Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Paul Adam - Escape From Shadow Island (A Max Cassidy Adventure) Book Review

Book Review by Mrs Ripley

I wasn't actually aware of this book until I received notification from Random House. The synopsis sounded promising and I was instantly intrigued by the escapology talents of the main character "Max Cassidy" - interestingly (as a side note) do most successful characters have to have short names in this modern day?
Anyway back to the book, it was full of description from the escapology acts, to the penetration of the island and then to the final escape. I particularly liked the way Max involved adult characters to help him overcome some of the more difficult tasks. I felt that this credited the story with some realism - at times "the child defeats adult world alone" can become too incredulous.
The story was fast paced, intriguing, highly descriptive and well co-ordinated. I liked his special regurgitating effect and the use that this trick played within the story. I was pleased he found the letter from his dad at the end, it helped to engage me in speculating the next adventure. I'm looking forward to this next chapter in his adventurous journey. Four out of Five - would recommend to 9+ and all adults.

Published by Corgi Children's books - 2 Jul 2009


Max is an ordinary north London schoolboy by day, but at night he performs sell-out public shows as an escapologist - nicknamed The Half-Pint Houdini by the tabloid press. His father, Alexander, was also a world-renowned escapologist, who disappeared two years earlier in the Central American state of Santo Domingo. His body was never found, but Max's mother, Helen, was convicted of murdering her husband by a Santo Domingan court. One evening, after his show, Max receives a visit from a mysterious man from Santo Domingo - Lopez-Vega tells Max that his mother's trial was rigged and, if Max comes to his hotel room the following night, he has something to give him.When Max goes to the hotel, he finds Lopez-Vega dead, shot through the head. The room has clearly been searched by the killer, but what was he looking for? By chance, Max finds a piece of paper hidden under Lopez-Vega's wig. Written on the paper is a sequence of eight numbers - 83521113. What do the numbers mean? Are they a code, or maybe the combination for a lock or a safe? Could they be the key to unlocking the mystery of his father's disappearance and getting his mother out of prison?

About the Author

Paul Adam studied law at Nottingham University and started his writing career as a journalist. He has written ten critically-acclaimed thrillers for a grown-up audience that have sold widely around the world and have been translated into several foreign languages. Reviews have called his adult books "brilliantly imagined, fiercely authentic and wholly gripping" . Escape from Shadow Island is Paul's first book for children. He lives with his wife and children in Sheffield.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Who Is Marcus Alexander? Author Interview from the writer of Who Is Charlie Keeper?

An amazing opportunity arose to ask the increasingly popular author Marcus Alexander a few questions. From the brief contact I have had with him it is clear that he is a man who likes to remain private. Not one for the public domain of "celebriatism" as many authors appear to throw themselves into the limelight.
I'd like to thank Marcus for his time and eloquence in allowing a small piece of insight into his thoughts and life. I hope you enjoy reading and learning about the man behind the great book.

1) Who is Marcus Alexander? Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Erm....actually a little shy when it comes to exposure so I tend to keep details to a vague minimum. A really vague minimum. I can tell you that I have big ears that stick out at right angles and a fondness for vertical snowy slopes.
Oh and I’m a caffeine junkie but don’t tell anyone that okay.

2) Do any of the characters represent parts of personality or personal traits?
Yes, there’s a little something of me in many of the characters, particularly the ones that tend to put their foot in their mouth on a regular basis. Or food for that matter too.

3) There are so many different styles of writing in your book. Are you inspired or influenced by any other author/s?
I’m more influenced by my years of travel, I find that’s my greatest inspiration for writing. Other writers don’t inspire me as such but if they’re good they sure tend to set my thumbs twitching for a good read and a quiet place to get stuck in to the pages.

4) You say there is a sequel, are you writing it at the moment? When do you see it being in the reader's hands?
There is a sequel on its way, ‘Charlie Keeper and the Darkness’ and if I can shunt some of this marketing and distribution onto someone else’s shoulders it should be coming out fairly soonish.

Hopefully after teatime.

5) How would you feel "releasing" your book to a publishing or film production company if they were to approach you?
Hmmm...I think a big smile, the sort that creases your face out of proportion would probably be involved. Maybe some somersaults too. I draw the line at singing and dancing though, a man needs to hold onto some semblance of dignity.

6) Did you have plans and ambitions to become a writer or did inspiration strike you?
I used to write a lot as a teenager, put it on hold for a while then took it back up after London lured me back from my travels. Didn’t take the idea of Who is Charlie Keeper? seriously for the first 18 months of writing, it was only after the semblance of a credible story began to unfold that I started to take confidence in the possibility of a literary product.

7) Do public book events fill you with dread or adrenaline? As most writers appear to either love or hate them!
iCouldn’t tell you as I haven’t done one yet. I think I could be lured into an event with the firm prospect of fresh filtered coffee, a French pastry and the promise of a fast line of retreat should the need arise.

Please also check the Author book site as there is more information on his great book
visit www.whoischarliekeeper.com

Friday, 17 April 2009

Dean Vincent Carter - Blood Water Book Review

Mr Ripley's Review

This is Dean Vincent Carter's third young person's horror book. As usual it has a definitive style of writing which parallels with great horror writers within the adult genre.
This book has a distinctive theme running through the book which could easily be transcended into a movie. In fact at times I wondered whether it was written with this possibility in mind. The short, sharp horror scenes climaxed throughout leaving very little rest time in between the pages. The "flood" created tension which enhanced the infinite danger of the cities inhabitants thus making a gritty and edgy read.
The concept of intelligent "outer" life-form versus human life-form is challenged greatly within this book. It raises some interesting emotions about survival and character morality.
A thought provoking read with many great horror qualities. Suitable for those who can't normally stomach horror. As the description lends itself to its intended younger audience without being too gruesome. Four out of Five as it is a little bit short, I would like to see Dean focus all of his time to writing as he has amazing potential to be an all-time great.


