Wednesday, 6 February 2013

+++ Tom Becker - While The Others Sleep - Book Review +++


                            

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before about Tom Becker, but he is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. Therefore, when I received this book in the post I was very excited to read it. Especially as it is a book that I have really wanted to read this year.

This is the seventh book that has been published so far by Tom Becker and I hope there will be many more to come. He has written five great books in the fantastic Darkside Series. However, the sixth book 'The Traitors', which is Tom's first standalone book, is one of my favourite reads from last year and has been longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013.  

With this book, While The Others Sleep, Tom has pulled out another cracker. He has written a good, old-fashioned, supernatural thriller that will surely become a classic one day. Alfie Mandeville is the newest patient to be sent to the sanatorium for children. Sent by his father for treatment to make him better, as he suffers from sleep insomnia, he finds himself in a complicated situation. Be warned that reading this book will not help with the curing of any sleep insomnia. Alfie tries to uncover what is going on, but he ends up wrestling with his need for a logical explanation against his sleep-deprived imagination.

Scarbrook House is a sanatorium for wealthy children, it's a fantastic setting for this book. Picturesque on the outside whilst creepy and edgy on the inside; it's a dark place full of twisted secrets. Terrible things have happened within the house and are still continuing to happen throughout the story. This book delivers a mixture of both supernatural horror and mayhem.

Many of the characters have an eerie and disconcerting quality about them. Each character has a story to tell; they are all patients with sinister ailments that need to be overcome. However, they all seek treatment from a rather drunk Dr Grenfell who, in my opinion, needed a little bit more life injected into him as a character and perhaps more background detail in order to enhance the story. 

I think that you will love this book as much as I do. You may find that there are some similarities with another book (e.g. stately building with a twisted historical past told as a psychological thriller) that I have already reviewed this year, but that was also a cracking book. 

This book finishes with a climatic seat-of-your-pants experience. It is written in a very clever way with some amazing touches of imagination. It is a book that certainly lived up to my very high expectations and in more ways then one. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.  

Published By Scholastic - 4 March 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Book Trailer/Press Release: Alex Barclay - Curse of Kings: The Trials of Oland Born Part One

                                     

                                               

The Trials of Oland Born Part One

Curse of Kings

Alex Barclay

9780007335756 £12.99 HB/£10.99 TPB 31 January 2013


Fourteen-year-old Oland Born lives in a world  tyrannised by dark magic. He knows little
about his past or why the evil tyrant Vilius Ren keeps such a sharp eye on him. But when he
receives a letter from a long-dead king which urges him to fight back, Oland must battle his
own demons to undertake the greatest test of bravery and cunning a boy has ever faced.

Curse of Kings is the first story in The Trials of Oland Born and is a thrilling fantasy adventure
that will grip readers from the outset.
The story is set in a beautifully evoked and richly atmospheric fantasy world of medieval
castles, Romanesque games arenas, supernatural forests, desert pits and harsh seas.
Terrifying hybrid creatures and monsters abound – and Oland’s greatest ally is a girl called
Delphi who has dark secrets of her own.



About the author:
Alex Barclay is the award-winning author of five crime novels for adults. She has been living with the world of Oland Born inside her head for years, a world of adventure, mysterious prophecies, secret identities, fantastical creatures and great heroes who are tested to their limits. Curse of Kings is her first novel for children, and the first in The Trials of Oland Born series. She is a major new voice in children’s fiction. Alex lives in Ireland.

Visit Alex’s official website on http://www.alexbarclay.co.uk/



Monday, 4 February 2013

Book Review Classic: Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators In The Mystery of the Talking Skull By Robert Arthur

                                                   

I'm always keen to read new books from the past, especially a series of books that have passed me by. In this case I have Darren to thank from the Book Zone Blog for boys. I picked up this recommendation from one of his tweets a few weeks ago. This is a real hidden gem - I always find it interesting to look back and notice the difference. In this case, the time frame in which it was written is before the internet and the rapidly changing digital world. 

