the best holiday destinations for us to visit and fleece us out of our hard-earned money. They'll make sure you buy a gift from the gift shop on the way out! But don't worry,  I hear they are doing a roaring trade in Chris Mould's model Sheds which are made out of smelly socks, bits of fluff and, the all-important, blunt pencils.

Whilst exploring the narrative, you can expect to bounce along at an average pace on Betsy the Moped.  In other parts of the universe, time might vary so check the reader's ability and how many hands they have. On the FLEET, Unsuality Scale is a whopping eight and a half - it definitely tick-tocks with fizz and many moments of fantasy craziness. I can guarantee that you'll enjoy the journey immensely whilst holding on to your trousers as you fight off a bunch of pirates in ladies' clothes.

The peril in this adventure is a high octane nine on the danger twonk scale as you find yourself part of a sword chopping adventure. However, this involves none other than green, bogey-eating monsters and grog-swigging seadogs. All mixed in with many BAD PIRATE jokes. The biography of the Chosen One will become an outer planet classic that exhumes a bad smell of language as the windup translator malfunctions. The ingenious creativeness is only as good as the great scum baskets in the plot which are both cheesy and smelly. Lots of trout-waggling maybe encountered to give the reader a sense of character whilst falling over a knobbly knee.

This is a book that readers will not be reluctant to read as they are driven through a fantasy narrative by aliens or a mouthful of fruit. The book has a satisfying crunch with a fantastic array of characters that could have their own spin-off movies. The language is definitely aimed at children with the introduction of many nonsense words. However, the only thing you'll need for protection is a suit of armour and lots of emotional support.

On this website, we rate all the books. We show you the best, not too bad, and never-go-there-in-a-million years. However, this book is one to definitely give a spin, or even place it in your sock drawer with Chris Moulds Model shed! You'll look to revisiting and rereading this book time after time. Thanks for reading - I'll see you on the next voyage.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's Book Picks March 2020 - UK POST TWO

  • Author: Mikki Lish + Kelly Ngai
  • Book Title: The House on Hoarder Hill
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Chicken House 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912626212

Magical, spooky and mysterious: welcome to the House on Hoarder Hill ...
When Hedy and Spencer start receiving messages on dusty picture frames, Christmas at their grandfather's spooky house turns into a mission to solve the mystery of their grandmother's disappearance. What is their magician grandfather not telling them? With the help of a (talking) mounted stag head, an (also talking) bear rug, and other (currently) disembodied spirits, and against the resistance of gargoyles and ravens, Hedy and Spencer set out to find the truth.

  • Author: Guy Bass
  • Illustrator: Pete Williamson
  • Book Title: Skelton Keys: The Haunting of Luna Moon 
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Publisher: Stripes Publishing 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788951043
The second tall-but-true tale in the darkly comic new series SKELETON KEYS from the award-winning duo behind STITCH HEAD...

Greetings! My name is Skeleton Keys and these fantabulant fingers of mine can open doors to hidden worlds… Join me for the strange tale of Luna Moon, whose family is disappearing before her very eyes…

Luna is the only one to mourn the death of her grandfather Old Man Moon – the rest of her family couldn’t be happier to see the back of the bad-tempered old miser. But as they celebrate his demise with a giddy jig, Aunt Summer vanishes ... only to reappear as a painting.

While Luna is convinced her grandfather has kept his word to haunt them from beyond the grave, Skeleton Keys is certain that this is the work of an unimaginary. Can he get to the bottom of the mystery before the whole of Luna’s family disappears?

  • Author: Sally Gardner
  • Illustration: Nick Maland
  • Title: Mr Tiger, Betsy, and the Golden Seahorse 
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Zephyr 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788546614
Following the success of their first two adventures Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon and Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Sea Dragon, the intrepid pair join Betsy's mum, Myrtle the mermaid, beneath the waves, from bestselling author Sally Gardner and illustrated by Nick Maland.
Crumble cakes! When Betsy joins Myrtle the mermaid in her underwater world, she discovers there may be monsters... shipwrecks, lost treasure and secret cities. A seapig's prize seahorse, Pudding Pie, has been stolen by a cantankerous giant octopus and Betsy and Mr Tiger must go to the rescue in their new submarine. But what happens when a tiger's whiskers and tail are simply too long to squeeze into forgotten dark caverns where even the moon cannot shine, and Betsy has to take the final steps of the adventure on her own? 
The hardback edition of this book is printed in blue ink in Dyslexie, a font specially designed to make reading easier – and more fun.

  • Author: J. M. Joseph 
  • Book Title: Fire Boy
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
  • Date: 19 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444954685
Fire Boy is a laugh-out-loud story about friendship, unexpected superpowers, magical sweets, Inca legends and a cat named Lemon - perfect for fans of My Brother is A Superhero and The Parent Agency.
When 11-year-old Aidan receives a mysterious package of sweets from South America in the post, he and his two best friends Sadie and Hussein eat one sweet each - and suddenly develop amazing superpowers. Sadie can move objects with her mind. Hussein can control any electronic device. And Aidan can ignite his body at will...though he can't always control the resulting flames.
When they discover that the sweets were sent by a dangerous criminal who is trying to hunt them down to get them back, they have to use all their new powers to outwit him ... before everything goes up in a fiery blaze.
But can three ordinary kids keep their powers a secret? Will Aidan learn to control his fiery capabilities? Or will the ultimate bad guy spoil the whole adventure?

