Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Teens/Children's Book Picks US Published - July 2016

Louis Bayard - Lucky Strikes - Published by Henry Holt and Co. (July 5, 2016)
With her mama recently dead and her pa sight unseen since birth, Amelia is suddenly in charge of her younger brother and sister―and of the family gas station. Harley Blevins, local king and emperor of Standard Oil, is in hot pursuit to clinch his fuel monopoly. To keep him at bay and keep her family out of foster care, Melia must come up with a father―and fast. And so when a hobo rolls out of a passing truck, Melia grabs opportunity by its beard. Can she hold off the hounds till she comes of age?
Jeri Baird - Tokens and Omens - Published by Jolly Fish Press (July 19, 2016)
In Puck's Gulch, sixteen-year-olds undergo a dangerous trial known as the Quest. During a time of magic, Fate hands out tokens and omens based on their behavior. Zander trusts Fate. Alexa only trusts herself. Now, Fate has given them each a special gift—Zander sees secrets he doesn’t want, and Alexa's thrilled to find she can control events through her embroidery scenes. After Zander and Alexa each earn a omen that makes surviving the quest nearly impossible, they must break the rules and challenge Fate together. If they don't, one will die. And Fate has made it clear—she won't be cheated.

Mike Storey - Teddycats - Published by Razorbill (July 12, 2016)
Bill is a young Teddycat, which means he’s one of the most special--and mysterious--animals in the jungle. Teddycats can climb higher than any other mammal around. And because the Teddycats can climb so high, they get to live way up in the highest branches of the tallest trees, in a well-hidden and protected place called Cloud Kingdom.

There are a lot of perks to Teddycat life, but there’s also a lot of responsibility--and rules--that come with it.
 
Here are some things that Teddycats CANNOT do:
   • Use their super-strong, razor-sharp claws for anything except climbing or life-or-death situations 
   • Reveal their existence or the location of Cloud Kingdom to humans and other predators  
 
And the number one thing that Teddycats can definitelyno matter whatNEVER do:

   • Bring outsiders into Cloud Kingdom 

That last rule is the most serious one of all. Unfortunately, it’s also the rule that Bill breaks one fateful day, when he brings his buddy Luke, an Olingo, up into Cloud Kingdom. All of a sudden, predators are circling, the ground beneath Cloud Kingdom is littered with human traps, and the Teddycat sanctuary is under attack. Their secret has been exposed, and Bill’s in danger of being banished for his crime. 
            When a baby Teddycat is trapped and taken by a potentially vicious human, Bill knows he has to make things right. Along with a brave but ragtag team of comrades, he sets out into the jungle, determined to fight for the future of his species. 
S . A . Bodeen - Trapped (Shipwreck Island) - Published by Feiwel & Friends (July 26, 2016)
Sarah Robinson and her family are shipwrecked on a remote and mysterious island. Their food is scarce and there's no sign of rescue. They have seen strange creatures, rescued a mysterious girl, and found the Curator, who has captured Sarah's father and stepbrother to use in a bizarre time travel experiment. And then the only man who knows about the island comes back―he's looking for buried treasure and won't leave without it, even if it means leaving the Robinsons stranded. Sarah knows an important key to finding the treasure, but will she keep it a secret?
Trapped is the thrilling third installment of the middle-grade Shipwreck Island series by S.A. Bodeen, full of mystery and unexpected twists and turns.

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Monday, 18 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Peter Bunzl - COGHEART - Book Review


When 13-year-old Lily's inventor father vanishes after a Zeppelin crash, Lily's determined to hunt down the truth behind his disappearance, helped by Robert, the local clockmaker's son, and her wily mechanical fox Malkin. But shadowy figures are closing in and treachery lurks among the smoky spires of London - along with a life-changing secret.

Here is another exciting book that will hit the bookshops early September 2016. Peter Bunzl's debut title 'Cogheart' will be published by Usborne displaying a brilliantly striking image. The quirky and delightful cover illustration has been created by Becca Stadlander and cleverly designed by Katherine Millichope. It is one of my favourites and, in my opinion, appeals to all readers of all ages. 

