Thursday, 24 April 2014

Guest Post: Emma Pass - The Fearless - Happy Publication Day

The end of the UK as we know it…

THE FEARLESS is set in the UK in the near future, imagining what would happen after the world is overrun by psychopathic super-soldiers – The Fearless – who want to turn everyone else into Fearless as well. Society as we know it has collapsed and small bands of survivors fight for their existence. While I wrote this book, I needed to imagine a UK very different to the one we currently live in…

First of all, I needed to create a refuge for Cass, THE FEARLESS's protagonist, and her family. After some searching on the internet, I found out about a tiny island off the coast of Japan called Hashima (or Gunkanjima) island. This island is man-made and was built in 1890 to house workers extracting coal from undersea mines. In 1974 it was abandoned, but many of the apartments still remain with people's posessions inside. Although I have never been (yet!) it really captured my imagination and inspired me to create Hope Island, a similar place off the coast of the UK. 

Another setting that features heavily in the book is the bunker where Myo and his group live. There are abandoned military bunkers all over the world, including in the UK, and again I did a lot of internet research and read several books such as this one to help me create Myo's bunker, which is located in the middle of the remote Staffordshire moorlands, an area I know quite well in real life.

As for imagining what the rest of the UK would look like once society had fallen apart and most towns and cities had been abandoned, that was a matter of combining imagination with more research. Luckily, I have a day job in a library, so I was able to source lots more interesting books about abandoned places and urban exploration to help me picture the ruin and neglect I wanted to describe. 

Finally, I needed a city location where I could place the Fearless lair, a place where these monsters have gathered to begin a new wave of attacks. London? Lots of potential there, but I'd already used it as a setting in ACID. Still, there were some great locations. Battersea Power Station, maybe? Or how about Buckingham Palace? Or Westminster?

In the end, though, I decided not to set this part of the book in London at all; I decided to look a bit closer to home instead. I'm not too far from Sheffield, and there was a certain location there that was just crying out to be used. Somewhere just outside the city; huge, and with plenty of places to hide. Somewhere which, if overrun by the Fearless, could turn into place of nightmares known as the Torturehouse. I won't say too much more about it here – I don't want to spoil it for you! But if you read the book, and if you've ever been, you might just recognise it, and agree that it makes the perfect monsters' hideout… 

Author Biography
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, ACID, is out now from Corgi/Random House in the UK, and from Delacorte in the US.  It won the 2014 North East Teenage Book Award, was shortlisted for the Doncaster Book Award, was nominated for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal and has been longlisted for the 2014 Branford Boase Award and a Silver Inky Award in Australia. Her second novel, THE FEARLESS, is out on 24th April 2014 from Corgi/Random House and in early 2015 from Delacorte. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and crazy greyhound G-Dog in the North East Midlands.

Author Links

Many thanks Emma for this guest post. I'm really looking forward to reading your book particularly after this fabulous introduction. HAPPY Publication Day - we raise a glass to you and your new book which has now been released in the wild. Go and purchase a copy today and don't forget to tell us what you think.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mr Ripley's New Great Children's/ YA Books Published May 2014 - UK Post

Cameron McAllister  - The Tin Snail - Published by Jonathan Cape (8 May 2014) - See review: HERE
This is the story of a brave little car that helped to win a war.
In the 1940s world of elegant, luxury automobiles, the Tin Snail is no beauty. But it's facing a tough challenge:
to carry a farmer and his wife,
a flagon of wine
and a tray of eggs
across a bumpy field in a sleepy French village
- without spilling a drop or cracking a shell.
And then an even bigger challenge comes along - staying hidden from an officer of the occupying Nazi army, who is bent on stealing the design for the enemy!
Loosely inspired by real events, with ingredients from the best children's favourites (a dash of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, a pinch of HUGO, and a sprinkling of DAD'S ARMY) this debut novel from successful screenwriter Cameron McAllister is set to be a classic hit and a fun, big-hearted read for the whole family this summer.

Steve Feasey - Mutant City - Published by Bloomsbury Children's (8 May 2014) See review: HERE
Fifty years ago, the world was almost destroyed by a chemical war. Now the world is divided: the mutants and the pure, the broken and the privileged, the damaged and the perfect.
Thirteen years ago, a covert government experimental facility was shut down and its residents killed. The secrets it held died with them. But five extraordinary kids survived.
Today four teenagers are about to discover that their mutant blood brings with it special powers. Rush and three brothers and sisters he can't remember. Two rival factions are chasing them. One by one, they face the enemy. Together, they might just stay alive . . .

