Friday, 25 January 2013

Guest Post Plug: #1 Karen Saunders - Me, Suzy P - Templar Publishing

People often ask me where I got the inspiration for my novel, Me, Suzy P. It’s the story of teenager Suzy Puttock, a pretty normal kind of girl with a terrible surname, who just happens to be a walking disaster area. The answer is that I didn’t have to look very far to create Suzy, because a lot of her is based on me. I am the girl that had her nose broken in a tickling fight, fell in a huge hole up to my neck while out for a country walk and needed pulling out, damaged my hand and ended up in a plaster cast after opening a window and I’ve also walked into a lamp-post. These are just four examples. There are zillions more, believe me. So hey, why not exploit a lifetime of making a complete donkey of myself?

I also take inspiration from my friends. I have an amazing group of mates, as does Suzy – her best friend Millie (wannabe cheerleader, fuelled mainly by jelly babies), boyfriend Danny (Star Wars nut) and Millie’s boyfriend Jamie (can’t-stop-eating footballer). Other inspiration comes from all sorts of places, celebrities, music, snippets of conversation I hear on the bus...(don’t tell anyone that last one, though. I don’t want people to stop having interesting chats near me). 

So when I started writing I knew I wanted a girl protagonist who was no stranger to catastrophe, who had a tight-knit friendship group. Then I looked around at a lot of the similar books in this genre, and noticed that a lot of them had storylines where the girl wanted a boyfriend. I thought it would be interesting to take a different approach, where a girl already has a boyfriend…but then realises she fancies someone else. 
Yup. Big fat uh-oh. 

Lots of conflict there, and the character put in this situation should end up causing a lot of laughs, I thought to myself.  And I really hope the book’s funny. I certainly had a good time writing it, although it was quite a rollercoaster ride. It had a fair few major rewrites along the way, which did have me tearing my hair out at several points (luckily it’s all grown back now). 
So after all that…I really hope you enjoy it. 

Come visit me online, at, ‘like’ me on Facebook at www.facebook/karensaunderswriter , or follow me on Twitter: @writingkaren. There are also tweets from Suzy Puttock @suzyputtock – so do follow her too. 
Look forward to seeing you around!

Thank you for the post Karen - what an interesting insight into the world of Me, Suzy P. I'm sure that this will interest many followers - if you like the sound of it then go and buy a copy to read. Let us know what you think of it as sometimes a male orientated blog needs some girl power! I look forward to reading all of your comments - male or female! 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Julia Golding - Young Knights of the Round Table - Book Trailer

Looking forward to reading this, book cover and trailer are fantastic.                                           


That's what Rick's been taught to believe by the Fey Folk who stole him. Taken to the magical realm of Avalon, he's been trained, alongside other kids like him, into an elite force of warriors. 

When rumours start that a new generation of knights are re-forming the Round Table to attack Avalon, the Fey entrust Rick with a mission: go to Earth, find the knights, and stop them. 

Simple, right? 

Well, not exactly . . . No training could prepare him for the shock of being a modern teenager. And when he discovers that the Fey have been lying to him, Rick has to ask: if humans aren't the enemy-who is?

 Published by OUP Oxford (April 2013)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Mr Ripley's New Picks: For February 2013 - US Published Books


Patrick Carman - Pulse - Published By Katherine Tegen Books - 26 February 2013 - Age 13+
In the year 2051, who has a pulse?
With the help of her mysterious classmate Dylan Gilmore, Faith Daniels discovers that she can move objects with her mind. This telekinetic ability is called a "pulse," and Dylan has the talent, too.
In riveting action scenes, Faith demonstrates her ability to use her pulse against a group of telekinesis masters who are so powerful they can flatten their enemies by uprooting streetlights, throwing boulders, and changing the course of a hurtling hammer so that it becomes a deadly weapon. But even with her unusual talent, the mind—and the heart—can be difficult to control. If Faith wants to join forces with Dylan and save the world, she'll have to harness the power of 
Elsie Chapman - Dualed - Published By Random House -  26 February 2013 - Age 13+
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Jesse Karp - What We Become - Published By Harcourt Children's Books -  26 February 2013 - 12+
Two years ago, teenagers Mal and Laura destroyed a corporate empire intent on controlling human thinking through technology. For a while, life was good. But now a new force has arisen: the Old Man. He's hungry for power and he knows who holds the key to getting it: Mal. Mal needs his beloved Laura's help to defeat the Old Man, but is he willing to risk her life in another battle to save humanity? What We Become combines mind-bending thrills with the hot immediacy of corporate greed. It will leave readers wondering who is really in control...