They're all dead now. I am the last one. Dr Morrow can't identify the 'thing' he found living in the lake but he knows it's dangerous ...then it goes missing ...Caught in the flood that is devastating the town, brothers Sean and James stumble across Morrow and the carnage left at his lab. The missing specimen is some kind of deadly parasite that moves from person to person, destroying its hosts in disgusting, gory ways. The death toll will rise along with the waters unless the brothers can track down the homicidal specimen and find a way to destroy it.

Published Corgi Children's books 4 June 2009


I was born in July, 1976 in the West Midlands and spent the first six years of my life in Bewdley near Kidderminster, before moving to Tenbury Wells, Shropshire where many members of my family still live.

At around thirteen years of age I spent one bored Summer afternoon sitting in the back garden of a restaurant where my mother worked, reading a book my aunt had ordered by mistake from a book club. Stephen King’s Misery, wasn’t exactly her cup of tea, but it was, as I was soon to find out, mine. I devoured the novel and found within its pages the inspiration to write my own stories. The first, Revenge, was very much a tentative footstep in the general direction of storytelling, i.e. it’s not exactly my finest piece of work. The story lasted only six pages, (luckily) was very Misery-derivative, and more than a little contrived and predictable. But we all have to start somewhere, and there was as good a place as any.

During my last few years of high school I tried a few more short stories, then attempted a book, Carnival, which eventually ended up as a large short story, possibly a novella, about a travelling carnival of genetically modified animals and freaks. I still have a copy of it, typed out on an old Olivetti typewriter given to me by an uncle. Even now the smell of typewriters (a heady mix of ink and metal) brings back memories. Personal Computers will always be my weapon of choice when it comes to word-processing, but they have none of the excitement, the romance, the immediacy of typewriters.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Marcus Alexander - Who Is Charlie Keeper? The Book Review

Mr Ripley's review

Who is Marcus Alexander? Having read this book it has resulted in me asking this question and also questions about the self-published route.
I have heard lots of good things about this book but I thought it may be the hype that was turning the wheels but infact this is not so. This fantasy epic has all the makings of a classic book which will go far indeed.
The hero of the book is one Charlie Keeper; boy in name but cool action girl in nature. The book reads like a fantasy dream with all the qualities of a great author. But interestingly it also has a dark side which has hints of Chris Wooding's The Ascendancy Veil trilogy through the visionary description of the dark Bane character. Having all these great ingredients makes this book a special read. A great page turner which should entice and captivate a wide audience. A well deserved five out of five - can't wait for the next installment.

Published by Marcus Alexander Publishing 11 Jul 2008

About the Book

'Who is Charlie Keeper?' is a shockingly fast paced fantasy novel that tells the tale of Charlie, an iron-willed, twelve year old girl suffering an unjust and unhappy fate. Forced to flee her home in the gloomy, rain-drenched landscape of London by a bloodthirsty and terrifying new foe, she escapes to the vibrant, parallel land of Bellania with nothing more than her common sense and razor-sharp wits to keep her safe. Bellania, a land of myth, magic and marauding giants with bad attitude and poor anger management. With the fate of a world resting squarely upon her shoulders Charlie must learn about her destiny in order to defeat Bane, the Stoman Lord.And even with all the unspeakable betrayals, vicious enemies and terrible odds that are stacked against her, Charlie could probably succeed... ...if only she could learn to keep her big mouth shut and her opinions to herself.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Angela McAllister - The Runaway

Mr Ripley's Review

I have to say I really enjoyed reading this book, I only read it by chance. Which is sometimes the best way to begin with a book, as no preconceptions are gathered about what is to be found.
It's a great combination of styles. A hint of David Almond in the dark detail and a touch of Marcus Sedgwick for the story plot. The main character Megan is running away from everything she knows. She finds herself in a derelict house which has more then a story to tell. Lurking in the dark it has many untold secrets and lots of questions that Megan wants to find the answers to. Angela draws upon the human emotions to carry along this great read. When Megan finds an old blind lady living there, the story then really starts to weave its magic through to the heart. The story was so well told that I almost believed it could be true.
I don't want to give too much away as I heartily recommend it to read. My only fault with great reads like this is that the book comes to a close after 192 pages, and I wanted more... so I will only give it Four out Of Five. I know what you're thinking!


After the death of her young brother, Megan runs away. She has always had the power to heal - but not when it came to him. And now she punishes herself - pulling handful after handful of nettles from the hedgerows, so she feels pain, seeing always, at the corner of her vision, a pale winged boy. His wings are broken. Eventually she arrives at what she believes to be a deserted, burned out house in the village of Morne. But part of the mansion is occupied by a blind woman, whose companions are two owls. She tells Megan, who is terrified of birds, they are her eyes. They will see everything she does. Theirs is a strange relationship - the woman is bitter, she has a secret to hide, but then so does Megan. Gradually they come to depend on each other, until the arrival of Tom. Megan is keen for company her own age and his friendship, but she doesn't know that he knows Marguerite's secret and is determined to reveal it and destroy her in the process. Set in C19th, with richly drawn characters and a well plotted story, Angela McAllister's second novel explores the frailties of human emotions, but is ultimately about healing rifts and friendship.

Published by Orion Books 7 June 2009


Mungo Moonboots (1991)

Dinny's Diplodocus (1992)

Maggie's Meglasaurus (1996)

Scaredy Ghost (1998)

Jack and Lily (2001)

The Tide Turner Orion (2006)

The Runaway Orion (2009)

Angela is more well Know in her work with picture books having done over forty four picture books since 1988.
Angela McAllister has written over thirty children's books. She lives in Hampshire with her husband and their two children, who are often the inspiration for her stories.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

New Hardbacks For June 2009

Some of the best picks for June 2009.

