Showing posts with label April 2021. Show all posts
Showing posts with label April 2021. Show all posts

Sunday, 18 April 2021

ALIEN NATION by Sandro Bassi - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Book Review

I have something very different to review this week. It's a very special book that is not just an illustrative delight but also conveys a powerful story that hits the reader on so many different levels. Sandro Bassi is an illustrator from Venezuela whose work was the 2019 Bologna Children's Book Fair Illustrator Show selection. Alien Nation is his first book and was published by Levine Querido on April 13, 2021. It has already received great acclaim in Mexico where it was originally published. 

It all begins on an unforgettable subway ride in an alien world or is it? The story explores the theme of travelling and technology in all of our lives. As you open the pages, you find yourself on a journey of wonder as you marvel at the black and white illustrations. It's a wordless picture book that shows the commuter moving through a crowded train station. You will glide across the pages mesmerised in a world that is totally different from our very own. However, there may be some similarities as we too can be glued to technology both day and night. For me, the story explores the theme of being engrossed in handheld devices whilst the world continues to go on around us particularly as we travel on public transport. We might as well be an alien of this world when this happens.


The book is illustrated using thick pencil lines to create amazing drawings that convey a fantasy world that requires closer inspection. One of the main features of the book focuses on the commuter. Each is drawn in human form except for the heads and faces. Instead, each face and head is represented in a number of ways through bulbous or blocked organic structures that somehow convey feelings to the reader. The narrative asks me questions about the future of us as a race and how far technology will develop. How much more of our time in the future will we spend on our devices, reading, playing games, or watching programs? However, is this loneliness that we seem to seek whilst commuting creating a hive mind society? 

This is a very special book with a cinematic appeal. It shows a world that we are at risk of losing out on and real adventures beyond the screen of a phone that might be passing us by. It's time to visit the eerie vision of a spectacular train station and a strange baby in a stroller as a packed metro awaits us. This book is a real page-turner that is full of real-time illustrations that will capture the attention of all readers from eight to a hundred and eight. Be warned, we might just be glimpsing a future that is not as alien as we believe from our very own. 


Sunday, 11 April 2021

The Best New Children's Book Picks US - April 2021 - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books



Erin Bowman - Dustborn - Published by HMH Books for Young Readers (April 20, 2021)
Delta of Dead River sets out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator rising to power in the Wastes and discovers a secret that will reshape her world in this postapocalyptic Western mashup for fans of Mad Max and Gunslinger Girl.

Delta of Dead River has always been told to hide her back, where a map is branded on her skin to a rumored paradise called the Verdant. In a wasteland plagued by dust squalls, geomagnetic storms, and solar flares, many would kill for it—even if no one can read it. So when raiders sent by a man known as the General attack her village, Delta suspects he is searching for her. 

Delta sets out to rescue her family but quickly learns that in the Wastes no one can be trusted—perhaps not even her childhood friend, Asher, who has been missing for nearly a decade. If Delta can trust Asher, she just might decode the map and trade evidence of the Verdant to the General for her family. What Delta doesn’t count on is what waits at the Verdant: a long-forgotten secret that will shake the foundation of her entire world.

Richly drawn, with harrowing escapes from dust storms across parched land and a general sense of blistering doom…Readers will be left to ponder the sometimes warring forces of hope and truth—right after they find a cool drink of water.
 

Sarah Prineas - Trouble in the Stars - Published by Philomel Books (April 27, 2021)
Trouble knows two things: they are a shapeshifter, and they are running from something--but they don't know what. So when the StarLeague--shows up, Trouble figures it's time to flee.

Changing from blob of goo form, to adorable puppy form, to human boy form, Trouble stows away on the Hindsight, a ship crewed by the best navigators and engineers in the galaxy, led by the fearsome Captain Astra. 

