Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Book Plug#4 - Astrid Lindgren Illustrated by Marit TŲrnqvist; - In the Land of Twilight

book cover of 

In the Land of Twilight 

by

Astrid Lindgren
                                          
Goran has an injured leg and he gets bored spending so much time in bed. But when his mother turns out the light at dusk, Mr Lilyvale knocks on the window and takes him to the Land of Twilight. Goran and Mr Lilyvale walk and fly around Stockholm when people from the daytime world are sleeping. 

Goran drives a tram and a bus. It doesnít matter that he has a bad leg in the Land of Twilight. They eat candy that grows on trees in the park, play with bear cubs and meet a moose. They even visit the King and Queen in the royal palace. At the end of their journey each night, Mr Lilyvale takes Goran home just before his mother comes in and turns on the light. 

This delightful story about the power of the imagination is set in a magical version of Stockholm, and painted in beautiful twilight tones.


Subject:Picture Book
Age Range: From 5 to 8
Pages:44
Published by:Floris Books
Publication Date:19 Jan 2012



About the Author(s)

Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) was born on a homestead in SmŚland, Sweden. Her most famous book, Pippi Longstocking, was published in 1945. She is also well known for Carlsen on the Roof, her books about The Bullerby Children and The Tomten. Her books have sold around 145 million copies worldwide, and she has won many awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the International Book Award from UNESCO. Her books A Calf for Christmas and Goran's Great Escape, also illustrated by Marit Tornqvist, are published in English by Floris Books.
Marit TŲrnqvist was born in 1964 in Uppsala, Sweden and divides her time between the Netherlands and Sweden. She studied illustration at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. In 2011 she was awarded a Golden Plaque from the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava, one of the most prestigious children's illustration awards. She has illustrated several of Astrid Lindgren's picture books, including A Calf for Christmas and Goran's Great Escape, both published by Floris Books.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

THE MAGIC OF ROALD DAHL CELEBRATED ON ROYAL MAIL'S STAMPS



Royal Mail is celebrating one of the nation’s best-loved children’s authors, Roald Dahl, with its first stamp issue of 2012.

The presentation pack of six stamps celebrates six of Dahl’s most famous books that children and adults alike came to know and love, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and Matilda.

The stamps themselves recreate the magic of the Dahl books, using the beautiful illustrations of Quentin Blake.

For the launch, Royal Mail Stamps is running a competition on its Facebook page, facebook.com/royalmailstamps, to win Roald Dahl's Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Collection featuring seven of his best-loved books, a pop-up book of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a Roald Dahl presentation pack.



 The stamps are also available via the link here: www.royalmail.com/roalddahland also on the Royal Mail eBay store: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Royal-Mail-Stamp-Collections.

Fact: Roald Dahl would write most of his books in a dingy little hut at the bottom of his garden. 

Sophie Dahl asks for help to restore Roald's writing hut.

Sophie Dahl is leading a fund-raising campaign to restore and relocate the famous hut in which her grandfather Roald Dahl penned some of his best-loved children's classics. See More.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Coming Up - Simon Mayo - Itch - Preview

                                       book cover of 

Itch 

by

Simon Mayo


We're very pleased to be publishing Simon Mayo's debut novel in March. Simon is best known as the broadcaster and host of Radio 2's award winning Drivetime show. ITCH is a fast-paced thriller filled with effervescent action starring an accidental school boy hero. Itch is 14 and loves science, especially chemistry. His hobby of collecting all the elements in the periodic table gets him into some highly explosive situations.

First he singes his eyebrows when an experiment with phosphorous in his bedroom goes wrong, then he gives his classmates arsenic poisoning. When Itch makes a discovery of a new element that's never been seen before which is potentially very valuable he has to use all his wits and scientific knowledge to stop others getting hold of it. As he's pursued from Cornwall to London and beyond he realises that this element could cause untold havoc across the world.

