Friday, 13 March 2015

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


Michael Northrop -  Amulet Keepers (TombQuest BK2) - Published by Scholastic Press (April 28, 2015)
Strange things are happening in London. Red rain is flooding the streets. People are going missing. And someone's opening graves in Highgate Cemetery . . .
 
Only Alex and his best friend, Ren, suspect the truth: a Death Walker, a powerful ancient Egyptian evil, is behind the chaos. Their quest to bring him down takes them from New York to London, and from the land of the living to the deep underground tombs of the long dead. Will they be in time to stop the Death Walker before he gets too powerful . . . or will the tombs claim them, too? Read the book, then continue the adventure online! Build an Egyptian tomb of your own, hide treasure and protect it with traps, then challenge your friends to break in.


Sharon Cameron - Rook - Published by Scholastic Press (April 28, 2015)
Centuries after a shifting of the Earth's poles, the Sunken City that was once Paris is in the grips of a revolution. All who oppose the new regime are put to the blade, except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy's arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she. 

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.



Ursula Vernon - Castle Hangnail - Published by Dial Books (April 21, 2015)
From the creator of Dragonbreath comes a tale of witches, minions, and one fantastic castle, just right for fans of Roald Dahl and Tom Angleberger.

When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.

This quirky, richly illustrated novel is filled with humor, magic, and an unforgettable all-star cast of castle characters.



R. L. Stine - Don't Stay Up Late: A Fear Street Novel - Published by St. Martin's Griffin (April 7, 2015)
In the small town of Shadyside, don't stay up late, because horrible things can happen...Both day and night, Lisa Brooks is plagued with nightmares and hallucinations. Could they be caused by the horrifying accident that landed her in the hospital for weeks? When Lisa finds out that a neighbor is looking for a babysitter for her little boy, Lisa jumps at the chance to keep busy and take her mind off of her troubling thoughts. But then the murders start -- and her friends begin dying one by one. Are Lisa's nightmares coming true? Find out in the next installment of R.L. Stine's Fear Street series, Don't Stay Up Late.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Danny Wallace - Hamish and the Worldstoppers - Book Trailer (Simon & Schuster )


Book Blurb: What would YOU do...if the whole world just stopped? Yes the WHOLE WORLD. Birds in the air. Planes in the sky. And every single person on the planet - except you! Because that's what keeps happening to ten-year-old Hamish Ellerby. And it's being caused by The WorldStoppers and their terrifying friends The Terribles! They have a PLAN! They want to take our world for their own ...Oh, and they hate children. Especially if you're a child who knows about them. Hang on - You know now, don't you? Oh dear. Can Hamish save us from the WorldStoppers? Only time will tell!

Also find my review over at: http://middlegradestrikesback.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/danny-wallace-hamish-and-worldstoppers.html and another great post about creating the book cover. http://middlegradestrikesback.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/guest-post-by-jamie-littler-creating.html

Here is the brilliant trailer for Danny Wallace’s new book Hamish and the Worldstoppers which is published today (illustrated by Jamie Littler), it’s a very special occasion as it’s Danny’s very first book for children. 



Published by  Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (12 March 2015)

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Matt Haig - Reasons to Stay Alive - Book Review + Book Trailer


  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (5 Mar. 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1782115080
  • AGE: 15+

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEEL TRULY ALIVE?
Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive,Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.
'I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven't been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'

Book Review: Reasons to Stay Alive. One reason has to be because of every book that you're going to read, especially this book. 
I never thought that I would read and enjoy this book. I know Matt Haig is a very good writer, but this book did not appeal to me one little bit. Honestly, I often find myself running away from reality and I certainly try not to gravitate towards serious issues in books. I like to read to escape from the realities of life and this book does not fit my usual criteria. However, I was won over by Matt's recent appearance on the Simon Mayo radio show. I listened to him talking about this book and was definitely intrigued. 

Many people encounter some form of depression and/or anxiety at some point in their life; it can manifest itself in many shapes and forms. This is an open and honest account written by Matt. It shares the relationship and battles that he's had to endure from his early twenties through to the present day. 

This book is beautifully written; you will pick it up unintentionally and finish it all in one go. It's very thoughtful and has obviously taken some years for Matt to be able to talk and write about living with depression. I understand that many men don't talk about this, we perhaps prefer to sweep it under the carpet. However talking about it, in my opinion, can only help and books like this can give us the positive inspiration and help that is required. Matt has shown us the light in helping us to move away from this.