Gregg Olsen - Run (Vengeance Novels) - Published by Hot Key Books (1 May 2014)
What if you discovered that everything you thought you knew about yourself was a lie? Rylee is fifteen. She comes home from school one afternoon to find the most shocking thing possible - her father dead, with a knife through his heart, and a key clutched in his hand. Her mother's purse is on the counter, but she appears to be long gone. A message in blood is written on the floor...RUN. With her brother in tow, Rylee begins a dark journey, one that will uncover horrific and chilling crimes and lead her to an unexpected and gruesome discovery about her real father and what - or who - is behind his insatiable desire to kill. By the journey's end Rylee's childhood is a long way behind her...RUN is the first title in the new Vengeance series, following Rylee as she begins to piece together the story of her life and to avenge unpunished crimes - starting with her own. This is DEXTER with a feisty female protagonist unlike any other in contemporary young adult fiction.

Chris D'Lacey - Ufiles #1: A Dark Inheritance - Published by  Scholastic Press (27 May 2014)

When Michael Malone discovers his supernatural ability to alter reality, he is recruited by an organization dedicated to investigating strange and paranormal phenomena. He joins in hopes of finding his father, who mysteriously vanished three years earlier. Michael's first task is to solve the mystery of a dog he rescued from a precarious clifftop -- a mystery that leads him to a strange and sickly classmate and a young girl who was killed in a devastating accident. Stakes are high as Michael learns to harness his newfound ability and uncover the deadly truth about his father's disappearance. A bold and thrilling tale of alternate realities, paranormal mystery, and extraordinary adventure.

Thursday, 17 April 2014


New York Times Bestseller Rainbow Rowell Completes YA Convention Line Up
Final list of names announced for Young Adult Literature Convention.

Waterstones Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman and the London Film and Comic Convention (LFCC) are delighted to announce the final list of authors joining the UK’s first Young Adult Literature Convention. Heading them is US author Rainbow Rowell, whose first YA title Eleanor & Park spent six weeks in the New York Times Bestseller chart, was voted Goodreads’ best young adult fiction of the year and was chosen by Amazon as one of the 10 best books of 2013. The first draft of her second YA novel Fangirl was written as part of the National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) and was chosen as the inaugural Tumblr Book Club selection.

There are also a host of other names from the YA writing world joining the line-up, including 18 year old author Beth Reekles, who was recently named by Time magazine as one of the 16 most influential teenagers in the world. Publisher and award-winning author of In Darkness Nick Lake and Heart Shaped Bruise author Tanya Byrne are also announced today. Joining them is Robert Muchamore, whose books have sold in their millions and been translated into 27 languages.

The full list of names announced today:
                     Holly Bourne
                     Tanya Byrne
                     Alexia Casale
                     Lucy Christopher
                     Cat Clarke
                     Steve Cole
                     Sarah Crossan
                     Kim Curran
                     Phil Earle
                     Ian Edginton
                     Garen Ewing
                     Frances Hardinge
                     Catherine Johnson
                     Nick Lake
                     Andy Lane
                     Julie Mayhew
                     Sarra Manning
                     Amy McCulloch
                     Anthony McGowan
                     Sarah McIntyre
                     Robert Muchamore
                     Beth Reekles
                     Tim O'Rourke
                     Bryony Pearce
                     Non Pratt
                     Andy Robb
                     Rainbow Rowell
                     Lucy Saxon
                     Marcus Sedgwick
                     C J Skuse
                     James Smythe
                     Emma Vieceli

YALC will form a highlight of Malorie Blackman’s campaign as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate. It will take place at the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC), at Earl’s Court, London on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July 2014. YALC will bring together all the UK’s YA publishers to provide a host of author events in a dedicated Book Zone, with talks, workshops, signings, a book sales area and publisher stands promoting new and upcoming titles. Blackman will act as a curator for the two-day convention, uniting authors and publishers throughout the UK community. 2014’s YALC event will be the first time a large scale public convention around YA books has taken place in the UK, and its setting among the fans of cultish film and TV will set books at the heart of entertainment for teens and young people.

