Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Self Published Wednesday #1: Cornelia Funke - Golden Yarn (Reckless Series BK3) - Breathing Books

The third book in Cornelia Funke’s internationally bestselling Reckless series. eBook and Audio Book and Hardback Available Now! 

 Jacob Reckless continues to travel the portal in his father's abandoned study. His name has continued to be famous on the other side of the mirror, as a finder of enchanted items and buried secrets. His family and friends, from his brother, Will to the shape-shifting vixen, Fox, are on a collision course as the two worlds become connected. Who is driving these two worlds together and why is he always a step ahead?

This new force isn’t limiting its influence to just Jacob’s efforts – it has broadened the horizon within MirrorWorld. Jacob, Will and Fox travel east and into the Russian folklore, to the land of the Baba Yaga, pursued by a new type of being that knows our world all to well.

When he spotted Clara at the bottom of the steps, he nearly stumbled into a tourist who was coming up.

Will? Jacob’s heartbeat was set racing by all the worries he’d tried to keep at bay ever since he sent his brother back through the mirror. It was ridiculous how any unusual gesture or expression he’d not seen on his brother’s face before immediately took him back to those moments in the palace in Vena where Will had nearly killed him. But Clara smiled at him reassuringly, and Jacob slowed so that he wouldn’t stumble over his own feet. If this wasn’t about Will, then what was she doing here?

Yes, what, Jacob? Oh, he could be such a fool. Naive like a puppy, he stumbled straight into the trap. But the face at the bottom of the steps was so familiar. It still reminded him of all they’d been through together. His memory’s soft focus had turned even the Larks’ Water into a pleasant anecdote. He noticed she was wearing leather gloves despite the warmth of this summer morning, but he didn’t think too much of it.

By Cornelia Funke
Release date: December 1, 2015
Breathing Books
978-0-9891656-3-1 (E-BOOK)
978-0-9891656-2-4 (Hardcover)
978-0-399-56890-9 (Audio Download)

Cornelia Funke's MirrorWorld for iOS iPad
MirrorWorld is a compendium of living stories that expand on the fantasy world of best-selling author Cornelia Funke's Reckless and Fearless novels. The app combines cinema, storybook, and interactive elements in 16 different adventures and experiences. Immerse yourself in the tales, the magical panoramas, characters and curiosities, or read them as illustrated stories.
For the first time ever, the MirrorWorld described in Cornelia's fiction can be seen and explored – but only by those willing to take the leap and venture beyond the Mirror....

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Interview with Patrick Samphire - Secrets of the Dragon Tomb

Welcome Patrick Samphire to Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your debut book, Secrets of the Dragon Tomb, which has been published by Henry Holt in the US. After reading this interview, I hope that you will be excited to read the book just like me. Have a read and see what you think?

Tell us a little bit about SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB?
SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB is a thrilling middle grade adventure story set on Mars in the year 1816. But this is not the Mars you might expect. It's full of strange, clockwork machines, weird, alien creatures, and dinosaurs. In the north, the ancient dragon tombs are packed with incredible devices and technology. 

Our hero, Edward Sullivan, spends his time trying to keep his eccentric family from complete disaster, but when his parents and eldest sister are kidnapped as part of a scheme to loot an undiscovered dragon tomb, he, his other two sisters, and their mysterious cousin set off on a perilous pursuit across the Martian wilderness. Together they must evade the bad guy's minions, battle mechanical nasties, and escape deadly Martian hunting machines. If they can't, they will never uncover the secrets of the dragon tomb and rescue Edward's family.

12-year-old character Edward Sullivan, what is he like as a character? Do you have any similar traits?
All of my characters have some part of me in them, but I definitely sympathise with Edward more than any of the rest of them. All of Edward's family are exceptional in some way. His father is a genius, and his little sister is turning out to be just as clever. His oldest sister is incredibly sweet and beautiful, and his middle sister is very caring and compassionate. Edward, though, is pretty ordinary. He's not a hero or super-intelligent or super-athletic. But what he is is absolutely determined and he refuses to give in. I don't know if that's me or not, but it is the kind of hero I like. I don't think it's much fun when the hero is cleverer or stronger than everyone else, but put someone who is basically ordinary in a terrible situation, and then you've got a story.

Can you describe a mechanical nasty? How do you get your ideas?
I absolutely love coming up with mechanical nasties. There are loads of them in the book. The world of my story is one where there are lots and lots of eccentric inventors with the kind of technology that lets them come up with whatever wild ideas they can. If you can imagine it, someone has made it out of cogs and levers and springs. My favourite ones in this book are the mechanical crabs, which are basically metal crabs with razor-sharp claws that are powered by springs. I don't want to say too much about them because I don't want to give away what happens in the story, but they have a great role to play.

One of my biggest inspirations for this book was old science fiction, particularly science fiction art from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The most important influence was a French artist (and writer) called Albert Robida, who drew incredible, quirky machines. I didn't take any ideas directly from those artists, but what I did do was start each day by flicking through their art to get myself in the right headspace. I also told myself that there was no idea so wild or so ridiculous that I couldn't use it. I think it's really important not to censor your ideas just because you're worried about what someone else might think of them.

