Friday, 6 February 2015

Graphic Novel/Comic Books on Mr Ripley's Reading Table - Jan/March 2015 Post

Secret Origins: Volume 1 Written and art by Various. Published by DC Comics. At last, the Secret Origins of the World's Greatest Heroes in The New 52 can be revealed! The beginnings of the most popular characters in the DC Universe are finally told here, in stories that fans have been clamoring for since September 2011. Included here are the origins of The Last Son of Krypton and Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, plus the first Robin, Dick Grayson. Written by a host of the industry's brightest talent including Jeff Lemire (Justice League United) Greg Pak (Batman/Superman) and Tony Bedard (Green Lantern Corps) with painted covers by Lee Bermejo (JOKER), this new series is a fantastic way to jump on with the DC Universe! Collects Secret Origins #1-4.

Secret Origins Volume 1  available from February 24th. 

The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures Written and art by Dave Stevens. Published by IDW Publishing. Cliff Secord, a down-on-his luck pilot, is always looking for ways to make a fast buck. Discovering a stolen rocket pack could be the one thing that will turn his fortunes around... but will it? What follows are government agents, German spies, deception, danger and adventure. This is the world of... The Rocketeer! All of Dave Stevens' original The Rocketeer comics collected in one book!

The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures is available in Paperback from March 10th.

Daniel Hartwell & Neil Cameron - The Pirates of Pangaea: Book 1 (The Phoenix Presents) The year is 1717. The newly discovered island of Pangaea is the most dangerous place on Earth, where dinosaurs still walk the land - Sophie Delacourt has been sent to Pangaea to stay with her uncle. But little does she know its perils - for Pangaea is a lawless wilderness, teeming with cut-throat pirates! Kidnapped and imprisoned, Sophie must escape from the ruthless Captain Brookes and embark upon an epic journey, to find her way home -

The Pirates of Pangaea: Book 1 is available in Paperback from 5th. February 2015 by David Fickling. 

Master Keaton by Naoki Urasawa published by Viz Media. 
Taichi Hiraga Keaton, the son of a Japanese zoologist and an English noblewoman, is an insurance investigator educated in archaeology and a former member of the SAS. When a life insurance policy worth one million pounds takes Master Keaton to the Dodecanese islands of Greece, what will he discover amidst his scuffles with bloodthirsty thieves and assassins?

Master Keaton is available in paperback Viz Media, Subs. of Shogakukan Inc (29 Jan. 2015)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Author Interview with Jason Rohan The Sword of Kuromori &The Shield of Kuromori

Today I'm very pleased to be interviewing Jason Rohan, the author of "The Sword of Kuromori" and "The Shield of Kuromori." I'd like to thank him for agreeing to do this interview and for taking the time out to answer a few questions for Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. This has been one of my favourite Q&As that I've received recently - very interesting and incredibly engaging. Thank you very much. 

Tell us a little bit about The Sword of Kuromori and the series?

As the title suggests, The Sword of Kuromori is somewhat unique for a kids' book in that it's set entirely in modern Japan. Japan is one those countries that everyone knows a little about but at the same time is still viewed as exotic and largely unknown which is odd given the huge presence Japanese culture has in our lives. Be it film, comics, consumer electronics, cars, toys, games, fashion, cuisine - you name it - Japan has its influence.

Having spent five years in Japan, living and working the sarariman lifestyle, I wanted to bring that rich culture to a wider audience, not only by describing everyday life in the country, but also by tapping into its history, religion and folklore. As with Europe, villages were quite isolated in feudal times and regions developed their own distinctive traits, such as dialects, foods and folk tales. These diverse myths create a rich backdrop to set a story against and I had a blast bringing some of these ancient stories kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

One of the central conflicts I see in modern Japan is the clash between a fiercely traditional society and a fast-paced world which embraces technology. I decided to take that old-versus-new battle to a literal extreme by having ancient Japanese gods adopt modern science to settle old scores, and that's another aspect which I think sets the Kuromori books apart from other middle grade fantasy stories.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
There is, but I try to be subtle about it as I think readers don't like the sense that they are being preached to. The Kuromori books each have a different theme which is etched into the DNA of the story. The first is about the power of belief, of having faith in yourself and in not giving up when life sets you back - I think every aspiring writer can relate to that! The second book explores the classic samurai dilemma of 'duty versus desire,' and the third book is about duality and the necessity for balance. In every case, the theme grew out of the story and not vice versa.

