Thursday, 13 May 2010

++++++Jenna Burtenshaw - Wintercraft - Book Launch Day Interview++++++

The day has finally arrived . . . . . .  Wintercraft will now be in the shops for you lucky people to buy. But equally as exciting, to mark the occasion, I have an exclusive interview with Jenna Burtenshaw. I hope you enjoy this insightful interview and that it entices you to read this great fantasy debut. If you do grab a copy, don't be shy - please tell us what you think. 
Many thanks to Jenna for taking the time to answer these questions for the blog readers - they certainly make interesting reading.   

How would you summarise your book, in 20-30 words, to encourage and entice people to read it?
A supernatural fantasy about a girl who can manipulate the veil between life and death; a killer who is hunting her, and an ancient book that holds the secrets of death itself. 

My favourite character in the book is Silas Dane. How did you come up with the idea for the character?
In the earliest drafts of Wintercraft, Silass place was taken up by a very different character and Silas was not part of the story at all.  Then, during one of my rewrites, I realised something important was missing.  The original character just wasnt working, so I went back to the drawing board and tried something new. 
The first image I had of Silas was of him standing on the rooftops above Morvanes market square surrounded by birds.  At that point I didnt know what he was doing there.  Then, gradually, his purpose, personality and past began to come together and when he took his place within the world, everything changed.  He took charge right away and the story bent to accommodate events that only his unique character could make possible.
Right from the start, I knew Silas was a conflicted man with complex motivations, so while he is not a traditional villain, he is not entirely a good man either.  He has been affected so strongly by extreme experiences in his life that he now lies somewhere tantalisingly inbetween. 
Silas is the kind of character I have always wanted to read about.  He has so many secrets and is so closed off from the world that he has become a mystery.  To me, that makes him irresistible.    

Wintercraft is the first book in the trilogy; are there any snippets of information that you could share with us about book 2?
Kates actions at the end of book one will have dangerous repercussions.  There will be lots more Silas action and further secrets surrounding the bonemen and the ancient city will be revealed. 

Has any particular writer or book influenced you as an author?
When I was younger I was a big fan of Roald Dahl.  His books first sparked my interest in writing when I was nine years old, but the major influence upon my writing as an adult was probably Jonathan Stroud.  Jonathan is a fantastic writer and his Bartimaeus trilogy encouraged me to write something darker than I had been working on up to that point.  His books inspired me to stop holding back and let my imagination run free.
Who designed your book cover?
The cover was designed by The Parish Book Design:  They also designed the cover for Matthew Skeltons Endymion Spring, which is one of my favourite covers of the past few years, so I was very pleased!

Are there any tips (as a writer) that you could give to aspiring individuals, who are hoping to become published authors themselves?
Write something you would love to read.  Dont worry about whats popular at the moment or what you think other people will like, write what you like and it will end up being something you can be proud of.  Read anything you can get your hands on and keep writing, even during the bad days.  It may take time to find your own voice and style, but it will be worth it in the end.  If writing is something you really want to do, dont give up.  Keep going and follow your instincts.  They will usually be right. 

Which character from a children's book would you most associate yourself with and why?
She may not be strictly from a childrens book, but I would love to meet Jo March from Louisa May Alcotts Little Women.  I think she and I would get along brilliantly

What book have you read recently that you've enjoyed and why?
Im a big fan of dystopian fiction so I recently picked up Survivors by Terry Nation.  I havent watched the tv series, but the book had me cringing with horror at the choices the characters made to survive before eventually coming together to help each other through a terrible situation.  The ending finished everything off so perfectly and when I closed the book I just thought Wow. 

Could you describe a typical working day for you, as a writer?
I start at around 10am; replying to emails and planning out what needs to be done that day.  By about 11am, my fantastically well-organised plan has usually gone out of the window.  I try to write about 1000-2000 new words a day, but when Im editing or wrestling with a difficult chapter it can often be less.  After that I organise ideas for future stories, answer any questions Ive been sent, or read for a while.  I spend a lot more time thinking about a story than I do writing it, so if you find me sitting at my desk, staring blankly into space, its not time-wasting, its research.  Honest.    

