Monday, 28 February 2022

Jo Clarke - Libby and the Parisian Puzzle (The Travelling School Mysteries 1) - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 


Author: Jo Clarke
Book Title: Libby and the Parisian Puzzle
Series: The Travel School Mysteries (Bk1)
Illustrated: Becka Moor
Publisher: Firefly Press (3 Mar. 2022)
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1913102708 - Paperback 
Key Words: Mystery, Crime, Paris, Young Adults

The world of fun and mystery starts here with one of my favourite books of March 2022. Just imagine you could go to a school that changed its geographical location every month. Well, if you attended Mousedale's Travelling School this would be your reality. New York (overlooking the Statue of Liberty) followed by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. What an educational adventure and it is where we find Libby following in her adventurous footsteps. 

This is a classic detective mystery with a case to solve and a great location to go with it. It's a plot that starts with a mystery but it soon becomes a complicated puzzle to be solved by our unwilling protagonist and her newfound friend. The plot is well-written with some fantastic images that come to life in a whirlwind of action and some great references to the city of Paris. You'll certainly enjoy the illustration delights by Becka Moor that bring the story alive.

I very much enjoyed the slice of quirkiness from the character's perspective. Whilst I was hoping for a few more red herrings, the story nevertheless really sets up the series nicely for a few more adventures to create a fantastic series. 

This is a really great family fun adventure for everybody to read. It's a fast-paced narrative including a jewel robbery, hot chocolate drinking, and a fantastic friendship all set within the amazing backdrop of Paris. Get ready for a journey so grab a copy of the book, sit back and enjoy the ride - see you on the other side. 

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

The Best Children's US Book Picks February 2022 - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Lisa McMann - Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five) - Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (February 22, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593325407 - Hardback 

X-Men meets Spy Kids in the new middle-grade series from the New York Times bestselling author, Lisa McMann (The Unwanteds).


Fifteen years ago, eight supernatural criminals fled Estero City to make a new life in an isolated tropical hideout. Over time, seven of them disappeared without a trace, presumed captured or killed. And now, the remaining one has died.
 
Left behind to fend for themselves are the criminals’ five children, each with superpowers of their own: Birdie can communicate with animals. Brix has athletic abilities and can heal quickly. Tenner can swim like a fish and can see in the dark and hear from a distance. Seven’s skin camouflages to match whatever is around him. Cabot hasn’t shown signs of any unusual power—yet.

Then one day Birdie finds a map among her father’s things that leads to a secret stash. There is also a note:  
 
Go to Estero, find your mother,and give her the map.
 
The five have lived their entire lives in isolation. What would it mean to follow the map to a strange world full of things they’ve only heard about, like cell phones, cars, and electricity? A world where, thanks to their parents, being supernatural is a crime?


Pam Muñoz Ryan - Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs - Published by  Disney-Hyperion (February 15, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1484728352 - Hardback 

Middle-grade fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising, will find a new Mexican heroine to love in Solimar and a fresh, magical story! 
On the brink of her Quinceañera, and her official coronation, Solimar visits the oyamel forest to sit among the monarch butterflies. There, the sun pierces through a sword-shaped crevice in a boulder, which shines on her and sends the butterflies humming and swirling around her. 

After the magical frenzy, she realizes she's been given a gift―and a burden: she can predict the near future! She has also become a protector of the young and weak butterflies. This alone would be a huge responsibility, but tragedy strikes when a neighboring king invades while her father and brother and many others are away. The remaining villagers are taken hostage―all except Solimar. 


Can this princess-to-be save her family, the kingdom, and the future of the monarch butterflies from a greedy and dangerous king? 

Alexandria Rogers - The Witch, The Sword, and the Cursed Knights - 
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 8, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0759554580 - Hardback 

Perfect for fans of The School for Good and Evil and A Tale of Magic…, this Scout Life “Read It” pick and Amazon Best Book of the Month is a charming fantasy debut that puts a new spin on the legend of Camelot.
 
Twelve-year-old Ellie can’t help that she’s a witch, the most hated member of society. Determined to prove her worth and eschew her heritage, Ellie applies to the Fairy Godmother Academy—her golden ticket to societal acceptance. But Ellie’s dreams are squashed when she receives the dreaded draft letter to serve as a knight of King Arthur’s legendary Round Table. She can get out of the draft—but only if she saves a lost cause.
 
Enter Caedmon, a boy from Wisconsin struggling with the death of his best friend. He first dismisses the draft as ridiculous; magic can’t possibly exist. But when Merlin’s ancient magic foretells his family’s death if he doesn’t follow through, he travels to the knights’ castle, where he learns of a wicked curse leeching the knights of their power. 
 
To break the curse, Ellie and Caedmon must pass a series of deathly trials and reforge the lost, shattered sword of Excalibur. And unless Ellie accepts her witch magic and Caedmon rises to become the knight he’s
meant to be, they will both fail—and the world will fall to the same darkness that brought King Arthur and Camelot to ruin. 

Brian Farrey - The Counterclockwise Heart - Published by 
 Algonquin Young Readers (February 1, 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1616205065 - Hardback 

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Dan Smith - Nisha's War - Book Review Blog Tour 2022 - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Welcome everybody to a jolly blog tour for Dan Smith's latest book Nisha's War. To find out more about this fantastic book please check out my review below. On Twitter we have a fantastic giveaway; a copy of the book, bar of chocolate and a £10 book voucher to spend on more great books. Please see our pinned tweet on Twitter @Enchantedbooks. Ends 18.02.22 UK Only.

