Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Book Plug #2 Louis L. Buitendag - The Bloomswell Diaries

Benjamin Bloomswell is pleased to be staying with his uncle in America while his parents are off on another business trip. It’s like a vacation. But when a series of newspaper articles, telephone calls and mysterious disappearances result in his being sent to – and having to escape from – a sinister orphanage and the criminals who run it, he knows he’s somehow got to find a way back to Europe. He has to get to his sister’s boarding school before anyone else does. And 
somehow, he has to find his parents, who are also in trouble. But how...

To read the first few chapters click here:

Book published by Kane/Miller Publishers US March 2011 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

++++Julie Cross - Tempest - Book Review+++

  • Pages 415
  • Publisher - Macmillan Children's Books
  • Publication Date - 6 January 2012
  • Age - Teen
  • Isbn: 978 0 230 7526 7 H/back
Jackson Meyer is hiding a secret. He can time-travel. But he doesn't know how he does it, how to control it or what it means. When Jackson, and his girlfriend Holly, find themselves in fatal danger, Jackson panics and catapaults himself two years into his past, further than he's ever managed before, and this time he can't find a way back to the future. All the rules of time-travel he's experienced so far have been broken and Jackson has no choice but to pretend to be his younger self whilst he figures out a solution. Jackson is tearing himself apart with guilt and frustration, wondering if Holly survived. He's also become the target of an unknown enemy force and it seems even his dad is lying to him. Jackson is racing against time to save the girl he loves, but to do that he must first discover the truth about his family and himself.
And stay alive.

Today - Jackson and Holly are in love
Tomorrow - She will lie dying in his arm
Yesterday - Jackson must undo it all

I was totally sold on this book from the synopsis - the time travelling theme is a concept that I really enjoy engaging with. However, within this book, the time travelling aspect is somewhat different to most for two main reasons:

  • Firstly, the main character (Jackson Meyer) is able to step back in time due to a genetic gene - no machine is required 
  • Secondly, Jackson can only go back as far as he was born which turns out to be around a twenty year span 

This is not necessarily a book that I would have picked up. However, I'm really pleased that I now have and to be honest at various stages, I found it really difficult to put down. You may be thinking (or perhaps you're not!) why I would not have automatically read this book? The reason why is that it's a teenage romantic love story with a mysterious theme. This is generally an area that I would normally steer away from - the paranormal-type romance which is a word that you certainly won't see very often on this blog! However, the secret agent part injects the story with both a male theme and perspective which, at times, helps to play down the romantic side.

I found the whole series of events to be rather well plotted. The nice Sci-Fi feel punched through at the end of the book which, whilst out of character, was well worth it. As a result, I feel that the author created a particularly well written debut book - two more books are due to be published within this series.

This book is fast paced and portrays a realistic teenage college-life. It features interesting science elements and some great characters. One such character is Adam, otherwise known as a computer geek and Holly, who will probably epitomise most teenage boys dream of an ideal girlfriend!

All in all this book was very enjoyable to read - it didn't feel like a book aimed at teenage girls. The sad, fresh and cool amalgamation of genres made this such a fantastic read, which I feel will be loved by all who can get their hands on a copy to read. I certainly hope that we get more of these successful ingredients within the next book.

Check out for a bonus prequel short story which is available for free......

Many thanks to Sally for sending a copy of this book to me. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

+++ Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars Final 2011 Winners Post +++

book cover of 

Shadow of the Hawk 

 (Wereworld, book 3)


Curtis Jobling

Finally Mr Ripley's book cover wars has now come to an end. After nearly two months of gruelling battles a final worthy winner can be announced.

As usual I would like to thank the many people who got behind this little idea of mine. Although this idea is now in its third year, I still find the whole process tremendously exciting and interesting. Therefore, I  hope you all had as much fun as I did - either as an observer or a contender.

Battling in the final were Curtis Jobling with the book cover for 'Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk' illustrated/designed by Andrew Farley (published in January 2012) and Conrad Mason with the book cover for 'The Demon's Watch' illustrated/designed by David Wyatt (published in March 2012).