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Paul Howard - Children's Illustrator - New Debut Fiction - Superfly

About the Illustrator/Author
Paul Howard’s charming illustrations have won him acclaim from both the publishing industry and children across the world. Paul was born at home in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on April Fool’s day in 1967 and went on to study a Graphic Design course that specialized in illustration. Paul’s career in illustration began when he was asked by a friend to do some drawings for a book. Paul went on to illustrate another book...and another...and another. Paul has won numerous awards including a ‘Best Book To Read Aloud’ Blue Peter Award for "The Bravest Ever Bear" by Allan Ahlberg. He has also won a Primary English Award for Kathy Henderson's "Year in the City" and "Full, Full, Full of Love" by Trish Cooke was shortlisted for the 2004 Sheffield Children's Book Award.

Paul Howard's First New Series For Egmont Press - Published 2011

After 19 years as an illustrator, Paul Howard has proved he's a man of more than one extraordinary talent with the news that Egmont Press have signed up his debut fiction series, Superfly.Written and illustrated by Paul, the series will chronicle the adventures of Superfly a tiny insect super-hero who pits his wits against Bugville's dastardly villains including the colourful Electro Slug. The books will have black and white illustrations, in a distinct new direction for Paul and be targeted at both boys and girls aged 7+.Egmont Press's Fiction Publisher Leah Thaxton is delighted with her latest acquisition:"I have long admired Paul's work – but the moment I saw a fragment of the script that was Superfly, I was truly bowled over. How has Paul managed to keep a lid on this kind of talent and irrepressible humour for so long?!"Paul Howard illustrations feature in some of Egmont Press's best known picture books, including Jill Tomlinson's bestselling The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark.The first Superfly title is scheduled to be published in January 2011 and the second in August of the same year.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

S.A Bodeen - The Gardener - Book Review

The first book written by this author was  "The Compound", a book I must slot into my 'must read' pile. As this book found praise from all of its readers - a great U.S title for reluctant readers. Now this 'up and coming' author has released her second book, which will be published in May.

When I first got a copy of this book, I never actually read the synopsis. Instead, I was drawn to the book by the cover alone - which only takes an initial glance to capture your attention.

By the first chapter I was intrigued by the story, as I had no idea where it was taking me. But the more I turned the pages, the more the story started to unfold. Infact it left me reading into the early hours of the morning; by which time I had uncovered a thrilling urban Sci-Fi adventure. I was hooked on reading this book until the very end.

The story is told through the voice of Mason, who finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue and adventure, as he stumbles upon a beautiful young girl in a nursing home (where his mother works). This girl finds herself recovering from her coma, when Mason plays a DVD of his father, who is reading a bedtime story. Instantly Mason becomes involved with the girl and eventually he and his best friend sneak her out of the home. This is no ordinary girl though...and Mason soon learns that an insane, utterly science fiction-like conspiracy has been taking place in his own home town for years. 

Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.

This book is fast paced - it only has 232 pages from beginning to end. However there are many twists and turns that keep you questioning the direction of this plot throughout. A key element that is raised involves the questions asked by the author about society and survival - using children as experimental "Guinea pigs" and the rights to a normal childhood. These are all key ingredients to the storyline. 

I loved the concept behind the story, which is actually worth reading within its own right. It's woven together by the biological findings of sea snails which gives an original edge to the theme to the story. As well as the idea of autotrophic humans, who don't need to eat or drink, as they are energized by the sun. This is a great read and is certainly a book that I would recommend. It combines emotional tension with gripping reality but with a quirky Sci-Fi edge to it - a big thumbs up!