How much of the book is realistic? 
I'd like to say, "all of it," but I probably can't get away with that in a book featuring magic, myth and monsters! I did try to portray life in Tokyo as realistically as possible, so I write about public transportation, language, using chopsticks, correct etiquette when visiting Shinto shrines, bowing, removing shoes, public baths, the tea ceremony, even correct shuriken-throwing technique! I tried to get all of the everyday aspects as accurate as I could with the idea that someone could read the book and have a good idea of what to expect if they ever visited Japan. 
How much research do you do? 

Tonnes! It's hard to measure exactly, because I tend to do research as I go along. For example, I have a section in the book where the main characters take a tour of the Imperial Palace, something I wasn't able to do when I was there. After a few hours of serious digging I was able to take a virtual tour, cross reference several Japanese guide books, check maps, read visitor blogs and collate what I needed. I also did a lot of reading up on Japanese mythology and folklore as background. It helped that my Japanese is still serviceable so I was able to go to the source for a lot of my research. In fact, that language barrier is probably one of the biggest reasons why Japanese culture remains largely unknown to western audiences.

Do you work to an outline/plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you? 

I'm definitely a plotter by nature and you'll see a classic three-act structure in what I do but that doesn't mean I write an outline and stick to it slavishly. Most of my novels tend to start out as back-of-the-envelope sketches, and I start writing with that loose map in mind and then see where it goes. I'm a firm believer in always knowing the direction you're drifting in and in knowing your ending, but I'm open to taking detours and feeling my way through a story, because characters will surprise you and do their own thing if you let them. While it's important to not be too rigid, I don't fancy writing a whole book straight off the cuff. I can't afford the time if it goes spectacularly wrong!

Is travel an important aspect to you, as your books are based in Japan?
I love travel and have been fortunate enough to visit many parts of the world, but there's always more to see, learn and discover. I have a fairly diverse background being Indian by genetics, Caribbean by heritage and British by culture. My extended family includes Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews so I have a very broad view of the world. To me, people are essentially the same wherever they are; we have the same desires and needs. Travel, and by that I mean seeing how people live and sharing in their lives, rather than merely passing through and treating them like exhibits, is a hugely rewarding experience because it teaches you new ways of looking at the world. We are so steeped in our cultural mindset that we assume it is the only way of seeing things; exposure to different peoples shows us how blinkered we are and how little we know. For example, the concept of owning land is alien to some cultures. They see it the other way round and, if you think about it, it is absurd to believe that any individual can lay claim to any portion of our planet. The land owns us and that's a lesson that we'll be reminded of in the coming decades as the climate changes.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? 
That's an intriguing question. I'd like to say no, that readers will discover new books through word of mouth or recommendations from trusted bloggers, but if packaging wasn't important, we wouldn't spend millions on it. It's funny, because I've had kids express reservations about the cover of The Sword of Kuromori yet go on to love the book. Equally, there are books that have gone on to huge success with covers that I don't find at all appealing. I've been very lucky, though, in that my publisher Egmont has involved me fully in the cover design process and I love the movie-poster/computer-game look that we've gone with.

Are there any authors that you have found inspiring?

As a kid, I devoured the Willard Price Adventure series of books and learned so much from them about animals, nature, science and the wider world. I also enjoyed classics such as King Solomon's Mines by H Rider Haggard and I can see even now how those novels inspired my rapid-fire style of writing. Stan Lee at Marvel Comics was another huge influence because not only did he write multiple titles simultaneously but he also went big with his ideas. Lee was never afraid to raise the stakes and go epic while retaining the sense of fragility that encapsulates mankind. Finally, I have to mention Sarwat Chadda because we go back a long way and seeing him break into publishing gave me the kick that I needed to get back to writing seriously.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  

Don't write for success. Don't write for the market. Don't write for your friends. Don't write to meet an arbitrary target. Don't write to win a bet. Write for yourself because not getting that story out will haunt you for the rest of your life. My father wanted to be a writer but he never knuckled down and only left a few pages of jottings. I wrote four books before I sold one and I was prepared to keep writing novels, even if I never succeeded, so I would leave my children a shelf full of finished manuscripts and they could say that at least I tried. Write because you have to. Everything else is a bonus.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell us? 