Book one was published in 1964 and, 43 books later, the very last book was published in 1987. Due to legal issues (with publishers and such) nothing has happened since 1990 and this may still remain the case in the future.

Whilst I would love to read more books in this series, I don't think this is going to be an easy task - some books appear to be out of print and some were published in the US as part of another series. However, I do feel slightly hopeful that I might be able to find another example as I found this book in a local charity shop. Therefore, I  think you know where I'll be looking and what I'll be doing in the next week or so!

Many different authors are featured in this series such as William Arden, Nick West and Robert Arthur (the creator). Robert penned many of the original ideas and edited most of the early books. In fact the book that I've just read was written by the master himself. It is a fantastic introduction to the books. It would appear that all of the authors have written their own introductions and epilogues. These were reportedly dictated by Hitchcock in the early books. 

This book entails a classic mystery for three boys to sort out. Centered around their uncle's scrapyard, an absolutely brillant idea, Jupiter Jones buys an unusual old-fashioned trunk in an auction. Looking through the contents of the trunk, they discover a talking skull which sets them off an epic adventure of sinister proportions. It's a classically well told story that every young boy, and even every old boy, would still love to read today.

This is an example of when books were based on pure imagination. Full of good creative ideas which have been told in a simplistic way. By the time I had finished this book, I felt about ten years old. Let the search commence for the next book. 

If you remember reading these books, then please leave a comment on the post. I would love to hear what you've got to say.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Book Review: Richard Masson - Boonie - Hot Key Books

                                         
This is a book that is very different to other books that I have read recently and being published at this moment in time. In fact it's not a book that I'd expect to be published by a mainstream publisher such as Hot Key Books. Therefore, I definitely congratulate them in championing this book.

The start of the book is not an easy one to digest. The harsh realties of the story are quickly thrust upon the reader and set a sombre tone. In parts, this book is set in a futuristic fantasy world. Although, it is basically about a world of survival in an arid landscape. Both water and food are very scarce; the world is ruled by dictatorship from the Silver Men. These men leave a lot to the imagination - not much is given away about them, which is good in my opinion. It leaves the imagination running wild as to the possibilities of their comings and goings. 

The story moves through a lot of bleak action before there is any glimpse of a ray of sunshine. However, that ray of sunshine soon shines through in the form of friendship and will have you hooked. 

The main character, JD, is lost in the desert after fleeing from the clutches of the Silver Men. He encounters a strange old man whose mouth has been sewn shut. The element of mystery starts to creep in at this point giving the reader more to think about as the old man reveals a secret. He helps JD to find the city in order to search for his missing mother. At this point the story unfolds into a tale of horror and brutality with enslaved children trapped inside pits scraping for water and food. This is certainly not a light-hearted and happy read. However, it really makes you think - it is an intelligent and well-crafted story. 

This is another great book that will stay with you until the very last page has been turned - just like a good old friend. It is a great debut start from an author who has been writing all of his life. Shortlisted for Undiscovered Voices 2012 - this great book, I am sure, is the reason why.

If you would like to read a copy of this book then the author is giving one lucky person a chance to win a signed hardback copy on his website. Why not pop over to enter the competition by following the link here http://richardmasson.com/

Equally, if you would like to read about the author's thoughts on Boonie then take a look at the guest post that he has written for my blog. More details on the competition can also be found here

Friday, 1 February 2013

Daniela Sacerdoti: Tide ( The Sarah Midnight ) Blog Tour Dates


 The Sarah Midnight Triology continues... 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.
If you fancy reading the first two chapters click Here
Black and White Publishing (21 Feb 2013)  Stop One -  Fresh Fantasy Fiction
                                                                Stop Two -  Sister Spooky

Mr Ripley's Most Wanted Books - March 2013 - US



      
Blue Balliett -  Hold Fast - Published By Scholastic - 1st, March 2013                                  
The mystery begins with a bizarre accident on a deserted, wintery street in Chicago. Now stir in an old Langston Hughes book on rhythms, the Chicago Public Library's huge downtown building, a family of four that find themselves in the midst of a spiraling nightmare, and the 2003Antwerp Diamond Heist, the biggest in history.
You will meet Dash, Sum, Early and Jubie… and many others living in a large city shelter. As dreams chase reality in a fearless yet sparkly search, 11-year-old Early Pearl will take you on a ride not easily forgotten.