Joseph Delaney - The Spook's Sacrifice(Wardstone Chronicles) - Bodley Head Children's
4 June 2009

As the Spook's apprentice Tom's first duty is to protect the County from the dark. But now Mam needs his help in her homeland of Greece. One of the most dangerous of the old gods, the Ordeen, is about to return there, bringing slaughter and devastation. Meanwhile, the Devil himself is still loose and if he and the Ordeen join forces, a new age of darkness will descend. Mam has summoned a powerful group to her side but among them are Tom's old enemy, the Pendle witches, including the assassin Grimalkin, and the cunning clan leader Mab Moldheel. Can Tom go against all the Spook has taught him and ally himself to the witches? What is the secret that Mam is keeping from him? And what sacrifices must be made in the battle against the dark?

F E Higgins - The Eyeball Collector - Macmillan Children's Books - 5 June 2009

When his butterfly-collector father is swindled to within an inch of his life, a vengeful Hector leaves the city of Urbs Umida in pursuit of a fiendish villain with a glass eye. The trail leads to Withypitts Hall, a forbidding Gothic mansion as warped as its inhabitants and their secret schemes. Soon Hector finds himself embroiled in mysterious deeds more poisonous than his worst imaginings, but every twist and turn brings him closer to his revenge ...The third dark and diabolical book from a devilishly talented author.

Michael Scott - The Sorceress(Secrets of Nicholas Flamel) - Doubleday - 25 June 2009

Paris: Dr John Dee has torn the city apart in every attempt to intercept the immortal Nicholas Flamel and Sophie and Josh Newman. Paris' streets are in ruins, Notre Dame is destroyed. Dee has the book of "Abraham the Mage", but he's still missing the two pages the Dark Elders need for the Final Summoning. Without them the spell cannot be cast, and Dee is well aware that the Dark Elders will not rest until they are in power and the human race is destroyed - or he is. London: If Nicholas Flamel hopes to defeat Dee, he must find an Elder who can teach Josh and Sophie the third elemental magic - Water Magic. The problem? The only Elder who can do that is Gilgamesh, and he is completely insane.

Mr Ripley's U.S Hardback pick of the Month is.

R.D Henham - Green Dragon Codex (The Dragon Codices) Mirrorstone - June 2009
When ten-year-old Scamp Weaver finds a locked chest in a forest clearing, he feels like his life is finally about to change for the better. But he doesn't bargain for just how much change the chest will bring. Inside he finds a dragon egg and a mysterious ancient scroll, which set Scamp and his best friend Dannika off on a harrowing adventure, chased by dragon hunters who want the contents of the chest for themselves. Life gets ever more complicated when the baby green dragon hatches. Will this cute, mischievous hatchling really grow up to be an evil green dragon?

Also out early in the U.S is Angie Sages - Septimus Heap: The Magykal Papers which will be released by HarperCollins - 23 June 2009.

Enter the world of Septimus Heap with this collection of previously unpublished papers.

This rich compendium includes:

The private journals of Septimus, Jenna, and Marcia Overstrand.

The best—and worst—places to eat as described in The Egg-on-Toast Restaurant Guide.

Sirius Weazal's Speedy Guides to the Palace, the Wizard Tower, and Wizard Way.

Excerpts from the Pigeon Post Biography series and the Heaps of History series.

Alther Mella's Guide to Being Dead: Ten Handy Rules for New Ghosts.

Beautiful maps, quirky flyers, funny letters, and much more!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

New Books For June 2009 (paperbacks)

Some super new reads to be published in the great summer month of June......

Andy Briggs - Villain.Net 3: Power Surge - Oxford Childrens June 2009
Schoolboy supervillain, Jake Hunter, has taken his seat on the Council of Evil. Now he will live his dream - exact revenge on the cruel world. But the cruel world has other plans, and they come in the shape of the Hero Foundation. Jake's not scared of the Hero Foundation. He even has a plan to turn it to the dark side. Until it gets a new member - Jake's own sister. Is he really so villainous as try to get her out of the way?

Andy Briggs - Hero.Com 3: Crisis Point - Oxford Childrens June 2009
The Hero Foundation is a shadow of its former self and Lord Eon - the most terrible supervillain ever - is still at large. Worse, he has hatched a plan to tear apart time. Toby and his superhero friends should be able to stop him . . . but Pete has woken from his coma a different person and Lorna has disappeared. In the titanic struggle that will follow, friendships will be tested and superhero powers strained to the limit as time runs out for the world . . . literally . . .

Sarah Rees-Brennan - The Demon's Lexicon - Simon&Schuster 1 June 2009
Nick and his brother Alan are on the run with their mother, who was once the lover of a powerful magician. When she left him, she stole an important charm - and he will stop at nothing to reclaim it. Now Alan has been marked with the sign of death by the magician's demon, and only Nick can save him. But to do so he must face those he has fled from all his life - the magicians - and kill them. So the hunted becomes the hunter...but in saving his brother, Nick discovers something that will unravel his whole past...

Nicola Morgan - Deathwatch - Walker Books 1 June 2009
Someone is watching Cat McPherson. Is it a young schizophrenic, a retired scientist, or Cat’s ex-boyfriend? Or it could be someone else entirely. An obsession with insects seems to link them all. And Cat hates insects. She’s easy prey, especially as she has given away so much about herself on an internet site which her parents have forbidden her to use. But does she even realize that she’s being stalked? A talented athlete, she’s too busy with the pressures of training and deciding whether she really wants to run for a living. The trouble is, soon she will have to run for her life…

Dean Vincent Carter - Blood Water - Corgi Childrens Books 4 June 2009
They're all dead now. I am the last one. Dr Morrow can't identify the 'thing' he found living in the lake but he knows it's dangerous ...then it goes missing ...Caught in the flood that is devastating the town, brothers Sean and James stumble across Morrow and the carnage left at his lab. The missing specimen is some kind of deadly parasite that moves from person to person, destroying its hosts in disgusting, gory ways. The death toll will rise along with the waters unless the brothers can track down the homicidal specimen and find a way to destroy it.