In my opinion, this book gives a great insight into the human mind. I feel privileged to have been able to read a slice of Matt Haig's personal and intimate life. It's very well researched and highlights other aspects that you might not have even considered. It is very thought provoking as it could happen to anyone, regardless of background or situation, it could happen to someone you know or even yourself. No-one is untouchable to its deadly dark charms, and the large gaping hole that it leaves behind. This is further highlighted by the list of many famous people who've had or are currently suffering from depression. 

This book has taught me so many things about myself and other people. I believe that it only can make you a stronger and better person for reading this. I look forward to seeing Matt Haig running past me in the street, and I will certainly be reflecting everytime that I have a long midday shower. Thanks Matt for writing a life changing book. 

What is it like to be human? 

Monday, 9 March 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's and Teen Book Picks For March 2015 - UK Post


Sally Green - Half Wild 2 (Half Bad) - Published by Penguin (26 Mar. 2015) 
After finally meeting his elusive father, Marcus, and receiving the three gifts that confirm him as a full adult witch, Nathan is still on the run. He needs to find his friend Gabriel and rescue Annalise, now a prisoner of the powerful Black witch Mercury. Most of all he needs to learn how to control his Gift - a strange, wild new power that threatens to overwhelm him.
Meanwhile, Soul O'Brien has seized control of the Council of White Witches and is expanding his war against Black witches into Europe. In response, an unprecedented alliance has formed between Black and White witches determined to resist him. Drawn into the rebellion by the enigmatic Black witch Van Dal, Nathan finds himself fighting alongside both old friends and old enemies. But can all the rebels be trusted, or is Nathan walking into a trap?


Teri Terry - Mind Games - Published by Orchard Books (5 Mar. 2015)
Fans of the award-winning SLATED trilogy won't want to miss this gripping new psychological thriller from Teri Terry!
In a future world, life is tightly controlled by the all-powerful PareCo. Standing out from the crowd is dangerous so misfit Luna hides her secrets carefully, not realising her own power. Unlike her friends and family, Luna has never been able to plug into Realtime, PareCo's virtual world, where almost everyone now lives their lives. So how do PareCo know about Luna, and why do they want her for their elite think tank?
The truth is hidden in a web of shining silver secrets, and the corrupt authorities would do anything to keep it that way. Can Luna find a way to use her own hidden powers and bring the truth to light before it's too late?


Matt Griffin - A Cage of Roots - Published by The O'Brien Press (2 Mar. 2015)
Magic exists beneath our feet, if we only know where to look …
Growing up in a New York orphanage, Ayla has no idea who her family is. It is not until she comes to Ireland that she finds out just how deep her roots really are.
Then her past rises up to haunt her and seeks to destroy her as Ayla is abducted and buried alive in the bowels of the earth.
Above ground, her three best friends set out to find and save her from a fate that has been lying in wait for centuries. Guided by Ayla’s uncles, they must make a treacherous journey that takes them down among the very roots of time.


Ian Beck - The Casebooks of Captain Holloway: The Disappearance of Tom Pile  - Published by Corgi Children's (26 Mar. 2015)
On a bitterly cold winter's night in 1900, a young boy disappears without trace from the forest near his home in the quiet village of Litton Cheney. He is never found, but the man he was with claims he was snatched by angels.
Forty years later, Corporal Jack Carmody is sent to investigate strange reports of mysterious lights above Litton Cheney. The villagers suspect German bombers overhead, but Carmody knows there's something far more intriguing going on. And when a terrified boy appears in the graveyard, convinced it's the year 1900, it's up to Carmody and his boss - the charismatic Captain Holloway - to uncover the truth.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Anna McKerrow - Crow Moon - Book Review (Quercus)


Book Synopsis: Danny is a fun-loving 16-year-old looking for a father figure and falling in love with a different girl every day. He certainly doesn't want to follow in his mum's witchy footsteps.
Just as his community is being threatened by gangs intent on finding a lucrative power source to sell to the world, Danny discovers he is stunningly powerful. And when he falls for Saba, a gorgeous but capricious girl sorceress, he thinks maybe the witch thing might not be such a bad idea...
But what cost will Danny pay as, with his community on the brink of war, he finds that love and sorcery are more dangerous than he ever imagined?
Wickedness and passion combine in this coming-of-age adventure.