This year over 698 votes were in the final alone. However, over two months around 3,000 votes hit the site, which just highlights the passion that this competition generates. Anyway, without further ado I'd like to award the title of 'Mr Ripleys Book Cover Wars 2011 book cover of the year' to . . . . . . .  CURTIS JOBLIN for the UK book cover - 'Werewolf: Shadow of the Hawk' published by Puffin January 2012.

Curtis now finds himself in the Ripley Hall of Fame where he accompanies the following two past winners:
2009 Jon Mayhew 'Mortlock' 
2010 Darren Shan 'Birth of a Killer' illustrated by David Wyatt
2012 Curtis Joblin ''Werewolf: Shadow of the Hawk' illustrated by Andrew Farley

The winner of the competition will be picked either later today or tomorrow - thank you again, one and all for your support and enthusiasm over the last two months.                         

Book Plug #1 - C . J . Busby - Frogspell Book One - Illustrated by David Wyatt

book cover of 


 (Frogspell, book 1)


C J Busby
Max Pendragon is probably the worst squire in King Arthur's kingdom – he'd much rather train to be a wizard instead. So when he accidentally invents a spell that turns people into frogs, it seems his wish might come true.

But events take an unexpected turn when Max enters the Novices' Spell-Making Competition and finds himself helping Merlin fight an evil sorceress. There's no way Max's unpredictable frogspell could be of any use.

Or is there...?

Published by Templar 1st Sep 2011
To find out more take a look at

About The Author
C. J. Busby was brought up on boats and in caravans in the southeast of England and north Wales. She lived in south India for a year for her PhD, and then taught Social Anthropology at universities in Edinburgh, London and Kent. She lives in Devon and has three children and currently works on environmental issues with schools, and is a copyeditor for an academic press. Her first picture book text, The Thing, was shortlisted for the Nickelodeon Jr national Write a Bedtime Story competition. Frogspell is her first full-length book for children.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Book Picks: HarperCollins US Books January 2012

book cover of 


 (Winterling, book 1)


Sarah Prineas

Sarah Prineas - Winterling - Published by HarperCollins - January 3 2012
“We live here, my girl, because it is close to the Way, and echoes of its magic are felt in our world. The Way is a path leading to another place, where the people are governed by different rules. Magic runs through them and their land.”
With her boundless curiosity and wild spirit, Fer has always felt that she doesn’t belong. Not when the forest is calling to her, when the rush of wind through branches feels more real than school or the quiet farms near her house. Then she saves an injured creature—he looks like a boy, but he’s really something else. He knows who Fer truly is, and invites her through the Way, a passage to a strange, dangerous land.
Fer feels an instant attachment to this realm, where magic is real and oaths forge bonds stronger than iron. But a powerful huntress named the MÓr rules here, and Fer can sense that the land is perilously out of balance. Fer must unlock the secrets about the parents she never knew and claim her true place before the worlds on both sides of the Way descend into endless winter.

book cover of 

The Cabinet of Earths 


Anne Nesbet
Anne Nesbet - The Cabinet of Earth - Published by HarperCollins - January 3 2012
To protect her baby brother James, 12-year-old Maya has to take on the magical underworld of Paris, in which houses have bronze salamanders for door handles, the most beautiful people are all hooked on the sweet-smelling “anbar,” and a shimmering glass Cabinet of Earths has chosen Maya to be its next keeper.
 ". . . All at once the world went very still. She was floating; she was underwater: all the room’s sound was replaced by a throbbing hum, light streaking slowly away from everything it touched. She stretched one hand out (the air was as thick as syrup; her arm moved with the slow grace of an aquatic plant) and tried to say something, but her voice was gone, too.
The cabinet itself was calling to her . . ."

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars Grand Final 2011 - Nick Lake - In Darkness Book Competition

This is the big final for the book cover wars for 2011 - are you ready to vote?

Over the last four weeks, different author's have battled for their book covers to be voted into the grand final. As a result, we now have four worthy winners who have the chance to be crowned with the title 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted book cover of the year'. So without any further waiting, let the final battle commence . . . . 

A big thanks to all the authors who have got behind their own book cover and the enjoyable banter we have had with you all. Thanks to everyone for all your votes - over 2500 votes (over the four heats) have been cast! Amazing,with the last heat been a real battle.

As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your final favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win the new proof by Nick Lake - In Darkness a heart warming tale set in Haiti. Not out till next year.