One of the biggest surprises I've found this year is that there are so many really wonderful people out there who love reading, love books and give up their free time to share that love. The community of readers, writers, editors, agents, bloggers and publishers that I've stumbled across is like a big, warm hug and I'm honoured to be a member of that extended family. Thank you to everyone who has read this, supported their favourite author and spread the word about their favourite book. It's been a pleasure.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Ross MacKenzie - The Nowhere Emporium ( Kelpies) - Book Review

What a magical start to a story . . . . . welcome to The Nowhere Emporium. You start this glittering adventure hanging on to every word, of every page. The author will dazzle you and entice you to feast your imagination on the story ahead. A spectacular entrance will have you gripped, as the door swings open on this enchanted tale, in a spectacular ride of plot and mayhem. 

We start in present day Glasgow with Daniel Holmes, as he finds himself jostling against the hoard of shoppers. However, he soon finds himself being chased down the High Street by Spud Harper and his gang of bullies. The plot takes flight just like the magpies in this adventure, who are watching every step as you are sucked into this brilliant read. 

Brimming full of excitement and mystery, Mr Silver draws Daniel into an unimaginable and breathtaking world of magical enchantment. The shop from nowhere has arrived. A vast maze of passageways and an infinite amount of rooms containing wonders can be found - wonders that will stir up your wildest imagination. 

Placed into a world that feels like a dream, you will skip and dance through time from wartime London to New York. It is really one of the most imaginative plots that you will probably read this year - it has elements reminiscent of Cornelia Funke stories. I loved everything about this book, but I'm not going to say anymore, as I don't want to spoil it for you. Although, you may need a wee hankie at some point, as it does have a slight emotional bite. 

This is another fantastic and exciting Middle Grade read which I'm so excited to tell you all about. Just like the book cover, it's brilliant. The story inside does it justice and really lived up to my expectations. It  has to be one of my favourite reads of the year, with its palette of explosion and colour that lifts off every page. You will zip through this book quicker than Vindictus Sharpe pulling out a rabbit from his hat. 

Find out if Daniel can save the day.... 

Who will love this book?  Well, I feel that everyone will love this book, so go out and buy a copy as it is definitely worth tracking down. Take Mr Ripley's word for it. 

Thank you Floris books for sending out a copy of this book for me to review. It is out in all good bookshops from the 19th March 2015 - not too long to wait!  

If you would like to read an exclusive chapter sample HERE

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Young Adult/ Older Reader Book Picks - February 2015

Ari Marmell - Covenant's End: A Widdershins Adventure - Published by Pyr (3 Feb. 2015)

The thief Widdershins and her own "personal god," Olgun, return to their home city of Davillon after almost a year away. While Shins expects only to face the difficulty of making up with her friends, what she actually finds is far, far worse. Her nemesis, Lisette, has returned, and she is not alone. Lisette has made a dark pact with supernatural powers that have granted her abilities far greater than anything Widdershins and Olgun can match.

Together, Widdershins and Olgun will face enemies on both sides of the law, for Lisette's schemes have given her power in both Davillon's government and its underworld. For even a slim chance, Shins must call on both old friends--some of whom haven't yet forgiven her--and new allies. 

Even with their help, Widdershins may be required to make the hardest sacrifice of her life, if she is to rid Davillon--and herself--of Lisette once and for all.

Mark Stay - Robot Overlords - Published by Gollancz (12 Feb. 2015)
To find his father, one boy must defy an empire...
Three years ago, Earth was conquered by a force of robots from a distant world. They have one rule:
Step outside and you get one warning before you're vaporised by a massive robot Sentry, or a crawling Sniper, or a flying Drone. That's if the vast Cube doesn't incinerate you first.
But Sean Flynn is convinced that his father - an RAF pilot who fought in the war - is still alive. And when he and his gang figure out a way to break the robots' curfew, they begin an adventure that will pit them against the might of the ROBOT OVERLORDS.
This fast-paced, thrilling novelisation is based on the hit British film starring Sir Ben Kingsley (IRON MAN THREE), Gillian Anderson (THE X-FILES) and Callan McAuliffe (THE GREAT GATSBY). A perfect companion to the movie, it expands on the story with additional action, characters, and a special peek behind the scenes.

Melinda Salisbury - The Sin Eater's Daughter - Published by Scholastic (5 Feb. 2015)
Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, Twylla isn't exactly a member of the court. She's the executioner. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla's fatal touch, avoids her company. But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla's been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

V. E. Schwab - A Darker Shade of Magic - Published by Titan Books (27 Feb. 2015)
Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There is Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London...