This is an enchanting read from the very first page. It is a Victorian tale that will deliver a massive helping of immersive imagination. After reading a non-fiction book called Living Dolls by Gaby Wood, the author was inspired and a seed was planted about automatons. The book provides many thought provoking questions about independent thinking and feelings from the perspective of mechanical robots. 


This adventure is filled with automata characters that you will really take to your heart. The mechanical animals and the house servants are a great work of creative imagination. They are a key success to the clockwork beating heart of this book. Peter has done a fabulous job building a fantastical fantasy world that you will truly get wrapped up in. He's unlocked and turned the winding key of his imagination and put it down on paper in a mechanical heartbeat of passion.  

You'll laugh with the cantankerous clockwork fox called Malkin, who has lots of personality and very opinionated. You will also cry with the main character Lily (heroine) and feel her pain and heartache along this deadly adventure of intrigue. You might find some parts of the plot a little stilted in places, as perhaps more action/back story needed at some points, in my opinion. However, with that said, the story creativity is very strong and certainly strong enough to make this book a really enjoyable read.   


In places this story feels deliciously gruesome, which I personally love as a reader. Some characters do die in a rather hideous way, but I will say no more. The book has a massive dollop of mystery that will keep you on your reading toes throughout. At the moment I haven't been reading many steampunk adventure books like this, which are fuelled by murder and some very nasty bad guys. I really enjoyed the European flavour that crept in at times.


This is a classic action adventure, with many film-like qualities. It is a promising start to a great new series, and one that I would certainly recommend to read. With the sequel already poised, this is an absolute cracker from a new voice in town.  




Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Loogabarooga Festival of Children’s Illustrated literature October 2016 - Michael Rosen/Harry Potter Exhibition


MICHAEL ROSEN, JULIAN CLARY AND HARRY POTTER EXHIBITION COMING TO LOUGHBOROUGH FOR LOOGABAROOGA FESTIVAL 2016


Programme of events is launched for Children’s Illustrated Literature Festival from 19-24 October 2016


The programme of events for this year’s Loogabarooga Festival of children’s illustrated literature has been launched. The new programme includes many new highlights for families and children who love reading to see and hear from 19-24 October 2016 at venues across Loughborough. 


Performers, workshops and exhibitions at Loogabarooga Festival 2016 include Michael Rosen, best-selling children’s author and poet, and former Children’s Laureate; comedian, entertainer and writer, Julian Clary reading from his latest book, The Bolds To The Rescue; and the Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition at Charnwood Museum, an illustrated reimagining of the blockbuster classic, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 


Tickets for all of the free and paid events can be booked online at www.loogabarooga.com. Copies of the free programme will be available to collect from Loughborough Town Hall, Charnwood Borough Council offices, Charnwood Museum and venues across Loughborough and Charnwood. 

Following the success of the inaugural Festival in 2015, this year’s programme will also include free creative drop-in workshops, storytelling sessions, advice on how to write and illustrate your own book, with appearances from some of the nation’s favourite children’s authors and illustrators.

The Loogabarooga Festival will be organised by Charnwood Borough Council in partnership with Leicestershire County Council, Leicester Shire Promotions and supported by Love Loughborough. 


Nicky Morgan, MP for Loughborough said: "This year's Loogabarooga Festival promises to be better than ever. The programme is packed full of exciting events and Loughborough is looking forward to welcoming some very special guests. There is a real buzz around the 2016 festival and I am looking forward to taking part in what promises to be a thrilling line-up." 


Hilary Fryer, Charnwood Borough Council's Cabinet member for Open Spaces and Leisure, said: "We are delighted to be hosting the festival once again and extremely excited to have some really big names coming to Loughborough. 

"The first festival was a huge success and this year is set to be bigger and better. Loogabarooga is not only great fun, but it also celebrates the joy of reading and brings people to Charnwood." 


For all of the latest information, follow the Festival on Facebook at www.facebook.com/loogabarooga or on Twitter @loogabarooga16


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

KELPIES BIG BOOK COVER REVEAL: Lari Don - The Beginner's Guide to Running Away/The Witch's Guide to Magical Combat (Spellchasers)


It has been a very along time since 'Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books' has had the opportunity to show you new children's book cover bling. These have come courtesy of indie publisher Floris Books (Kelpies) which is a great Scottish publisher in my opinion of children's books. 