As the ship travels, Trouble uses the time to figure out how to be a good human boy, and starts to feel safe. But when a young StarLeague cadet shows up to capture Trouble, things get complicated, especially when Trouble reveals a shapeshifter form that none of them could have expected. Soon a chase across the galaxy begins. Safety, freedom, and home are at stake, and not just for Trouble.

From acclaimed author Sarah Prineas comes a rip-roaring outer space adventure about an oddball hero, a crew of misfits, and finding family where you least expect it.


Jennifer Adam - The Last Windwitch - Published by HarperCollins (April 13, 2021)

Fans of Shannon Hale and Kelly Barnhill will delight in this charming and richly imagined middle-grade fantasy debut, featuring a wicked queen, magical animals, a henchman with a golden heart, and a small girl with a great destiny.

Many years ago, in the kingdom of Fenwood Reach, there was a powerful Windwitch who wove the seasons, keeping the land bountiful and the people happy. But then a dark magic drove her from the realm, and the world fell into chaos.

Brida is content in her small village of Oak Hollow. There, she’s plenty occupied trying to convince her fickle magic to actually do what it’s meant to in her work as a hedgewitch’s apprentice—until she accidentally catches the attention of the wicked queen.

On the run from the queen’s huntsman and her all-seeing Crow spies, Brida discovers the truth about her family, her magic, and who she is destined to be—and that she may hold the power to defeating the wicked queen and setting the kingdom right again.


Mari Mancusi - Dragon Ops - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 13, 2021)
From the beloved author of The Once and Future Geek comes this action-packed adventure set in a futuristic world filled with magic, monsters, and high-tech video gaming.

One wrong move, and its game over.

Welcome to Dragon Ops, the world's first augmented-reality video-game theme park. Set on a once-deserted island, our three beta players—classic-gamer geek Ian; his adventure-seeking sister, Lily; and their too-cool-for-gaming cousin, Derek—have been lucky enough to score an invite to play before the fully immersive experience opens to the public.

But once inside, they find themselves trapped in a game taken over by a rogue AI dragon called Atreus, and suddenly the stakes go beyond the virtual world. With no cheat codes, guidebooks, save points, or do-overs, they'll need all their cunning and video-game hacks to beat the game . . . and survive in real life.

Action-packed and unputdownable, Dragon Ops will thrill gamers and reluctant readers alike with high-tech adventure and electrifying twists and turns.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Signed Book Recommends & Real Book Shop Links (Whilst Stock Lasts)


 Derek Landy - Dead or Alive: Signed Exclusive Bookplate Edition - Skulduggery Pleasant 14 (Hardback) - Waterstones - Click Here 

In a matter of days, the world will change.

Billions of lives will be wiped away in a final, desperate search for the Child of the Faceless Ones ― she who is destined to bring about the return of humankind's ancient overlords.

To prevent this, Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain have one last – terrible – option: the assassination of Damocles Creed. With protests stirring in the magical city of Roarhaven, with riots and revolutions on the horizon, Valkyrie must decide who she wants to be: the hero who risks everything for a noble ideal, or the killer who sacrifices her own soul for the fate of humanity.

The decision must be made, and time is running out.



Hannah Gold & Levi Pinfold - The Last Bear: Signed Bookplate Edition (Hardback) - Waterstones -
Click Here

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.


Vashti Hardy & George Ermos - Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest - Signed with Map - Book Nook In Hove -
Click Here 

Join Harley, her robot dog Sprocket and best friend Cosmofor problem-solving adventures and mysteries in Inventia, a world where science rules and technology grows in the forest; and where exploding science projects, giant slugs and runaway robots are all part of a normal school day.

The Iron Forest near Harley’s home is unlike any other – plants and trees grow cogs and hinges and other mechanical parts – and all of Inventia depends on it. So when a strange fungus is discovered, there’s a race to find a solution. Without essential parts for inventions, the town is quickly falling apart…



Elle McNicol - Show Us Who You Are - Signed Bookplate - The Rocketship Bookshop - Click Here  (Book Review Here)

When Cora's brother drags her along to his boss's house, she doesn't expect to strike up a friendship with Adrien, son of the intimidating CEO of Pomegranate Technologies.

