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


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.

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.


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: 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Mr RIpley's Enchanted Books: Book Review Index 2015

Shane Hegarty - Darkmouth - Published by HarperCollins - (29 Jan 2015)

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)

 Peter Jay Black - Urban Outlaws: Blackout - Published by Bloomsbury - (5 Feb 2015)

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

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

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

Ross MacKenzie - The Nowhere Emporium - Published by Floris Kelpies ( 19 March 2015)
Danny Wallace - Hamish and the Worldstoppers - Published by 
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (12 March 2015)

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

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

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

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

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? 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Interview with Anna McKerrow - Crow Moon - Quercus

I would really like to thank Anna McKerrow for taking the time out to write such heartfelt responses to my mixed bag of questions. I hope that they will inspire you and make you inquisitive enough to read a copy of Crow Moon, which will be published by Quercus.

Tell us a little bit about Crow Moon? 
Devon and Cornwall have separated from the rest of the UK and become the Greenworld, an eco-pagan community run by witches. The rest of the country is the Redworld, where crime, corruption and pollution have taken over, and the world is fighting a final war for fuel. Danny, the main character, is a Greenworld kid who thinks the pagan stuff’s all a bit boring until events conspire to draw him into a growing conflict between the witch-led villages and the outlying lawless gangs that live between the green and redworlds. There’s some romance in there too, and lots of magic. Crow Moon is the first book in a trilogy.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? 
Danny’s a kid that’s grown up in a closed community – a good society that reveres the land and natural ways of life, but still one that’s heavy on the propaganda. So he thinks he’s a player but he’s pretty naïve. He’s the son of the village witch but he’s not particularly on-message with the magical ethos of the Greenworld, so he describes his surroundings with a tongue-in-cheek satirical viewpoint. He tells us what we need to know about his environment but we question it a bit along with him. Also, he’s not a stereotypical hero character because he keeps getting rescued by girls. Although his is the point of view narration, the action in the story is driven mostly by a cast of strong female characters.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s a pro-environmental message in Crow Moon that develops throughout the trilogy, specifically connected to fuel. Danny might point out some of the Greenworld’s flaws and make fun of it a bit, but they’ve basically got the right idea: living off the land, only consuming what you need, respecting nature. 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I have a general idea when I start, but basically just power along and see what I’ve got after a first draft. I find that just letting myself write freely means I come up with much better ideas than planning too hard. Then when I look at the crazy draft I problem-solve it until it makes sense. 

Do you see writing as a career?
It has been my career, one way or another, for a while now, and I hope it continues! I’ve worked for a literature charity for 7 years, taught creative writing for 8 and I’ve been a writer for a long time. This is my first novel but I’ve published four books of poetry before now. I’m just starting to do some consultancy for writers now too. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
No, it was always there. I was a big reader so it was just a natural extension of that. My first story was a blatant rip off of a story I’d read where a character turned purple with rage. So in my story, I think I was about 5 or 6, someone turned yellow with rage. We didn’t have much when I was little but my mum read to me a lot, made sure we went to the library every week, and she bought me books at jumble sales. I still have a beautiful book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales she bought for 10p on my shelf. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just keep going, keep writing, try new genres to write in, read across genres, read everything you can get your hands on. Analyse what makes something good and bad writing, in your opinion, then do that and see what it sounds like in your voice. Write a lot.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, definitely. I’m a sucker for a nice cover, and I’ve got a lot of books I bought only because of what they looked like! But also covers don’t matter when you know the author, if you’ve had a recommendation or whatever. My favourite books are battered and mostly unremarkable covers. But a commercial publisher spends a lot of time making sure the cover is eyecatching, appropriate for the age group and that retailers like it before they commit to it.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?
I don’t, and I can’t afford one, so it’s not an issue! It would be nice but not essential for now.
If you could have superpowers, what would they be and why?
Not really a superpower as such, but the resources to be able to ensure that no child went hungry in this country. The world, obviously, but this country would be a start. I’d have a magical ever-refilling foodbasket like in the Grimm’s fairytale, or more realistically, fantastic wealth which could completely fund the Trussell Trust.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell us?
Crow Moon is out from Quercus on March 5th.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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

Blue Balliett -  Pieces and Players - Published by Scholastic Press (31 Mar. 2015)

Thirteen extremely valuable pieces of art have been stolen from one of the most secretive museums in the world. A Vermeer has vanished. A Manet is missing. And nobody has any idea where they and the other eleven artworks might be . . . or who might have stolen them. 

Calder, Petra, and Tommy are no strangers to heists and puzzles. Now they've been matched with two new sleuths -- Zoomy, a very small boy with very thick glasses, and Early, a girl who treasures words . . . and has a word or two to say about the missing treasure.

The kids have been drawn in by the very mysterious Mrs. Sharpe, who may be playing her own kind of game with the clues. And it's not just Mrs. Sharpe who's acting suspiciously -- there's a ghost who mingles with the guards in the museum, a cat who acts like a spy, and bystanders in black jackets who keep popping up.

With pieces and players, you have all the ingredients for a fantastic mystery from the amazing Blue Balliett.

Irene Adler - The Mystery of the Scarlet Rose - Published by Capstone Young Readers (March 1, 2015)
Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin, and Irene Adler meet up in London only to find a strange chess problem in the Times signed by ""The Black Friar."" It's written in an unknown code which Sherlock is eager to solve. The next day, the city is rocked by the news of a rich merchant found murdered. On the merchant's desk was scarlet rose: the same flower used as the calling card for a brazen criminal group that haunted the streets of London twenty years ago. Could the Scarlet Rose Gang be back?

J.A. White - The Thickety: The Whispering Trees - Published by Katherine Tegen Books (March 10, 2015)
For fans of Neil Gaiman, The Whispering Trees, book two in the Thickety series by J. A. White. It is the story of a good witch, a bad witch, and a forest demon, trapped together in a world that is both enchanting and dangerous.
After Kara Westfall's village turns on her for practicing witchcraft, she and her brother, Taff, flee to the one place they know they won't be followed: the Thickety. Only this time the Forest Demon, Sordyr, is intent on keeping them there. Sordyr is not the Thickety's only danger: unknown magic lurks behind every twist and shadow of the path.
And then they discover Mary Kettle, an infamous witch with a horrifying past. She offers to lead them out of the Thickety while teaching Kara how to cast spells without a grimoire. The children are hesitant to trust her . . . but this could be their only chance to escape.
Or the first step down a dark and wicked path.

Pierdomenico Baccalario - Map of the Passages (Enchanted Emporium) Published by Capstone Young Readers (March 1, 2015)

The evil Semueld Askell, concealed by the Cloak of Mirrors, sneaks into Finley's room to steal the key to the Enchanted Emporium. He discovers that the key must be given willingly, and Finley's not about to abandon his role as Defender of the Emporium. Semueld is desperate to get his hands on the magical objects housed within, so he forces Finley to make a terrible choice: give him the key, or Semueld will make sure Aiby Lily is lost forever. Faced with this impossible choice, Finley will have to use every trick in the book (as well as some magical objects) to bring back his best friend.