Kevin Emerson - The Fellowship for Alien Detection - Published By Waldon Press - 26 February 2013  - 9+
Haley and Dodger don't have much in common. Haley lives in Greenhaven, Connecticut; Dodger lives in Port Salmon, Washington. Haley has a family who loves and supports her; Dodger can't seem to ever get his dad's approval. Haley is well adjusted and passionate; Dodger hears strange voices in his head. But they both want something: a new map, a path away from home - or, perhaps, a path toward it.

Of course, this was all before they heard about the missing people, the untraceable radio signals, the unexplained phenomena. Before they both became the first recipients of a summer research grant from a certain mysterious foundation. Before they discovered that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial life were all too accurate.

Now Haley and Dodger are the only ones who can figure out what is happening in towns across America, who can give voice to the people whispering "alien abduction." At the very least, they're both going to have the most eventful summer vacations of anyone they know.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Book Review: David O'Connell - Monster and Chips

Somewhere in suburbia, or maybe smack-bang in the middle of your city, there is a very special diner. What’s so special about it? Well it does the best chips ANYWHERE but also its customers are a little bit ‘unusual’… some people say they are monsters… The diner is hard to find, you have to look carefully, in fact some people say only a special kind of kid can find this special kind of diner. But maybe that kid could be you?

When Joe the ‘hooman’ gets a job at Fuzzby’s diner, he learns to bake zombie-cupcakes, exploding milkshakes and not to stare at the customers – even the ones who are see-through. He also foils a terrible plan to sabotage the annual Grand Cooking Competition.

Many thanks to David O'Connell for sending this image from the book.

All you need to brighten up your day is a little yellow book with a green monster on the cover and a little boy proudly holding up a plate of chips. You just know that when you turn to the very first page that everything is going to be fine and dandy. 

This is the first of a three book series which David has both written and illustrated. As soon as I started to read and interact with all of the cartoon-like illustrations, I was hooked. A small smile began to creep across my face. By the end of the book, it was a huge grin!

This is a great read for both the young and old. It's a chuckle a minute read that delves into the crazy and wacky tale of the Monster Diner. It's full of gastronomic delights for you to rustle up in your kitchen to feed your pet monster. However, the core of the story leaves you with a warm fuzzy glow. 

Fuzzyby, the chef, of the Monster Diner is a large as life character. He's the monsters answer to Jamie Oliver for sure. Although, hopefully, you won't find any of his recipes at your child's school as they definitely wouldn't be impressed!

This book serves up a great dollop of imagination and some great sketches too. This is a very enjoyable read - I'm sure that you will all agree. Roll on the next one please. Hmmm . . . time for a portion of chips I think!

Published by HarperCollins - 28 Feb 2013

Friday, 18 January 2013

Allan Jones - Codename Quicksilver: KillChase - Book Review

This is the fourth book to be published so far in this series. Another book is due to be published in March entitled Adrenaline Rush. I first stumbled across these books, last July, after my involvement in a blog tour regarding the first two books in this series. The author produced a really insightful post about Free-Running which was really interesting. If you like to read it, click the following link: Guest Post Here

The main character in the book is Zak, a teenage spy, who has amazing skills in Free-Running. As a result he's very fast and nimble on his feet. This story finds Zak taking a thrilling ride on the Orient Express - very action packed and particularly well written. In fact, at times, it feels very James Bond-esk in the telling.  

Zak's mission in the fourth book is to find the mole in MI5. It takes him to the heights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the beautiful backdrop of Venice. All great settings for this high octane adventure. 

This book is action packed; it is a quick fire race for time as Zak is being hunted from two different angles in the story. The further you travel through the story, the more intense the action and the outcome of the story. 

These are brilliantly engaging stories for the young budding spy. A fast paced thrilling ride of adventure and mystery combined. I think that this book is the best in this ever growing series, so far. In my opinion, these books are often overlooked. However I would recommend these as a good easy reading series.