Book Review: I felt that this was never going to be my favourite book in the world due to the love/romance theme. I'm not a big fan of this topic in stories or with the association of passion. Essentially, this was the theme running throughout the book and was the whole driving force of the narrative. However, I actually found the love story manageable. It was not too overpowering, but it did rule some of the story.  

So did I like it?  Could I recommend it? 


The story is actually very good. It's very different to anything that I've read this year and, in my opinion, it was a breath of fresh air. From the very first pages of the book, you follow a mystery through an intriguing plot. You'll rattle through the pages, which are immersed in a witchy eco-world that is ruled by powerful women. This brings to the forefront a great cast of strong female characters that lead you into a world of myth, magic, love and survival. Saba stands out to me as a great character, gorgeous feisty and strong, she steals Danny's heart which develops into some amazing twists and turns in the book. 

The story has an eclectic mix of elements dealing with the consequences of running out of renewable fuel and a world fighting to survive without modern power. Whilst the fantasy element incorporates witches and magic (not the Harry Potter broomstick type) but a more earthy-type related to folklore and beliefs in spirits, gods, goddesses and their association with the Earth, Sun and Moon. These traditional witches use herbs to cure diseases and, in some cases, hexes and curses to foretell the future. All of this occurs throughout the novel. 

The more that you read, the more you become enchanted by this brilliant story. The magical aspect is ramped up to a great all-action performance. You are treated to a vivid scene that hits you from nowhere, slightly reminiscent of a scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, it is very fantastical. Perhaps slightly out of character, but epic just like the ending. I loved it because it was different. I loved it because I was able to escape into this world. I could laugh, love and live an alternate life cleverly built up to leave me with mixed emotions and a feeling of wanting more. 

I would gladly recommend this book to you. It is a great slice of Wicca, a coming of age adventure for the teenage audience and beyond. A great debut start to an author that will blossom into a shining star. It is a powerful tale that will probably stay with you forever....


Published by Quercus (5 Mar. 2015)

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

WE WANT AN #ARTEMISFOWLMOVIE - EOIN COLFER (DISNEY)


we want an #ARTEMISFOWLMOVIE - FOLLOW THE LINK AND GET IT SIGNED... IT takes a BLINK OF AN EYE.....
It has been 14 years since the first Artemis Fowl book was released, and a movie is still ‘in the works. This petition has been organised to show Disney that the Artemis Fowl Community are so incredibly excited for a movie, and can’t wait for the day when we can settle down in the cinema to watch it. We’re aiming for a whopping10,000 signatures, at which point we’ll deliver the petition list to Disney. http://www.artemis-fowl.com/movie/petition/

Don’t forget to share the petition to your Facebook & Twitter accounts… lets get #ArtemisFowlMovie trending!


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - March 2015 - UK POST TWO


Aby King - Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle - Published by Hodder Children's Books (5 Mar. 2015)

Lupo is out for a walk with Nanny and Prince George in Kensington Gardens when he is lured into a wicked trap. Cyrus the swan has been attacked, and some precious royal treasure stolen. Lupo is innocent but can he prove his innocence? Meanwhile, his rival, Vulcan the corgi is plotting to take over the realm. Animals take sides in a classic battle of good versus evil, involving journeys through underground tunnels, down the hallowed corridors of historic palaces, and in the staterooms of the most important people of the land. At the heart of this delightful story is the loyal bond between Lupo and the baby prince.




Tom Avery - Not As We Know It - Published by Andersen (5 Mar. 2015)

Jamie and Ned are twins. They do everything together: riding their bikes, beachcombing outside their house, watching their favourite episodes of Star Trek.
But Ned is sick, and one day, he may leave Jamie behind.
When they discover a strange creature on the beach, Ned wants one more adventure and decides to keep him secretly in their garage. But Jamie begins to hope that the creature might bring some miracle, and stop his brother from going where he can no longer follow . . .


Sally Gardner - The Double Shadow - Published by Orion Children's Books (5 Mar. 2015)

Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But on the day of her 17th birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place. Something has gone terribly wrong with her father's plan.