David Gilman - Blood Sun: Danger Zone - Puffin Childrens 4 June 2009
Desperate to uncover the secret of his mother's death, Max Gordon is chased into the night by a ruthless mercenary. His search takes him from the desolate hills of Dartmoor to the endangered rainforest of Central America – where the devastation hides a sinister secret. Drug smugglers, deadly crocodiles, man-eating snakes and flesh-stripping piranhas await Max at every turn. Has Max's quest for the truth led to an answer for which he'll pay the ultimate price?

Tim Bowler - Bloodchild - Oxford University Press
Will lies in a deserted lane. All he knows is that he's had an accident and that his life is slipping away. Against all the odds he survives - but with an almost total loss of memory. He does not even know himself. And that is not all. At night he is tormented by visions, in the daytime by hostile strangers. Why does he have so many enemies? And who is the strange child who seems to have a story to tell him? Something has happened in this town, something terrifying. Will can sense it but he can't work out what it was. Perhaps the old Will knew. But that was before the accident. The new Will must search for the answers again - and this is a dangerous task. For the town has a secret and there are those who will do everything in their power to preserve it. Even kill.

Dean Lorey - Monster War (Nightmare Academy)Book Three - HarperCollins 25 June 2009
Monsters. Once upon a time they turned up every now and then, triggered by a gifted child's nightmares. But now they're here. ALL OF THEM. And this time, it's war! The Fifth has made it to earth, but it's not as bad as everyone expected. It's worse. As CNN broadcasts 24-hour carnage and colossal monsters destroy the world's cities, the fate of the world and all its people rests on one person's shoulders. One quite SMALL person's shoulders. But the Fifth is Mother to all monsters -- and now she's got Pinch on her side, one of the strongest double threats who ever lived. Charlie and his friends have the fight of a lifetime on their hands...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Caro King - Seven Sorcerers

Mr Ripley's Review

This is the first part in a two-part series.The story starts with Toby, a young boy snatched and taken away by Skerridge the Bogeyman. The story follows Nin's thwarted journey to bring back her brother. On the way she battles many dangers trying to find Toby, her brother.
This is an interesting debut story written in the style of Joseph Delaney. I enjoyed reading this book as it had more to offer then most books. In some parts it read like poetry. Caro has used some fantastic ideas which enhance the on-going story. It is a quick read which has a fast flowing plot with plenty of detail.
Skerridge is my favorite character, he has been well written with great moments and some humorous sections which made me chuckle along the way.
The element of surprise within the plot keeps the reader hooked right to the end. Especially as the theme is quite commonly used as a plot,I was very pleased that it had more going for it. This is to the credit of the author who is appearing as a surprising debut. Well worth a read and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the sequel. I give this book Four out of Five.


Nin had never liked Wednesdays, but this one took the biscuit. On this Wednesday she woke up to find that it was raining buckets and that her brother had ceased to exist. Ninevah realises she is the only person to remember Toby because whoever took him is about to make her disappear too. Enter Skerridge the Bogeyman, who steals kids for Mr. Strood. With his spindle, he draws all memories of Nin out of her mother's head. Nin escapes to the Drift, the world that her new friend Jonas and Mr. Strood inhabit. But the Drift is filled with the fabulous and the dreadful; tombfolk, mudmen, and the spirits of the seven sorcerers who once ruled the land. What is the secret of the Seven Sorcerers, and will Nin and Toby escape their fate at the House of Strood?

About the Author

Caro King was born in London and raised in Surrey where she now lives with her partner, Kevin. She studied art and now works at the Home Office. Seven Sorcerers came from a rainy lunchtime when she began mapping out the world of the Drift. Skerridge and his waistcoat came later.

Published by Quercus 2 April 2009

Monday, 30 March 2009

Book Review: Natasha Narayan - The Mummy Snatcher Of Memphis

I got this book in London this weekend,with many other books I wanted to read. This is the first book in a brand new adventure mystery series entitled "A Kit Slater Adventure."
Kit Slater,a girl with a taste for adventure gets herslf involved in one.


On reading this book, it has all the qualities of Julia Golding's novels featuring the Cat Royale.
The book starts with a great theme, Victorian London's EastEnd. The story takes shape building up within the first few chapters. This fast paced and humorous romp lifts the story in search of the missing mummy and the secret scarab.The mystery then takes the reader to Egypt giving a great chance for good ending.

I loved reading this book as it has lots of quirky characters and a great Victorian flavour. Making this book stand out more then most. The only problem was the ending, as I felt the writer was unsure how to end it. I give this book Four out of Five a great read and a must for anyone who loves reading books by Julia Golding or those encompassing a Victorian theme. I'm looking forward to the next book especially to see how the end transpires.


When Kit Salter and her friends peek at a famed mummy in a museum chamber, they are shocked to discover rattles and moans coming from the box ...Inside is an Egyptian stowaway, determined to return a looted scarab and save his village. When the mummy is stolen too, the ensuing adventures puts the children fast on the heels of a villainous East End mob, and right into the heart of the Western Desert. But as the story climaxes in a temple, the villains and Kit find they have underestimated a stronger force - the terrible power of ancient Egypt.With a wonderfully spirited heroine and a cast of batty aunts, French adventurers and music hall villains, this is a fabulous first book in an exciting series set during the Age of Empire. Over the course of the next three books, Kit and her friends will hunt for soma, the elusive elixir of immortality, on the slopes of the Himalayas; solve the mystery of the Marie Celeste among pirates on the high seas, and track Inuit warriors through the Arctic wastes. They will battle to outwit their arch rivals: the ghastly Baker Brothers, collectors linked with slavery and opium running.