YALC is supported by Prudential plc and the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.

For more information about the London Film and Comic Con, visit their website here: and follow @YALC_UK on Twitter for all the YALC news.

Names previously announced:
                     Holly Black
                     Malorie Blackman
                     James Dawson
                     Sally Gardner
                     Sally Green
                     Matt Haig
                     Isobel Harrop
                     Will Hill
                     Charlie Higson
                     Derek Landy
                     Sophie McKenzie
                     Patrick Ness
                     Natasha Ngan
                     Meg Rosoff
                     Darren Shan
                     Holly Smale
                     Jonathan Stroud

                     Ruth Warburton

Monday, 14 April 2014

Michael Owen Carroll - Hunter (Super Human) - Out in May 2014

The defeat of the near-invincible villain Krodin has left a void in the superhuman hierarchy, a void that two opposing factions are trying to fill. The powerful telepath Max Dalton believes that the human race must be controlled and shepherded to a safe future, while his rival Casey Duval believes that strength can only be achieved through conflict.
Caught in the middle is Lance McKendrick, a teenager with no special powers, only his wits and the tricks of a con artist. But Lance has a mission of his own: Krodin's ally, the violent and unpredictable supervillain Slaughter, murdered Lance's family, and he intends to make her pay.
Hunter will be published in the US on May 1st, 2014.

About the Author:
Michael Carroll lives in Dublin, Ireland, with his lovely wife Leonia and two extraordinarily cute kittens called Dora and Wulf.
He has written a large number of books, short stories, comic strips, articles, reviews and interviews, some of which have been quite well received despite the fact that he doesn't have much hair any more.

As well as the New Heroes / Quantum Prophecy series, his novels for younger readers include thePelicos trilogy (The Last StarshipReclaiming the Earth and The Dead Colony), MoonlightShe Fades Away and Renegade. More information on his books can be found on his other website.

Among his favourite authors are Harry Harrison, Michael Scott, Philip Jose Farmer, Tanith Lee, Robert Rankin, John Wagner, Alan Moore, Alan Grant, Garth Ennis, Fabian Nicieza, John Sladek, Bob Shaw, Stan Lee, Christopher Fowler, Pat Mills, Joss Whedon, J. Michael Straczynski, Gordon Rennie, Frank Miller, James Morrow, Carl Hiaasen, Brian Michael Bendis, and all the people who like his books.

Michael's favourite artists include such geniuses as John Higgins, Patrick Zircher, Dave Gibbons, Al Davison, Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland, Alex Ross, Gary Erskine, Steve Dillon, Jim Burns, Jeff Smith, Mark Bagley, PJ Holden, and almost everyone who ever drew Judge Dredd.

In his spare time (of which there is very little), Mike dabbles with programming, computer graphics, website design, and a lot of other things that don't involve any physical labour.
Don't forget to check out Mike's not-very-frequently-updated Weblog! Mike can be contacted via e-mail at the address on theQuestions page.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book Review: Steve Feasey - Mutant City - Published by Bloomsbury

Book Synopsis:
Fifty years ago, the world was almost destroyed by a chemical war. Now the world is divided: the mutants and the pure, the broken and the privileged, the damaged and the perfect.
Thirteen years ago, a covert government experimental facility was shut down and its residents killed. The secrets it held died with them. But five extraordinary kids survived.

Today four teenagers are about to discover that their mutant blood brings with it special powers. Rush and three brothers and sisters he can't remember. Two rival factions are chasing them. One by one, they face the enemy. Together, they might just stay alive . . .

Book Review:  
We are not walking down the traditional route of vampires and ghosts here. There is no lurking werewolf or Zombie or any of the old tried and tested scary beasts, so to speak. In this book, Steve leads the reader down the pure fantasy horror path which is brimming full of pure imagination. It escapes the bounds of the horror genre with a great plot and a new deadly functioning monster to deal with, the Mutants. This is the type of book that I love to sink my teeth into - I'm always looking for more.

I've been a very big fan since the first book in the Changeling series, but this is, in my opinion, a new start which is really special. I read this book so quickly that I wasn't sure where the time went. I was gulping down the story like a thirsty man stuck in the Sahara Desert.  