Holly Black - The Darkest Part of the Forest - Published by  Indigo (5 Feb. 2015)
 Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He's the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him - but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for...

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Alcon Entertainment Buys Film Rights to Monster-Slayer Series 'Darkmouth' by Shane Hegarty - UK and US

Alcon Entertainment has acquired film rights to Shane Hegarty's fantasy-adventure novel series Darkmouth, Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove announced Tuesday.
Hegarty, who was the arts editor of The Irish Times, got a six-figure advance for the series in 2013 from HarperCollins Children's Books, which will publish the first novel in the series,Darkmouth #1: The Legends Begin, in the U.S. in April out in the U.K and Ireland.  
Darkmouth concerns Finn, a 12-year-old desperate to defend his town from attack by monsters named Legends. Unfortunately for Finn, despite being descended from a clan of warriors, he is among the worst legend hunters in history.
“I talked to Alcon in advance,” Hegarty continued. “And the thing I really liked was that they understood the work. They understood it’s to do with a father and son relationship. They were very much into that.”
Mr Ripley's Book Review HERE also check out  "A trip into the wild universe of Darkmouth" by Shane Hegarty HERE
German book trailer, which is fantastic take a peak...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - February 2015 - US Post

Wesley King - The Incredible Space Raiders from Space! - Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (February 10, 2015)
Lord of the Flies meets Star Trek in this outer space story of adventure, mystery, and fantastical fun from the author of The Vindico and The Feros.

When Jonah wakes up on the Fantastic Flying Squirrel, he’s a bit confused. One second he is in his family’s living room doing his homework, and the next he’s sitting on a very cold floor on a very cold ship with a very strange-looking girl staring at him. Her name is Willona the Awesome, and she’s here to welcome him to The Incredible Space Raiders.

Now that Jonah is on board, the Incredible Space Raiders can set off on an important mission: to venture into the Dark Zone and save the universe from the Entirely Evil Things. But when Space Raiders start to disappear, Jonah realizes that if he’s going to make it to the Dark Zone alive, he’s going to have to step up and figure out what’s going on.

Join the Space Raiders aboard the Fantastic Flying Squirrel for an unforgettable journey where imagination and truth collide somewhere deep in space!

Matt London - Welcome to the Jungle (The 8th Continent) - Published by Razorbill (February 24, 2015)

Rick and Evie Lane have finally converted the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into an eighth continent. But their dream of a new homeland for their family turns out to be short-lived. Because when robots from the villainous Condo Corp crash into their continent, a fatal oversight in the building process is revealed: the land mass was never anchored to the ocean floor!

Now, the eighth continent is sent barreling toward the coast of Australia, thrusting Rick and Evie’s dreams, 23 million people, and countless plants and animals into jeopardy.  If Rick and Evie are ever to get their family back together and have a continent to run—and not run after—they must find a way to root their beloved paradise to the Earth’s crust. Or else everything that they built will go pow like Pangaea!


Guy Bass - Stitch Head - Published by Capstone Young Readers (February 1, 2015)
In the frightening, maze-like dungeon laboratory deep within Castle Grotteskew, mad scientist Professor Erasmus brings his bizarre experiments to life. His first creation, Stitch Head, has long been forgotten. But when a traveling circus ringmaster promises to make him a star, Stitch Head is torn between his almost-life in the castle and the promise of fame outside its walls. But before he can decide what to do, the professors latest monstrous creation has smashed its way to freedom . . . and Stitch Head is the only one who can stop it.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Author Interview with Emma Carroll (Faber & Faber)

Today I'm very lucky to be interviewing Emma Carroll, author of Frost Hollow Hall and The Girl Who Walked On Air. I'd like to thank you for agreeing to do this interview and for taking the time out to answer some questions for Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. I must confess that I've not read this latest book. However, after reading the following answers I will be searching out a copy straight away. I really enjoyed Frost Hollow Hall which I read in 2013. 
1.Tell us a little bit about The Girl Who Walked On Air?

Abandoned as a baby at Chipchase’s Travelling Circus, Louie dreams of walking the tightrope. One night in the big top a terrible accident occurs. The circus is desperate to find a new showstopper and so Louie gets the chance to perform. Yet with the arrival of a mysterious top-hatted man, her dream come true quickly turns into a nightmare. 