ITCH is published on 1st March, just before National Science and Engineering Week, and we'll have special periodic table posters, reading notes and a fabulous video trailer available.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Press Release: HarperCollins Signs Chris Columbus For New Book Series



                                                 
HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS SIGNS DIRECTOR CHRIS COLUMBUS FOR NEW BOOK SERIES

DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER TO PEN MIDDLE-GRADE SERIES WITH BESTSELLING
TEEN AUTHOR NED VIZZINI

New York, NY/ London (January 5, 2012)—HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has preempted rights to a three-book middle-grade series, House of Secrets by iconic Hollywood director and producer Chris Columbus, co-authored by acclaimed young adult novelist Ned Vizzini. This is Columbus’s debut series for young readers with the first book slated for global publication in Spring 2013.

Master storytellers Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini have created a high-stakes fantasy,” said Balzer. “From the very first page I knew we had to publish this series. It’s an incredibly imaginative adventure with clever plot twists and nonstop action—not to mention a family that readers will immediately fall in love with. House of Secrets has all the hallmarks of a new classic."

Denwood added, “Combining classic adventure with sublime offbeat humor, and with three brilliant siblings at its heart, this has the potential to be the next big series. It's going to be epic.”
“The opportunity to write this novel is a dream come true," said Columbus. "I have lived with the characters of this novel and their world for many years, and was saving them for something very special. Working on House of Secrets with Ned has been a thrill.”
The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly acentury earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff's dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family's secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Ivan Brett - Casper Candlewacks in the Claws of Crime - Happy Publication Day

book cover of 

Casper Candlewacks in the Claws of Crime! 

 (Casper Candlewacks, book 2)

by

Ivan Brett
                                    

I’m just leaving a school event in early December when a boisterous chap who’d been in my event sticks his head out of his classroom window.
“Oy, Ivan!” he shouts. “You’re an idiot!”
Most authors would be insulted by this, but not me. “Why thank you,” I reply, give him a wave and make to leave.
But he’s not disappeared back behind his window. He wants a proper response, and I’m not going to deny him. “But compared to you, I’m nothing.”
He grins, says “Yssssss”, and then his friend’s head pops up.
“What about me? Am I an idiot?”
“Yup,” I say. Even more than your mate.”
The second boy high-fives the first and they slip back into their classroom, satisfied.

My full-time job involves calling children idiots, and I love it. How did it come to this?

The Casper Candlewacks series, my first foray into publishing, is all about glorifying the idiot. And I don’t mean stupid people – I mean all of us. I want to celebrate everything that’s wrong with us, our clumsiness, our bad decisions, the ugly bits that we usually try to tuck away and hide. When I go into schools the first thing I do is prove to the kids that I’m an idiot. Then I let them prove they’re idiots, then we sing the idiots’ national anthem (‘How Much Is That Doggy In The Window, but backwards, if you’re asking. I’ll sing it for you if you ask nicely.) and happy in our shared idiocy we get on with the rest of the session.

Once you’ve got someone to be proud of their bad bits, what is there to be scared of? Nothing, is the answer. Nothing at all. How brilliant is that?

And that’s what I try to do in Casper Candlewacks. In the village of Corne-on-the-Kobb, idiots rule. But it makes for a whole lot more fun, and lets the crazy stuff that goes on seem absolutely normal. In Casper Candlewacks in The Claws of Crime, which is out today, we’ve got French cat burglars, huge bejewelled swords, an egg-boiling lie-detector, multiple defenestration and quite a few clobs round the head with a cricket bat. Where else but in a village of idiots?


Today (5th January) sees many books being published. The question is, which book do you pick to read? Sounds easier than it is as there's so much choice to select from. However, let me make it easier for you - if you need a pick me up, perhaps with a hobnob and a cup of laughter, then this is definitely the book to seek out. As every good idiot knows (myself included, so I'm told) then you'd be idiot not to read this book. Funny, zany and totally off the wall with mad ideas, it will have you feeling much better about the dark and dreary January we find ourselves in. By the way, did I tell you that I was an Idiot too... ?