Great dollops of action have been dropped into a fantasy world of devastation after a chemical war that has taken place. Fifty years on, the world is now a very different place. It is a dark and bleak vision of experimental government projects that will change the world for ever. 

Four teenage characters find their mutant blood, with special powers, that lead to a journey that will captivate the reader and give many hours of reading pleasure. This is an amazing idea that I really connected with. It was very interesting following the characters through a journey of a new world. A world that poses moral issues that will definitely get you thinking - a great combination for fans of Michael Grant and Darren Shan. 

This is the best read in the teenage horror genre that I have read for some time. It will make you hair turn green. It has got everything that I look for in a story and more. It's very cool and one that boys will love and girls will come to love. In my humble opinion, this is a really well delivered story set in a fantastically dark and futuristic world with imagination and creativity at the height of the genre. This is amazing stuff; I am really looking forward to the next instalment.

If the cover hasn't already sold it to you, then hopefully my review will. Buy it, borrow it, read it,  share it....  ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH?  ARE YOU PURE? ARE YOU MUTANT?

Also if you would like to check out the first chapter visit this page here:

Book Details: 
  • Paperback: 368 Pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140884303X

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Thanks to Vincent who was foolish enough to hand his blog over to me. 

Thanks Michael for popping over as well to Mr Ripley's Enchanted books on the final stop on the Light UK blog tour. 

People like famous people.  Which I believe may be the cause of fame to begin with.  Im sometimes asked whether Im famous.  The answer is: No.  I am not famous.  In the States Im even less famous than I am in the UK.  I will admit to being better-known than the average grocery store clerk or insurance salesman, but no one has ever come up to me in a random public place and said, Oh!  Youre Michael Grant!

Thank God.  Ive never understood why people want to be famous.  I am altogether on-board with rich.  Rich is excellent.  Money is real and you can use it to do things and own things and have people killed.  (Just kidding.  I do all my own killing.)

Fame just means you have people watching as you try on clothing that no longer fits.  Fame is people overhearing you threaten your bratty children with water-boarding.  (Hey, its not torture, if you believe the previous American president.)  Fame is a bunch of strangers all up in your face then rushing off to Tweet that you had a booger.  Who wants that? 

I get asked whether I know various famous writers.  Ive never met JK Rowling.  Sorry.  Ive never met Stephen King, though we have emailed.  I was at a dinner once with Veronica Roth.  (Shes very tall and pretty.)  Ive exchanged a few words with RL Stine.  Ditto Lois Lowry. Did a  panel once with Lemony Snicket. And I met Chris Colfer.  You know, Kurt, from Glee.  Oh, and Teller of Penn and Teller is a distant cousin.  I think thats it for the famous people Ive met.  Or failed to meet.  

I do know a fair number of other writers, and count Andrew Smith, DJ MacHale, Lisa McMann, David Lubar, Paolo Bacigalupi, Alex London, Mike Mullin, TM Goeglein, Beth Revis, Jon Scieszka  and a few other great writers as buddies.  But theyre no more famous than I am.  Believe me, we can all sit together in a bar drinking and absolutely no one bothers us for autographs.  I know this because weve put that to the test.  Again and again.  

Oh, wait, I met Henry Winkler (the Fonz) and interviewed Weird Al Yankovic.  So theres that.  

But probably the most famous writer Ive met is my wife, Katherine Applegate, who won the Newbery for THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN last year.  (Its a big-deal prize she won for some book about a talking monkey.)  And really, when were sitting around in our sweatpants and food-stained t-shirts watching YouTube bootlegs of THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF we seldom ask each other for autographs.  

Fame is stupid.  Money is cool.  Dont be famous, be rich.

Oh, wait!  I forgot to mention my new book series, MESSENGER OF FEAR See, its that failing to mention stuff that results in you not being famous.  


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Mr Ripley's New Children's/Teen Books Published In May 2014 - UK Post One

Moira Young - Raging Star (Dustlands) - Published by Marion Lloyd Books; (1 May 2014)
Loyalty and betrayal. Lovers and enemies. The final installment in the heart-stopping DUSTLANDS trilogy, which began with the Costa Award-winning BLOOD RED ROAD and continued with REBEL HEART. Saba doesn't know who she is any more. Her encounter with DeMalo leaves her drawn to the man she knows should be her enemy. She has no choice but to continue to lead the fight against him. Saba knows the price of violence. She has lost too much in the quest for freedom. Now she must decide if it's worth the fight.