As she becomes part of Adrien's life, she is also drawn into the mysterious projects at Pomegranate. At first, she's intrigued by them - Pomegranate is using AI to recreate real people in hologram form. As she digs deeper, however, she uncovers darker secrets... Cora knows she must unravel their plans, but can she fight to make her voice heard, whilst never losing sight of herself?


Dominique Valente - Starfell: Willow Moss and the Vanished Kingdom - Signed Hardback, Numbered, Special Edition - Goldsboro Books -
Click Here  

For the very first time, magical children like Willow are allowed to go to school alongside their non-magical neighbours. But Willow is suspicious. She knows the Brothers of Wol are up to no good, so why are they changing the rules all of a sudden?

On her first day, Willow meets an elf girl named Twist, and soon they are embarking on Willow’s most urgent mission yet: to protect the children of Starfell, uncover the mystery of a long-lost kingdom – and prevent the very source of magic from getting into the wrong hands . . .



Jonathan Stroud - The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne - Signed Bookplate - Book on the Hill - Click Here 

England has been radically changed by a series of catastrophes – large cities have disappeared and London has been replaced by a lagoon. The surviving population exists in fortified towns where they cling to traditional ways, while strangely evolved beasts prowl the wilderness beyond. Conformity is rigidly enforced and those who fall foul of the rules are persecuted: some are killed, others are driven out into the wilds. Only a few fight back – and two of these outlaws, Scarlett McCain and Albert Browne, display an audacity and talent that makes them legends.

Julian Sedgwick & Chie Kutsuwada - Tsunami Girl - Signed BookPlate - Guppy Books - Click Here  (Book Review Here)

Tsunami Girl is a powerful coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Yuki Hara Jones who gets caught up in the March 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It's about a young person trying to work out who they are, and where they fit - and trying to do this whilst surviving the trauma of a triple disaster of colossal scale, told through both prose and manga.

Monday, 29 March 2021

The Best New Children's Book Picks April 2021 - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

 

Ele Fountain - Melt - Published by Pushkin Children's Books (29 April 2021)

An urgent story of adventure and survival in a warming climate, from the multi-award-winning author of Boy 87 and Lost

Yutu lives in a remote, Arctic village with his elderly grandmother. Their traditional way of life is threatened by the changing snow and ice, which melts faster every year. Bea is trying to adapt to yet another new school. Worse still, her father’s new job takes up any spare time, and his behaviour becomes odd and secretive. On a trip she hopes will fix things, their fates take a drastic turn and Bea's life becomes entwined with Yutu's in a way she could never have imagined. Together, they are locked in a desperate race for survival.

Julia Golding - Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery - Published by Lion Fiction (23 April 2021)
Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?



Fleur Hitchcock - Waiting for Murder - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (1 April 2021)
It's a long, hot summer. As the water drains away from the reservoir, a car emerges. And there seems to be a body in it, a body that then disappears... Daniel and Florence start to investigate and uncover a long-ago robbery, missing gold and murder. When the drought breaks, everything is swept downstream and the truth is revealed...

Another thriller from the brilliant author of Murder at Midwinter.


Jess Kidd - Everyday Magic: The Adventures of Alfie Blackstack - Published by Canongate Books - (1 April 2021)
Welcome to Little Snoddington, where nothing is normal and every day is magic . . .
Nine-year-old Alfie Blackstack's parents have met a very unfortunate end. Now he's living in the SUPER CREEPY Switherbroom Hall with his mad-haired Aunt Gertie and warty Aunt Zita. The thing is, Alfie's aunts aren't just weird - they're WITCHES!

When the circus arrives in town Alfie makes his first-ever friend, the FEARLESS Calypso Fagan. But when Calypso's little sister Nova disappears, they must face the TERRIFYING Head Witch in a race to find Nova and stop the next Witch War.