What do you think is funny, especially in Middle Grade Writing? 
I must admit I'm not a big fan of cruel humour I don't really like laughing at other people's misfortune. I think there has to be some kindness and warmth in humour, particularly in Middle Grade. Most of the humour in SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB comes from the characters, and that's the kind I like. I like silly situations, but I particularly like the funny things characters do to get out of them. I'm a big fan of PG Wodehouse, and I think his style of humour translates well to Middle Grade.

What tips can you share in writing a believable world/background?
Detail. The key is, you need to know how everything works, even if you don't put it in the book. In fact, as the writer you should know many, many times more than you put in your book. It has to be there in your head. You need to know the whole of your world. Then you can write the story within it. 

When you start off writing, it's tempting to just throw in some random, cool-sounding stuff, but if you don't know your world and you don't know how it all fits in, then it won't be convincing. For example, I have a detailed history for my Mars that goes back thousands of years. I have my own map (which is separate and much more comprehensive than the map that's in SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB). I know a lot about the creatures. I know the history that the characters don't and all the misunderstandings that they have about their past. I know (pretty well) how the weird technology works. And so on. It can be intimidating, but you build it up over time and it makes what could be a ridiculous story into something believable.

What do you think makes a good story?                                                  
The thing that made me want to write when I was a kid was reading books that totally absorbed me and carried me away. The kind of book you could sink into and which felt even more real than the real world. I wanted to write the kind of books that could make someone else feel the same way. That's still what I like reading, and for me, that's a good story. A world and characters that draw you in so far you don't notice your house falling down around you.

What genre of books do you like to read? do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?                                                                                                             

I've always been an enormous fantasy and science fiction fan, and that's what I read most of, but I do love lots of other books too, and I think every writer has to read widely. I've read some great mysteries, romances and literary novels in recent years. And, of course, I try to read as much Middle Grade as I possibly can, of all genres.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?                                                                                                    

Yes, absolutely. Although there are plenty of great book blogs and review sites like Goodreads around, and people hear about books through word of mouth, when most people (including me) go into a bookstore, we don't know what we're going to buy. The thing that makes you pick up a book in the first place before anything else is the cover. I don't think anyone *buys* a book because of the cover, but covers are what draw them in in the first place. Covers have to tell you what kind of book you're getting and what type of story it's telling, they have to stand out from across the store, and they have to make you want to pick the book up. And they have to do it all in a split second. It's only when they manage that that you make the decision to find out what the book is about and maybe read a bit of it. A cover really can make or break a book.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I know it's a bit of a cliche, but I wanted to be a writer. I went through those stages we all go through of wanting to be an astronaut or a racing driver or a fireman, but the first time I actually knew I really wanted to be something, it was a writer.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us, like new writing projects?                                                                                                 
Right now I'm writing a proposal for a third book in the SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB series. The second book, which will be called THE EMPEROR OF MARS, is going to come out at the beginning of 2017, and I'm going to pitch a third book to my publisher to see if she wants it. I've also started work on a completely unrelated Middle Grade fantasy with wizards, murder, and mystery, set in England in the 1930s. That's still in the early stages, so we'll see where it goes.

Patrick Samphire started writing when he was fourteen years old and thought it would be a good way of getting out of English lessons. It didn’t work, but he kept on writing anyway. He has lived in Zambia, Guyana, Austria and England. He now lives with his wife and two children in Wales, U.K. He has published almost twenty short stories. Secrets of the Dragon Tomb is his first novel.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Christopher Edge - The Many Worlds of Albie Bright - Book Review - Published by Nosy Crow

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nosy Crow (14 Jan. 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 0857636049
  • Age: 9+
When Albie's mum dies, it's natural he should wonder where she's gone. His parents are both scientists and they usually have all the answers. Dad mutters something about Albie's mum being alive and with them in a parallel universe. So Albie finds a box, his mum's computer and a rotting banana, and sends himself through time and space to find her...Quality commercial fiction, well written with real heart and adventure.

Traditionally, January is a very strong month for book releases. I've read so many great books already, especially in the middle grade genre. I've loved every reading minute so far and this book has been no exception. It is another fantastic outing by Christopher Edge; this is his fifth published novel (I believe) and one that resonated with me very much. The book cover is very inviting. Produced by Matt Saunders, it will grab your attention and make you want to read it.

I loved the plot from the very first minute. You are quickly engulfed in a warm embrace as you follow the main character, Albie Bright. He's a gentle boy, who is very lovable and helps to drive the story onwards and forwards to a parallel world and beyond. You never know where he will end up, with his rotting banana, in this exciting standalone novel. It is very cleverly written weaving in some uncommon subjects and emotions.  Albie is trying to come to terms with the grief of loosing his mum from cancer; he would move heaven and earth to see her again. Hurtling through time and space to captivate our hearts, the story explodes into life the more that you read.