Peter Lerangis - Seven Wonders: The Tomb of Shadows - Published by HarperCollins; (13 May 2014)
The third book in the thrilling SEVEN WONDERS series.
“A high-octane mix of modern adventure and ancient secrets… I can’t wait to see what’s next.” Rick Riordan

THREE FRIENDS:Jack McKinley and his friends are the Select. Their powers are growing at a furious rate and must find seven magical object to save themselves – and the world. Two treasures have already been found, but time is running out…
TWO SIDES SPLIT: Marco has betrayed his friends and ancient secrets are coming unravelled. The Select don’t know who to trust or where to turn, but they must fight on.
ONE LIFE LOST: Jack, Aly and Cass race to the next stop on their quest, where they have to face their own demons and engage in an epic battle with shadows of the dead. When promises are broken, blood is spilled – and the Select are forced to destroy the one thing that might have saved them all.
The epic adventure continues. Third stop: The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.

Amy Plum - After the End - Published by HarperTeen; (6 May 2014)
Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she'd ever been taught was a lie.
As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she's struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.

Jason Rohan - The Sword of Kuromori - Published by Egmont; (8 May 2014)
Kenny Blackwood arrives in Tokyo to spend the summer with his father and is stunned to discover a destiny he had never dreamed of when he finds himself in the middle of a hidden war that is about to explode.

Racing against an impossible deadline, Kenny must find the fabled Sword of Heaven and use it to prevent the disaster. But a host of terrifying monsters is out to destroy him, and success will come at a price.

With clever, fearless, sarcastic Kiyomi at his side, Kenny must negotiate the worlds of modern and mythic Japan to find the lost sword, before it's too late.

Keep up to date with my new facebook page, news, book competitions etc.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review - The Tin Snail - by Cameron McAllister

Imagine the following fantasy pot filled and boiling over with magical ingredients from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a slice of reality from Dad's Army and a dash of occasion from Back Home. If you can picture this, then you should be getting quite close to the magical experience that I had when reading this book.  
Loosely inspired by real events, this story focuses on the birth of the first economy car produced by the French car manufacturer, Citro├źn. Even today, this car is still classed as an icon with it's utilitarian unconventional looks. The Tin Snail transports the reader back to the 1940's; a world of elegant and luxury automobiles produced for the super rich, although the story initially begins at the 1938 Paris Motor Show. This is a super start to a wonderful journey undertaken by a brave little car. But it soon finds itself facing a tough challenge:
  • to carry a farmer and his wife, 
  • a flagon of wine and a tray of eggs
  • across a bumpy field in a sleepy French village 
  • without spilling a drop or cracking a shell
However an even bigger challenge faces the car as a Nazi officer is bent on stealing the design for the enemy!

In my opinion, this is a beautifully written story. I loved every minute that I spent reading this book. It is easily set to be a classic hit this summer. A fantastic family read; this is a story with a big heart based on an amazing idea. A poignant tale filled full of warmth, great characters and the coming together for the common good. 

With France being invaded by Nazi soldiers during the early forties, this story gives an interesting insight into war at that time. This part of the story particularly captivated me. It really made me think about the struggles and hardships during that time.  This could make a good classroom read, in my opinion, as it is sensitively told.

This is easily one of my favourite books so far this year - a brilliant and magical read that will stay with me until the day that I die. It is a great debut story with bags of drive and vroom. One that I could see working really well as a tv adaptation or film. 

I would like to thank Matilda for tracking down a rare copy of this book. I have been told that the finished copy will include a beautifully drawn map inside the front cover, as well as other wonderful illustrations from Sam Usher. 

Apologies for the early review as this book is not due to be published until May 2014 by Jonathan Cape. However I just couldn't wait any longer; I really needed to start talking about this wonderful book. I hope that you enjoy it as I much as I did.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Mr Ripley's New Children's Fantasy Books Published In April 2014 - US/Australia Post

Tim Kehoe - Furious Jones and the Assassin's Secret - Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (April 8, 2014)

When his dad’s book turns out to contain deadly secrets, twelve-year-old Furious Jones is thrust into a web of mystery and danger in this gripping page-turner.