Books published by Feiwel & Friends (May 25, 2010 - U.S book release)

Monday, 26 April 2010

Paolo Bacigalupi - Ship Breaker - Book Review

Occasionally I cross into the realms of adult literature - not too long ago I had the rare opportunity to do just this. I managed to read a copy of "The Windup Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi, which I really enjoyed. So when I found out that he was writing for a younger audience, I was very eager to get my hands on a copy, which I eventually did.

This book draws you into the dystopian future, which is set in a world of climate change and environmental disaster. It shows a grim picture of reality for some, who work and live in poverty. Nailer finds life tough; working for a salvage company and delivering the quota for each day. But fortunately the boy has dreams and a certain amount of luck on his side, as he encounters many a tough and testing time.

The more you read this book, the more you are drawn into the murkier reality, which leaves an unsettling feeling in your stomach. It is very gritty and has you on the edge of your seat - hoping for the good characters to overcome evil and survive the battles ahead.

The book encompasses a lot of feeling and many questions are asked about money - about it being the power and the driving force for everything. The significant relationships between society and friendship versus family life are also asked, which link to the plot very well.

The book is well written but I feel it has a slightly stilted start, perhaps due to a number of vague characters being introduced at the beginning of the book. However once you become acclimatised to the story and the characters, you find yourself immersed within the story world and find it hard to leave. 

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .

The adrenalin rush towards the end of the book is immense - a cup of tea is certainly required in order to calm down. The action packed end brings all the emotions to a climax, as the journey comes to an end with a bang. I hope the author ventures into another book for the Younger Adult audience in the future.

I am very interested to hear what others think about this book. 

Published by Little Brown Books - 1 May 2010

New Children's Books - Picks For The Month Of May 2010 - U.S

John Grisham - Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer -Published by Dutton Children's Books - 25 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.

But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.

The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served. 

Patrick Carman - Trackers #1 - Published by Scholastic Press - 11  May 2010
Book Synopsis:
In the 21st century landscape of bits and bytes, everyone leaves a digital footprint ... even the most advanced cyber criminals. And that’s where the Trackers come in. Four tech-savvy kids armed with high-tech video cameras and esoteric coding skills, the Trackers can find almost anyone, anywhere. Told through a collage of videos, text, and websites, Trackers #1 follows Adam, Finn, Lewis, and Emily as they become entangled in a high-tech, high-stakes game of cat and mouse with Shantorian, the world’s most dangerous hacker. At least, that’s who they think they’re tracking....
As the four dig deeper into the shadowy world of online crime, they soon learn that things aren’t always as they seem.
Lisa Mantchev - Perchance to Dream: Theatre Illuminata - Published by Feiwel & Friends - 25 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?
Dale E Basye - Blimpo: The Circle of Heck - Published by Random House Books - 11 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
After his second escape from Bea "Elsa" Bubb, the Principal of Darkness, Milton Fauster makes his way to Blimpo—the circle of the otherworldly reform school, Heck, where he's sure his friend Virgil is sentenced. What Milton finds in Blimpo horrifies him. The overweight dead kids spend most of their time running on giant human hamster wheels called DREADmills that detect and exploit their deepest fears. The rest they spend eating Hambone Hank's barbecue—mystery meat that is delicious, but suspiciously (to Milton, anyway) haunting. Every classroom has a huge TV screen showing happy thin people who taunt Blimpo residents with a perfection they will never attain.

Meanwhile, at her new job in the devil's Infernship program, Milton's sister, Marlo, knows all about trying to achieve perfection. And failing miserably. Can Milton get himself and Virgil out of Blimpo in time to rescue Marlo, too? Or is Fauster the next delicacy on Bea "Elsa" Bubb's menu?