About the Author
Natasha Narayan was born in India but emigrated to England at the age of five. She has had many jobs in journalism including working as a war correspondent in Bosnia. Like Kit Salter, Natasha loves travelling and exploring new places. She hopes to get to see some of the far flung deserts and mountains of her heroine - even if it's by bus rather than camel and yak. She lives in Oxford.

Published by Quercus 5 March 2009

Friday, 27 March 2009

Philip Reeve - Fever Crumb (Mortal Engines)

Mr Ripley's Review

Philip Reeve has pulled off writing the prequel to this series. It works as a stand alone prequel novel and superb accompaniment to the Mortal Engines series. This is one of the best books I have read this year. Philip has an amazing ability to write a great book; crafting a story that transports the reader to an imaginary world. The story is fast-paced with exquisite detail encompassing great characters in this fantasy world.
The story centres around the main character "Fever Crumb" who is an odd looking orphan girl. When Fever starts to experience a world outside Godshawk's head, she finds out more then she expects as life has shown no emotion to a girl who is an engineer - and a young one at that.
The tale takes on a great journey, drawing on lots of action. The plot is based around a Victorian theme in London which makes the story come alive. The threads of the plot have been slowly spun together to give great detail. Whilst the ending gives scope for another book to be written in the future. This book gets Five out of Five; one of my best reads of the year - fantasy at its best.

About the book

Fever Crumb is set a generation before the events of Mortal Engines, when cities are just beginning to devour each other. Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London?
Huge armoured fortress are advancing towards London.Buried in the city's past is a terrible secret that may save it from destruction. Only one key can unlock it-an odd-looking orphan named Fever Crumb.


Hungry City Chronicles
1. Mortal Engines (2001)
2. Predator's Gold (2003)
3. Infernal Devices (2005)
4. A Darkling Plain (2006)
5. Fever Crumb (2009) Prequel

Buster Bayliss
4. Custardfinger (2003)
The Big Freeze (2002)
Day of the Hamster (2002)
Night of the Living Veg (2002)

1. Larklight (2006)
2. Starcross (2007)
3. Mothstorm (2008)

Published by Scholastic Children's books - 4 May 2009

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Rebecca J Anderson - Knife

Forget everything you think you know about faeries. . . . And buy this book.....

Creatures full of magic and whimsy? In this accomplished debut novel....

Not in the Oakenwyld. Not anymore. In the bookshops near you.........

It's like the Borrowers in the land of the faeries. Great book with Lot's of imagination with great main character's. Recommended read to everyone and his faerie.

Deep inside the great Oak lies a dying faery realm, bursting with secrets instead of magic. Long ago the faeries mysteriously lost their magic. Robbed of their powers, they have become selfish and dull-witted. Now their numbers are dwindling and their very survival is at stake.

Only one young faery—Knife—is determined to find out where her people's magic has gone and try to get it back. Unlike her sisters, Knife is fierce and independent. She's not afraid of anything—not the vicious crows, the strict Faery Queen, or the fascinating humans living nearby. But when Knife disobeys the Faery Queen and befriends a human named Paul, her quest becomes more dangerous than she realizes. Can Knife trust Paul to help, or has she brought the faeries even closer to the brink of destruction?

About the Author

R.J. Anderson was born in Uganda, raised in Ontario, went to school in New Jersey, and has spent much of her life dreaming of other worlds entirely.

As a child she immersed herself in fairy tales, mythology, and the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and E. Nesbit; later she discovered more contemporary authors like Ursula LeGuin, Patricia A. McKillip and Robin McKinley, and learned to take as much pleasure from their language as the stories they told. Now married and a mother of three, Rebecca reads to her sons the classic works of fantasy and science fiction that enlivened her own childhood, and tries to bring a similar sense of humor, adventure, and timeless wonder to the novels she writes for children and young adults.

Soon to be published in the U.S under a different title. (Faery Rebels:Spell Hunter)
Release date 1 June 2009 by HarperCollins. Out now in the U.K.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

David Miller - Shark Island

Mr Ripley's Review
A debut children's book by David Miller.
The story is inspired by the author's years living and working in Borneo and South Asia. Using the experiences he has had this gives this a more exotic feel to the story, enhancing the settings backdrops of tropical islands, landscapes, beaches and over grown jungles; building a real-life setting around the characters. David shows a world of diverse cultures - an aspect I loved about this book. When Hanna and Neds parents are kidnapped by pirates they find themselves in a predicament, how to escape the island and get help. The desperation to leave the island is quite gripping, giving it a more emotional feel when the children work out what to do next.
Throughout this action adventure there is a lot of highs and lows for the children to deal with; finding out what has happened to their parents is no easy task when no-one wants to help them and everyone is against them. I give this book four out of five.
It's an all-action gripping read with lots of plot features. The story transports the reader to a paradise island, making you live and breath a cracking adventure. Well worth a trek into its pages.

About the author:

David Miller was born in Norfolk. He has worked in advertising as a copywriter, and later as a creative director,
He has travelled widely all over the world,and has lived and worked in Malaysia and Singapore. Shark island was inspired by his experiences while visiting a small island off the coast of Malaysia.
David now writes full-time and lives in Hampshire with his wife, Su'en and his daughter,Hanna.


Hanna, Ned and their parents are on the holiday of a lifetime on the paradise island of Kaitan. But the idyll is shattered when pirates come in the night, burning their house and kidnapping their mother and father. The children are stranded, and don't even know if their parents are alive or dead . . . In this action-packed adventure, there is no one to help. Survival and escape are up to Hanna and Ned.

