Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Book Review - Michelle Lovric - The Fate in the Box


This is the fourth book that has been written by Michelle Lovric. Every single story is a little time capsule of Venice which has been written in a place and time (1780's) that you could easily lose yourself in. Each story is a painted picture cleverly written in words. The Fate in the Box slowly winds through the streets of Venice in a colourful and vibrant way that makes it a very pleasurable read.

The venetian cries easily wash over you with charm and panache; the story ouses character from every page. There is a great sense of place and time that is quickly established and sets you on a journey of cleverly woven intrigue and mystery. The best way that I can describe this book is that of a Venetian snow globe which is gently shaken from time to time. The observer is then able to watch the wonders (through the snow) slowly begin to reveal themselves. It is enchanting!

The historical and factual partnership make a brilliant platform in which to weave a fantasy path. Both elements will have you hooked in a unique and special way. The author's knowledge and passion shines through every page like the skilled glassblowers of Murano, who are featured within the story. 

Fogfinger rules Venice - his Fog Squad and spies can be found everywhere. The Venetians fear him and obey him. He rules over with menace, ugliness and horror, so don't be surprised to read about an army of dead animals that are reanimated as automata! The inhabitants are all ruled with fear, but they remain intensely proud of their city. Every year one of their children is lost in a grisly Lambing Ceremony - the child must climb the bell tower and let the Fate in the Box (a grinning skull inside a jack-in-the-box) decide their destiny. Most end their days in the jaws of the primeval crocodile that lurks in the lagoon or at least that is what Fogfinger tells them. . . . . 

The book is full of courage, daring deeds and humour. The main characters Amneris, Tockle and Biiri aim to uncover the mysteries and seek answers..... but they may not stay alive long enough to reveal Venice's secrets and be able to defeat Fogfinger and his fate in the box. 

The book is superbly plotted with some very enchanting ideas e.g. walls that have tiny ears to listen in on anyone who criticises the evil ruler. The lazy inhabitants rely on various automata inventions which are described in particularly vivid detail and will easily capture your imagination e.g. magical talking statues, winged cats and the infamous mermaids (from the previous books) that are known as the protectors of Venice. 

There is so much going on in this story that you are never quite sure what's coming around the corner. It could be amazingly written dialogue one minute quickly followed by humour and laughs the next. With a combination of suspense, mystery, horror and mayhem this story really does have the lot. It is a truly creative and, in my opinion, a one of a kind reading experience. I'm really looking forward to the next book.......

For more on the books or the author, check out the books web site.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

News: Michael Grant, meets the winner of GONE Online on the EDF Energy London Eye


Author of the bestselling GONE series, Michael Grant, meets the winner of GONE Online on the EDF Energy London Eye

On Saturday 4 May, the bestselling author of the GONE series, Michael Grant, met the winner of GONE Online.  The game was created to celebrate the publication of LIGHT, the sixth and final book in the GONE series, which was published on 28 March and topped the children’s bestseller charts in both the UK and Ireland.
Lucy Woodcock, aged 18, whose gaming alias was Dionysus, won the game beating over 2,400 players to the prize.  She wins an Apple iPad and met Michael Grant during a trip around the EDF Energy London Eye. Lucy is from Wolverhampton and is a college student at Dudley Sixth in the West Midlands.

GONE Online ( was launched in March and ran over 6 weeks, seeing a series of mini games released on a weekly basis.  They were designed to challenge, infuriate and test the players’ skills.  Some games rewarded time and speed, others ability and knowledge of the books.  Using the latest in location-based marketing, players could pick up extra points by checking in with their smart phones at specific locations – bookshops or libraries.

By the close of play, over 53,000 games had been played with 57 million points scored in total.  Lucy Woodcock was a clear winner scoring over 226,000 points.  She comments, “I started playing the games because I really wanted to meet Michael Grant, and I wanted to see what the games were like especially the word search and the quiz. After playing them for a little while I got into the competitive element of the games and I was really enjoying playing them.” 

The game is hosted on a dedicated website and can also be played on smart phones.  Players of any age were able to play but only UK residents aged 21 years or under were eligible for the competition.  The game is still available to play, although no prizes are now available.