Christy Raedeke - Prophecy of Days: The Daykeeper's Grimoire - Published by Flux - 1 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
When her safe-cracker mom and code-breaker dad inherit a dreary Scottish castle, sixteen-year-old Caity Mac Fireland is not happy. Ripped from her cushy life and friends in San Francisco, Caity’s secret fantasy of being discovered by a Hollywood agent, talent scout, or even just a pageant coach seems more unlikely than ever.
But when Caity stumbles across a hidden room in the castle, its walls covered in strange symbols, her life takes a bizarre turn. She finds herself center stage in an international conspiracy involving warring secret societies, assassins, the suppressed revelations of the Mayan Calendar and the year 2012, plus the fate of humanity.
With the help of her friend Justine back home, and Alex, a gorgeous and mysterious Scottish boy, Caity must race to decipher the code and reveal its message to the world before time runs out.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Jenna Burtenshaw - Wintercraft - Book Review & Book Trailer

I have had my eye on this book for some time now. This great title had me instantly attracted to it, so when I finally did get a copy, I desperately wanted to read it. Unfortunately I had to really restrain myself from diving into it, due to my really busy work schedule. This book has taken four years to write, so I knew that it was worth savouring but I hope I don't have to wait quite so long for the next one.

I immediately noticed that this debut fantasy novel has no vampires or demons ripping out limbs. Equally there are no angels or zombies prowling within and around the storyline. Now some people may say that the lack of such characters could make the story rather dull . . .  but they would be wrong. This book does maintain a really dark, Gothic feel to it that runs throughout the story, which I really loved. It's an atmospheric mystery that tells the truth about friendship - it's a book that can't be put down until the very last page is turned.

This book has a great setting and a very original plot, with some exceedingly nasty characters to follow. Silas Dane, my favourite character, really develops the 'fear factor' within the book and certainly makes the 'fearometer' jump exceedingly high at times - leaving the reader cowering behind their sofa. His taste for revenge drives him to seek an end to his immortality. On his journey he takes no prisoners and has no qualms in killing people that get in his way - making for some great reading, which is not for the young or weak of heart! This man is a killer and make no mistakes about that....

The book follows Kate into the world of the 'Skilled'; a rare group of people who are able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. The High Council are seeking out the Skilled and using them to experiment on - to see if they have the powers to walk the fine line between life and death in the veil. Silas Dane is the High Council's most feared man; he recognises Kate as one of the Skilled and their paths cross with brutal consequences. . . . 

The knowledge that Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft...

The ending comes to a quick climax, but with a range of unexpected twists and turns, that bring the complex characters and the storyline together in a magical way. It finishes with a great number of possibilities for maybe the next book. This makes the wait particularly exciting to see what may happen next, if anything!
Book published by Headline 13 May 2010 - not long now!

For more information take a visit to

Saturday, 17 April 2010

New Children's Book - Picks For The Month Of May 2010 - Post Two

D I Toft - Wolven: The Twilight Circus - Published by Chicken House -  3 May 2010
Book Synopsis: 
Having spent the summer dodging mutant werewolves and barking-mad scientists, Nat Carver and Woody, his shape-shifting friend, have joined the Twilight Circus of Illusion before going in search of Woody s long-lost clan. But instead the boys are caught up in a thrilling new adventure, this time against the forces of evil in the guise of a black widow vampire and her terrifying hive.

Craig Simpson - Special Operations:Wolf Squadron - Published by Corgi Children's - 27 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
Finn Gunnersen and his friends Loki and Freya are behind enemy lines once more and at the heart of a dangerous Special Ops mission. A mole has struck at the heart of HQ and is jeopardizing the entire resistance network in Holland. Meanwhile Finn's charged with providing a escort for a British Double agent in possession of critical Nazi invasion plans but with his father missing in action, he has a personal score to settle with the enemy.. 

Joanne Owen - The Alchemist and the Angel - Published by Orion - 27 May 2010
Book Synopsis: 
Everything changes for orphaned Jan when his beloved uncle, Gustav - anatomist, natural scientist and aspiring alchemist - enlists his help in a quest to create a life-generating serum. To test the serum, they must follow a set of ancient instructions and play a dangerous game of bringing the inanimate to life... When Gustav dies suddenly, it's up to Jan to continue his work - little does he know that his beautiful, calculating aunt dreams of using the serum for her own purposes - eternal life. Under the facade of her grief, she convinces Jan they must move from Vienna to Prague, and when she mysteriously disappears, Jan searches for her. In the plague-ridden ghettos and the court of the mad Emperor Rudolf, he must pit his wits against an extraordinary cast of characters and events. His only ally is Zuzana, a girl with secrets of her own. Set against the vivid backdrop of 16th century Prague and the equally breathtaking Vienna, a magical, historical adventure from a talented author.