For the first time, I have all three book covers to show you as part of the fantastic new trilogy,  Spellchasers, by Lari Don.  I recently reviewed the first book in the series The Beginner's Guide to Curses (book cover above) which will be published on the 18th August 2016.


All three book cover Illustrations have been produced by the talented artist, Jordi Salano. I personally love these and feel that they work really well across the series. If you also like them then you might want to check out some other great works by the artist HERE.

 

There will be three books, all connected, to make one giant Scottish ride of magical fantasy that you will not want to miss. The sequel will be: The Shapeshifter's Guide to Running Away (Book 2) and is scheduled to be published in spring 2017. Whilst the final book in the series, The Witch's Guide to Magical Combat (Book 3), will be published in the autumn of 2017. I hope that you really enjoy the book covers. Thanks for looking! 
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Monday, 11 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Teen Book Picks UK Published - July 2016 - Post Three

Marten Sanden - A House Without Mirrors - Published by Pushkin Children's Books (28 July 2016)

Thomasine has spent months living in her great-great aunt's dusty, dark house with her father, and her aunt, uncle and cousins. While her father's siblings bicker about how much the house must be worth, her distant, elderly aunt is upstairs, dying, and her father has disappeared inside himself, still mourning the death of Thomasine's little brother.
But one day, her youngest cousin makes a discovery: a wardrobe, filled with all the mirrors missing from the big house. And through the mirrors, a different world - one in which you can find not what you most wish for, but perhaps what you most need...


Michelle Harrison - Other Alice - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (28 July 2016) - (See my book review here)

What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This is a story about one of those stories . . .

Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and – most of all – stories. Especially because he's grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer.

When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, The Museum of Unfinished Stories, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town.


Sarah Baker - Through the Mirror Door - Published by Catnip Publishing (7 July 2016)

Since the accident, Angela has been alone. When she is invited on holiday with her cousins, it is her chance to be part of a family again if she promises to behave herself. But secrets lie in the walls of the crumbling French holiday home and the forbidden rooms draw Angela in. Soon night-time footsteps, flickering candlelight and shadows in windows lead her to a boy who needs her help. To save him Angela must discover the truth about what happened in the house all those years ago . . . and face the terrible secret of her own past.


James Nicol - The Apprentice Witch - Published by Chicken House Ltd (7 July 2016) - (See book review here) and (interview here)
Arianwyn fluffs her witch's assessment. Awarded the dull bronze disc of an apprentice - to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma - she's sent to protect the remote, dreary town of Lull. But her new life is far from boring. Turns out Gimma is the pompous mayor's favourite niece - and worse, she opens a magical rift in the nearby forest. As Arianwyn struggles with her spells, it's soon clear there's much more than her pride at stake ...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: The Beginner's Guide to Curses: Spellchasers 1 By Lari Don (Kelpies)


Molly Drummond is cursed: whenever a dog barks, she turns into a hare -- which can make life quite dangerous...So she does the sensible thing and attends a curse-lifting workshop, run by a local witch. She tumbles into a world of magical beings, all desperate to reverse their curses. But will the power that feeds on the curses prevent them from returning to their normal lives? By the author of the bestselling Fabled Beasts Chronicles series, this is the dramatic first instalment in the brand new, long-awaited Spellchasers trilogy.


This is the start of a new spirited adventure series which has been born out of Lari Don's great love of storytelling. There will be three books, all connected to make one giant Scottish ride of magical fantasy, that you will not want to miss. The follow up books will be: The Shapeshifter's Guide to Running Away (Book 2) which will be scheduled to be published in spring 2017 and The Witch's Guide to Magical Combat (Book 3) which will hopefully be published in the autumn of 2017.


In the first book you will learn a valuable lesson not to annoy your neighbours as you are likely to get cursed in the process. Unfortunately this curse is not the easiest of things to lift and so, like Molly, you might need to undertake a CURSE-LIFTING WORKSHOP. There's no need to panic though, as in chapter 2 you take a visit to Skene Main's shop where you can enrol in one. On slight draw back is that you have to be between the ages of 11 and 21 years old. Nevertheless the course has guaranteed results and they also sell great organic vegetables! The potatoes are to die for, but you have to dig them up yourself. 