Published by Orion Children's - 3 Jan 2013

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Book Cover Reveal/Synopsis for The Eye of Minds - James Dashner

Exciting news people - The Eye of Minds is out Oct. 8. Are you excited for Dashner’s new series? This is one of my most wanted book this year along side the new Jonathan Stroud book Lockwood & Co which should be out - at the end of August.
The Eye of Minds, the first book in Dashner’s new series, The Mortality Doctrine, centers on Michael, a gamer who spends the majority of his time in the addictive virtual-reality system known as the VirtNet. The VirtNet offers anyone with money the chance to live in the fantasy world of their choosing — no risk, and if you’re an adept enough hacker, no rules.
But not all rules were made to be broken. One gamer is taking the others hostage inside of the VirtNet, and the government turns to Michael to track this hacker down. Will he be able to survive off the VirtNet grid? Or will reality be lost to him forever?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Mr Ripley's New Books Picks: February 2013 - Post Two of Two

This is the second post that I've written for new books that are published in February. I could actually produce a third due to the great feast of books for this month.  You might find that not all of the titles have been included in the lists - this might be because I've already reviewed them or am planning to do so. However, I hope you find a title or two to add to your very own reading pile.              

Barry Hutchison - Afterworlds: The Book of Doom - Published by HarperCollins - 28 Feb 2013
The second hilarious book in Barry’s AFTERWORLDS sequence – comic fantasy perfect for fans of Pratchett and Douglas Adams.
There’s panic up in Heaven. They have mislaid the BOOK OF DOOM – the most important object in existence. Oopsy.
They think Satan might have stolen it, the sneaky little devil, so to save the world – plus, you know, quite a lot of embarrassment, fifteen year old Zac and his angelic guide Angelo are sent to retrieve it.
Sadly directions aren’t Angelo’s strong point and they soon find themselves just as lost as the book, wandering through Afterworlds such as Valhalla and Hades and encountering some colourful characters along the way…
Can the hapless pair make it to Hell and back?

Kai Meyer - Arcadia Burns ( Arcadia Trilogy) - Published By Templar Publishing - 14 Feb 2013
Following the shattering events in Arcadia Awakens, Rosa is now head of the Alcantara clan. Scared and scarred, she flees from Sicily to New York to consider her future. There she encounters the American branch of the rival Carnevare Mafia family, also Panthera Arcadians. Forcibly injected with a serum that temporarily prevents her metamorphosis, Rosa is pursued by the Panthera in a deadly chase. Narrowly escaping with her life, Rosa returns to Sicily and to Alessandro, head of the Carnevare clan and Rosa's lover. Hunted by their enemies and manipulated by their allies, Rosa and Alessandro encounter corruption, intrigue and mortal danger at every turn. Will it force them together or drive them apart?

Marcus Alexander - Keeper of the Realms: The Dark Army - Published By Puffin - 7 Feb 2013  
Your abilities as a Keeper allow you to open doors that others can not.' Imprisoned in the mythical world of Bellania, Charlie Keeper is at the mercy of Lord Bane's guards while her loyal friends have been sold into slavery.When the Terrifying Edge Darkmount breaks into her cell, he promises to decipher the meaning of her mysterious pendant - and unlock the secrets of Bellania - if she will help him get revenge on Bane. But can she Trust him?
The future of the realm relies on Charlie's special powers. Even if she escapes it may take more than she can summon to overthrow the evil lord - it may take an entire army.

Andy Briggs - Tarzan: The Savage Lands - Published By Faber & Faber - 7 Feb 2013
Lord Greystoke has arrived at the logger's camp in the Congo, and will stop at nothing to find and eliminate his long-lost cousin, Tarzan.
Robbie and Jane set out through the jungle to warn Tarzan, and find themselves trapped in the sprawling ancient city of Opar, where the insane Queen La is running an illegal Coltan mine.
With a volcano threatening to explode, Tarzan, Robbie and Jane must form an unlikely alliance to save themselves. Not everyone will make it out alive . . .
Simon Rae - Keras - Published By David Fickling Books - 7 Feb 2013 
All his life, Jack Henley has felt at home in the woods, more at home than when he's actually at home with his parents. He loves watching the badgers play-fighting in the summer evenings, and pretending to be outlaws or cannibals with his two best friends. But when Jack discovers the most incredible secret of all, a beautiful, extraordinary, unicorn, he cannot believe his eyes.