Thank you Ivan for sharing some information about your new book. I hope the 'Claws of Crime' finds itself doing time on many bookshelves, both young and old. Anyway, out today, you should be able to locate a copy in your local bookshop - so what are you waiting for? Go and grab a copy. 

Che Golden - The Feral Child - Book Review

                                       book cover of 

The Feral Child 

by

Che Golden


They take human children and leave changelings in their place... stolen children go into the mound and we can't follow.'

Her parents dead, Maddy is sick of living in Ireland, sick of Blarney and sick of her cousin Danny, one of the nastiest people you could meet this side of an Asbo. Mad as hell one evening, she crawls inside the grounds of the castle, the one place she has always been forbidden to go. Once inside, she is chased by a strange feral boy, who she suspects is one of the faerie: cruel, fantastical people who live among humans and exchange local children for their own.

When the boy returns to steal her neighbour Stephen into his world, Maddy and her cousins set off on a terrifying journey into a magical wilderness, determined to bring him back home. To do so, they must face an evil as old as the earth itself... 


After having a hectic end of year it's now great to finally have a bit of time to read once more. Especially as the howling winds and battering rain beat rhythmically against my window pane! Anyway, I'd like to start with a New Year confession . . . . . at times I do judge a book by its cover and in fact I did so with this book. I depicted intriguing characters, mystical elements and an ethereal fairy realm - of which even more lurked within the pages.

Set in modern day Ireland, three children (Maddy and her cousins) find themselves entering the fairy realm on a quest to retrieve a stolen boy Stephen. Enchanted and captured by the evil fairy, he was replaced with a changeling and then taken to the fairy realm. As a result, the children have a number of dangerous encounters with evil characters, all based on traditional Celtic folklore, in their quest to return Stephen to his home in Blarney.

Initially the book starts sedately, but soon picks up pace when the children enter the fairy realm. This is maintained throughout the book until the unexpected ending. Interestingly, this does not follow the traditional Irish folklore mould and instead delivers an unexpected and original punch. 

A number of interesting creatures enter the pages of this book, but my favourite character is Fachtna (meaning 'hostile' in Irish). Fachtna lives, eats, sleeps and breathes war. In fact she is never happier than when she has a knife in her hand and is ready to kill. However, even bearing all of this information in mind, I hope that we will be able to uncover more of her personality and motives within the next book ' '.

This is a strong and accomplished debut novel which, in my eyes, competes with books written by more established authors. It will both capture and captivate all ages. However, this cannot be mistaken as being a 'nice' traditional fairytale as it is steeped in darkness and elements of horror - both of which can make the read very unsettling. Nevertheless this seedling grows into a blossoming bloom.



Published by Quercus Publishing - 5 January 2012 - Fiction Age 9+

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New:Moira Young - Blood Red Road - Costa Children's Book Award Winner 2011

WINNER OF THE 2011 COSTA CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD
BLOOD RED ROAD
By Moira Young


Marion Lloyd Books is delighted to announce that Blood Red Road, the debut novel by Moira Young, has won the 2011 Costa Children’s Book Award.
The judges called Blood Red Road: “An astonishing debut novel which had us all hooked from the beginning to the unpredictable end.”

The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes. It is unique for having five categories: First Novel, Novel, Poetry, Biography and Children’s Book. The Costa Book Awards started life in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards and Costa Coffee took over ownership of the awards in 2006. The award ceremony presentation evening will be held on Tuesday 24th January 2012.

Moira Young says: “To be shortlisted with such experienced and acclaimed writers and their excellent books was wonderful. To win the Costa Children's Book Award is amazing. I am immensely gratified that the story and characters I’ve lived with and cared about for so long, seem to speak not only to young people but readers of all ages.”
Marion Lloyd, adds: “I am very proud to be the publisher of Blood Red Road. Reading the first manuscript pages made my heart race. I wanted to aim Saba’s steely crossbow at anyone who might stop me from acquiring the publishing rights in this super-charged story of a girl’s search for her brother in a dangerous future world. Moira Young is a new writer of phenomenally powerful skills. To have the Costa judges crown her first novel as the winner of the children’s book award is simply fabulous.”