All you need to do is:
  • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll (see top  right of the page)
  • Leave a comment through this post 
  • Sit back, watch the voting develop and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed)
So here are the four final winners:

Book One - Conrad Mason - The Demon's Watch - Published by David 
Fickling - March 2012 - Votes 189 

Book Two - Ransom Riggs - Miss Peregrine's Home for the Peculiar - Published by Quirk - June 2011 - Votes 104

Book Three - Barry Hutchison - The 13th Horseman - Published by HarperCollins - March 2012 - Votes 136

Book Four - Curtis Jobling - Wereworld:Shadow of the Hawk - Published by Puffin - Jan 2012 - Votes 418

Make this the best one yet. May the best book cover win and don't forget to leave a comment to win that brilliant proof.

Monday, 28 November 2011

News:Egmont launches Electric Monkey Imprint 2012


   High Voltage Reading
August 2011:Egmont Press has announced the launch of it's new YA imprint,Electric Monkey,creating a recognisable identity for its rapidly growing range of teen/YA fiction.

The imprint will launch in February 2012 with three books for teenagers:BZRK the brand new series from Michael Grant,author of the bestselling GONE series;OLIVER TWISTED by JD Sharpe and CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein.

Approximately two books a month will be added to the imprint through out the year and appropriate backlist titles will be incorporated at reprint.

The core readership for Electric Monkey will range from 12-15 although with the current interest in YA fiction by adult readers and bloggers,some will inevitably extend to older audience. The list is intentionally broad in focus,and isn't led by one particular genre or gender.

First two books are to be published 6 February 2012 are:

Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity - P/B 978 1 4052 5821 0 

Two young women become unlikely best friends during WWII, until one is captured by the Gestapo. Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted to each other. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors. Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they've ever believed in is put to the test...

 J D Sharpe - Oliver Twisted (and Charles Dickens) - P/B 978 1 4052 5817 3
"Flesh," the woe-begotten moaned at Oliver, baring teeth which were ragged and black. "Flesh" came another moan, and he turned to see two more behind. They began to shuffle towards him, barefoot. The world according to Oliver Twisted is simple. Vampyres feed on the defenceless, orphans are sacrificed to hungry gods and if a woe-begotten catches your scent it will hunt you forever. On the advice of a corpse, Oliver flees his ghastly orphan life to seek his destiny in the dark streets of old London Town, despite the perils of the woe-begotten zombie-infested journey. There he meets the shadowy Dodger, the evil old soul-stealer Fagin, and the menacing Bill Sikes, who is more beast than man. But will Oliver Twisted be the world's salvation, or its downfall?!

And then three more book published 5 March 2012

Jo Schreiber - Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick - P/B 9781 4052 5943 9
Michael Grant - BZRK - H/B 978 1 4052 5993 4
Laura Jarratt - Skin Deep - P/B 978 1 4052 5672 8

Some electrifying reading ahead for 2012.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

+++Andy Briggs - Tarzan:The Greystoke Legacy - Book Review+++

                                             book cover of 

The Greystoke Legacy 

 (Tarzan, book 1)


Andy Briggs

What lies in the depths of the jungle? Escaping a dark secret, Robbie Canler joins an illegal logging team in the Congo jungle. Now they're under siege from a sinister force. When the daughter of the camp's boss, Jane Porter, goes missing, they assume bloodthirsty rebel soldiers have kidnapped her. Robbie sets out on a rescue mission - unaware he is being watched . . . Are the rumours of a feral man raised by wild apes true? If so, can the mysterious untamed savage be trusted to help them? Tarzan: a Legend Reborn

Tarzan first went to print around a hundred years ago, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first came to life in a magazine publication (October 1912) through 'The All - Story'. Two years later this was made into a book format - since then there have been 25 sequels, and well over 50 films. 

Andy Briggs has had the big task of writing a new series bringing the legendary character back to life, but through a modern day setting and aimed at a younger audience. So how has he done?

Well, Andy has kept most of the key details true to the original story which I was pleased to see. He has not messed around with the classic elements that readers have historically fallen in love with. However, what he has done is placed the characters within a modern day setting. Obviously many aspects have changed dramatically within the last 100 years and therefore, Andy has done a great deal of research which shows through the detail of the setting. The Congo has been intertwined expertly into the story - it deposits you deep down within the jungle of Central Africa. Whilst Tarzan's re-vamped character has an Eco-warrior approach to saving the jungle from being cut down and running out the evil characters.