He and the owner of the woods, Mr Finistaire, embark on a journey to save the unicorn from extinction. But as they continue in secrecy, Jack begins to wonder whether all is what it seems, or whether there is an ulterior motive to Mr Finistaire's interest... Will the bond between Keras and Jack be enough to withstand the danger that awaits them both?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Walk this way to discover the unveiling of this interesting book cover - the next instalment of the particularly popular series by Daniela Sacerdoti 'The Sarah Midnight Trilogy'. It's certainly an eye catching cover, but what do you think? 

The book hits the shelves on the 21st February 2013 and is being published by Black & White Publishing. The synopsis is listed below in order to tempt you to order your copy in advance before they run out.

Sarah Midnight is no ordinary teenager. She is a demon hunter, caught up in one of the deadliest wars unknown to man. Orphaned at the age of sixteen, Sarah learned the family trade of hunting without her parents to guide her but under the watchful eye of her ‘cousin’, who was revealed to be Sean Hannay, no relative at all, but a dear friend of the real Harry Midnight.

Now, in the exciting sequel to Dreams, the fight continues. Sarah and Sean may have defeated the Scottish Valaya, but the rest of the war still rages on, and Sarah, Sean, Nicholas and their companions must unearth the identity and location of the Enemy – the leader of the demons – before the world plunges into the Time of Demons once more. Their quest leads them to Sarah’s family home, the Midnight mansion in Islay, and there they discover horrible truths about the demon ruler, his plans,
and Sarah’s own personal history.

Along the way, Sarah must battle not only the demons but her hurt toward Sean and her feelings for the enigmatic Nicholas, who has plans of his own.

Daniela Sacerdoti is the bestselling author of Watch Over Me. She was born and raised in Italy but has lived in Scotland for the past ten years. Daniela holds a degree in Classics from the University of Turin and has taught Italian, Latin and Greek – her great-uncle was the renowned Italian writer Carlo Levi. She lives in Glasgow.

Monday, 14 January 2013

***Book Review: Shadows of the Silver Screen by Christopher Edge***

Lights! Camera! Action!

This is the second book in recent times to catch my interest regarding early film production. I particularly like it when a plot takes a pinch of historical fact and weaves it magically into the book - Christopher has managed to do just that. He has created an intelligent and brilliant story. 

This is a classic encounter of a horror story - full of darkness and oozing with the flavour of Victoriana. 1900 is the era in which the silent movie was first created. As you read this story, it will feel like you are watching the actors on the silver screen itself as you become engaged by its hypnotic charm.

The story is based around a mysterious filmmaker, who approaches The Penny Dreadful, with a proposal to turn Penny's tales of terror into motion pictures. Whilst Montgomery Flinch, the star of his own production, is plagued by a series of strange and frightening events. These frightening events draw you into the dark and chilling world where acting becomes reality. Penny finds herself living a nightmare that keep both her, and probably you, awake at night.

This is the second book to feature Penelope Tredwell, a feisty thirteen-year old orphan and heiress, of the bestselling magazine, The Penny Dreadful. I have to confess that I haven't read the first book in this series, but I will definitely be paying a visit to it very soon.  

The idea behind the story is very imaginative. I felt myself becoming immersed in the scenes played out in Eversholt Manor, and the filming of The Daughter of Darkness. It really was a feast of dark delights and one that will haunt you to the core. I loved the cast of interesting and entertaining characters, which all lead to the stories appeal and readability.  

 Published By Nosy Crow - 1st Jan 2013

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Mr Ripley's New Books Picks: February 2013 - Post One of Two

Chris Ryan - Agent 21: Codebreaker - Published By Red Fox - 28 Feb 2013
Special agent Zac Darke is back for his third mission - and the stakes have never been higher.
An unknown bomber is conducting a terror campaign in London. After an explosion on the tube leaves someone dead, Zac and his team are brought in to try and work out how this terror cell operates - but clues are scarce and they have no idea where, or when, the bomber will strike next. A teenage boy, currently detained in a young offender's institute, claims he has the answer - but before Zac can question him, the boy is shot and falls into a coma. Will Zac be able to break the cipher before the bomber strikes again?