David Calcutt - The Map of Marvels - Published by Oxford - 1 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
When Connor starts creating a map of an imaginary world for his school project he has no idea where it will lead. As he draws the outlines of the islands and the mountains, the map begins to take shape. And then there's the tower-ominous and threatening - but so necessary that without it the map would not be complete. Perhaps without the tower, the map might not even exist. But the map does exist, and so does the tower. As Connor enters the world he's created he meets others there who all have their own tale to tell. Together they travel between many worlds, on many adventures and through many stories. On their journey they encounter places and creatures beyond Connor's imagination. But he has imagined them, hasn't he? Surely this world can't be real, because if it is, his life at home must just be another story . . .

Nicola Morgan - Wasted - Walker Books - 3 May 2010
Book Synopsis:
Jack worships luck and decides his actions by the flip of a coin. No risk is too great if the coin demands it. Luck brings him Jess, a beautiful singer who will change his life. But Jack’s luck is running out, and soon the stakes are high. As chance and choice unravel, the risks of Jack’s game become terrifyingly clear. An evening of heady recklessness, and suddenly a life hangs in the balance, decided by the toss of a coin. In the end, it is the reader who must choose whether to spin that coin and determine: life or death.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

C T Furlong Killer Strangelets:An Arctic6 Adventure - Review

I was recently introduced to this debut title by the up-and-coming publisher, Inside Pocket. Their first book release will be 'The Adventures of Titch & Mitch' by Garth Edwards, which has some great illustrations by Max Stasyuk. The next book to be published, after the Titch & Mitch books, will be 'Killer Strangelets:An Arctic6 Adventure' by C T Furlong, due to be published in June 2010.

After a childhood love of adventure stories, the author was inspired to write her own books - for us all to enjoy. This will be her first published book in the 'Arctic6 Adventure' series - with the next book 'Killer Genes' to follow in September 2010.

At the start of the book, I did actually get a little lost, as I struggled with understanding the different character relationships and how these fitted into the story. I felt they weren't made too clear at the start and this held me back a little, but when I did get my bearings the book was immensely enjoyable. The plot was fast paced and full of adventure and mysteries. The tech-stuff and science part was particular engrossing and worked really well - you could tell that the author has a really good understanding of the subject. This was used to great effect within the book.  

The book follows the exploits of the fifteen year old Iago, his cousins, Cam, Tara and Renny, and his younger sister, Aretha. Joined by their friend, the bewitching Charlie, they embark on a mission to save Iago's father who has been accidentally kidnapped - by perhaps the maddest of all possible mad scientists.

Firstly all the characters have to work together to establish and solve the problem. Then they need to act to save Iago's father, and save the world from destruction. The book is action packed and a race right until the very final page. There are an array of original ideas packed into this book, some of these are written through phone conversations which give it an extra dimension. The book ends with a bang, as all the storylines are brought together, leaving you to finally catch your breath.

This is a great debut start to the series, I am already looking forward to the next planned adventure, which will not come soon enough for me. The book cover is particularly enticing; it will have you wanting to pick it up and to read it as soon as you see it in the shops. I hope you think about putting this book on your summer reading list . . . . I would have!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Kevin Brooks - iBoy - Book Review

I have had a super weekend at the FCBG conference in Reading, where I have had the opportunity to attend some great children's book events. I really enjoyed being able to speak to other delegates and a whole host of publishers. It was yet again, another memorable conference, set in superb surroundings.
'iboy' was one of the books that I came away with from the Puffin stand. It was highly recommended; I was completely sold on the book purely from the passionate account that the publisher gave, regarding the storyline. As a result I desperately wanted to read it, and as soon as I could. Fortunately the long train journey home enabled my wish to come true, and within 48 hours of acquiring the book, I was soon turning the pages.
I have to say that this book has been a great read; a really unexpected and very memorable story. I had an initial idea that this was some sort of Hollywood-type blockbuster; a modern day Superhero, with lots of non-stop action and gadgets. But to be honest it has fallen short of this, and in this instance, I am pleased that it has.