I really enjoyed this introduction to the new series - it is a great classic action adventure which I soon became engrossed in. The detail and the story are most plausible as they are not overly exaggerated but instead bring serious issues to light. This is a great jungle adventure, which in my opinion, both boys and girls should really love reading. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book 'Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior' which is out in July 2012. Tarzan is back and that's a good thing.....

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New: Buzz Book 2012 - Novel by R J Palacio - Wonder

book cover of 



R J Palacio    
WONDER by R J Palacio is the book everyone will be talking about in 2012 - it is the debut novel that has provoked the most incredible response within Random House Children's Books. It tells the story of ten-year-old August Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and the way he changes the lives and the perspectives of everyone around him. We think he might change yours too.

WONDER is funny, frank, powerful and poignant. It will touch you to the core. It is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on urgently to others, and remember long after the final page.

we have found that everyone who reads this book immediately wants to talk about it. Please join in on Twitter: #thewonderofwonder

Published By Bodley Head March 2012

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars 2011 - Heat 4 of 4 Plus Competition - Barry Hutchison's - The 13th Horseman Proof Copy

You are now in Mr Ripley's Book Cover War Zone....

Heat three has just come to an end. The winner was Barry Hutchison, who galloped to victory with his up and coming book cover for 'The 13th Horseman'. This cover received 136 votes which makes it another fine winner and therefore, finds itself in the final.
  • Heat One - Ransom Rigg's - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - 104 Votes
  • Heat Two - Conrad Mason's - The Demon's Watch - 189 Votes 
  • Heat Three  - Barry Hutchison's -  The 13th Horseman - 136 Votes
For any new or existing follower of this site this is the chance for you to become part of the weekly book cover wars. Each week (for the next 1 week) I am going to select four book covers for you to vote from. The winner of each heat will then go forward to the final round and get a chance to be crowned as 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Winner 2011'.

As a voter not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a different special book each week.
The book competition winner from last week has been picked and has won a signed copy of David Walliams - Mr Stink. The lucky winner is Jo Ann at bkfaerie - the book is on its way to you. Hope you enjoy reading it.

In order to kick off the competition this week we have yet another amazing book prize. This week is a book everyone is after - a proof copy of The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison. A great prize that will enable you the chance to read this book nice and early. 

If you are interested in voting for a book cover and being in with a chance to win the above book then all you need to do is: 
  • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll (see top of the page)
  • Leave a comment through this post 
  • Sit back, watch the voting develop and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). Please note that this competition is open Worldwide.
So here are the four book covers to vote for:

Book One - William Hussey - Witchfinder: The Last Nightfall - Published by OUP - Sep 2011

Book Two - Curtis Jobling - Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk - Published by Puffin - Jan 2012
Book Three - Lari Don - Storm Singing and other Tangled Tasks - Published by Floris - June 2011

Book Four - Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams - Spiral - Published by Chicken House - Sep 2011                                       

Happy voting and let the best book cover win.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Book Choice November: Alette J Willis - How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People)

How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People)

“You think you’re a fairy godmother or something?” I asked.
“Or something,” Michael agreed.
Edda is tired of her nickname, “Mouse”, and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her twelfth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school.
There’s something peculiar — and very annoying — about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can’t bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they?
Winner of the Kelpies Prize 2011.
Author: Alette J.Willis
Paperback | ISBN : 9780863158407 | 240 Pages

Paperback £5.99 Floris Book - 17 Nov 2011

Monday, 7 November 2011

Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus - Book Review

book cover of 

The Night Circus 


Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.                                                 

When I started to read this book it was so intriguing that I had to turn the pages slowly in order to take it all in. As a result, the book took me over a week to read which is definitely not normal for me ....... to say the very least. 

This book was actually quite slow to start. However, I soon realised that this pace actually suited the story as it does seem to run at its own tempo. This could be an issue if you tried to rush the narrative by reading it in one sitting. Although, as this book is told in short chapters (giving little tastes of the Circus and its atmosphere) this soon enchants and entices you into the magical world that the author has created. Nevertheless, I did feel that some additional grounding was required in order to establish the time period in which it was set, as this was not always obvious.