Michael Grant comments,I am amazingly bad at games, so I’m particularly impressed by the fans who have done so well.  Thanks to them for their enthusiasm and support.  It’s very humbling.  Thanks to all who played and all who outscored me … which was probably everyone.”

GONE was the first instalment in the epic teen series which has become hugely popular with teenagers internationally and has been lauded by Stephen King as ‘exciting, high-tension … told in a driving, torrential narrative that never lets up.’  

Over 400,000 copies of the books have now been sold in the UK alone.
Lucy Woodcock continues, “I first started reading the series because the cover caught my attention while I was in a book shop, I read the blurb and I was interested in reading them so I bought GONE. When I'd finished reading it I was really impressed! I searched online to find out when the next one would be out because I couldn't wait to find out what would happen to everyone. I was really glad that it wasn't a book that censored the violence because that's what made the story more realistic (except the powers) knowing that anything could happen to them at any time and not everyone would be able to cope with being trapped, especially teenagers. I've loved following the books and trying to guess how the FAYZ happened, what the Gaiphage was or how little Pete was involved, although I wasn't impressed when Michael killed my favourite character! I was really happy with how the series ended overall, even though it was really emotional.” 

Mike Richards, Marketing Director at Egmont Press, comments, “This competition was part of a broader campaign for the publication of LIGHT and we’re delighted that it has been won by such a big fan of the series. We’re also celebrating the book having launched straight into the bestseller charts and I take a good deal of personal pride in outscoring Michael in the first trivia game.”

Great New Children's Book Picks - June 2013 - UK Post One

Mark Walden - H.I.V.E. 8: Deadlock - Published by  Bloomsbury Children's (6 Jun 2013)

Deadlock – the eighth book in the breathtaking H.I.V.E. series – continues the high-octane adventures of the supremely talented criminal team, with central characters forced to question everything that Nero has taught them and to confront the consequences of life as a villain, set against the backdrop of a daring high-tech prison break where nothing is quite as it seems.

Otto and Raven are desperate to rescue their friends from the clutches of Anastasia Furan, head of the evil Disciples organisation. First they must track down the location of the Glasshouse, the prison where Furan trains children to become ruthless assassins. But Otto is also being hunted. The three months that Otto has spent following his ‘expulsion’ from H.I.V.E. have given the Artemis Section – an elite division of the American intelligence services that specialises in capturing the toughest targets and reports only to the President – an opportunity to locate him.

Darren Shan - ZOM-B Angels - Published by  Simon & Schuster Children's Books (20 Jun 2013)
Where can you find shelter in a city of the damned? How can you build a new life if you're undead? Who can you trust in a world gone mad? B Smith has come to a crossroads...

Cassandra R. Clarke - The Pirate's Wish - Published by Strange Chemistry (4 Jun 2013)

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.

Joseph Delaney - Spook's: Alice: Book 12 (Wardstone Chronicles) - Published by Bodley Head (6 Jun 2013)

A lot of dark stuff happened when I was young that I've never even told to my dearest friend, Tom Ward. Dark and scary things I hoped I had left behind for ever . . .
Over the years, Alice has fought evil side by side with the Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward. But now Alice is alone - in the realm of the dark. And the creatures she has helped to banish there, now have the chance to take their revenge.

Alice must seek the final weapon needed to destroy the Fiend for good. If she fails, the world will fall into despair and darkness. If she succeeds, it means facing her own death at the hands of her dearest friend. But can she prevent the darkness from overtaking her over completely . . . ?
The penultimate instalment of the Wardstone Chronicles follows Alice, Thomas Ward's loyal companion, to the most terrifying place of all.

Friday, 3 May 2013

New Edition Book Cover Reveal - Darren Shan - Lord Loss and Demon Thief (Demonata Series)

Missed the demonata the first time round?
check out our new look editions of this classic horror series a hellsh nightmare for only the bravest of readers...

LORD LOSS by Darren Shan - New edition. Release date: July 4th 2013.
When Grubbs Grady first encounters Lord Loss and his evil minions, he learns three things: • the world is vicious, • magic is possible,
• demons are real.
He thinks that he will never again witness such a terrible night of death and darkness.
...He is wrong.

DEMON Thief by Darren Shan - New edition. Release date: July 4th 2013.
When Kernel Fleck's brother is stolen by demons, he must enter their universe in search of him. It is a place of magic, chaos and incredible danger. Kernel has three aims: • learn to use magic, • find his brother, • stay alive.

