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

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Alex Foulkes - Author Interview (Q&A) - Rules for Vampires - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #23

Hello to you all. It's time to flap your fantasy wings and crack out the garlic in our second fantastic interview. I'm delighted to be able to introduce Alex Foulkes, who is the author of a dark, funny series called Rules for Vampires. Ghosts Bite Back is the second book in the series and will be published later this year (Sept 2022 by Simon and Schuster). We thought we would ask the 'jammy' author and school librarian some questions on how to keep Vampires at bay and how she 'staked' a claim in writing horror fiction. We hope you enjoy this 'bleeding' marvellous interview; did you like what I did there? Enjoy! You can buy the book Here. 
  • Rules for Vampires is your first children's book, do you think Vampires actually have rules?
Yes! Vampires actually have loads of different rules throughout literary history - too many to include in one book. If you added in every vampire rule out there, you would have a very long story (and one that would contradict itself!) When I was writing Rules for Vampires, I wanted a clear set of Vampiric Laws to govern the world. I chose my faves and added a few of my own. My favourite Vampiric Law is probably concerning vampires being unable to enter uninvited, which I think is one of the coolest vampire limitations.
  • Would your younger self enjoy reading this book and why?
The character of Leo is actually based on myself when I was eleven, as well as children I've worked with in my time as a school librarian and a teaching assistant. I was a weird sort of kid and Rules for Vampires is definitely a very weird story! When I was a young reader, I definitely wanted something with a bit of bite, lots of fight scenes, scares and laughs. This has been my checklist for Rules for Vampires.
  • Are there any books that you have read that you think may have influenced your writing?
Oh, absolutely loads. A stand-out series is definitely Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, mostly for its gothic tone, amazing villain and eerie, unsettling atmosphere. I read these books growing up and absolutely wanted to be Violet Baudelaire! I think these stories have stayed with me all the way through to adulthood.
  • How do you think Sara Ogilvie's illustrations add another dimension to the storytelling and did she also illustrate the wonderful book cover?
Sara Ogilvie absolutely did illustrate the spine-chilling cover for Rules for Vampires! Her artwork takes this story to another level; her imagining of these characters and this world is so rich, so fun and so detailed. When you pick up a copy of Vampires, Sara brings you into the Dreadwald in a way that words on their own wouldn't do quite as well. She's seriously magical. Her work on Leo in particular added additional depth to the way I now write this important character. I think it's because I have Sara's strong picture of Leo's design in my head as I write her.
  • I read somewhere that "World Book Day would be your Jam." What would be your perfect World Book Day?
Hahaha! World Book Day is indeed my total jam - you've been on my author website! Fangs so much! World Book Day is an important day to librarians everywhere and I am no exception. My ideal WBD would definitely be in school, with lots of dress-up and fun activities. Of course an open, busy library. And - most important of all - sharing stories. Reading together. Talking about books. Of course, reading is for every day, but WBD is such an amazing celebration of reading for enjoyment, why not make a point of it? Discussing our favourite reads is so important.
  • Ghosts Bite Back will be the second book in the series (published this September 2022). What can readers expect in this book and is humour a key role in this story?
If readers have enjoyed Rules for Vampires, they will find that Ghosts Bite Back is even BIGGER, even GHOSTLIER, with oodles of fights and laughs and chills. I wanted to take everything I loved about writing Vampires and turn it up to eleven for Ghosts. Leo and Minna are facing some serious danger in this story! In spite of this, humour is absolutely still a key element to Ghosts Bite Back. I find that, no matter what I write, having a lightness and a sense of fun is always important.
  • What is the best thing about being a published author? 
The best thing about being a published author... is going into schools, libraries and bookshops and meeting readers. It's absolutely the best thing in the world. I also love talking to aspiring writers and hearing about their creativity and writing journeys.
  • What question were you hoping I might have asked? (Please could you answer from the perspective of one of your characters in the book)
I have spoken to Rodrigo, Leo's spidery roommate, and he had this to say:

"You must want to know what it's like being the secret TRUE HERO of this story! Of course Rules for Vampires should have been called Rules for Spiders, as I am clearly the most important character on the page. My chapters are clearly the best. I'm working on being included in EVERY chapter of Ghosts Bite Back, as I think this would improve the story eightfold.
"I've found fame tricky to deal with, ever since Rules for Vampires came out. Paparazzi chase me at every turn. Please understand - I know I am a big deal and you want to put me on the cover of every magazine - but I am just a humble spider. So humble."