Publisher: Chicken House (3 Feb. 2022)

Book Illustrator: Matthew Land and Cover design by Steve Wells 

Age Range: 9+ (Only a guide)

Paperback: 368 Pages - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎978-1912626755

What makes a good story? Well, for me a good story starts from the very first page by creating a really interesting and intriguing narrative. In Dan Smith's latest book, Nisha's War, the story starts on a grey, Spring evening. Mother and daughter, hardly more than skin and bone, are weary and tired as they depart from the train. The author describes them as travellers from another time and place. By this point, I was hooked and really looking forward to reading more.

The story has so much depth; focusing on the past and the future. There are so many themes that it is a real marvel and a treat. Essentially, this is a historical English ghost story with the main characters fleeing from the WARTIME invasion of Singapore in 1942. Snippets of the character's experiences are shared by Nisha (a young girl) from her diary. However, the story also transports itself to a remote area in the North of England where a brilliantly haunting tale is introduced. There's a puzzle to solve and the introduction of a mysterious weeping tree.

The story is really written with heart and soul; pulling on different character emotions and feelings. Complex topics such as loneliness, grief, guilt, and being a refugee are all tackled creating an interesting discussion. It's a book that feels very relevant today such as coping with many changes that are beyond our control. The story is fantastically well written as it develops different backdrops that submerge you into really creative worlds. 

This has to be the best book that Dan has written to date. It's a story that will give you hope but also a chill to the heart. There is action and adventure in an abundance but also a classic dollop of mystery, and heartwarming friendship. Overall, it is a brilliant, thought-provoking story - it made me think that perhaps it is time for me to find some new friends.

Synopsis: Malaya, 1942. Nisha’s home is destroyed by war and she and her mother, Amma, flee to her father’s ancestral house in England, perched on a cliff top on the cold Northern coast.

When Amma falls gravely ill, Nisha is left to face her formidable grandmother alone. Grandmother's rules are countless, and her Anglo-Indian granddaughter is even forbidden from climbing the old weeping tree.

But when a ghost child beckons Nisha to sit under its boughs, and promises her Amma’s life in return for three truths, its pull proves irresistible ...





Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - The Best Children's UK Book Picks February 2022

 


Lisette Auton - The Secret of Haven Point - Published by  Puffin (3 Feb. 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0241522035 - Paperback 

    I was Haven Point's first Wreckling, but I certainly wasn't the last. There are forty-two of us now, not including the mermaids. When you're a Wreckling, you mainly spend your days squabbling, eating and planning adventures. Oh, and Wrecklings also carry out wreckings, which is how we got our name . . .


    Washed up as a baby beside a remote lighthouse and raised by a mermaid, Alpha Lux was the first foundling at Haven Point. Now the lighthouse is a ramshackle home for any disabled person who needs somewhere to belong. Looting from passing ships to make a living, they call themselves the Wrecklings, and for the children of Haven Point life is spent adventuring on the wild shore (and getting into trouble with the grown-ups).

    But when Alpha spots a strange light up on the headland, she realizes that her beloved family are in danger of being discovered by Outsiders.

    With their home under threat, the Wrecklings must decide what kind of future they want . . . and what they're willing to do to get it.

    Eve Wersocki Morris - The Bird Singers - Published by Hodder Children's Books (3 Feb. 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1444963328 - Paperback 

    'The whistling had started on their first night. At first, Layah thought it was bird song - a high thin sound which became a melody, rising and falling. And each night, it returned.'

    Strange things have been happening to Layah and her younger sister, Izzie, ever since their mother dragged them to a rain-soaked cottage miles from anywhere in the Lake District: there is a peculiar whistling at night, a handful of unusual feathers appear on their doorstep and there are murmurings of a shadowed woman in the forest. And their mother is behaving very oddly. Layah is mourning the loss of her dear grandmother in Poland - and can almost hear her Babcia's voice telling her the old myths and fairy tales from that magical place. 

    And as the holiday takes on a dark twist, Layah begins to wonder if the myths might just be real.

    Mitch Johnson - Spark - Published by Orion Children's Books (3 Feb. 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1510107632 - Paperback 

    In a world struggling to exist, only the strongest will survive. The explosive, action-packed new adventure from the award-winning author of Kick and Pop!

    Ash has always lived in Last Village, lonely since the day his father left and never came back.

    The world is unbearably hot, water is drying up, and life is hard. After a vicious thunderstorm, Ash wakes to find that the village's water has completely run out, and all the other villagers have mysteriously disappeared.

    Accompanied by the outcast Bronwyn, Ash sets off in search of water, for answers about what happened to the villagers, with hope they might find 'The Kingdom' - a rumoured land to the north where life still flourishes.

    Ash and Bronwyn have to survive a journey across an arid landscape, discovering that other people out there are even more dangerous than the lightning strikes that follow them. Then they reach The Wall - beyond it, something impossible.

    Lying in wait are the answers Ash is searching for, and maybe even the truth about what happened to his father. If only he could get past The Wall...

    Sometimes all it takes is just one spark.


    Paul Biegel - The King of Copper Mountains - Published by 
    Pushkin Children's Books (3 Feb. 2022) - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1782693390 - Paperback  

    A triumphant piece of magic’ 

    After a thousand-year reign, old King Mansolain is tired and his heart is slowing down. Only stories can keep it ticking while his doctor searches for the cure, so creatures from all across the kingdom come to the castle in the copper mountains to sit on the king’s long white beard and tell him their tales.

    Every night a new visitor arrives to tell a story to the king: a fearsome wolf, a lonely rabbit, a fire-breathing, three-headed dragon, and many more. Each tale is more wondrous than the last, but will they be able to keep King Mansolain’s heart beating until the cure arrives?