But a heartless demon awaits him, and death has been foretold...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Book Review: Jon Mayhew - Monster Odyssey


A huge red tentacle gripped a sailor and whisked him above the deck. Dakkar caught the look of horror in his staring eyes as he vanished, dragged over the side and into the sea. Water rained down on the deck as more tentacles squirmed their way over the side and across the deck or through the rigging. Men's shouts of anger or terror mingled with the odd gunshot. 

This is the fourth book by Jon Mayhew - it is due to be published by Bloomsbury this month. This book is slightly different from Jon's previous books as it's not just about the frights and spills of horror. It is instead a pure epic fantasy from the bottom of the ocean. Jon, at an early age, was captivated like so may of us by the classic 1950 Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. This was of course originally written by the great man and author, Jules Verne. 

At the time, the film industry was making great leaps and bounds with new technology. This film captivated many watchers, just like the book. It has certainly inspired Jon to be very creative historically - additional embellishments through a creative vision creates a mix of 200,000 Leagues and The Mysterious Island. A memorable and enchanting read has been created that will have you in awe. You'll be gripped by the strongest tentacle and dragged down into the deepest depths of fantasy. 

The main character in the book, Prince Dakkar, will rejuvenate the memory of Captain Nemo in so many ways. I'm hoping that he may pave the way for many future stories. Son of an Indian Rajah, he certainly has issues with authority, as he was expelled from the world's finest schools and finally sent to an unconventional educator known as Count Oginski. Unsurprisingly, Dakkar plans his escape immediately and eventually sets off on a roller-coaster adventure. This is a seafaring-tale that will have you splashing about wanting much more.

Count Oginski is a genius inventor, as a character he works really well for me. Although, in my opinion, he might be a little bit stereotypical but nevertheless he is very mysterious and definitely interesting to read and follow. Another key character is the sinister Cryptos, who is hellbent on taking over the world. He's just like a super villain from a Bond movie as he lives in a fantastic hideout where he can be found plotting evil world domination.  

This book was brilliant - it has all of the classic ingredients that will take you back to your childhood. Assassins, espionage and a mind boggling adventure. There are pirates and a big giant squid, which is just pure magic as it creates some epic, high-octane, action sequences.  Whilst a whole host of deadly sea creatures produce a horrifying element that cannot be imagined. All of which is told at a blistering pace - the pure fantasy and imagination does not let up until the very end of the book.

Jon's new adventure has taken him into a new territory, but he has certainly come up trumps. I loved this book as much as his other stories. He has a great ability to conjure up something really special which transports the reader back to their childhood roots . . . . . just like the classic film all those years ago. Fantastic reading - I'm sure that you'll love this book as much as I did.

Published by Bloomsbury May 9th 2013

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Jon Mayhew's Mayhem Month of Monsters - Unleashed Wednesday 1st May 2013

Discover a different monster every day in May!

To celebrate publication of Jon Mayhew’s brilliant new beastly adventure Monster Odyssey: The Eye of Neptune Bloomsbury Children’s Books
has gone creature crazy and created an online, interactive calendar that will unleash a different monster every day.

The calendar will be hosted at with a new door being activated each day throughout the month of May.
Here a whole menagerie of monsters ranging from giant sharks to classic dragons will be revealed.
The 31 creatures have been selected from myths, legends, classic stories and some even from our planet’s ancient history.

Each monster has been illustrated by the very talented Mike Love and comes with some short statistics and a word from Jon Mayhew.

Mayhew’s Month of Monsters is unleashed on Wednesday 1st May 2013

Book review to follow on Thursday.........