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Jenny Pearson (Author), Rob Biddulph (Illustrator) - The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

This is a book to look forward to as part of the latest adventure from Jenny Pearson. The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates is set to be published on 30th April 2020 by Usborne Publishing. The book illustrations and cover have been illustrated brilliantly by award-winning illustrator Rob Biddulph. He has done an amazing job of depicting the story visually to enhance the very engaging narrative.

This story will definitely capture the reader's attention from the very first page. The main character, Freddie Yates, loves facts. You can rely on them. An example of one such fact is: the fastest time to eat a raw onion is 29.56 seconds which was achieved by Yusuke Yamaguchi in Japan 2013. You may think this is a bizarre fact to choose but it is very relevant to the story, as you will find out if you read the book. This thought-provoking, family adventure is full of many other fun facts. For example, did you know that Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cell in 1996?

The book will take you on a hilarious journey following three boys on an adventure of a lifetime. Armed with a spare pair of underpants, they go in search of Freddie Yates's Dad whom he has never met before. However, things don't quite go according to plan! The adventure is fraught with danger and includes some very strange events along the way. The narrative is delivered comically as the three boys argue and fall out - just like most friends do.

This super fun, brilliantly engaging story will certainly have tears streaming down your face from laughing too much or from the thought of eating a raw onion. You can expect some well-timed miracles: a seagull with a deadly shot, naked scarecrows, three kids running down the high street with superhero costumes on and an exploding toilet. Yet at its heart, it's also a book that explores the importance of kindness, hope, and understanding what really matters. 

This is definitely a book for younger readers or someone with a good sense of humour. It's not overly complex but it has enough within it to keep an adult entertained. The book relates to the ups and downs of family life. In fact, it's a human rollercoaster of emotions but all make for great entertainment and reading. What more could you possibly ask for? Pre-order your copy now

Read a free chapter HERE

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's Book Picks March 2020 - UK POST

  • Author: Judith Eagle
  • Illustrator: Kim Geyer
  • Book Title: The Pear Affair
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber 
  • Date: 5 March 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571346851
When Penelope Magnificent's awful parents tell her they're taking a trip to Paris, she surprises them by begging to go along. 
Nell is usually content to avoid her money-obsessed father and her fashion-focussed mother, but Paris holds something very dear to her... her old au pair Perrine - Pear - lives there. Pear used to write to Nell every week promising to come to her rescue but recently the letters have stopped...
Arriving at her parent's posh hotel, Nell is determined to find Pear... but no one has seen her at her last known address, and no one seems to want to tell her anything about Pear's whereabouts. 
Luckily she befriends the hotel bellboy who introduces her to the world of tunnels underneath the city, and together they set out to find Pear, whilst uncovering an extraordinary mystery of their own...
Black and white chapter head illustrations bring this story to life.

  • Author: Jennifer Bell
  • Illustrator: Alice Lickens
  • Book Title: Agents of the Wild (Operation Honeyhunt)
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Publisher: Walker Books 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406388459
  • Enter the world of Agnes & Attie: AGENTS OF THE WILD; fun-packed young fiction with wildlife conservation themes.
    When 8-year-old Agnes is signed up for SPEARS (the Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species), she has no idea of the adventures that lie ahead with her elephant-shrew mentor Attie (short for "Attenborough"). Operation Honeyhunt sends them to the Brazilian rainforest, on a mission to save an endangered, dance-loving bee named Elton. Will Agnes pass the test and become a full SPEARS agent? Species in danger? Girl and shrew to the rescue!

  • Author: Alison Croggon
  • Book Title: The Threads of Magic
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Walker Books 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406384741
  • Pip lives on his wits in the city of Clarel. When he pickpockets the wrong man, he finds himself in possession of a strange object - a heart in a silver casket. What's more, the heart seems to be trying to communicate with Pip, and the royal officials who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back.
    Pip has unwittingly broken an ancient spell, and his theft will have far-reaching consequences for the whole city. As the ancient war between the Spectres and witches of Clarel reignites, the heart prepares to seek revenge for all it has suffered…
    Alison Croggon conjures a rich, immersive world with brilliant and memorable characters in this captivating story of loyalty, courage, and friendship.

    • Author: Ally Carter
    • Book Title: Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valour
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
    • Publisher: Orchard Books 
    • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
    • ISBN-13: 978-1408357378
      When 11-year-old April joins a group of kids living at Winterborne Home she doesn't expect to be there for very long. But she soon learns that this home isn't like any of the others - especially when she unearths the secret of the missing-and-presumed-dead billionaire, Gabriel Winterborne, who is neither missing nor dead but is actually living in a basement lair, sharpening his swords and looking for vengeance.
      Now that April knows Gabriel Winterborne is alive, she must turn to the other orphans to keep him that way. As a looming new danger threatens to take Gabriel down once and for all, they must use their individual talents to find a way to make sure this home for misfits isn't lost to them for ever.
      Because at the Winterborne Home, nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say they are and nowhere is safe. And now a ragtag group of orphans must unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a supposed phantom and a secret key, all without alerting the adults of Winterborne House that trouble is afoot.