This is a book that I really would like to see kids read. It has an engaging story exploring the themes of science and quantum physics; we are given a big dollop of insight into what the Hadron Collider is all about. Did you know it's the most powerful particle collider, and the largest single machine in the world? I did not know this until I read this book. It is educational in a fun and easy way that you don't even realise that you're learning. 

The book has been thoroughly well-researched, which makes it one of the smarter reads to pick up this year. It's a family adventure of a lifetime, full of a lifetime of memoirs. It will make you look at life in a totally different perspective, perhaps from a cardboard box or maybe as you look at the stars on a clear night thinking of Schrodinger's cat. It is a world full of many possibilities, a world of imagination and one that I would recommend to everyone, not just children. 

Check out the recent interview with Christopher on Mr Ripley's blog Here.  Many thanks to Dom and Nosy Crow for sending this book for me to review - it's very much appreciated. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Favourite Book Picks: Children's/Teens - January 2016 - US Published - Post Two (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)

James Riley - The Stolen Chapters (Story Thieves) - Published by Aladdin (January 19, 2016)

Owen Conners would never jump into a mystery. There are too many hidden clues, twists that make no sense, and an ending you never see coming. Mysteries are just not Owen’s thing. So how exactly did he end up in one with his memory erased? And that’s far from the only question.

How did Kiel Gnomenfoot, boy magician, lose all of his magic? Where’s Bethany, their half-fictional friend? And who’s the annoying guy wearing the question mark mask and Sherlock Holmes hat, taunting Owen and Kiel that Bethany is in grave danger?

Bethany is trapped in a hidden room that’s slowly filling with water, and she can’t escape until her friends find her. But is she imprisoned by more than just chains and a locked door? What’s she hiding from Owen and Kiel?

Maybe some mysteries just shouldn’t be solved…

Katherine Marsh & Kelly Murphy - The Door by the Staircase - Published by Disney-Hyperion (January 5, 2016)

Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can't stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape through the stove pipe doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, Mary fears she'll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever. 

The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z appears at the orphanage requesting to adopt Mary, and the matron's all too happy to get the girl off her hands. Soon, Mary is fed a hearty meal, dressed in a clean, new nightgown and shown to a soft bed with blankets piled high. She can hardly believe she isn't dreaming!

But when Mary begins to explore the strange nearby town with the help of her new friend, Jacob, she learns a terrifying secret about Madame Z's true identity. If Mary's not careful, her new home might just turn into a nightmare.

Award-winning author Katherine Marsh draws from Russian fairytales in this darkly funny middle-grade fantasy novel.

Monica Tesler - Bounders - Published by Aladdin (January 5, 2016)
In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.

But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.
Jennifer A. Nielsen - Rise of the Wolf (Mark of the Thief, Book 2) - Published by Scholastic Press (January 26, 2016)
Nic may have escaped enslavement in the mines outside of Rome, but his troubles are far from over. The Praetor War -- the battle to destroy Rome from within -- is in full force, and Nic is caught in the crossfire. The secretive Praetors are determined to unlock a powerful amulet -- one sure to bring the empire to its knees. Worse, the Praetors believe Nic holds the key to finding this amulet, and they will stop at nothing to steal it, even if that means harming the people Nic holds most dear.

When the Praetors capture Nic's mother, Nic knows he must do anything to save her. He challenges the Praetors to a chariot race. If he wins, they will release his mother. But if he loses, he must hand over a magic that will certainly bring about the end of Rome as well as his own life. Can Nic once again harness his magic and gather the strength to defeat his enemies? Or will he lose his mother and bear witness to Rome's destruction?

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Favourite Children's/Young Adult Books to Movie Adaptations 2016

    Are you ready for 2016 YA book to movie adaptions? Because they aren’t stopping, 
    what films are you looking forward to watching in 2016?
    The Divergent Series: Allegiant
    2016 film
    Tris must escape with Four and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known in order to find a peaceful solution for their embroiled city. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity. In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.
    Release date: March 18, 2016 (United Kingdom)
    Director: Robert Schwentke
    Film series: Divergent Film Series
    Story by: Veronica Roth
    Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky, Noah Oppenheim, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper

      The BFG
      2016 film
      A young girl (Ruby Barnhill), a queen (Penelope Wilton) and the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance) must stop an invasion of man-eating giants.
      Initial release: July 1, 2016 (USA)
      Director: Steven Spielberg
      Story by: Roald Dahl
      Music composed by: John Williams
      Production companies: DreamWorks Studios, Walden Media, 

        Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass
        2016 film
        Alice (Mia Wasikowska) travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).
        Release date: May 27, 2016 (United Kingdom)
        Director: James Bobin
        Film series: Alice in Wonderland
        Music composed by: Danny Elfman
        Producers: Tim Burton, Joe Roth, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd

          Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
          2016 film
          Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) must track down an array of magical creatures in 1926 New York.
          Initial release: November 18, 2016 (USA)
          Director: David Yates
          Film series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Film Series
          Adapted from: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
          Story by: J. K. Rowling

Vincent's books

Hamish and the Baby BOOM
really liked it
Fuuny and enjoyable as ever!
really liked it
Book Review to follow on

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