Three Children's Books: For Reluctant Boy Readers - Out In May 2013


Chris Bradford - Bodyguard: Hostage - Published by Puffin (2 May 2013)
In a dangerous world, everyone needs protection.
Bodyguard: Hostage is the new thriller from Chris Bradford, bestselling author of Young Samurai. Bodyguard is a bulletproof action-adventure series that fans of Cherub and Alex Rider will love. This is Lee Child for younger readers - Jason Bourne for the next generation.
With the rise of teen stars, the intense media focus on celeb families and a new wave of billionaires, adults are no longer the only target for hostage-taking, blackmail and assassination - kids are too.
That's why they need a young bodyguard like Connor Reeves to protect them.
Recruited into the ranks of a covert young bodyguard squad, 14-year-old Connor Reeves embarks on a rigorous close protection course. Training in surveillance, anti-ambush exercises, hostage survival and unarmed combat, he's put through his paces and wonders if he will actually survive the course.
But when the US President summons Connor to protect his impulsive teenage daughter, Connor's training is put to the ultimate test. For Connor discovers that the First Daughter, Alicia, doesn't want to be guarded. She just wants to have fun. And with no clue Connor is her bodyguard, Alicia tries to elude her Secret Service agents and lead Connor astray. But unknown to her, a terrorist sleeper cell has been activated.
Its mission: to take the president's daughter HOSTAGE...

H. L Dennis - The Knights of Neustria (Secret Breakers) - Published by Hodder Children's  (2  May 2013)
Team Veritas are back at Bletchley Park where a secret message hidden in a Shakespeare Portfolio pulls them into a new code-cracking adventure. Their investigations lead them to the writings of Sir Francis Bacon. Soon, they uncover the history of the Knights of Neustria, a brotherhood that goes back to the time of King Arthur charged with protecting a legendary secret. 
But are they any closer to their goal - to unravel the secret behind the ancient coded Voynich Manuscript? 
The stakes are getting higher as our young trio chase their quest from Cambridge to a terrifying struggle along the currents of the surging River Wye. Only one step behind them is the secret organisation who will stop at nothing to block them from discovering the truth ... 
Join the Secret Breakers team to crack the code in this highly original puzzle-solving series - The Da Vinci Code for kids.


Darren Shan - Hagurosan - Published by Barrington Stoke Ltd (15 May 2013)
When Hagurosan is told to take an offering to the shrine, he reluctantly begins his trek up the mountain. But when he gets hungry and eats the cake meant for the spirits, things take a turn that no one could have expected. Now Hagurosan must face the consequences of his actions. Terrific adventure from a master of fantasy. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 8+

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Will Hill - Animated Department 19 Comic Strips by Tom Percival

The first and second instalment so far for the animated Department 19 comic strips which has just been released recently - written by Will Hill, everything else has been brilliantly done by Tom Percival. Includes weapons, vehicles, the inside of the Loop, and remarkably high levels of awesome... Hope enjoy them, as they are super cool....

Friday, 26 April 2013

Mr Ripley's One to Watch: Aesop's Secret By Claudia White - May 2013

At the age of ten, Melinda Hutton enjoys a dreamy world where she imagines transforming into animals. Her brother, serious minded, twelve-year old Felix scoffs when their mother, Elaine, explains that to transform is normal for Athenites. She explains that their ancestry is often disguised in stories and fables, but it isn’t until their father Jake demonstrates this talent that they begin to understand that their ancestry is anything but mythical…
 Felix looked horrified as he stared at the wolf in his father’s clothing. While Melinda had greeted her father’s transformation with delight, Felix had turned a ghostly white and his mouth hung open as he gasped for breath. He looked like he might faint, throw up or both. Instead, he stood up,
moved backwards then ran out of the room and out of the house.
Understanding their heritage is only one of the challenges that Melinda and Felix must contend as they discover that treachery and greed impact their family’s lives. Melinda uses the skills of her ancestors (with strange and less than perfect results) to uncover Professor Horace Stumpworthy’s frightening plans…
Melinda panted under the heavy fabric of her bed clothes. She was dizzy after the quickest transformation of her life, leaving her feeling the way she might have having plummeted down in an elevator after the cable snapped. Her heart was racing as the floor vibrated while the professor walked closer. An involuntary shiver rippled along the length of her rabbit-shaped body and a single droplet of sweat trickled down her tiny freckled human face. She knew that if he turned on the lights he would see the pile of clothing and it would take only a second or two to discover her underneath.
Professor Stumpworthy’s brilliance in using his Athenite skills has made him a rich and powerful man. He had exploited humans, as well as his own kind, with ease until the Huttons got in the way…
Feeling the professor go limp, Melinda released her grip and leapt free while Felix leaned closer to the professor’s prone body. “There you go Professor…Burungo, the strongest sedative known to modern science.” But the professor didn’t stay quiet for long. His body writhed and shrank; white hairs exploded out of his skin, covering his entire body. Felix pushed backwards as the professor melted into a furry mass. Seconds later all that was left of him was a small white animal now occupying the space where he had fallen. It was only then that Felix noticed Joe kneeling alongside. Joe smiled as he held up a tiny syringe. “So it really does work,” he said in amazement. “Let that be a lesson to all of us to stay as far away from Wolfbane as we possibly can.”
 Publisher: MP Publishing (14 May 2013)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Book Review: Rick Yancey - The 5th Wave - Published by Puffin - May 2013