I was totally hooked by the story, the characters and the setting alike. The more that I read, the more enchanting and dream-like the atmosphere became. I found myself wandering through the magical and mystical tents like the "Reveurs" in the book - a group of ardent circus followers who live and breath "The Night Circus". It's such a fantastical place to find yourself that it attacks your senses on every level and is a true testament to the author.  

The book felt very original, fresh and full of imagination. The slow romanticism within the book did not bother me, as it crept up on me rather than being too full in the face. 

The mix bag of characters are either vaguely written or have a leading role which actually helps to bring them all together. Especially as the main characters are not always the ones that you always follow through the story. Instead, the circus is the main character for me - giving all of the other characters life and meaning which made it the star of the show.

From the very start I never knew where this story was going to take me - it left me guessing most of the time. Unfortunately, the ending did not live up to the fairytale start, but it has made for an exciting new beginning to a future story. 

This is a great older read that will leave a lasting impression until the next adventure is published. Whilst it is a super read; the hype surrounding this book did suggest more.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Red House Children’s Book Award 2012 - Chosen and voted for 
entirely by children.

Some of the biggest names in children’s fiction are joined by exciting new authors and illustrators on the shortlist for this year’s Red House Children’s Book Award, the only national award for children’s books that is voted for entirely by children themselves. What could be a better indicator of the books that will tempt children away from computer games and DVDs than a list drawn up by young people across the country, which pits literary heavyweights like Morris Gleitzman and Patrick Ness against outstanding debut authors such as Annabel Pitcher?

Who will win? It’s up to children everywhere to decide. Voting is now open and the Red House Children’s Book Award would like to encourage every child in Britain to check out the shortlisted titles and vote for their favourite!

The Red House Children’s Book Award is highly respected by teachers, parents and librarians and has brought acclaim and strong sales to past winners such as J.K. Rowling, Andy Stanton, Malorie Blackman and Anthony Horowitz. The award has often been the first to recognise the future stars of children’s fiction and has the ability to turn popular authors into bestsellers.

Children nationwide are now invited to vote for their favourite of the ten shortlisted books. The category winners and the author of the best children’s book published in the 2011 nomination period will be announced – for the first time ever – at a glittering awards ceremony which takes place in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in London on Saturday 18th February 2012.

A dedicated website showcases all the shortlisted titles and featured authors. Any child can vote here for their favourite book until 20th January 2012.

The full shortlist for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2012 is as follows:

book cover of 

Rollo and Ruff and the Little Fluffy Bird 


Mick InkpenBooks for Younger Children 

Rollo and Ruff and the Little Fluffy Bird by Mick Inkpen, published by Hodder
Don't Worry Douglas! by David Melling, published by Hodder
Peely Wally by Kali Stileman, published by Red Fox
Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice by Chris Wormell, published by Jonathan Cape

book cover of 

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates 

 (Tom Gates, book 1)


Liz Pichon
Books for Younger Readers 

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson, published by Marion Lloyd Books
Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis, published by Oxford University Press
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon, published by Scholastic

book cover of 

A Monster Calls 


Patrick Ness                                
Books for Older Readers

Grace by Morris Gleitzman, published by Puffin
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, published by Walker
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher, published by Orion

The Red House Children’s Book Award, now in its 32nd year, was founded in 1980 by author and librarian Pat Thompson and is owned and run by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. The overall winner is awarded the Red House Children’s Book Award Silver Tree, of which they are the custodian for a year, and an engraved silver acorn which is theirs to keep. Each of the shortlisted authors and illustrators also receives a silver bookmark and an incredible portfolio of writing and artwork created by children inspired by their book. The ten titles on the shortlist for the Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers and Books for Older Readers categories, as well as 40 highly recommended titles, were chosen by children who read and voted for the books at lively events organised nationwide by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups was set up as a charity by Anne Wood, the originator of the Teletubbies. It acts as an umbrella organisation for local Children’s Book Groups all over the UK. The groups organise a variety of activities including author events and other activities that promote the enjoyment of children’s books. The Federation also produces numerous specialist book lists, organises National Share-a-Story Month each May, National Non-Fiction Day each November and holds an annual conference each spring.  ""