Blood Red Road is a fast-paced thriller written in fresh, pared-down language. Set in a lawless future land where life is cheap and survival is hard, Saba’s twin brother is stolen by mysterious, black-robed riders. She pursues his captors on a desperate journey full of violence and treachery where she will need a spirit as tough as her crossbow to survive. But among her companions are the cleverest bird that ever flew, and a handsome thief with eyes the colour of moonlight...
Moira Young’s searing, soaring survival story is arresting from the very first line. It is written in a compelling but very accessible dialect with an extremely distinctive authorial voice. The scope of the plot is epic and the pace is fierce, with unexpected twists throughout. The combination of a startlingly original voice, unforgettably vivid characters and a compelling teen love story sets this novel apart as one of the most sensational books for young adults in recent years.

New Book Plug:Matt Wingett - Turn The Tides Gently


Turn The Tides Gently is a new e-book from Matt Wingett that's all about madness, mermaids, hallucinations and time distortion.
Set on the island city of Portsmouth, this tale unwinds just as the central character's grip on reality begins to unwind.  Filled with glimpses of the past and smells of the future, it is written with a poetic flow that draws you through from beginning to the end, making it pretty much unputdownable.
The first of a series of stories about Portsmouth, this e-book is written to novella length - making it a short fast read for a journey - and it is priced to match.

Matt Wingett was previously a screenwriter from Thames TV's "The Bill", and is a trained hypnotist and expert in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the mind management system made famous by life-style expert Paul McKenna.

The opening sequence below gives a real sense of the flow and style of the piece - but beware, before you start... unlike the swimmer below, you might well find that you are hooked!

Turn The Tides Gently is available for Kindle from Amazon at http://amzn.to/YouCanTurnTheTide  it's also free to download from the 6-8 Jan from Amazon. Why not have a read and let us know what you think? 