The 1st Wave: a power cut and the world is in complete darkness
The 2nd Wave: a tidal wave wipes out three billion people and only the lucky escape 
The 3rd Wave: a deadly virus clears a further four billion - only the unlucky survive 
The 4th Wave: the few remaining survivors begin killing each other. Only one rule applies: trust no one
The 5th Wave: No one knows. But it is coming......

With the hype mounting and the movie rights already sold, will this book deliver a Hollywood blockbuster? Riding on the success of 'The Hunger Games' and 'I Am Number Four' this genre is really hot at the moment and this book is definitely seeking a slice of the action. Rick Yancey's terrifying dystopian vision is a great story. It is one that I feel people will love and say great things about. Even though I actually had a couple of issues with the book, but I will say more about this soon.

The start of the book felt a little bit slow going to me, although I was still able to really enjoy what I was reading. The story has all of the key ingredients that I love to read about. A dystopian setting and a terrifying alien invasion with a sting in its tale. All of this is set in a well-written and well imagined sci-fi setting which has a bleak outlook and an even bleaker future. It's scary, it's violent and it's psychologically gripping - this story is brilliant. It is full of originality and full of big time heroics as the characters fight for survival - the underlying theme in this story is what it means to be human. 

However, at this point, the plot then came crashing down for me. The middle part of the story just stopped and I found myself wading deeper and deeper into the character emotions and feelings of Cassie. These ran strongly between trust and despair, defiance and surrender and between life and death etc. It was far too deep for me and became rather annoying. It felt as if the story was only based around two or three characters in the book, but it really could have been so much more than that. In my opinion, this section really just took the fantastic edge of a great story.  

The book did recover towards the end. All of the story segments were expertly woven together to make it a particularly intense and epic ending. It is an action-packed story which is full of great ideas. However these are wrapped up in with some rather big surprises. I was definitely superglued to the final outcome, which made the whole reading experience enjoyable and captivating. This was the ending that I was hoping for - the author delivered this in a really big way. It is an outstanding finish which, in my opinion, made up for the middle section.

This book is the first part of a trilogy. It is a story, in my opinion, which should work well as a movie. The book is due to be published on the 7th of May by Puffin. With a UK author tour confirmed in early June, this is definitely an opportunity worth looking out for. I look forward to your comments, as always.
Here is the book trailer....

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Guest Post By Teresa Flavin - Behind the Cover - The Shadow Lantern

Behind the Cover: The Shadow Lantern

By Teresa Flavin

I’m very pleased to be a guest on Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books, especially because Mr R hosts the ever exciting ‘Book Cover Wars’ feature where readers vote for their favourite design of the year. I’m always impressed, but not surprised, with how many people register their opinions. Book covers can inspire delight, disdain, awe and even controversy. They are analysed, categorised and compared. We may pick up a book just because we like the cover – and avoid a book for the same reason. And that’s why book cover design is such a tricky and important business. 

When Templar Publishing acquired The Blackhope Enigma, my fantasy-adventure novel about a magical Renaissance painting, one of the things I thought about most was how the cover would look. It felt a bit odd (but good) to know that a designer was creating a look for my debut book, deciding what elements to highlight and which font would catch the reader’s eye. When I saw the design for the first time, it was as if my story had been distilled into a gorgeous, mysterious image and reflected back at me. The Parish, the design consultancy that created the cover, had most definitely ‘got’ it. Everything from the ravens to the thorny border to the fragments of the painting in the background worked for me. And it was extra nice to have my labyrinth drawing included.

With The Crimson Shard, the second book in the trilogy, The Parish cooked up an even darker look to go along with the story’s setting in an eighteenth-century London underworld of art forgery, alchemy and body-snatching. I provided the illustration of the shard and the designer made it into a creepy silhouette. 