Furious Jones, the twelve-year-old son of a famous thriller writer, lives with his grandfather after his mother was mysteriously gunned down right in front of him a year ago. Curious to know more about his estranged dad, he goes to see him speak about his upcoming novel to a packed audience—and to his shock and horror, he witnesses his father get shot as well.

When Furious discovers that his dad’s upcoming novel contains dangerous and fiercely protected secrets, he sets out to discover who killed his father, and what exactly they were trying to cover up.

Ideal for fans of Alex Rider and Theodore Boone, the action-packed exploits of Furious Jones are as thrilling as they are intriguing. Can Furious unravel this literary mystery before the death toll rises?

Emily Raabe - Lost Children of the Far Islands - Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers (April 8, 2014)

Twins Gus and Leo and their little sister, Ila, live a quiet life in Maine—until their mother falls ill, and it becomes clear her strength is fading because she is protecting them from a terrible evil.
Soon the children are swept off to a secret island far in the sea, where they discover a hidden grandmother and powers they never knew they had. Like their mother, they are Folk, creatures who can turn between human and animal forms.
Now they must harness their newfound magic for a deeper purpose. The ancient, monstrous King of the Black Lakes will stop at nothing to rise to power, and they are all that stands in his way. Their mother’s life hangs in the balance, and the children must battle this beast to the death—despite a dire prophecy that whoever kills him will die.
Can Gus, Leo, and Ila overcome this villain? Or has he grown too strong to be defeated? Lost Children of the Far Islands is a story filled with magic, excitement, and the dangers and delights of the sea.

Geoff Rodkey - Blue Sea Burning (The Chronicles of Egg) - Published by Putnam Juvenile (April 3, 2014)

After narrowly escaping the New Lands, Egg is determined to take down ruthless slave trader Roger Pembroke. But war is brewing among the Blue Sea's pirate gangs—and Egg, Guts, and Kira are running out of time to find the Fire King’s treasure and free the Okalu slaves from the silver mine on Sunrise. Can they save Kira’s people before Sunrise is plundered by Ripper Jones’s pirates? Will Burn Healy save the day, or has the legendary captain finally met his match? And will Egg ever win back Millicent from the annoyingly handsome Cyril?  
This explosive conclusion to Egg’s journey delivers the ultimate combination of humor, heart, and white-knuckle adventure.

N.D Wilson - Boys of Blur - Published by Random House Books for Young Readers (April 8, 2014)

When Charlie moves to the small town of Taper, Florida, he discovers a different world. Pinned between the everglades and the swampy banks of Lake Okeechobee, the small town produces sugar cane . . . and the fastest runners in the country. Kids chase muck rabbits in the fields while the cane is being burned and harvested. Dodging flames and blades and breathing smoke, they run down the rabbits for three dollars a skin. And when they can do that, running a football is easy.  

But there are things in the swamp, roaming the cane at night, that cannot be explained, and they seem connected to sprawling mounds older than the swamps. Together with his step-second cousin Herman "Cotton" Mack, the fastest boy on the muck, Charlie hunts secrets in the glades and on the muck flats where the cane grows secrets as old as the soft earth, secrets that haunted, tripped, and trapped the original native tribes, ensnared conquistadors, and buried runaway slaves. Secrets only the muck knows. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Mr Ripley's New Children's Books Published April 2014 - US Post

Andrea Cremer - The Inventor's Secret - Published by Philomel - April 22, 2014

New from Andrea Cremer, the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade novels, comes an action-packed alternate-history steampunk adventure.
In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape  or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.
The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery. Perfect for fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners, Cassandra Clare'sClockwork Angel, ScottWesterfeld's Leviathan and Phillip Reeve's Mortal Engines.

Matthew Jobin - The Nethergrim - Published by  Philomel - April 8, 2014

Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!

Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.

In a story reminiscent of the Ranger’s Apprentice epic and the Chronicles of Narnia, Matthew Jobin weaves reality, magic, and adventure into the next great fantasy phenomenon.