Before the attack, sixteen-year-old Tom Harvey was just an ordinary boy. But now fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain and it’s having an extraordinary effect . . . Because now Tom has powers. The ability to know and see more than he could ever imagine. And with incredible power comes knowledge – and a choice. Seek revenge on the violent gangs that rule his estate and assaulted his friend Lucy, or keep quiet? Tom has control when everything else is out of control. But it’s a dangerous price to pay. And the consequences are terrifying . . 

This book has a gripping real-life feel to it; with characters who are found to be living their lives on an inner city estate, outside of London. The story covers gritty issues such as drugs, the gang culture and even rape. Tom and Lucy, unfortunately find themselves victims to some of these events, at some point within the story. 

The book has a brilliant heart-in-your-mouth story. I loved every page of this amazing book; it will stay with me for some time to come.  I have to say, that I probably wouldn't have normally picked it up, due to it depicting 'real-life' issues. It was only the lure of the Superhero character which evetually enticed me. However everything within the book works well together, even the Superhero is understated and is featured more like a real-life hero.

I would really recommend for you to get your hands on a copy of this book; it comes out in July. I would love to hear your comments once you've had a chance to read it.

I would love to see an additional book being written; just to see the possibilities as to how iboy could be developed into another storyline. We'll just have to wait and see if this is possible . . . . .

New Children's Book - Picks For The Month Of May 2010 - Post One

Joseph Delaney - The Spook's Nightmare - Published by Bodley Head Children's - 27 May 2010 - H/B
Book Synopsis:
The Spook, Tom and Alice return from Greece to find the County under siege - and the Spook's home is burnt to the ground. With his precious library of knowledge destroyed, they seek refuge on the nearby island of Mona. But with Mona in the thrall of a twisted Shaman there is little respite from hostility or denizens of the dark. And as Alice dodges the ever-tightening net of the island's witch hunters, a more deadly enemy emerges...Bony Lizzie, freshly-escaped from the Spook's bonds, has grand ambitions: to take for herself the throne of isle. She has harnessed the services of a tunnel-dwelling buggane, an evil creature which thrives on stealing the animas, or life force, from its unsuspecting victims. With the buggane as her secret weapon can she become an all-powerful Witch Queen?
Mark Walden - Rouge(H.I.V.E) - Published by Bloomsbury Publishing - 3 May 2010 - P/B
Book Synopsis:
The leaders of the world's villainous forces are being picked off one by one in a series of mysterious attacks and Dr Nero is forced to take temporary control of G.L.O.V.E. when Diabolus Darkdoom is seriously injured. He then discovers that Otto, who has now been missing for several months since Dreadnought, is leading the attacks. Under pressure from the remaining members of the ruling council, Nero is left with no choice but to issue a capture or kill order for Otto. Wing learns of the order and persuades Raven to allow him to join her on her mission to retrieve Otto. Other members of the ruling council, suspicious of Nero's relationship with the boy, have initiated their own missions to eliminate Otto. Wing and Raven find themselves in a deadly race against time to track Otto down before the other G.L.O.V.E. assassins get to him. Their pursuit takes them to a secret facility hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest, where they face a mysterious operative even deadlier than Raven. Meanwhile back at H.I.V.E., the school's own automated defence systems turn against the pupils and staff. And there is no one there to stop it
Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams - Closer(Tunnels) - Published by Chicken House - 3 May 2010 - P/B
Book Synopsis:
At the centre of the Earth, in a world that no one knows exists, Will is in trouble. His enemy, the Styx, are close behind. They'll pursue him to the ends of the world - any world. Meanwhile Drake - with help from the unlikeliest of allies - is preparing to fight the Styx from above. But will his daring plan bring him closer to victory ... or to certain death?