Monday, 11 October 2021

Danny Weston - A Hunter's Moon - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Are you looking for a Halloween read? Well, we recommend the latest installment by the cheeky author and man of mystery, Danny Weston. A Hunter's Moon was published by UCLan Publishing on 2 Sept. 2021. The reason for recommending this book is that it has none of the classical cliché monsters such as ghosts and vampires or monsters lurking under the bed. The author has something a little different to offer the reader; a nostalgic supernatural mystery that will make your toes curl. 

The book is set in Scotland; deep in the Forest of Tay. There are no modern distractions in the story as it has been set in simple times when folklore, myths, and word of mouth ruled the day. Instead, all the cinematic action happens under the cover of darkness. We walk and run the gauntlet of fear and mystery as the locals are attacked and begin to disappear. Farmers' sheep are ravaged by a beast summoned by the mysterious people called 'Walkers in the Woods'. 

The villain is a wealthy landowner, who chopped down large parts of the forest to build a hunting lodge. Whilst the two main protagonists (Callum and his master Fraser) hopefully come to save the day. Although, this does not quite go to plan! 

The story is brilliantly fine-tuned with distractions, mayhem, and a slightly romantic involvement that pulls the story together. It's a great earthy story with a moral in the tale and a read that comes with a warning; Don't go into the FOREST. Enter at your PERIL. Do you DARE? What more can you want from a great Halloween read? So don't hesitate, buy yourself a copy and get stuck in. Maybe read it in a forest near you. 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's Book Picks September 2021 - ( US Published Post)


Katherine Applegate - Willodeen - Published by Feiwel & Friends (September 7, 2021) - Hardback - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250147400

    A singular middle-grade novel about a girl who risks everything to help a handmade creature who comes to life.

    The earth is old and we are not, and that is all you must remember . . .

    Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.

    Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.

    When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she’s determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears.

    A timely and timeless tale about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference.

    Mary Downing Hahn - The Thirteenth Cat - Published - by Clarion Books (September 7, 2021) - Hardback - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0358394082

    From the master of middle-grade horror Mary Downing Hahn, a new thriller about bravery, unexpected friendship, and sinister cats that will captivate readers with its chilling mix of mystery and magic.

    Zoey loves spending the summer with her Aunt Alice, and her aunt's new house is the perfect place to cozy up with a good book. But she's unnerved by the overgrown forest next door, which is creepy even in the daytime and full of eerie sounds at night. Worse, there are rumors in town of a dark force in those woods. And Zoey can't deny that the wild black cats who live there seem to be watching her.

    When she encounters a mean old woman who claims to be their owner, Zoey realizes there's more to the cats than meets the eye. But little does she know that the closer she comes to discovering their secret, the more danger she's in...

    Alex London - City of Thieves (Battle Dragons) -  Published by Scholastic  (September 21, 2021) - Hardback - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1338716542

    In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.

    Once, dragons nearly drove themselves to extinction. But in the city of Drakopolis, humans domesticated them centuries ago. Now dragons haul the city’s cargo, taxi its bustling people between skyscrapers, and advertise its wares in bright, neon displays. Most famously of all, the dragons battle. Different breeds take to the skies in nighttime bouts between the infamous kins―criminal gangs who rule through violence and intimidation.

    Abel has always loved dragons, but after a disastrous showing in his dragon rider’s exam, he's destined never to fly one himself. All that changes the night his sister appears at his window, entrusting him with a secret...and a stolen dragon.