Conrad Mason - The Girl in Wooden Armour - Published by David Fickling Books (1 April 2021) - Book Review HERE
When Hattie visits her granny for the first time in years, she's not sure what to expect. Granny has always been unusual. Now she's gone missing without a trace. Hattie is determined to find her. But in the strange little village where Granny lives, nothing is as it seems. Is magic real here? What is the shadowy place known as the Un Forest? And who is the mysterious girl in wooden armour? One thing is certain. An ancient evil is stirring in Brokewood-on-Tandle... and only Hattie can stand against it.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Michelle Paver - Skin Taker (Wolf Brother) - Quick Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

 


This Easter we are Running wild with Wolf Brother in a Stone Age world we all want to be a part of again.  The Eight Book will paw its way into the world published by Zephyr on the 1st April 2021. This is another great book in one of the best long-running series. Torak, Renn and Wolf are back in a dangerous and magical world. A mouth-watering adventure in their beloved forest.  


It has been very well researched and is packed full of fantasy and adventure. All of which, is told in rich detail that makes your heart sing and your wolf soul dance in such a way that time disappears in no time at all. A dark shadow rises to a meteorite crescendo that will have readers hooked until the very last page. I'm looking forward to possibly the last book in the series in 2022. Another brilliant read! 


In the Dark Time of midwinter, disaster strikes the Forest. Chaos rules. Bears woken from their dens prowl the shadowy valleys. Desperate clans battle for survival. Only demons thrive.

With their world in turmoil, Torak, Renn and Wolf are tested as never before. And as a new evil haunts the devastated land, Torak must risk his sanity, his life and even his souls to save everything he loves...

Skin Taker carries you back to the Stone Age, to nature, drawing you deeper into an astonishing environment and adventure which began with Wolf Brother. 


Thursday, 18 March 2021

Conrad Mason - The Girl in Wooden Armour - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books


When you are looking for a ray of sunshine then a new book by Conrad Mason is just the tonic. The Girl In Wooden Armour will be published on 1st April, 2021 by David Fickling. The book cover illustration is amazing; I have been recently informed it's been produced by the talented illustrator George Ermos (one of my favourite illustrators). It certainly enticed me and made me want to dive in straight away. After reading other books by Conrad Mason, I have a certain expectation of what to find. This did not fail but it lived up to my expectations in different ways. 

The story is about sorcery, witchcraft, and possibly a warrior or two. It's very dark and essentially is a middle-grade fantasy horror story. Conrad Mason appears to be stretching his fantasy wings and going into new territory.  Just like the main character in the book (Hattie), he is strapping on his wooden armour and getting ready to do battle with the readers' mind. It's a plot about a family that has secrets and a very unusual granny. 

One day Hattie gets a mysterious letter calling for help so she and her younger brother Jonathan visit her granny for the first time in years. The plot thickens and the veil of an ancient evil is cast over the reader as the characters launch into their adventure. At this point, this is not what I was expecting; I was looking for pirate swashbuckling and some spilled grog. However, what we get is a very strange place called Brokewood-on Tandle (a great name for a place) and an all-action-packed narrative that will be loved by all armchair readers. 

Unfortunately, Granny has disappeared and a dark shadowy place called the Un Forest is introduced. I really liked Un Forest and would have loved to have seen this explored in more detail. It had so much potential for the plotline and is what reading is all about - being transported to an imaginary world with mystery, mayhem, and madness. Nevertheless, we escape into a sinister world of scary monsters who are lurking around every corner (some of which would fit nicely into a Darren Shan novel). They are very imaginatively written and definitely sent shivers down my spine. Empathy is another element that has been injected into the story. It faces issues that many of us might be feeling at the moment: loneliness, sadness, and losing a loved one.  

This is a great book with many twists and turns. It doesn't have a set agenda instead it is about good quality storytelling that will grip you and captivate your fantasy brain. It has a courageous female heroine who will be adored regardless of gender or age. It's a thrilling read with a dynamite ending to capture readers and light up their imaginations.