Charlie Fletcher and Illustrated by Nick Tankard - Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride - Published by Hodder Children's Books (5 Mar. 2015)

A dark force has woken in the British Museum and stopped time, freezing London and its inhabitants. Will and Jo are the only humans unaffected by the spell, and have been fighting alongside London's statues to locate the source of the disruption. But now their statue allies have been frozen too, leaving brother and sister alone and pursued by murderous dragons. What is more, they have noticed that the unmoving people of London are getting colder by the hour ...
No longer able to rely on London's statues for help, Will and Jo must stop the source of the evil before the life force of London's inhabitants drains away.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Author Interview with Marcus Alexander - Keeper of the Realms (Charlie Keeper) Who is Marcus Alexander?

The only thing that I would like to to say is read this... Thanks Marcus for taking the time out of your hectic jet- setting life to do this Q&A, you are an inspiration to us all!
Who is Marcus Alexander? 
Me. Big, bald and ugly but hopefully making up for my shortcomings with a passion for life, adventure and adrenaline.
Tell us about the Keeper of the Realms series? 

KOTR is a fantasy adventure that follows the dark path of Charlie Keeper as she struggles to survive the attacks of her foes and the betrayals of those she foolishly presumed to be close to her. And even though she doesn’t stand a chance against all that confronts her she continues to use her will and common sense to claw her way forwards.

Bellania is a realm of dragons, twisted giants, greedy daemons, blind mercenaries and assassins spun from shadow. (Heh. What kind of fantasy series would this be without these?)

If you could have superpowers, what would they be?

Don’t smack me for this but I’d have to go with…immortality! The idea of extending my life so I could really go out there and chase everything, try everything, be everything sounds amazing. (I know our lifespans offer a lot of opportunity but I’m a greedy boy when it comes to living life.)

If you could change one aspect about the world, what would it be? 

Balance. There should be more balance or at least a little less greed and a more awareness of consequences.

How much influence does art/travel have on your writing?

Travel has everything to do with my writing! When I was a young teenager I used to devour books. For real I used to read a book a day then get upset with bookstores when I had consumed everything on their fantasy and sci-fi shelves. But it was reading all the adventures of these heroes and heroines that inspired me to go off and seek my own. I started travelling the UK at 14, Europe at 16, then off to the rest of the world at 18. 

Sandboarding in the Sahara, fighting in the Golden Triangle, climbing across frozen waterfalls in the Khumbu Glacier…and now that I’ve had all these manic adventures, now that I’ve chased my fears and lived for adrenaline these in turn have inspired me to turn full circle and start writing my own stories.

(And for my young peeps out there who have not yet thought to start travelling remember that if you stay at home your mind will reflect the small environment that you’re in. If you want to grow, to really expand knock down all the boundaries that stand in your way and travel the world like you only live once…)
If you could own one item, that you don't already own now, what would it be? 

A tour bus so I could take my crew snowboarding and chase fresh powder all season long. Yum*

Or if realism and budget was truly no option…a spaceship! (For some truly epic travelling and adventure. No doubt said spaceship would come with a truly momentous soundtrack, oh-so-fine intergalactic uniforms and 1970s inspired control centre.)

What would you say that would encourage more children to read?

Too many adults offer nice solutions and reasons to read but such an approach doesn’t always work. So when I talk to young students about reading I offer reality and the repercussions of what they can expect if they don’t get to grips with their books.

Sure, if you don’t read you might be able to go out there and carve yourself a slice of life but it’ll always be a small slice and you’ll never maximise your potential. 

You’ll never be all that you could be.
If you don’t read you’ll never make as much money as you could.
If you don’t read you’ll never have as many options as you should.
If you don’t read you’ll never earn as much respect as you desire.
If you don’t read you’ll never build that ability to think outside the box or develop the brightest of imaginations.

I’m a big believer in dreams and it’s one of the themes that I always push the most during author events. Dreams could and should be fulfilled. But dreams never come easy, dreams have to be earned. And for me, as soon as I can illustrate this point to students, as soon as I can get them to see that their dreams will only come to light through hard work and diligence that I can then get them to see books and reading as a building block for their ambitions.
‘Read more, play more, do more and chase life with a furious appetite.