Laura Lam - Pantomime - Published By Strange Chemistry - 7 Feb 2013
R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass - remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone - are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It's a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It's a place where anyone can hide. Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist's apprentice and soon becomes the circus's rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

Sarah Naughton -  The Hanged Man Rises - Published By Siomon & Schuster - 28 Feb 2013
When their parents are killed in a fire, Titus Adams and his little sister Hannah are left to fend for themselves in the cruel and squalid slums of Victorian London. Taking shelter with his friend and saviour, Inspector Pilbury, Titus should feel safe. But though the inspector has just caught and hung a notorious child-murderer, the murders haven't stopped. Now everyone is a suspect, even the inspector himself, and unless Titus can find a way to end the killings, he will lose all that is dear to him. For this evil cannot be contained, even by death.
Saci LLoyd - Quantum Drop - Published by Hodder Children's - 7 Feb 2013
Anthony Griffin is an ordinary kid caught up in a dangerous world. The boundaries between real and virtual are more and more blurred, and when Anthony's girlfriend is taken out in a gang hit, he has to venture into the underground world of the Drop to flush out her killer and bring him to justice. 
This is the story of a boy whose girl is worth more than money.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Book Review: Lovecraft Middle School - Professor Gargoyle/ The Slither Sister By Charles Gilman

From the publisher who brought you one of my favourite books back in 2011 - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Has now sent me two books in a great new series that I can shout my head of, to anyone who will listen. Thanks to Matthew for sending them over to me. I really appreciate it without people like yourself, my blog would not be the same. 

I know a lot of my followers love reading books that have, shall we say a darker nature in genre. A good old fashion horror book that will lift your spirits to a place of ones imagination and this does that with spades. 

So in true fashion I like to tell you about the "Lovecraft Middle School" series of books that hit the shelves last September with the follow up "The Slither Sisters" book two which is out hopefully 15th January, they should be in all good book stores from then. If not track them down online as book two will be out for you to buy as well. You can't miss them either each book has a fantastic holographic cover which will catch your eye immediately and very cool to boot. 

We have a little sprinkling of R. L Stine magic about these books that sends shivers down your spine.  Anyone 9 and over will sink their teeth into them page by page lapping up the daemons and the story line to the max. Robert Arthur and the School ghost and bully fight the forces of evil. Crawford Tilinghast and his army of mutant creatures are the forces of evil that have been dreamt up from the far realms of the authors mind. It all takes place around Lovecraft Middle School a crazy place with even crazier pupils and teachers. 

I love the secret attic that's depicted in the book and some of the outrageous monsters, the star of the show for me is a two head rat. One heads called Pip and the other's called Squeak. I find that funny to be honest, I'm still chuckling now.

These are great books to enjoy in one sitting , they will captivate and hook reluctant boy readers for sure. I think they are really cool as well.  I read both books one after the other, I really wanted another one. The good thing is the third book entitled Teacher's Pest is due out in May.  So Matt if you read this, please send me it soon.  I hope you all enjoy them, if I have tempted you to read them. Thanks for reading this post, see you again soon!

Also I have posted the book trailer and synopsis in the previous post. Here

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School: Professor Gargoyle & The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman - Book Trailer & Synopsis


Book Review to follow in the next day or so, it won't all fit on one post.

Book One - Professor Gargoyle - Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a maze of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very peculiar. In fact, he just might be a monster in disguise. Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!

The Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series sets the stage for the adventures to come. The cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait—so you can personally witness the professor transforming into a monster. You won't believe your eyes!
Book Two - The Slither Sisters Looks can be deceiving! Sarah and Sylvia Price may resemble ordinary middle school students, but they’re actually hideous monsters in disguise. Even worse, they’re campaigning for student council, with a secret plan for abducting the entire seventh grade! The only ones brave enough to stop them are twelve-year-old Robert Arthur and his best friends: the school bully, the school ghost, and a very hungry two-headed rat.
The Slither Sisters picks up right where Professor Gargoyle ended—with more action, more adventure, and more outrageous monsters! This time around, Robert and the gang confront a winged harpy, an insanely long serpent, and (most frightening of all) their first school dance. Middle school has never been so terrifying!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Book Review: F. E. Higgins - The Phenomenals: A Tangle Of Traitors

I remember being gripped many years ago by this author's debut book 'The Black Book Of Secrets'. This was a brilliant and slightly different read to anything else at that time. It was certainly an exciting platform for the start of her writing career - a book that made me into a huge fan. This is now her sixth book to have been published and the start of a new series. One, that in my opinion, will find a new readership. So step this way into the new world of F. E. Higgins.....