    Turns out, his big sister is a dragon thief! Too bad his older brother is a rising star in Drakopolis law enforcement...

    To protect his friends and his family, Abel must partner with the stolen beast, riding in kin battles and keeping more secrets than a dragon has scales.

    When everyone wants him fighting on their side, can Abel figure out what's worth fighting for?

    Shanthi Sekaran  - The Samosa Rebellion - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (September 21, 2021) - Hardback - ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063051539

    Shanthi Sekaran makes her middle-grade debut with this timely and stunning novel in which a young boy and his friends must rescue his grandmother from a relocation camp after their country’s descent into xenophobia. Perfect for fans of The Night Diary and Front Desk.

    Before his grandmother moved from India to the island of Mariposa, Muki Krishnan’s life was good. But now? He has to share his bedroom with Paati, his grandmother, who snores like a bulldozer and wakes him up at dawn to do yoga.

    Paati’s arrival coincides with even bigger changes in Mariposa. The president divides citizens into Butterflies—families who have lived in Mariposa for three generations—and Moths, who, like Muki’s family, are more recent immigrants. The changes are small at first. But then Muki and his friends find a camp being built to imprison Moths before sending them away. Soon after, his Paati is captured and taken there.

    While devising Paati’s escape, Muki discovers that a secret rebellion is underway, and as he digs deeper, he realizes that rescuing Paati will be the fight of his life.

    Monday, 20 September 2021

    Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Best Illustrated Children's Books - Sep/Oct 2021


    We have picked five fantastic illustrated marvels that also have a great story to go alongside each one. They are all creative and very special with so much imagination inside them that you will instantly escape into each one. We hope you like our choices for September/October 2021. 

    Author/Illustrator: Tom Gauld  

    Title: The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess  

    Published: Templar Publishing (2 Sept. 2021) 

    Hardback: ISBN-13  978-178741917

    Purchase HERE

      A whimsical modern fairy tale from internationally renowned cartoonist, Tom Gauld.

      When the log princess goes missing, her brother, the little wooden robot, sets out on an epic adventure to find her. He will encounter goblins, magic puddings, a mushroom queen and a very intimidating woodpile as he seeks to bring his sister home.

      The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess is an exquisitely illustrated modern fairytale about sibling love. Tom Gauld brings all of his wit, draghtsmanship and narrative craft to a funny, moving tale that proves that woodlice can be heroes too.

      Author/Illustrator: William Grill  

      Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue

      Published: Flying Eye Books (1 Oct. 2021)
      Hardback: ISBN-13 ‏  978-1838740238
      Pre-Order Here

      When a world war comes to Myanmar (Burma), one special elephant becomes a hero. As people are forced to leave their home in the Burmese jungle, Bandoola, his keeper Po Toke, and war veteran James Howard Williams (Aka Elephant Bill), undertake a journey that will test their courage, taking trust, understanding and bravery to the very limit. Together, they lead a group of 53 elephants and over 200 refugees to safety, scaling 6000ft mountains as they trek from Myanmar to northern India.

      In this moving tale based on a true story, award-winning William Grill’s stunning illustrations show the majesty of Myanmar’s forests and mountains, the backdrop to a heart-warming tale about empathy between humans and animals, and the strength that can arise from working together when the world is full of danger.

      Author/Illustrator: Jakob Wegelius (Translated by Peter Graves)

      Title: The False Rose

      Published: Pushkin Children's Books (7 Oct. 2021) 

      Hardback: ISBN-13  978-1782693215

      Pre-Order Here

      When Sally Jones and The Chief discover a curious rose-shaped necklace hidden onboard their beloved Hudson Queen, it’s the start of another perilous adventure for the seafaring gorilla and her faithful friend. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, they set sail for Glasgow, but there fall into the clutches of one of the city’s most ruthless gangs, commanded by a fearsome smuggler queen who will stop at nothing to snatch the necklace for herself.