If you were to meet the infamous Banksy, what would the topic of conversation be?
If we could shoot the breeze for a couple of minutes I’d love to know how many times he’s been busted? And I’d be fascinated to know what tips and tricks he has to avoid detection?
What gives you an adrenaline rush?

Fear! Being on that razor edge between control and total wipeout really does it for me.

What makes your school events the 'talk of the town'?

I’m a breaker of stereotypes, a shatterer of preconceptions and a believer in dreams. I show students that they can take what they love and on the provision that they work hard, that they rely on common sense to overcome obstacles and always pick themselves up when they fall then they can achieve all that they desire.

How cool is cool? How cool are you?

Man, I can’t answer that! In fact if you find anyone fool enough to big themselves up for being über cool give me a shout and I’ll come over there and shake my head woefully in their general direction.

looooooooool

Have you ever been mistaken for somebody else? If so, who?

Nope. Too bald, too ugly.

Is there anything that you would like to share with us?

Fo’ sure. 

Books rockthaspot but every once in a while you’ve got to put them down, get out there and take whatever inspired you between those pages and make it happen. Forget living a little. 

Live a lot.

Librarian Problems? Not any more! Videos for Reluctant Readers, Young Writer's Tips & a huge collection of literacy inspired posters to pimp your library with! All available here: http://whoischarliekeeper.com/library-resources 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Mr RIpley's Enchanted Books: Book Review Index 2015



Shane Hegarty - Darkmouth - Published by HarperCollins - (29 Jan 2015)  http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2014/12/mr-ripleys-book-review-shane-hegarty.html

Garth Jennings - The Deadly 7 - Published by Macmillan Children’s Books - (15 Jan 2015) 

 Alex Bell - Frozen Charlotte - Published by Red Eye - (5 Jan 2015)
http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/01/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-alex-bell.html

 Peter Jay Black - Urban Outlaws: Blackout - Published by Bloomsbury - (5 Feb 2015) http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/01/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-peter-jay.html


Dan Smith - Big Game - Published by Chicken House - (1 Jan 2015)

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/01/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-dan-smith.html

Allan Boroughs - Bloodstone ( The Legend of Ironheart ) - Published by Macmillan Children's - ( 1 Jan 2015) 

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/01/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-allan.html

Abi Elphinstone - The Dreamsnatcher - Published by  Simon & Schuster Ltd (26 Feb. 2015)

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/01/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-abi.html



Ross MacKenzie - The Nowhere Emporium - Published by Floris Kelpies ( 19 March 2015)
http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/02/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-ross.html
Danny Wallace - Hamish and the Worldstoppers - Published by 
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (12 March 2015)
http://middlegradestrikesback.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/danny-wallace-hamish-and-worldstoppers.html


Rob Stevens - Would The Real Stanley Carrot Please Stand Up? - Published by Andersen (5 February 2015)

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/02/rob-stevens-would-real-stanley-carrot.html

Jacob Grey - Ferals (The Crow Talker) - Published by  HarperCollins Children's Books - UK (26 March 2015)

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/02/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-jacob-grey.html

Anna McKerrow - Crow Moon - Published by Quercus (5 March 2015)

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/03/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-anna.html

Matt Haig - Reasons to Stay Alive - Published by Canongate Books (5 March 2015)

http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2015/03/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-matt-haig.html


https://www.facebook.com/MrRipleyspage



Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Middle Grade Children's Book Picks - March 2015 - UK POST ONE



Paul Durham - Dishonour Among Thieves ( The Luck Uglies, Book 2) - Published by HarperCollins Children's Books  - (26 March 2015)
Sometimes it takes a villain to save you from the monsters…
Join fearless heroine Rye as she uncovers the truth about a clan of notorious outlaws known as the Luck Uglies and battles to save those she loves from the real monsters.
The legendary Luck Uglies are the most deadly, dangerous band of men Ryley O’Chanter has ever met – and her father, Harmless, is their high chief. Having been in exile for ten years the Luck Uglies are back in Village Drowning, but bringing them out of the shadows and back together was has thrown up new dangers. There is bad blood between Rye’s father, and a sinister masked man named Slinister Varlet. As Harmless and Slinister vie for control of their men, Rye finds herself caught up in their dangerous game. Throw in a vengeful son, a dark curse, and a collection of thieves and smugglers and the stage is set for another page-turning adventure.