                                                       
William Alexander - Ghoulish Song - Published By Margaret K. McElderry Books - March 5th, 2013
A brave girl flees a ghoul while trying to save her town in this lively, fast-paced companion to National Book Award winner Goblin Secrets.
Kaile lives in Zombay, an astonishing city where goblins walk the streets and witches work their charms and curses. Kaile wants to be a musician and is delighted when a goblin gives her a flute carved out of bone. But the flute’s single, mournful song has a dangerous consequence: It separates Kaile and her shadow. Anyone without a shadow is considered dead, and despite Kaile’s protests that she’s alive and breathing, her family forces her to leave so she can’t haunt their home.

Kaile and her shadow soon learn that the troublesome flute is tied to a terrifying ghoul made from the bones of those who drowned in the Zombay River. With the ghoul chasing her and the river threatening to flood, Kaile has an important role to play in keeping Zombay safe. Will Kaile and her shadow be able to learn the right tune in time?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Gareth L. Powell - Ack-Ack Macaque - Book Review


                                          
Warning: This book contains graphic scenes of violence and language which is definitely not suitable for anyone under the age of sixteen.

From time to time I dip my toes into the pond and when the waves ripple then you will occasionally find me reading a book written for adults. On even rarer occasions, you may even find that I actually like it. Therefore, when this happens, I feel that I should rightfully review it; tapping the keys at this very moment I shall summarise my thoughts and feelings about this particular book. It will then be put to rest in the archive of book reviews (otherwise known as Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books library!)  

I have actually read a slightly different version of Ack-Ack Macaque a few years ago. At the time, I felt that it needed a little bit more personality and meat to it. If you're not familiar with the short story (Interzone - fiction magazine) then you may not have realised or understand why I would say this. Especially as this newer version is absolutely amazing and fantastic; the book title is also ingenious and, just like the author, I love to say it out loud. It just rolls off the tongue and makes you smile - just like the book itself. 

I love books that are firmly set in a Sci-fantasy world. This story begins in the futuristic world of 2058, where power has shifted to a stronger European commonwealth due to a merger in the late 1950's. Nuclear-powered Zeppelins, the threat of world war and the total destruction of the world is all in existence. There is a mad cult named the Undying and a twisted, power-crazed woman named Celeste, who is behind a manic plot to rule a new world. What more do you want? Well, I could begin to mention Ack-Ack Macaque and his life through the virtual world, but I really don't want to say too much more about this at this point.

The main character, Ack-Ack Macaque, is written particularly well and each scene has been very well planned and thought out. He is definitely unique when it comes to being an all action-hero. He is one that you will love to read about - a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey who particularly likes to kick ass whenever he gets the chance. He's a Spitfire pilot, who has a penchant for daiquiri and bananas, and shoots down anything from German aircraft to parachuting Ninjas. You may think that this sounds really cool and you'd be right...! 

Equally, you might be thinking at this point that this sounds a tad cheesy, but Gareth really has written a belter of a plot. It really does leave you gripped - there is certainly more to this story then just Ack- Ack. Although for me, he really does play a crucial and innovative part. Nevertheless, the story is also plagued with evil - characters such as Berg, who steals brains and electronic soles. He injects a particularly darker side to the story; he really will make your skin and flesh crawl. Parts of the story are very graphic in detail - an element that captivated me as it gave the story a hearty punch in the right direction.   

This is an action-packed story full of colossal ideas and a host of great characters - some that you will instantly love and others that you really won't. The story is very detailed; it quickly thumps along to its own rhythm. It has originality in spades and buckets full of tension; it's a fantastic world in what could be. I really connected with this book and loved every minute of it. It has a great ending which does not let you down. Instead it lets the mind stew on what may happen next, if anything. This is the best book that I have read in a very long time from the adult Sci-Fi world - I look forward to visiting this world again in the not to distant future. 