2.Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?

Louie has a great talent for walking the tightrope. She is ambitious, brave, a bit of a show off. Yet she trusts the tightrope far more than her emotions. Her biggest fear is confronting her past.

3.What did you think of the book cover for The Girl Who Walked On Air. Who did it? 

I adore it! Faber have done the most beautiful covers for my books. They use gorgeous fonts and I love the foiled blue of the lettering. The dog on the cover was modeled on my own dog Bagel, which makes it very special. The designer is Julian De Narvaez- his work is fantastic.

4. What are you working on at the minute?

I’ve just started the first draft of my fifth book for Faber. It’s set in the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati, and tells the story of Shelley’s inspiration for ‘Frankenstein’ from the viewpoint of a young housemaid.

5.What was the hardest part of writing your books?

First drafts, definitely. Mine are awful: the writing I’m most proud of tends to come when the story has ‘fermented’ a bit.

6.What inspires you to write?

People, books, photographs. A particular smell or sound. A view from a window. Passengers on trains. Pretty much anything and everything, really.

7.Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?

I’m rubbish at fantasy casting! Um… maybe Ramona Marquez ( the little girl in Outnumbered who doesn’t look like the little girl in Outnumbered anymore)?

8. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

My writing days tend to start with tea and books. Then I go for a quick dog walk to wake up properly and aim to start writing by 10am-ish. I probably work best before lunch, but sometimes it takes a while to get going, so the better stuff comes later in the day.

9. Do you think book bloggers have a role to play in the publishing industry? 

Absolutely! I think it’s especially true on children’s publishing when so little time and space is given via more traditional media platforms. Bloggers are passionate about books and passionate about authors. They are incredibly supportive, intuitive, informative. Since being published, I’ve met some amazing bloggers who’ve given me such brilliant support, and taught me an awful lot about kids’ books. I’m absolutely indebted to them.

10.Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

Every year I eat one Cabury’s Crème Egg- just because. I’m gutted to hear they’ve changed the recipe so might have to break with tradition this year.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Abi Elphinstone - The Dreamsnatcher - Book Review

Book Synopsis - Twelve-year-old Moll Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare - the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows...The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher's dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. 

Book Review: The first thing that I'm going to mention is the book cover, which is an absolute peach. With its simple design and bold bright colours, it screams pick me up and read me. This has to be one of my favourites - a book cover that will appeal to many. Well done to Thomas Flintham and
the team at Simon & Schuster. You never know, it could well be a contender for my book cover wars, but what do you think? 

It was really great to read such a fantastic book that oozed passion and breathed a magical feeling from every page. After reading the first few chapters, I could feel that the plot was inspired by the authors enjoyment of reading. I could feel a number of influences creeping through from the dark earthness, which I frequently associate with Michelle Paver, to the amazing world building of Philip Pullman.  

The other aspect I particularly liked about the story was the main character, Moll, and the insight into her Romany gypsy heritage. It really enhanced Molls character and brought her history to life. It gave it a realistic edge within a fantasy plot. The author's travels and adventurous spirit sparkled through the story and helped to set it aside from other books.  

I did perhaps have a slight issue with the ending of the book, as I was perhaps hoping for a slightly different ending. Something a little more complex, perhaps with a dramatic twist. Instead it all fell into place a little too easily for me. Nevertheless, it was very enjoyable and kept me engrossed until the very end of the book. 

The plot content is dark with a supernatural element that will leave a little chill running down your spine. The main protagonist is written as an infectious character - you will be rooting for her as you follow the story. Friendship and family issues will leave you contemplating about what will come next. 

This is a brilliant debut book full of magic and imagination which, in my opinion, is in short supply at the moment.  I have a big feeling in my oracle bones that this book will become a smash hit and will find many a happy reader. This is another cracking Middle Grade read that I thoroughly endorse. I'm looking forward to the sequel 'Soul Splinter' already. 

Watch what you dream, something might take you away in the night...

Published by Simon & Schuster Ltd (26 Feb. 2015)

Friday, 23 January 2015

Children's Middle Grade Book Picks - February 2015 - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Jeffrey Salane - Lawless - Published by Scholastic Press (24 Feb. 2015)
Heists, escapes and double-deals. And that's all before lunchbreak. Welcome to Lawless School. Rule #1: Trust no one. When M crash-lands at the elite Lawless School, it is not what she was expecting. She's soon learning safe-breaking and computer-hacking. Not to mention how to jump off moving trains and steal priceless paintings. Surrounded by trainee criminals, she'll have to keep her wits about her (just as well they re razor-sharp). But will she be good or bad enough for Lawless? The fastest, smartest adventure thriller you ll read all year.