"...Turn The Tides Gently..."
At first the hallucinations come to him in silence, as they always do. Carriages from a different era moving beneath starlight, then the sound of wheels clattering along the cobbles, and finally the pungent smell of horses, their dung on the floor, the acrid reek of piss - a rich, rancid perfume, overloading the senses.
It's as if he's looking through the surface of a soap bubble: figures walking the nightbound streets – uniforms of old soldiers not old any more, the police officer on the corner in a cape and high helmet. From across the Common, where the Royal Marines sleep in rows of tents before embarkation, a long-dead trumpet call from the older city briefly drowning the newly-wakened birds of the present.
Through the Pompey night, he heads along the island's streets to the shore. The spring sky is mottled with occasional clouds, and in the cold air he smells the smoke of a coal fire lit by a maid to warm a copper in a scullery. He even imagines he can hear the sleepy voices of her children, waking to a lightless pre-dawn.
As he steps onto the shingle beach, all shimmered upon and sparkling in the moonlight, a deep silence breaks out, as if an unseen attendant has closed a door behind him. The stillness holds for a few seconds, until he hears the sea again, and confirms the presence of the modern world: shimmering across the Solent, a ferry with its stacked decks lit up and looking like a wedding cake, all sparkling and iced.
I have visions, he says to himself. They always seem so real – realer than the world I really live in. He looks down at his hands, as if they might help him grasp things more tightly. Doctor Cassell tells me to ignore them. But I always know I'll get another one.
Sure enough, a new vision comes. But what he is seeing now is not like any previous hallucination. This is not a phantasm of buckets and spades – look daddy, see how the water splashes on the castle – not little constructions of remembrance that come from peering over the edge of the spiral of time, or half-memories drawn from tv costume dramas. This is different. He squints across the sea towards -
A woman. There's a woman in the sea! - with lank, long wet hair – there, in the moonlight!
Her breasts catch moonbeams and shimmer in the light – and then she is gone, vanished beneath the moon's silver path.
He glares an accusation at his trembling hands, bites his lower lip and shakes his head. Then he rubs his eyes and looks again, just to be sure. Nothing there, of course. Nothing. Except for an ever-widening circle spreading outwards, reaching towards him. He holds his breath and rubs his eyes once more. No. I imagined it.
The night's sounds intensify, and the moon's light brightens. Something's not right, he thinks. With minute accuracy, he can hear the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore, a restless sound, as if every bubble is speaking its own secret: Shush. Shush. Something hidden. She-ush.
A wavering glance across the sea is enough to satisfy him it's empty. Just water, he tells himself, only half-believing. But as he considers the long-diagnosed madness that conjured that image, she surfaces again.
Her head is up now, out of the water, her mouth in the soft ecstasy of what he thinks a woman drowning must look like: her arms raised out of the water seemingly helpless. He sees her like this for a second or so, frozen in time. Then down she goes again.
He is riveted to the spot in disbelief. After maybe two minutes under the water she surfaces a third time. It's impossible! But no, perhaps not. A scenario flashes before his mind's eye. A clubber, maybe, a little high on drugs; she took a playful dive in the water, and here she is – drowning in front of my eyes! She's real!
He shouts – breaking across the night's sounds with a voice sounding strangely thin and flat over the sea, as if he is shouting in a padded room.
“It's okay. Don't worry! I'll help...”
He doubles backwards and forwards in helpless panic at the Solent's edge looking about him with big wide eyes, not sure what to do next. In response she suddenly stops, stock still in the water and fixes him with a curious gaze. Her movements are reminiscent of how a woman looks if a stranger walks into her boudoir and interrupts her while combing her hair. For a moment, their eyes meet, and then, as she realises the situation, she suddenly throws her arms up and, with an almost ironic gesture, disappears beneath the surface, gasping and spluttering, the brine closing over her head.
He steps into the water, but the cold shock sinking through his trainers makes his neck hairs stand in reflex, and he remembers he cannot swim. It also shocks him back to reason. She surfaces again, spitting a spluttering arc of brine and he turns tail and scuffs up the beach to where the life-ring stands in a plastic box by the ice-cream kiosk. Drowning. I can't have her drowning.
He lifts it quickly and champ-champ-champs down the shingle to the shoreline, where, with a mighty throw he hurls it to her.
It's a bad throw: over-eager, and panicky, and he curses as it appears to collide with her, so that, suddenly disoriented, her body flattens on the water. Dazed, she grips the ring, and in this way he pulls her in – netting a helpless woman from the sea, her shining skin pale in the moonlight.
When he draws her closer still, he wades in to land her.
“It's okay. It's okay,” he says, reaching down to her icy body, only half able to see her through the darkness and the mesmeric moonlight, but nevertheless feeling a supernatural sense that something is not quite right.
He hooks her under her arms and pulls her up from the water. Now she really starts to struggle. A violent crazy thrashing in the water, that makes him gasp at her power.
“Don't panic, I've got you,” he says - but no he really hasn't. She is as slippery as a fish, and utterly set on drowning. They lock into a battle of wills, and her thrashing in the water scatters the moonlight like spilled jewels, while the dark sea noises all around them are filled by the sounds of other voices calling in the night. A strange language hisses and gurgles around him, and he looks away from her to see the heads of others in the water, shouting to her and glaring at him.
He stops a moment, absolutely frozen, lost in surprise and utter confusion at these unexpected apparitions. She seizes her moment - slipping from his arms, and splashing back into the sea. And he is sure, utterly convinced, that as she goes, he sees something - something he cannot quite explain that will haunt him in his dreams. For as she dives into the deeper water, the crossed fins of a tail rise high into the air behind her.
He stands, staring at the scatter of widening circles where all the heads that were glaring at him disappeared, and at the spot where she thrashed and foamed. Then he sits down, soaking, suddenly cold and afraid, and not sure what to do next.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

News:Veronica Roth - Insurgent - Book Cover Reveal



Set for release on the 1st May this year, the explosive sequel to the Goodreads 2011 Choice Awards winner DIVERGENT, is set to be one of the most anticipated books of the year. We can now exclusively reveal to bloggers and readers the fabulous cover look for INSURGENT: Very Nice!