      Held prisoner hundreds of miles from friendship and safety, Sally Jones must use all her strength, determination and compassion to escape and unravel the mysterious story of the False Rose – a twisting tale leading all the way from Lisbon to Shetland and the South Seas.

      Author/Illustrator: Pam Smy

      Title: The Hideaway

      Published: Pavilion Children's (9 Sept. 2021)

      Hardback: ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1843654797 - Book Review HERE

      Purchase HERE 

      The wonderful long-awaited second novel from Pam Smy celebrated author and illustrator of Thornhill.

      The Hideaway tells the story of a boy, Billy McKenna, who runs away from a difficult situation at home and takes refuge in an overgrown graveyard. While hiding there he meets an elderly man who is tending the graves in preparation for a day in November when something magical is set to happen.

      The book is written in two alternating narratives, both different aspects of the same story. One thread tells of Billy’s experience of hiding away in the graveyard, his mixed-up feelings and emotions, and the supernatural events he eventually witnesses. The other tells of his mother’s situation at home and the police search for Billy. Covering themes of family, childhood, separation and reunion, domestic violence and doing the right thing, this is an important and beautiful book for middle-grade readers right up to adults.

      Billy’s story is illustrated throughout with tonal and textured black and white drawings, until the event on All Souls’ Eve, when the text gives way to a series of double-page images of the supernatural happening.

      The Hideaway is a compelling, exciting and emotional story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

      Author/Illustrator|: James Mayhew
      Title: Once Upon a Tune 
      Published: Otter-Barry Books (9 Sept. 2021)
      Hardback: ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1913074036
      Purchase Here

      Six wonderful stories that inspired world-famous music, accompanied by brilliant illustrations.

      Once Upon a Tune brings you six wonderful stories from many lands - all of which inspired great music. You can battle trolls with Peer Gynt in 'The Hall of the Mountain King'; grapple with a magic broom in 'The Sorcerer’s Apprentice'; meet the evil Witch of the North in 'The Swan of Tuonela'; sail the seven seas with Sinbad the Sailor in 'Scheherazade'; be a prince disguised as a bee in 'The Flight of the Bumblebee'; and become a fearless hero in 'William Tell'.
      The stories are excitingly told and stunningly illustrated by James Mayhew, who is famous for bringing live classical music, art, and storytelling to families across the UK. There is also a Musical Notes feature, where you can find out more about the stories and music, plus discover James’ recommended recordings - which can be downloaded too.

      Monday, 13 September 2021

      Pam Say - The Hideaway - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

      At Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books, this is one of our favourite books for September 2021 - The Hideaway by Pam Smy. It is an eagerly awaited novel since the author's first groundbreaking book - THORNHILL - which was published to great acclaim in 2017. The author and illustrator captured our imagination with the bold tonal black and white drawings which also feature in her new book. However, this is where the similarities stop as the novel is based on a brilliantly original and captivating story that conveys powerful themes which have been expertly incorporated into this middle-grade read. 

      The story follows a young boy called Billy who runs away from home and seeks out a place of refuge.  He remembers an overgrown graveyard and hides out in an old disused pillbox (a concrete dug-in guard post that was used in World War 2)The book is powerfully woven using two narratives: one filled with mystery and full of escapism whilst the second conveys a family life filled with domestic abuse and loneliness. This is a book that charters new waters with a huge emotional paddle. It highlights the thought-provoking reality for some families but is told with great understanding and sensitivity.

      There is also a lighter side which cuts through the seriousness of the story. Again, this has been expertly and skillfully done through both the narrative and the wonderful illustrations. Whilst Billy McKenna is hiding in the graveyard, he meets a mysterious elderly man who is tending the graves in preparation for a special day. It's All Souls’ Eve in November when something magical is set to happen. This captures brilliant moments and the empathy that Billy has for the gravestones and the dead. It ties the story together and helps cut through the serious situation in the plot that the children and their families are dealing with. 