Simon Mayo - ItchCraft - Published by Corgi Childrens (26 Mar. 2015)
Exploding euros and exciting elements - join Itch, Jack and Chloe on their latest adventure.
Itchingham Lofte, teenage element hunter and unlikely hero, has had enough excitement to last him a lifetime. Stumbling across an unknown radioactive element and trying to keep it out of the hands of those who want to use it for their own ends was hard enough. But when a school trip to Spain ends in exploding currency and rioting locals, he knows that he has to continue to look for answers.
Itch knows the lives of those closest to him are at risk. He must track down a deadly enemy who will stop at nothing to take his vengeance . . .


Rachel Hartman - Shadow Scale (Seraphina 2) - Published by Doubleday Childrens (26 Mar. 2015)

As Seraphina travels the Southlands in search of the other half-breeds to help in the war effort, the dragon General Comonot and his Loyalists fight against the upstart Old Guard - with the fate of Goredd and the other human countries hanging in the balance.
The gripping sequel to the bestselling Seraphina.


Jane Elson - How to Fly with Broken Wings - Published by Hodder Children's Books (5 Mar. 2015)
'If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.'
Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk - and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Bradley gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?
Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.
Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.
And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate for ever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly ...
Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Jacob Grey - Ferals (The Crow Talker) - Book Review


Book Synopsis: In a city ravaged by crime and corruption, 13-year-old orphan Caw’s only friends are the murder of crows he has lived with since his parents flung him from their house aged only five…
Caw lives in a treehouse in an abandoned city park, surviving on scraps of food and only communicating with his three crows. But a jailbreak at the prison forces him into contact with other humans – particularly a girl called Lydia, who is attacked by the escaped prisoners and is saved by Caw.
Caw realises that these escaped prisoners have more in common with him than he’d like… they too are FERALS – humans able to communicate with and control an animal species. And they want to bring their evil Feral master, The Spinning Man, back from the Land of the Dead. Only by joining forces with other good Ferals hiding throughout the city can Caw stand a chance of defeating them.

Book Review: Ferals is the first book in an all action-packed trilogy for readers with a hunger for the dark and the sinister. It has already been sold in thirty one languages and the film rights have been sold to 20th Century Fox. My thoughts before reading this were around whether the book would live up to the hype surrounding it. Well let's find out whether it did or not ....

I immediately felt that the author's ability to weave a spell was very good, especially for a debut book. The characters representing good were written particularly well in my opinion. The two main characters, Caw and Lydia, establish a friendship that is beautifully portrayed. It develops interestingly over time to add a sense of belonging to a world full of mystery and danger, as both characters become caught in a web of darkness due to different circumstances.

In contrast, the characters on the dark/evil side are incredibly vague to begin with. Over time they are slowly constructed into a life force and their purpose becomes clear. Most of the detail is really left to the reader's imagination; I really enjoyed adding in the additional extras to complete a whole. I really felt that this was intentional in order to form your own idea of the characters. I'm sure that this would work on many different levels, depending on the reader. Everything become particularly clear at the end of the book, but I shall say no more.  

The ideas in this book are very in vogue at the moment; a story based on animals that can communicate with humans and, if you have the inherited ability, can also can be controlled by humans. I have read a lot of books recently along this theme, but this story explores a bit further into the dark and magical tales of terror.

The story explores the destructive past started by a wave of violence and crime called the Dark Summer. Centered around the city of Blackstone, a once thriving metropolis, Jacob builds the world and the fantasy plot to great effect. The more that you read, the more you become sucked into the story as he leads you down the twisted paths of his dreams. The characters develop into unconventional superheros which really makes the story an even more exciting read.

Following the main character Caw, whose only companions are a small group of crows, you will find him fending and defending himself on the streets of Blackstone. His journey catapults you into a high-octane adventure full of gritty and atmospheric undertones of good versus evil.  

I sat down and read this book in one sitting, as it was such an enjoyable read. This is a book that you will appreciate if you enjoy opportunities to escape from reality; it takes the mind on a magical ride. It is that good that, when you get to the final page, you will want to read the next book straight away. It will leave you with that extra special feeling that indicates a really good read. 

Published by HarperCollins Children's Books - UK (26 Mar. 2015)



Published by HarperCollins Children's Books - US book cover above (April 28, 2015) Which one do you like?