Steve Bryant - London Midnight Ghost Show - Published by Month9books (24 Feb. 2015)
Lucas Mackenzie has got the best job of any 10 year old boy. He travels from city-to-city as part of the London Midnight Ghost Show, scaring unsuspecting show-goers year round. Performing comes naturally to Lucas and the rest of the troupe, who’ve been doing it for as long as Lucas can remember. But there’s something Lucas doesn’t know. 

Like the rest of Luca’s friends, he’s dead. And for some reason, Lucas can’t remember his former life, his parents or friends. Did he go to school? Have a dog? Brothers and sisters? 
If only he could recall his former life, maybe even reach out to his parents, haunt them.

When a ghost hunter determines to shut the show down, Lucas realizes the life he has might soon be over. And without a connection to his family, he will have nothing. There’s little time and Lucas has much to do. Can he win the love of Columbine, the show's enchanting fifteen-year-old mystic? Can he outwit the forces of life and death that thwart his efforts to find his family? 

Keep the lights on! Lucas Mackenzie’s coming to town

Mike Revell - Stonebird - Published by Quercus (5 Feb. 2015)
When ten-year-old Liam moves house to be closer to his dementia-suffering grandma, he's thrown into an unfamiliar place, with a family that seems to be falling apart. Liam doesn't remember what his grandma was like before she became ill. He only knows the witch-like old woman who snaps and snarls and eats her birthday cards. He wants to fix it, but he can't.
Walking his dog one day, Liam discovers an old stone gargoyle in a rundown church, and his life changes in impossible ways. The gargoyle is alive. It moves unseen in the night, acting out Liam's stories. And stories can be dangerous things...
Seeking revenge against the bullies at his new school, Liam tells a story about the gargoyle attacking them. When one of them ends up in hospital, a regretful Liam vows never to go near the gargoyle again.
But his grandma's illness is getting worse, his mum isn't coping, and his sister is skipping school... What if the gargoyle is the only thing that can save Liam's family?

Arwen Elys Dayton - Seeker - Published by Corgi Childrens (12 Feb. 2015) 
Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.
Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Allan Boroughs - Bloodstone ( The Legend of Ironheart ) Book Review

What is a myth but a truth retold many times over? Atlantis is real!

At the start of 2015, I find that my reading pile is the strongest that it has ever been with a really exciting selection of reads. While everyone is talking about young adult books at the moment, I personally think that middle grade books are being very overlooked by reviewers. Especially as some of the best books that have already been published this year fit into the middle age reading category. However, without further ado let's move on to talk about Allan Borough's book 'Bloodstone'.

This is the second installment in The Legend of Ironheart series. In the first adventure, we were flung into the far reaches of Siberia as part of an epic and exhilarating adventure inspired by Allan's extensive travels. In 'Bloodstone' we are catapulted into a further escapade in the Antarctic with India Bentley.

The story starts with another mission across the globe with Verity Brown, who is known as a notorious tech-hunter scouring the lands for long-lost technology. However, after an unfortunate turn of events, and a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the reader is entertained by the striking descriptions and unique settings that introduced. India and Verity have many choices to make, but can they save humanity?

The story is full of explosive moments that will rocket you to different worlds in the blink of an eye. It's a classic no-nonsense, dystopian adventure that has been written with both passion and perhaps an overactive imagination. It introduces a collection of crazy characters that are very interesting to read about. I was particularly drawn to Professor Moon, a man absolutely obsessed in finding the Bloodstone. The plot is brought together by his crazy contraptions and a whole host of gadgets. 

The ending was inspired and brought about a different feel to the end of an active plot. It was certainly not what I was expecting, but it should enable the next book in the series to enter another dimension. This book was five star entertainment and one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I hope that the next book will be coming very soon, in the meantime, I might just revisit Ironheart. If you've not read any of the previous books, then I would recommend that you do so now.....  

This is another cracking MG read. Thank you Macmillan for sending it to me - your support is very much appreciated. Don't forget to look at my book review for Garth Jennings 'The Deadly 7' which is also by Macmillan.