Dianne K. Salerni - The Eighth Day - Published by HarperCollins - April 22, 2014
In this riveting fantasy adventure, thirteen-year-old Jax Aubrey discovers a secret eighth day with roots tracing back to Arthurian legend. Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this first book in a new series that combines exciting magic and pulse-pounding suspense.
When Jax wakes up to a world without any people in it, he assumes it's the zombie apocalypse. But when he runs into his eighteen-year-old guardian, Riley Pendare, he learns that he's really in the eighth day—an extra day sandwiched between Wednesday and Thursday. Some people—like Jax and Riley—are Transitioners, able to live in all eight days, while others, including Evangeline, the elusive teenage girl who's been hiding in the house next door, exist only on this special day.
And there's a reason Evangeline's hiding. She is a descendant of the powerful wizard Merlin, and there is a group of people who wish to use her in order to destroy the normal seven-day world and all who live in it. Torn between protecting his new friend and saving the entire human race from complete destruction, Jax is faced with an impossible choice. Even with an eighth day, time is running out.

M.P. Zozlowsky - The Dyerville Tales - Published by Walden Pond Press -
April 22, 2014         
Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he'll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather's journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can't be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather's than he ever could have known.
Its unique voice and ability to combine creepiness with great story and character development make The Dyerville Tales a real standout middle-grade novel.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Mind Blind by Lari Don - KelpiesTeen

Lari Don's Mind Blind is another offering from the newly formed  KelpiesTeen.  This is a brand new teen fiction imprint showcasing Scottish books with attitude. Launched this March, the publishing company has award-winning authors Roy Gill, Gill Arbuthnott and Lari Don discovering the dark side of Scottish fiction through their spectacular stories.

This is new territory for Lari with her first venture into teenage fiction. This story is told from the perspective of a teenage boy called Ciaran and has been particularly well achieved, in my opinion. The story unfolds inside Ciaran's head and/or when he's inside Lucy head, which might not make sense to you yet but it will once you have read the book.

The opening part of the story is immediately captivating with the opening lines ' I killed a girl today, just after the school bell.' This opener literally drags you into the story head first. Although, I did find the first part of the book a little slow going but it was still very intriguing - I really wanted to know more. After the first two chapters, I soon started to glide along once I had got to grips with the first person perspective of seeing the world through Ciaran's eyes, but also alternating between the two different voices of Lucy's feeling and emotions told through the eyes of Ciaran.

Ciaran Bain is a criminal with a special talent: he can read minds. This also comes at a price, emotionally and physically with gripping consequences that makes for brilliant reading. Ciaran's voice punched away in my head and fuelled  me with adrenalin all the way through this adventure. I felt like I was part of the world that Lari had written.

Lucy Kingston Shaw is another main character. However Lucy's sister is dead - she was killed for a secret that Ciaran's family want to bury.  Both characters are thrown together in an epic voyage of discovery as they journey to uncover the deadly secret between their families. They can run but they can't hide; not even from their own minds.

There is enough in this story to keep every reader hooked. It is told through a realistic setting with no magical scenario involved. It is just the pure concept of mind reading which, in this set of circumstances, is an hereditary skill. The deep family turmoil and unlikely friendship both feed off the strong themes of hate, fear and family loyalty which thread through this book. It is a story that will make you think more deeply than most - this is normally something that I might have run away from, but in this case I absolutely loved it. 

This is a great story that has been published by KelpiesTeen. It is a book with attitude, freshness and a story that teens will relate to very much. It has a memorable and fascinating theme that is unique to other current teen fiction that is around at the moment. There's nowhere to hide when your mind can be read. This is available to purchase  in bookshops now - go and grab yourself a copy now.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Guest Post: Claudia White - Aesop's Secret/ Keys to Kashdune - Published by MP Publishing

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Felix and Melinda Hutton are the main characters in my middle grade fantasy novels and have been with me for a very long time.  Not in their final form which can be found on the pages of Aesop’s Secret and Key to Kashdune but in their concept.  The idea of people who can take the shape of other creatures has held my fascination since childhood. 
For years I had dreamed about writing down my imagined worlds to share with young readers but instead of getting down to work to accomplish that, I used my magical thinking and told everyone that I wanted to write a book.  Sadly, just because I said it did not make it so.  Then something changed and I must credit the (now late) great actor Sir Nigel Hawthorn for the words he shared giving me the push I needed. 