From the very first page, you will note the interesting use of words and, at times, experimental vocabulary that conjures up a flavour to this unusual adventure. I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the writing. I found myself looking up many of the words to find that they were not in the dictionary that I possessed. However, they certainly added to the interest of the story and the plot.

With this story we are thrown into a great twisted adventure full of eerie and somewhat macabre comings and goings that I have come to expect from this author. There is an undercurrent of a supernatural or, in this book, a Supermundane nature that will tug at your soul. I was hoping for more of the story to be developed, but I was left wanting more to quench my thirst.

The book is full of phenomenal characters that will both intrigue and engage you on different levels. Citrine Capodel - heiress to a corrupt empire and framed for a murder she did not commit; Folly Harpelaine - a merciless destroyer of Lurids, who dabbles in the dark arts; Jonah Scrimshander - a deadly harpoonist, who has already cheated death and, Vincent Verdigris (my favourite with such a great name) who is light-fingered but even lighter on his feet. That's just for starters. The next motley crew include Edgar (brother to Citrine evil) and heartless Leopold Kamptulicon, who hangs out with his old pal - a Lurid ghost who has risen from the tar pits. A beastly destination for the dead. This is a putrid place full of Wraiths - the traitors and murderers who have drowned in its bubbling depths. 

I loved the storyline as it was both clever and funny. Although the imaginative elements, at times, were very creepy. The depiction of the tar pits and Vincent's encounter with the torture chair were both gripping and enthralling to read. Fiona has stretched her creative juices and let everything go in this book. The expectations for this book have been delivered making it a mouth-watering beginning for the next book "A Gaggle of Ghouls" which is due to be published in 

Published by Macmillan Children's Books

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Book Launch Post: Louis Nowra - Into that Forest - Book Review

                                                  Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

If you have read any of my previous posts, then you will have seen that I've been very fortunate to read some cracking books at this start of this new year, already. Yet again (if this book is anything to go by) then we are in for another feast of delight. It would be fair to say that I was not expecting this book - it was a very delightful surprise. In fact I knew nothing about it, or the author, until it arrived on my doorstep. Therefore, I would like to send a big thank you to Egmont for sending this to me and making my day.

The first thing that I'd like to comment on is related to the production of the book. It has been produced as a hardback with a really attractive dust jacket and a beautifully finished binding (and end pages) which are particularly well produced and eye-catching. The book is illustrated with small black and white sketches, which also work very well alongside the story. It's nice to see that so much effort has been put into the making of this book. Especially when so many people, and the market in general sadly, are turning to e-books and other similar formats due to ease and price.

This is one particular story which you will not easily forget. It is a book that reads like a true story - it will leave you questioning whether the events really did or did not happen. It's a story about two girls who find themselves lost in the Tasmanian bush after a tragic accident. The girls find a saviour in the form of two fierce Tasmanian tigers. Everything is viewed from the perspective of Hannah O'Brien - told through a brilliant and extraordinary voice. 

It's a particularly captivating read following the survival of the two girls. It has a lot of uncomfortable twists and turns - it is one that will definitely have your heart strings tugged in many directions. I loved the sea adventures that were depicted within the book. However, I don't want to say too much more as I really don't want to spoil any part of the enjoyment for when you grab your own copy, which I hope you do!

This is a beautifully poignant story about survival and relationships. It will certainly leave many lasting memories. Breathtaking in detail and setting, realistic to the core and a rare book that will both shock and move the reader at the same time. This is another early recommendation from myself, but with this book expect some tears so have the tissues ready.