This fantastic new cover will tie in with the new look for the paperback of Divergent, due for release on the 2nd February 2012


That's something to look forward to reading in 2012..........

Adam Christopher - Empire State - Mr Ripley's Older Read Book Choice For January 2012

                                                                 book cover of 

Empire State 

by

Adam Christopher
“’Rad’ is my kind of name, is what,” said Rad. He didn’t bother looking up at his assailants. The masks and hats were a great disguise. Kooky. Instead he stared ahead and dabbed at his bottom lip with a bloody handkerchief.
The first goon’s shoes moved into Rad’s field of vision, black wingtips shining wetly in the cast-off from the streetlamp just around the lip of the alley. The rain had collected in the punch pattern on the shoes and each step threw a fine spray, some of which collected in the man’s pinstripe turn-ups. Rad figured it was all part of the disguise, the unfashionable shoes, the unfashionable suits, the unfashionable gas masks. The name of some annual affair near the end of the year that was all about ghosts and candy and weird costumes itched at the back of Rad’s mind, but he couldn’t remember what it was and the thought slipped away as he tried to grasp it.
The goon bent down and the gas mask came into view. Two circular goggles in a rubber face, single soup-can canister bobbing over where the mouth would be. The goon’s voice was clear as a whistle despite the business that sat between his lips and Rad’s ears, but echoed in the soup-can like it was coming out of a radio set.
“What do you know about nineteen fifty?”
Rad pulled the handkerchief away and looked at it, then moved his jaw like he was chewing toffee. His teeth were all there, so he was happy. A fat lip he could live with. What he really wanted was a drink, something strong that you couldn’t buy, not legally anyway. He tongued the gash inside his mouth and the pepper-copper taste of blood filled his mouth again. That wasn’t what he had in mind.
“That’s the second time you’ve asked me that, pal,” said Rad. “And for the second time I’m gonna say I don’t know about nineteen fifty. If you’re looking for street directions then there are nicer ways of going about it.”
The gas mask disappeared upwards and Rad shook his head. He felt his own fedora shift against the brick wall behind him. At least he’d kept that on during the fight.
Not that it was much of a fight. One minute he was walking down Fifth, next an arm pulled him out of the light and into the alley, and after just one question a one-two landed with some success on his face, and he was sitting on the floor with a bruised tailbone and a wet backside and a cheekbone that alternated between needle-pain and numbness.
They weren’t after money. Once on the ground, the first goon – a tall, wide, no-neck, who seemed to be doing everything for the entertainment of his friend who just stood and watched behind his black goggles – grabbed his wallet, and together the four glass eyes stared at his ID for a while before the card and wallet were returned to Rad’s inside coat pocket. This was no mugging. It was planned, calculated. They were professionals. The fist responsible for Rad’s aching face was on the end of a trained arm. The crazy get-up wasn’t something you could pick up downtown. They’d collared Rad for nineteen hundred and fifty somethings. Nineteen fifty what? His office was five-A, thirty-four, Fourth Street. His home was five-B. Rad ran through addresses, locations, places that people in unfashionable suits and strange masks might have an interest in. No dice.
Published by Angry Robot - 5 Jan 2012

New Children's Books Published January 2012 U.K

book cover of 

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes 

by

Jonathan Auxier
                                  
Jonathan Auxier - Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes - Published by Scholastic - 2 Jan 2012

 This is the story of the greatest thief that ever lived. Forced into a life of thievery, ten-year-old blind orphan Peter Nimble longs for escape. One fateful afternoon he steals a box from a mysterious traveller - a box that contains three pairs of magical eyes. Little does Peter know that these eyes will lead him on an unforgettable adventure...                                                

book cover of 

Shadow of the Hawk 

 (Wereworld, book 3)

by

Curtis Jobling
                             
Curtis Jobling - Wereworld:Shadow of the Hawk - Published by Puffin - 5 Jan 2012

Enslaved by the Goatlord Kesslar, young werewolf Drew finds himself on the volcanic isle of Scoria, forced to fight in the arena for the Lizardlords. With the help of an unlikely ally, he must find a way to break free - but who has ever managed to escape?
Meanwhile, Hector the Wereboar flees the forces of the Catlords. Now on board the pirate ship Maelstrom, the enemy's net is closing in. Haunted by the spirits of the dead, Hector is soon left wondering who the true enemy is . . .