Patrick Ness - Monsters of Men(Chaos Walking)  - Published by Walker Books - 3 May 2010 - H/B
Book Synopsis:
“War,” says the Mayor. “At last.” Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they’re so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge… The electrifying finale to the award-winning Chaos Walking trilogy, Monsters of Men is a heart-stopping novel about 
power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.

Tommy Donbavand - Scream Street 8:Attack of the Trolls - Published by Walker - 4 May 2010 - P/B
Book Synopsis:
This is the eighth crazy adventure in this hugely popular comedy horror series for ghouls and girls! Now that Luke, Resus and Cleo have learnt how to rid Scream Street of invading normals, they're keen to begin their new quest right away. First stop, Count Negatov's castle! As the trio make their way through the bleak, mucky wilds of Transylvania, it seems that this adventure will be dull, but easy. Until, that is, they're kidnapped by trolls. 'Exactly the sort of grisly, gross and hilarious stuff that kids will love!' - Eoin Colfer. 'Lightning-paced, bloodcurdling fun. I wish I'd been able to visit Scream Street as a kid!' - Darren Shan. This title includes four free collector's cards inside. Wickedly funny Scream Street website is updated regularly with competitions, short stories and new issues of Scream Street's own newspaper, "The Terror Times".

Chris Wooding - Havoc - Published by Scholastic - 3 May 2010 - P/B
Book Synopsis:
This is the eighth crazy adventure in this hugely popular comedy horror series for ghouls and girls! Now that Luke, Resus and Cleo have learnt how to rid Scream Street of invading normals, they're keen to begin their new quest right away. First stop, Count Negatov's castle! As the trio make their way through the bleak, mucky wilds of Transylvania, it seems that this adventure will be dull, but easy. Until, that is, they're kidnapped by trolls. 'Exactly the sort of grisly, gross and hilarious stuff that kids will love!' - Eoin Colfer. 'Lightning-paced, bloodcurdling fun. I wish I'd been able to visit Scream Street as a kid!' - Darren Shan. This title includes four free collector's cards inside. Wickedly funny Scream Street website is updated regularly with competitions, short stories and new issues of Scream Street's own newspaper, "The Terror Times".

Jenna Burtenshaw - Wintercraft - Published by Headline 13 May 2010 - P/B
Book Synopsis :
Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. 
Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace.
The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell - Wyrmeweald:Returner's Wealth - Book Review

Wyrmeweald is a new series from Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. This book is entitled 'Returner's Wealth' and is the first within a trilogy. It is written with the older audience in mind, the story deals more intimately with emotions and details a darker side to this fantasy world. The heightened depth of anger and death can be felt throughout this plot -they are not skirted around but instead become an important element to the story.

Young pioneer, Micah, enters Wrymeweald full of hope to return home having made his fortune. But this is a land where wyrmes, fabulous dragon-like beasts, roam wild and reign supreme. In Wyrmeweald man is both hunter and hunted - and seventeen-year-old Micah may never return alive, let alone a hero...After a near-brush with death on the edge of a canyon, Micah soon finds a chance to prove his worth when he meets with Eli, a veteran tracker of Wrymeweald. They choose to defend a rare whitewyrme egg and its precious hatchling before it falls into the hands of a band of evil Kith. But the fledgling wyrme has its own guardian in the shape of the beautiful, brave and dangerous Thrace

The book starts slightly differently with a very extensive setting, which describes and paints the history of various creatures and their world. The main character introduction and dialogue doesn't appear until later on - within the first few chapters of the book. But as soon as they begin to interact and their personalities unfold, the adventure literally sweeps you off your feet.