Published by Oxford Children's books May 2009

Brandon Mull - Fablehaven Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary- Released in the U.S Today


This is one of the best children's fantasy series of books you will find, out in the U.S. Book four is released today.
Well worth a read or two you will not be disappointed.


Brace yourself for a shocking secret. Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth? The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next? Find out in Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary.

Series Fablehaven

1. Fablehaven - 2006

2. Rise of the Evening Star - 2007

3. Grip of the Shadow Plague - 2008

4. Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary - March 2009

Other great books.......

The Candy Shop War - 2007

Here is a bunch of info all in one place about the release of Fablehaven Book 4.

FABLEHAVEN Book 4: SECRETS OF THE DRAGON SANCTUARY comes out today, Tuesday, March 24. At the same time, Book 3: GRIP OF THE SHADOW PLAGUE is now available in paperback. Amazon and bn.com both have good prices listed online, and the books can also be found in most major bookstores nationwide.

If you’re thinking about getting the books, or giving them as presents, now is a great time. For one, with the new release, the books are more in stock at stores than usual. Also, because of the new release, there are better discounts available. And also, if you care about helping the cause, sales on any of the Fablehaven books over these next couple of weeks will help toward the series hitting bestseller lists.

For these same reasons, this is a great time to share the series with friends or family who might be interested. Something like the following paragraph might get the job done (adjust however you want, and please add your personal opinion of the books):

Have you tried the Fablehaven books? Fablehaven is a really fun fantasy series. The books work well for kids, teens, and adults. They work well read alone, or aloud as a group or family. The Fablehaven series is about secret wildlife parks for magical creatures hidden in our world. There will be five books in the series. Book four just came out in hardcover, and book 3 just released in paperback. Give them a try! You won’t be disappointed! Fablehaven.com has more info.

Anyhow, if you’ve already started the series, I think the books get better as they go, and the chances are decent that book 4 might be your favorite so far.

Here is the info on my touring and events:

(check Fablehaven.com for more details)

Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30): LAUNCH PARTY at the Cottonwood High auditorium in Murray, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City. This is a big, free show in a 3,000 seat theater. There will be live comedy, music performances, and characters in costumes for photo opportunities. I’ll speak about the series, then we’ll finish with a massive book signing. Books and T-shirts will be on sale. Get more info at Fablehaven.com

Thursday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m. book signing at Mesa, AZ Barnes and Noble sponsored by Radio Disney (1758 South Val Vista Drive)

Friday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. book signing at Thousand Oaks, CA Borders (125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd.)

Saturday, March 28 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. book signing at Sandy, UT CostCo (11100 Auto Mall Dr.)

Monday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m. book signing at Enfield, CT Barnes and Noble sponsored by radio Disney (25 Hazard Ave.)

Wednesday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. book signing at Fenton, MO Barnes and Noble (721 Gravois Rd.)

Friday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. book signing at Plano, TX Barnes and Noble sponsored by Radio Disney (2201 Preston Road Suite E)

Saturday, April 4 at 2:00 p.m. special Tempe, Arizona charity event to help a woman with cancer, other authors present will include STEPHENIE MEYER, SHANNON HALE, and eights others. This is the only appearance Stephenie Meyer has planned for the entire year. There is a price to attend the event in order to raise money for the woman with cancer. Get more info or buy tickets at projectbookbabe.com

Tuesday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. book signing at Boise, ID Barnes and Noble (1315 N. Milwaukee)

Friday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. signing at Spokane, Washington Barnes and Noble (15310 East Indiana)

Sorry to burned you with lots of info! I’m excited for readers to discover my latest book!


Saturday, 21 March 2009

Marcus Alexander - Who is Charlie Keeper?

Hello,everybody just a quick post yesterday I was told about a new self published book. Which is getting some good press recently. I have not read a copy only checked out the synopsis which dose sound quiet good. So if there is anyone who as read it please let me know. Here is some information I have found out about the book.

'Who is Charlie Keeper?' is the shockingly fast paced fantasy novel by Marcus Alexander. It tells the tale of Charlie, an iron-willed, twelve year old girl suffering an unjust and unhappy fate.
Forced to flee her home in the gloomy, rain-drenched landscape of London by a bloodthirsty and terrifying new foe, she escapes to the vibrant, parallel land of Bellania with nothing more than her common sense and razor-sharp wits to keep her safe. Bellania, a land of myth, magic and marauding giants with bad attitude and poor anger management.

With the fate of a world resting squarely upon her shoulders Charlie must learn about her destiny in order to defeat Bane, the Stoman Lord.

And even with all the unspeakable betrayals, vicious enemies and terrible odds that are stacked against her, Charlie could probably succeed... ...if only she could learn to keep her big mouth shut and her opinions to herself.

This is a quick review by some one.

Who is Charlie Keeper? is an incredibly fast paced self published book by debut author Marcus Alexander. It's an epic fantasy tale that will have you gripped from page 1. Even though the book is self published you can definitely compare the author to the likes of J K Rowling, Tolkien and Prachett - it really does have that much potential. The lead character is a girl but she must be the coolest lead character of any Book i have ever come across. We think this series is destined to be huge.

Click the link for more on interesting information and how to get hold of a copy.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Sam Llewellyn - The Well Between The Worlds (Monsters of Lyonesse)

Mr Ripley's Review

The book starts off with the main character living and being raised in a fishing town as part of a loving family life. Every year the water rises and the walls of the land must be strenghtened to keep it out.
The book has a slow start and lacks clarity in the first two chapters. However after this it takes on a great twist, giving the book the life it needed through the start of a journey. Here Sam begins to build a great fantasy world of Lyonese which gives this book a new outlook. I loved this section due to Idris setting out on a great adventure with a "mystery" person and finding a great friendship with Morgan. Sam adds some great ideas with lots of originality to keep the reader interested.
This book has many elements including heroes, monsters and a good versus evil theme. It has been well written especially towards the end where the adventure and action has been well executed. It left me wanting to read the next book. Four out of five - only due to the slight stutter at the beginning.