Published By Egmont 7th January 2013 - ISBN: 9781405266437 - (Hardback)

US Children's New Book Picks: January 2013

Sage Blackwood - Jinx - Published By HarperCollins - 8, January 2013
In the Urwald, you don't step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter churn–riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magnus.
Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon's kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx's safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx's curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon's unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trodden paths.
But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest. And soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.
Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers that life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.
Andy Gavin - Untimed - Published by Mascherato - 1, January 2013
Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history - like accidentally let the founding father be killed - they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.
book cover of 

The Archived 


Victoria Schwab
Victoria Schwab - The Archived - Published by Hyperion - 22, January
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Book Review: Ashley Edward & Zack Stentz - Colin Fischer - Puffin - 7th Feb 2013


I got an email about this book sometime last year. After reading the press release, I was very intrigued to find out more. The double author combination are both huge comic book fans, who met online. This meeting went onto become a great screenwriting partnership including films such as X-men and the brilliant film Thor. Although, this was not what initially attracted me to their debut book, it was instead the curious synopsis and the glowing praise from Lev Grossman that really captured my interest. 

This is not my normal book choice that I would rush to read. However, for some reason, I was soon pulled into the book before I had even read the first page. How do I judge a good book? One element is by how quickly I am captured by the book e.g. how often I put the book down or how often I may need to re-read parts for further understanding or clarification. However, if this was a race, then Usain Bolt had just finished the 100 metre run in yet another record time. This book was finished in one sitting - no time to breath and no further clarification required.

Another element I take into consideration is originality - I felt the voice of Colin Fischer was both unique and fascinating. In fact I was glued to every page of this book. It was beautifully written and very well researched with foot notes and little entries to either explain the perspective of Colin's thinking or his understanding. This was reflected brilliantly in the book.

The real highlight of this book, for me, was Colin's notebook. He had written in this everyday since being a young child. The recorded facts, thoughts and observations were a really lovely personal touch which definitely enhanced the story.

Another element I consider is the entertainment factor of the book. This book was very insightful into the world of a person who has Aspergers. It allowed you to consider what it might be like living within our society today. At times, the isolation, loneliness and bullying from not being understood. In Colin's case he needed index cards to be able to read facial expressions. He avoided eye contact and doesn't like being touched. However he likes crunchy foods and finds it very difficult to tell lies. 

When a gun goes off in the school cafeteria this starts Colin's detective skills on a mission. A mission to discover the truth of what had happened using brilliant logic - just like his favourite hero Sherlock Holmes, who has a place of honour on his bedroom wall. It is a touching and poignant rollercoaster read that has some similarities to Mark Haddon's 'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' but it really does leave you with a sense of awe. 

It's perhaps too early to say, but this might be one of the best books of the year for me anyway. It is certainly one that will stay with the reader. I would highly recommend this book and would love to hear what you think and if I have piqued your interest!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Niel Bushnell - Sorrowline (The Timesmith Chronicles) - Book Review

This is the second book on the bounce that I've really enjoyed from a debut author. Looking ahead to 2013, I feel that we might be in for a very good year. One where the imagination flows and the stories do the talking - just like this book. 

I was very happy to receive this book, directly from the author, after the cover had been featured in the book cover wars. I was looking forward to reading it from the cover alone, and it certainly did not disappoint me. It's a rapid page turner which is full of great ideas. The main character, Jack, is a Yard Boy and someone with the ability to travel through Sorrowlines (the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the persons death).  When Jack visits his mum's grave, he falls head first into an unimaginable adventure that will leave you gasping for breath by the end. 

This book incorporates a superb slice of history - paying a visit to war torn London in the forties. In my opinion, this has been very well written and certainly added a good slice of reality to a book packed full of fantasy. It's so easy to get lost in parts that have a time travel theme, but in this book the author kept it very clear as to what was going on.

Along the way you will meet some very interesting characters. The Boagymen and their secret underground system and the army of Paladin, who would easily fit into a Tolkien novel. However, at the centre of every good book there needs to be a particularly evil or power-hungry, mad character. In this case his name is Rouland. I would have liked to see him feature a little bit more as he was deliciously dark - just what I wanted to read!

This book is a fantastic read, although I wasn't quite sure about the ending. I was hoping for something different perhaps a few more incidents and surprises to spice it up. However it is a high octane journey that is full of adventure and will keep you on your toes until the very last page. A must read for 2013 - it leaves you thinking about what might be coming in the next book.

Published by Andersen - 3rd January 2013