The story is beautifully written; the descriptive and expressive language bonds you powerfully with the individual characters and underlying plot. The main theme of 'revenge' is the constant factor which keeps the storyline tight and focused - each character maintains a consistent drive,  which builds up to the ultimate end.

The two main characters, Micah and Aseel, who meet by chance after an attack, develop an emotional attachment. This is portrayed poignantly and is written with an infectious strand - the reader wants them to be together, but knows that this is unlikely to develop. . . . until maybe . . . .   

The talent of Chris Riddell, as always, is evident throughout the book. With his intrinsically detailed illustrations, he adds to and enhances the depth of the storyline. Each illustration appears to be strategically placed, down the side of each chapter. As well as occasional larger images, which provide greater impact when required. 

This is a very promising start to this new trilogy. This will publicly unfold on the release date 29th April, according to Amazon. This new series should only add to Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's already substantial fan base.  

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Ana Fischel - The Twelve Quests:Bk 1 Bluebeard's Key - Book Review

In 2004, I first came across the charming book publication of The Zartarbia Tales by Ana Fischel. Very quickly the book found its way into
the collectable market, mainly due to its small print run and limited hardback release.  

The first book, entitled "Isabella Zophie and Le Cirque de Magique", was published by Pen Press. Book two followed a year or so later, and hence a great start was made to a new and imaginative series of books. However several years passed . . . . still I was waiting for another book to be released. But now five years later, Ana has finally written a new series in the form of 'The Twelve Quests'.

These new books are really a modern day children's fairy tale, that revive the dark Gothic atmosphere of the 19th century, and reignite the richness of European folklore. This series of modern classics tell the woeful tale of ten year old twins, Albert and Florence Leadington, who are forced to embark on an extraordinary trip to complete twelve devious and deadly quests.

Each book covers a deadly quest - twelve books in all to look forward to, with each one delivering a small slice within a much larger fantasy adventure. 

The books are set  in 1849, when times were particularly unpleasant for most people. Indeed Victorian London was certainly not a great place to live if you were poor, but it was even worse if you had the misfortune to be stuck in Mrs. Snagglesnarle's orphanage. And yet this is exactly where Albert and Florrie find themselves. However one fateful day, the strange and hapless Mr. Arthur Canarthy turns up and informs them that their parents are in fact not dead  . . . . . . but alive and cursed. 

I now find myself in the position of needing to track down the other six books in the series. Each book has been published with a striking book cover; leading the imagination into a state of overdrive.

For more information on the series and about the author please visit

Sunday, 4 April 2010

***Twitter Book Give Away*** Chelsea Campbell - The Rise Of Renegade X - U.S Proof Copy

The Book Give Away Rules : Follow me on Twitter and RT The Book Give Away.  If you want a better chance,you can leave a comment on the blog as well. The last day to enter is 7 April 2010.
Open Worldwide.

Book Synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Damien Locke has a plan: major in messing with people at the local supervillain university and become a professional evil genius, just like his supervillain mom. But when he discovers the shameful secret she's been hiding all these years, that the one-night stand that spawned him was actually with a superhero, everything gets messed up. His father's too moral for his own good, so when he finds out Damien exists, he actually wants him to come live with him and his goody-goody superhero family. Damien gets shipped off to stay with them in their suburban hellhole, and he has only six weeks to prove he's not a hero in any way, or else he's stuck living with them for the rest of his life, or until he turns eighteen, whichever comes first.

To get out of this mess, Damien has to survive his dad's "flying lessons" that involve throwing him off the tallest building in the city--despite his nearly debilitating fear of heights--thwarting the eccentric teen scientist who insists she's his sidekick, and keeping his supervillain girlfriend from finding out the truth. But when Damien uncovers a dastardly plot to turn all the superheroes into mindless zombie slaves, a plan hatched by his own mom, he discovers he cares about his new family more than he thought. Now he has to choose: go back to his life of villainy and let his family become zombies, or stand up to his mom and become a real hero.

Book Published by Egmont USA May 11 2010