book cover of 

Muncle Trogg and the Flying Donkey 

 (Muncle Trogg, book 2)

by

Janet Foxley
                                         
Janet Foxley - Muncle Trogg and the flying Donkey - Published by Chicken House - 5 Jan 2012

Muncle Trogg, the tiny giant, is worried. His home on Mount Grumble is about to erupt, and all the bigger giants can think about is celebrating the departure of the Smallings from down the mountain! Luckily for Muncle, his friend Emily hasn't abandoned him \- and she has an idea. The giants might not listen to Muncle but they will listen to the wisest, most wondrous animal of all \- a flying donkey!
                                                                       
                                     
book cover of 

20 Years Later 

by

E J Newman
                              
E J Newman - 20 Years later - Published by Dystopia Press - 22 Jan 2012 
London, 2012: It arrives and with that the world is changed into an unending graveyard littered with the bones, wreckage, and memories of a dead past, gone forever. London, 2032: Twenty years later, out of the ashes, a new world begins to rise, a place ruled by both loyalty and fear, and where the quest to be the first to regain lost knowledge is an ongoing battle for power. This is a place where laws are made and enforced by roving gangs - the Bloomsbury Boys, the Gardners, the Red Lady's Gang - who rule the streets and will do anything to protect their own. The Four: Zane, Titus, Erin, and Eve. Living in this new world, they discover that they have abilities never before seen. And little do they know that as they search post-apocalyptic London for Titus' kidnapped sister that they will uncover the secret of It, and bring about a reckoning with the forces that almost destroyed all of humanity.




book cover of 

Stole My Brain! 

 (Space Lizards, book 1)

by

Mark Griffiths


                                      

Mark Griffiths - Space Lizards Stole My Brain! - Published by Simon & Schuster - 5 Jan 2012

When Admiral Skink, an alien-lizard warlord from the planet Swerdlix, is attacked by The Hideous and Unimaginably Vast Comet Creature of Poppledock he faces a certain death...but luckily his underlings have installed the BrainTwizzler 360 Mind Migration SystemTM. This nifty invention safely transfers Skink's mind on to a memory wafer and jettisons it through space to find a suitable temporary "home" until he can be rescued by his fellow Swerdlixians. Unluckily for eleven-year-old Lance Spratley it just so happens that the temporary home for Admiral Skink's mind is his body! And while Skink deals with being trapped in Lance's useless body - it can't even breathe fire! -- Lance is transferred to a virtual waiting room surrounded by the lizard race who seem intent on destroying Earth when they have successfully retrieved Skink. Will Lance ever get his body back? And even if he does will he be able to thwart Admiral Skink and the Swerdlixians plans to invade Earth...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Book Plug#3 - Chris Van Allsburg - The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

                      book cover of 

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick 

by

Chris Van Allsburg


For more than twenty-five years, the illustrations in the extraordinary Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg have intrigued and entertained readers of all ages. Thousands of children have been inspired to weave their own stories to go with these enigmatic pictures. Now we've asked some of our very best storytellers to spin the tales. Enter The Chronicles of Harris Burdick to gather this incredible compendium of stories: mysterious, funny, creepy, poignant, these are tales you won't soon forget.

This inspired collection of short stories features many remarkable, best-selling authors in the worlds of both adult and children's literature: Sherman Alexie, M. T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg 
himself.


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: http://www.myubam.com/pdf/Chapters/TheBloomswellDiaries.pdf


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 http://juliecross.blogspot.com/ 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)

by

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 

 (Frogspell, book 1)

by

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 http://www.frogspell.co.uk/books


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 

 (Winterling, book 1)

by

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 

by

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.
......Maya......
The cabinet itself was calling to her . . ."