Published by Solaris - Jan 2013

Artwork Collection - David Wyatt & Chris Riddell

I thought it was about time I shared some of my original artwork with you all,  as I've posted and shared some in the past with people on Facebook and Twitter!

The top drawing was done by David Wyatt, which was used in the fantastic books by Michael Malloy - (Witches series) of books. Not sure what's happened to him, his last book was published about eight years ago, an author I really miss.

The next pen and ink drawing is by the hand of Chris Riddell - The Story Giant by Brian Patten. Which I believe to be out of print, which is a shame really. I hope you enjoy this experiment post. If I get some good feedback, I will do some more in the next few months or so......


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Guest Post Book Plug #2 - Richard Masson - Boonie and Book Competition


                                                            
This is the second post in the guest blog series. This week I would like to welcome Richard Masson to my blog; he has written a post about his debut book 'Boonie'.  At the end of this post you will find an opportunity to win a rather rare and signed first edition book. It is published by Hot Key Books and looks rather wonderful.  If this post has interested and inspired you (which I'm sure it will), then visit Richard's site to enter the competition by following the link provided. Good luck to all of you who enter - we look forward to hearing from you.

So over to Richard.....

What is Boonie?
Since I wrote Boonie, all sorts of people have given it so many different tags that even I sometimes wonder what sort of a book it really is. Essentially, it’s an adventure story, the story of a boy and a girl and their struggle to overcome the perils of the world they live in. It’s set on a planet scourged by war and pollution where water and getting enough of it is the main preoccupation. 
Ah-ha!  you say, an environmental book, a warning to humanity. No, or probably not but if it strikes that chord with you, then that’s fine by me.

Dystopian then, like The Hunger Games? Well, no, not really that either .
Hot Key Books, the publishers have said it’s a book about friendship.  I liked that and certainly friendship and loyalty come into it but maybe, or then again, maybe not. 
What I really like about these descriptions is that different readers seem to be getting different things out of Boonie.  I’m a writer who likes to lay down clues from which the reader can build their own world and gain their own understanding of my people and their motivations. OK, so I write the story but I like to put lots of different layers into it and, encouragingly, it seems readers are seeing through the layers, taking up the clues and  building their own worlds and having  their own light-bulb insights into the characters.

What is it then? What is Boonie all about?
Going back to the beginning, I still maintain that Boonie is an adventure story and if you want to read it as a straight forward yarn about two kids, getting through each day in an arid, desolate world and battling against some pretty nasty enemies in the hope of building a better life for themselves, then I’m happy. If you see an environmental warning in there or get an insight into friendship too, then great because what I’d really like is if everybody who reads Boonie thinks they have read a different book to everybody else, a book essentially their own, a book in which only they see the real story, only they really know JD and what he’s going through or understands that feisty little Aqua girl.
That would make me very happy. 

Getting to the point at last, I wonder what you think? Obviously you can’t say until you’ve read Boonie and here’s how you can.

Boonie Book Giveaway.
Would you like a signed first edition hardback edition of Boonie? 
Just visit my website at www.richardmasson.com where you will find the first 27 pages of the book. I’d love you to read it anyway but if you do just answer a simple question and leave a nice comment.  I promise I’ll read every entry and I’ll post the winner’s name on the website and tweet it too. All entries must be in by 31st March 2013 and must be from UK residents only. Good luck everybody.

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 www.karensaunders.co.uk, ‘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.                                           

HUMANS ARE THE ENEMY! 

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 
both.
                                       
                                      
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
A TREACHEROUS LORD
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.
A CRAZED QUEEN
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.
AN EPIC BATTLE
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

BOOK COVER REVEAL: DANIELA SACERDOTI - TIDE - BOOK TWO IN THE SARAH MIDNIGHT TRILOGY

                                             
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.

AUTHOR INFORMATION
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