So it was with great anticipation that I waited to see what The Parish would make of The Shadow Lantern, which will be published in the UK on 1 May. In the final story, it’s Halloween and my two teenage characters, Sunni and Blaise, are pulled back to the Scottish castle where their adventures began. They encounter a strange old oil lantern that projects painted slides made by artist-magician Fausto Corvo - and there is far more to these projections than the eye can see. Sunni and Blaise must decipher the cryptic messages hidden inside these images, but enemies, alive and dead, are watching their every move. 

I couldn’t have asked for a more striking cover to end the trilogy. As soon as it was revealed, I received enthusiastic comments about the dancing skeleton under the full moon. And, as is often the case, I was asked whether I designed the cover since many people know about my background as an illustrator. I always answer no and that I am happy to have design wizards like The Parish take my stories and work their magic with them, especially when they let me draw the skeleton!

I guess the only big unanswered question is whether The Shadow Lantern has a chance in Mr Ripley’s Book Cover Wars. But that, dear readers, is up to him and to you! 

Thank you so much to Teresa for taking the time to write this post. I hope that this has piqued your interest to read the series. As for the book cover, if I get five or more comments stating that it should be in this years Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars 13. Then it may find itself being added to a heat - what do you think?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

New Children's Fantasy Books: Published In May 2013 - US Post


Viviane Schwarz - The Sleepwalkers - Published by Candlewick (May 14, 2013) - Age 7+ 
Nightmares are turned around with the help of The Sleepwalkers, a dreamlike graphic-novel adventure by Vivane Schwarz. When you are afraid to fall asleep, when all your dreams are nightmares, write us a letter, put it under your pillow, we will rescue you...It is almost time for the old and tired Sleepwalkers to return to the waking world. But before they go, they must conjure and train three new replacements. Who else will look after the Sleepwalking House and be there to answer the call of a child frozen with fear, trapped in a nightmare? Faced with a series of cliff-hanging dream predicaments, the three brave new heroes tackle the weird and the wild in this tale about pulling together as a team and having the confidence to stand up to your fears.

Marianne - Malone - The Pirate's Coin: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure - published by Random House Books for Young Readers (May 28, 2013) -Age 8+

Fans of magic, mystery, and adventure will love the third The Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure—a perfect next step for kids who love the Magic Tree House seriesand just right for readers who love Chasing Vermeer, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Wonderstruck. Sixth Graders Ruthie and Jack return to the Art Institute of Chicago's magical Thorne Rooms. During a school presentation, Ruthie and Jack discover that their classmate Kendra is descended from Phoebe Monroe, the young slave they befriended when they traveled to 19th-century South Carolina. Kendra tells them that long ago her family lost their good name and their business selling herbal remedies when mobsters accused them of stealing the recipes! Only Ruthie and Jack know the truth--because only they know about the secret ledger that Phoebe wrote the recipes in long ago! Ruthie and Jack's mission to clear Kendra's name takes them back to the Thorne Rooms, where a mysterious old coin leads them to 1753 Cape Cod and to Jack's own ancestor . . . the pirate Jack Norfleet! But playing with history can be dangerous! Suddenly, Jack's very existence is in jeopardy! Can Ruthie and Jack find the proof they need to help Kendra? And can they fix the past and save Jack's future . . . before it's too late?

Anne Nesbit - A Box Of Gargoyles -  Published by HarperCollins (May 14, 2013) - Age 8+
In this sequel to The Cabinet of Earths, twelve-year-old Maya is feeling more at home in Paris, a city filled with old magic. Her little brother, James, is safe, and the terrible man with purple eyes is gone. At least Maya believed he was until a person-sized column of dust and leaves with hints of purple where its eyes should be begins following her.
Maya suspects the strange, shadowy column is what’s left of the purple-eyed man, and that it—he—is behind the eerie changes in Paris, including the appearance of flying, talking stone gargoyles. She’s right. Worse, he has bound Maya to make him whole again, even if it kills her.