I had never met Sir Nigel Hawthorn but in 2000 he played a very important role on my journey to becoming a published author.  I had just moved to the village of Warborough in England’s Thames valley and was driving home alone for the first time. I was lost…absolutely nothing looked familiar.  Athenites, the shape-shifting characters in my imagination, were usually with me as I conjured up exciting escapades for them using the passing landscape as the backdrop for their adventures, but not on that occasion.  Nervously I flipped through radio stations; it was close to dusk and I hadn’t a clue as to where I was or what “A” road to take and my mobile was dead.  I landed on BBC Radio 4 where an interview with Sir Nigel was just winding up.  It was at the same time that I saw a familiar landmark.  Heavy sigh…I was going in the right direction.
Calmer now, I continued to listen to the interview instead of shifting gears and finding some music to be used as the soundtrack for my Athenite musings.  Sir Nigel’s words held me.  He was talking about his struggles in the early days of his career and ended by saying that he didn’t go into acting because he wanted to but because he needed to.  It took a while to sink in.
Once I realized that my desire to write was a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’ the rest was simply hard work and discipline, disappointment at rejections and perseverance that led to finally being published.
Hard work aside, the easiest part of writing for me is that my imagination is always on hyper drive.  I am constantly wondering “what if” about this or that:  What if there really were people, like the shape-shifters I held in my imagination?  What if these people looked just like us but their ancestors were actually mythological and fabled beings?   From there it didn’t take long to put all the pieces together and Aesop’s Secret was off to the races.

Everyplace I go I see scenes and scenarios that tickle my imagination.  In subsequent books the characters continue to learn about themselves and the talents that they possess as I let my imagination roam free. Driving in Seattle one summer I took note that the city had its own special music…that led to the realization that other places have unique musical sounds that we associate with them… which led to music in the air…which led to Athenites and animals being able to hear that music on the winds telling them where they are.  The next thing I knew, Melinda and Felix were off on their next adventure in Key to Kashdune

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Roy Gill - Werewolf Parallel - Published by KelpiesTeen (Plus Book Giveaway)

I first discovered Scotland's dark side when reading Roy Gill's Daemon Parallel about two years ago. This was a truly brilliant read that I thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, the book made my list of favourites back in 2012. Since that time I have been eagerly waiting for the sequel and finally it has arrived. 

With the recent launch of Kelpies Teen, this book is one of four due to be released in March. A revamped version of the cover of Daemon Parallel, with it's bright red glowing eyes beaming daemonically at you, is quite different to the original version. This is in-line with the current sequel, Werewolf Parallel, which has a very similar cover style but in green.  Now that the anticipation is over and the book has been read, the question has to be . . . .  was it worth the long wait?

The opportunity to run with the pack again in another heart pumping adventure has been fantastic. I raced through the Parallel world turning the pages like a Daemon riding the Janus express train. The imagination Roy has applied to this instalment left me running wild through the Scottish countryside. Although, the next time that I walk down Princess street or Leith walk, my fantasy side will turn to the adventures in this book. I know that I will be making connections with elements of the story which, to me, shows that the story has really engaged with me on many levels. 

I will be running away from the malevolent beast known as Mr Grey, who has arms that endlessly stretch, as if they are continually growing and not to tickle you with! His fingers are waiting to strike you down whilst his sidekick, Mr Black, watches over you.  They are planning to destroy the Parallel - the realm between worlds which is populated by daemons, dark fantastical creatures, old gods and werewolves - and everyone in it. The sinister plot that is afoot makes for a very interesting and imaginative story. The book definitely reads with a distinctive older feel, as it's now aimed at the teen market. However, I still feel that this book will be loved by younger people as well as the older population, like myself!

This book is action packed with a pulsating adventure. It has a big wolf heart at the very core. Flowing with Scottish charm, this story has everything from spine tingling moments to emotional character enlightenment. It is difficult not to become wrapped up in the whole essence of the story and, before you know it, to be wolfing down each word. 

This is definitely a recommended read. By the light of the full moon, this story is both captivating and thrilling. I am looking forward to reading, what I hope will be, another exciting encounter. 

I will be giving away a copy of the Daemon Parallel on Twitter/ Facebook. All that you need to do is like my new Facebook page and comment on this review post at or retweet and follow me on Twitter,  @Enchantedbooks. Apologies but this is only open to the UK due to postage costs. Closing date is Tuesday 1st April 2014.