In Lyonesse, if you know how to swim, you must be a Cross -- a half-human, half-monster hybrid. When Idris Limpet survives drowning, he is condemned to death, but a hasty escape leads him to safety. Now he is going to become a monstergroom and care for the very eatures waiting to be killed for the land's fuel. He can't even imagine what destiny has in store for him.


Sam Llewellyn was born on Tresco, Isles of Scilly, thirty miles west of Land's End, Britain's southwesternmost point, where his family has lived for 170 years. He was brought up between the coast road and the sea in North Norfolk.

After the best education Britain could provide, he married the prizewinning Canadian children's author Karen Wallace, and went to live in Toronto. Here the evening yacht races in the harbour gave him new insights into the darkness of the human soul, and the freshwater vastnesses of Lake Huron sent him cruising up the lakeshore in a porous Ackroyd dinghy with a tent under the foredeck. After a few years on a rock in the lake, the Llewellyns had just about forgotten where Toronto was, and moved to the estuary of Ireland's Blackwater river, where for a short but exciting time they held the eel fishing concession.

For the past twenty years they have lived in a medieval farmhouse in Herefordshire, England's wildest and most beautiful county, with their two sons, vast garden, and collection of boats in various states of disrepair. For several months most years, Llewellyn goes sailing to research his novels. He has sailed in most places from Turkey to the Baltic, in Maine, the West Indies, and the Pacific Northwest. In pursuit of fact and anecdote he has hunted pirates in the Philippines, crossed the Pacific in a rustbucket freighter, and rowed from North Wales to London, the rowing trip being the worst of the lot. For pleasure, he makes an annual trip to the West Coast of Scotland, where he cruises an open boat among the whales and mountains.

Published by Scholastic Children's books - 9 April 2009

Monday, 16 March 2009

Michael Grant - Gone

Mr Ripley's Review

Lord of The Flies for the Heroes generation.

Gone by Michael Grant is a fascinating read. One moment Sam is sitting in school listening to the teacher and the next minute everyone over 15 has disappeared. Sam then takes a journey not only to find out what has happened, but a journey to overcome his own short-coming and fears.I was hooked after just a few pages.The story flows really well, as the pages turn very quickly. Twists and turns are in abundance, I was left guessing until the very end; leaving a wide open void for the next book entitled Hunger. This will be published in June in the U.S. Mature themes like leadership, death, growing up, survival, and others make for wonderful character development and an excellent story. This book has just about everything you need in a great novel. I highly recommend this one; everyone who has read this book has said amazing things about it. Five out of Five.


Suddenly there are no adults, no answers. What would you do?In the blink of an eye, the world changes. The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive.But everyone's idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power...Even kill.For Sam and Astrid, it is a race against time as they try to solve the questions that now dominate their lives...What is the mysterious wall that has encircled the town of Perdido Beach and trapped everyone within? Why have some kids developed strange powers? And can they defeat Caine and his gang of bullies before they turn fifteen and disappear too?It isn't until the world collapses around you that you find out what kind of person you really are. This is a chilling portrayal of a world with no rules.

Published by Egmont Books - 6 April 2009

Friday, 13 March 2009

New Paperbacks Books For May 2009

Some more new titles for the great month of May 2009

Elizabeth Laird - Lost Riders - Macmillan Children's - 1 May 2009

Taken from their home in Pakistan to work in the Persian Gulf, eight-year-old Rashid and his little brother Shari cling to each other. Then they are separated and forced to become jockeys in the lucrative camel-racing business. Rashid is starved and worked to exhaustion by harsh supervisors - but he has a talent for racing and quickly becomes his stable's star jockey. Soon he begins to forget what life was like when he had a proper home. He almost begins to forget about Shari.

Kenneth Oppel - Starclimber - Faber Children's - 7 May 2009

Matt Cruse is back for his most dangerous expedition yet - into outer space! Boy-pilot Matt Cruse is looking forward to spending a peaceful summer with Kate de Vries. Until they are offered the chance of a lifetime to join the first expedition into space aboard the incredible ship Starclimber. But many challenges stand in the way: passing the gruelling tests to become astralnauts; facing attacks by fanatical Babelites opposed to the space race; and the unknown dangers that could be lurking in space. They will have to fight all the way. And even if they survive the journey into space, will they be able to return?

David Miller - Shark Island - Oxford Children's - 1 May 2009

Hanna, Ned and their parents are on the holiday of a lifetime on the paradise island of Kaitan. But the idyll is shattered when pirates come in the night, burning their house and kidnapping their mother and father. The children are stranded, and don't even know if their parents are alive or dead . . . In this action-packed adventure, there is no one to help. Survival and escape are up to Hanna and Ned.

Alison Allen-Gray - Lifegame - Oxford Children's Books - 7 May 2009

Fella and Grebe have grown up on an island, believing that the world beyond its shores is toxic and that the islanders are the lucky survivors of a cataclysmic disaster. And then Fella, an orphan, discovers a diary, hidden fifteen years ago by his mother - a woman who seemingly came from the Outside, from a world not run by the Officiate. This revelation seems incredible, but it gives the two friends hope that they can escape the brutality of their lives. Yet when, after a gripping chase, they manage to get off the island, what they discover is a shock. Not only is the Outside alien and frightening, it forces them to understand the appalling truth about where they have come from, and why they were there. An up-to-the-minute thriller about what makes us who we are.