      This is a fantastically compelling story that is told from the heart. It's a book to absorb long after you finish the last page as it's not just a story but a journey. It's a discovery and uncovering that will both touch and tug at your emotions. Yet, the lighter side of the story is a really welcomed and refreshing touch that will let your imagination fly as the supernatural ability brings things together in a black and white illustrated world. This is an important book to seek out and read as it may give some readers, both old and young, some comfort and solace when times are hard. It's our recommendation for this year and beyond. We hope you will take this journey and that it will have an impact on your life like it did ours. 

      Monday, 6 September 2021

      The Best New Children's Book Picks - September 2021 - Post One - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books


      Clare Povey - The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (2 Sept. 2021) - Paperback 

      The open door felt like an invitation, or a trap. Bastien wasn't sure which, but with no other choice, he stepped inside...and hoped he'd make it out again alive.

      Bastien Bonlivre is a boy with a big imagination, determined to finish the story his parents started, left to him in a red notebook. On the other side of Paris, bestselling author Olivier Odieux is struggling to complete his latest novel. Along with his villainous brothers, he is masterminding his greatest plot that will spread fear throughout the city and beyond.

      What connects these two stories is a dangerous secret, a hidden mystery and an unexpected race across Paris for the truth. Can Bastien and his friends Alice, Theo and Sami be brave enough to stop Olivier from stealing the ending they deserve?

      Yvette Fielding - The House in the Woods (The Ghost Hunter Chronicles, 1) - Published by Andersen Press (30 Sept. 2021) - Paperback 
      Stranger Things meets Point Horror in the first of a brilliant new series for readers aged 11+ from Yvette Fielding, British television's first lady of the paranormal and presenter of Most Haunted.

      When Clovis, Eve and Tom decide to play with a ouija board in an old abandoned house on Halloween, none of them foresees the horrors they’re about to unleash. What starts out as a bit of fun, soon transcends into something far more terrifying when a distressed and determined spirit follows them home. Before long the friends are caught up in a series of events beyond their wildest imaginings and their journey as ghost hunters begins . . .

      Ian Mark (Author), Louis Ghibault (Illustrator) - Monster Hunting For Beginners - Published by 
      Farshore (2 Sept. 2021) - Hardback 

      A monstrously funny new adventure series. Readers of 8+ and fans of Mega Monster and Shrek will adore the first in the brand new fantasy series from Irish debut author, Ian Mark

      Every hero has to start somewhere . . .

      Monster Hunting isn’t as easy as it looks. And Jack should know. Because an ogre has just appeared in his garden and tried to EAT HIS AUNT. (She was the winner of the World’s Worst Aunt competition, but that’s Not The Point).

      After (sort of accidentally) defeating the ogre, Jack finds himself apprenticed to a grumpy, 200-year-old monster hunter called Stoop and heading off to Cornwall, where more ogres are causing havoc.

      All he has are his wits, his catapult and a magical – sometimes unreliable – book called Monster Hunting for Beginners.
      Jack’s a bit worried he might not be the hero everyone’s waiting for. But then again, how many terrifying, bloodthirsty monsters can there really be?

      (Answer: ABSOLUTELY LOADS. And a bear called Humbert).

      A hilarious and accessible story, packed full of illustrations – that gives a twist to all your favourite fairytales and will change everything you thought you knew about monsters! Perfect for apprentice monster hunters aged 8 to 800.

      David Farr - The Book of Stolen Dreams - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (30 Sept. 2021) Hardback 

      An exhilarating, awe-inspiring debut from a master storyteller writing for children for the first time, perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Katherine Rundell and Eva Ibbotson.

      When Rachel and Robert are passed a stolen book by their librarian father, they have to go on the run and protect it at all costs. With their father captured and everyone hunting for the Book, they must uncover its secrets and track down the final, missing page.
      But the cruel and calculating Charles Malstain is on their trail. When the children discover the astonishing, magical truth about the Book, they resolve to do everything in their power to stop it falling into his hands. For if it does, he could rule forever.

      Step inside the pages of an immortal adventure and discover a truly unforgettable journey of wonder, courage and magic...