Anne Cameron The Lightning Catcher - Published by Greenwillow Books (May 7, 2013) - Age 8+
The Lightning Catcher, the first in a funny four-book fantasy / adventure series by Anne Cameron, is a must-read for middle-grade fans of The Underland Chronicles series and the Savvy books.
Any kid who has dreamed of having magical powers will want to follow the thrilling story of eleven-year-old Angus, an ordinary boy who discovers he is a Storm Prophet. That means Angus can predict and control extreme weather! While learning about his powers at the Perilous Exploratorium for Weather and Vicious Storms on the island of Imbur, Angus finds out his parents are also far from ordinary. His mom and dad are Lightening Catchers—and they’ve been kidnapped.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Andrew Lane - Lost Worlds - Chapter One Preview......


I was hoping to post all of chapter one onto my blog. Unfortunately, blogger will not allow me to publish the PDF file that I was sent. Therefore this is the start of chapter one for you to enjoy. If you would like to read the rest of this chapter then please click on the link at the end of the post.  I hope that you all enjoy this little taster and that it will encourage you to buy a copy of the book, once it has been published on the 25th April. Please also read my review for it HERE

You can also check out the great new website at (

Calum Challenger gazed in awe at the image on the computer screen. Well, to be fair, he gazed in awe at the image on the central one of the ten screens that hung, at different heights, suspended from articulated arms, in front of his work desk. The image was blurred and grainy, but that wasn’t the screen’s fault. His multi-screen, high- definition, hex-core computer system was the best that money could buy – and despite the fact that he was only sixteen he had access to a lot of money. An awful lot of money. No, the image was blurred and grainy because it had been blown up from a photograph taken with a mobile phone camera at long range while the subject was moving. Even so, he could just about see what it was.

He leaned back in his chair. Five years he’d been waiting for an image like this to turn up. Five years. Now it was here, captured in colour on his computer screen, he wasn’t sure how he should react.
A cold breeze from the darkened expanse of the warehouse behind him caressed the hairs on the back of his neck. He didn’t turn around. He knew that it was just a random gust of wind through a ventilation grille – the alarm systems would have gone off if anyone had actually broken in to the warehouse. He was, as he almost always was these days, alone. 

The screen showed a figure against a background of grass, bushes and rocks. Judging by the figure’s shadow the background was slanted – perhaps a hillside or a slope. The interesting thing – the thing that had made Calum catch his breath in wonder – was that the figure didn’t look human. 
It was difficult to tell its size, with only the heights of the bushes to compare it with, but Calum got the impression that it was about the size of a large man. It was stooped, with rounded shoulders and bowed arms that dangled in front of it. Its skin seemed to be covered with short, red hair, with the exception of pale lines up its spine, down the inside of its forearms and beneath its jaw. He could have been looking at a big, hairy man with a stoop, except that the face was different. A thick ridge of brow pushed out over the eyes, like a chimpanzee, and the teeth and jaw were pushed out slightly, but a distinct nose projected out beneath the eyes. Chimpanzees didn’t have noses.

He drew a box around the figure’s right hand with a couple of clicks of his trackball, and flicked the section of image inside the box to another of his screens. The result was pixelated almost to the point of incoherence, but he could just make out what looked like a thumb that was separate from the rest of the fingers, and angled so that it could close against them. An opposable thumb – that was another thing that ruled out the possibility that it was a chimpanzee. Calum knew that their thumbs were much shorter than the rest of their fingers, making it easier for them to climb trees. Gorillas had opposable thumbs, but this wasn’t anything like a gorilla. Some Old World monkeys, like mandrills, also had opposable thumbs, but they were all small – the size of a dog – and there was no way they could be mistaken for human. No, this thing was unique.

He ran his fingers through his long hair and interlaced them at the back of his neck. He supposed it could be a man in a mask and a hairy suit – like that 1967 footage taken in California which was supposed to show an ape- like creature locally known as the sasquatch but which had turned out to be a hoax. That was the problem with these blurry photographs or jerky video clips – they could so easily be hoaxes. And yet . . . its forearms seemed longer in proportion to its upper arms, and to the rest of its body. Reduced to a silhouette, it just didn’t look human. If the creature was a hoax then it was a very well constructed one.

The creature. He laughed suddenly, and the laughter echoed back to his ears from the cold brick walls of the warehouse. He was already thinking of it as the creature. Just a few moments ago it had been the figure. Somewhere in his mind, it seemed that he had already made a decision about the photograph’s likely authenticity.