Rebecca Promitzer - The Pickle King - Chicken House - 4 May 2009

Recipe Ingredients: A small town called Elbow; rain; five loony kids; one bad dog; a jar of Herman's Red Devil Chilli. Bring ingredients together, add a real-life dead body and a missing eyeball, and have yourself one crazy, red-hot adventure. The Pickle King is about that wonderful belief children have in finding something extraordinary behind even the most boring. It's a terrific, highly original, sometimes scary, deadpan funny read. It stars a gang of unl ikely friends thrown together one wet summer in the small town of Elbow, famous for only two things: chilli pickle and rain. Already bored, they hope something will turn up, but what noneof them expect is a real-life dead body with a missing eyeball! Soon the mystery of who killed Herman, owner of the giant pickle factory becomes a crazy adventure. That these kids have guts will take on a different meaning in this fabulous, zany debut.

Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams - Freefall (Tunnels) - Chicken House - 4 May 2009

As he plummets down a subterranean void, it looks like the end for Will Burrows. But it’s just the beginning of a new adventure as he comes up against giant carnivorous spiders and the deadly Brights, and far worse than any of these ... a pair of twelve-year-old girls with a score to settle.

Melissa Marr - Fragile Eternity - HarperCollins - 28 May 2009

Mortal affections and faery rivalries continue to collide in the town of Huntsdale, as New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr takes urban fantasy to new heights. After the terrible events of Ink Exchange, the Dark Court has a new ruler. But will Niall's kindness survive his new responsibility to the most violent of Faerie courts? Meanwhile, Seth and Aislinn attempt to mend their relationship. But Aislinn is the Summer Queen and Keenan is her king -- and as summer approaches, their chemistry sparks. Will Seth's mortality lose him the one thing he loves above all others? As Niall seeks to control his new Court, Aislinn attempts to resist the seduction of summer, and Seth searches desperately for the gift of immortality, a delicate balance is threatened, and a terrible plot is revealed!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

New Hardback Books For May 2009

I have a had quick look into the new books coming out in May and picked some of the best titles to be published.

Hardback releases

Philip Reeve - Fever Crumb - Scholastic Children's books - 4 May 2009

Huge armoured fortress are advancing towards London.Buried in the city's past is a terrible secret that may safe it from destruction.Only one key can unlock it-an odd-looking orphan named Fever Crumb.

Patrick Ness - The Ask And The Answer (Chaos Walking) - Walker Books - 5 May 2009

We were in the square, in the square where I’d run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren’t no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men…

Gayle Forman - If I Stay - Doubleday Children's - 7 May 2009

'Just listen,' Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen. 'Stay,' he says. Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they're all about a future full of music and love, a future that's brimming with hope. But life can change in an instant. A cold February morning ...a snowy road ...and suddenly all of Mia's choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she'll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all. Gripping, heartrending and ultimately life-affirming, "If I Stay" will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you've lost - and all that might be.

Bernard Beckett - Genesis - Quercus Publishing - 7 May 2009

Anax is about to face her examination for the Academy, the institution which safeguards her society. The subject is close to her heart: Adam, a man whose struggle transformed the course of her country. But the examination by the panel will reveal new twists to Adam's history. Twists that will undermine Anax's assumptions about her country and who she is. But why is the Academy allowing Anax to open up the enigma at its heart? All young people will identify with Anax as she faces the most important examination of her life; she is on the brink of her future and discovering a new world. Beckett unlocks this beautifully wrought story about the human soul and artificial intelligence in an ingenious and devastating denouement.

Sarah Prineas - The Magic Thief:Lost - Quercus Publishing - 7 May 2009

Conn's quest to save his city's magic has become urgent: his power stone is lost and Shadowmen, ruthless assassins, are stalking the city's people. But when Conn blows up Wizard Nevery's beloved home, he is banished by his own master. Determined to return and save Wellmet, he travels to Desh, a glittering city in the desert, home to the Shadowmen and run by a mysterious Sorcerer-King.

James Rollins - Jake Ransom And The Skull King's Shadow - HarperCollins - 7 May 2009

When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their parents - on the expedition from which they never returned - leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents' disappearance.

But even as they enter the gate to this extraordinary place, savage grackyls soar across the sky, diving to attack. Jake's new friends, the pretty Mayan girl Marika and the Roman Pindor, say the grackyls were created by an evil alchemist - the Skull King. And as Jake struggles to find a way home, it becomes obvious that what the Skull King wants most is Jake and Kady - dead or alive

Some good reading to look forward to in May.I will also list the best paperbacks to be released in May Soon.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Rebecca Promitzer - The Pickle King

Mr Ripley's Review

Another great debut author from Chicken House in the way of Rebecca Promitzer with her book "The Pickle King."

It's a fantastic but unusual read with lots of interesting ideas. I found it very original (an aspect of story writing that is getting harder to find in a book). The setting is in a small town called Elbow where it rains alot - a bit like in Yorkshire! The main characters include five misfit kids and one mad dog.
The book encompasses a real-life dead body; a missing eyeball and bag of intestines. These unusual ingredients add up to create a red-hot adventure that grip you from page to page. Especially when you include the dark and chilling moments that give an extra dimension to the book. Plus the jar of Herman's Devil Tongue chili, one crazy hospital full of mad people and a pinch of mystery and that just about sums up this book. All in all a super book and well worth a read. Four out of Five for a book that offers something different to the reader.

Published by Chicken House, out in May 2009 as a paperback

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Just a Few Words

I have been away for the last two weeks on a training course which left me unable to update the blog. I have had no time to do anything than learn, eat and sleep. So I will now try and catch up with the emails, the reading and the updating of the blog.
In the meantime, here's a thought I came across:

Anyone can slay a dragon but try getting up every morning and loving the world all over again, that's what makes a real hero.