You will hurtle into a brilliantly created world of Scottish myth folklore and fantastic wild outdoors. This is a captivating adventure for the young at heart which will enchant the socks off any magical beings through its mystery, dark danger, humour and riddles. The book includes some really great character friendships, regardless of their backgrounds, and will make you feel warm at heart. The story is a fast paced, family read which will leave you breathless as you chase headlong into danger through a race against time. You will encounter some deadly pecking crows, sleeping trapped wyrms and nettle knickers, do I need to say more....?!


The further you venture into this book the more you get caught up with the characters as they discover a deadly secret which turns them all against each other. The suspense and the tension hits the reader in the face and brings about a different side to the characters which turns out to be rather unpleasant.....


I really loved the eclectic mix of characters which included: a tree spirit, a kelpie, a shapeshifter and a mysterious frog found just at the start of the story. It really gets your fantasy taste buds going. It's a vivid fairytale-like story set in Speyside, which is the place where the author grew up and famous for its wee tipple of whisky. Just like the drink, it creates a distinctive blend of flavours, a dash of wild imagination, a natural splash of Scottish landscape and some immersive climatic action all distilled in a magical dark folklore twist.  This is a great start to a series with so much more set to come...


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

ADAM GIDWITZ (AUTHOR) HATEM ALY (ILLUSTRATOR) -THE INQUISITOR'S TALE (CHAPTER ONE)


The bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm takes on medieval times in an exciting and hilarious new adventure about history, religion . . . and farting dragons.
 
1242. On a dark night, travellers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children: William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead.
As the narrator collects their tales, the story of these three unlikely allies begins to come together. 

Their adventures take them on a chase through France to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned. They’re taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. And as their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor’s Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.
CHAPTER ONE - Pre Order Here
Jeanne’s story starts when she was a baby.
Her mother and father were regular peasants. Spent all day in the fields, just like most of the folks in our town. But there was one thing that made them special. They had this dog. A beautiful dog. A white greyhound, with a copper blaze down its nose. They called her Gwenforte—which is a ridiculous name for a dog, if you ask me. But they never did ask me, so that’s what they called her.
They loved Gwenforte. And they trusted her.
And so one day they went off to the fields to work, and they left baby Jeanne with Gwenforte.
“What?” I interrupt. “They used a dog as a babysitter?” 
“Well . . . Yes. I suppose they did.” 
“Is that normal? For peasants? To use dogs as babysitters?”
“No. I suppose it ain’t. But she was a real good dog.” 
“Oh. That explains it.” 
You gotta understand: Gwenforte loved that little girl so much, and was so protective of her, that nobody worried about it.
But maybe we should have.
For as Jeanne’s folks were out in the fields, work­ing in the hot sun, a snake slithered into their house. It was an adder, with beady eyes and black triangles down its back. The day was hot, as I said, but the house was cool and dark because the walls in our houses are thick, made of mud and straw, and the only window is the round hole in the roof, where the smoke from the cooking fire escapes.
The adder, poisonous and silent as the Devil himself, slithered in through the space between the thin wooden door and the mud floor.
The baby girl lay asleep in her bed of straw. Gwen­forte, the greyhound, was curled up around her.
But when the snake came in, Gwenforte sat up.
She growled.
She leapt onto the mud floor, right in front of the snake.
The adder stopped. Its forked tongue tested the air.
Gwenforte’s fur stood up on her back. She growled, low and deep in her throat.
The adder recoiled. He became a zigzag on the floor.
Gwenforte growled again.
The adder struck.
Adders, as you may know, are very fast.
But so are greyhounds.
Gwenforte shimmied out of the way just in time and snapped her jaws shut on the back of the adder’s neck. Then she began to shake the snake. She danced around the one-room house, shaking and shaking that snake, un­til the hay of the beds was scattered and the stone circle of the fire was ruined and the adder’s back was broken. Finally she tossed its carcass into a corner.
Jeanne’s parents were coming home from the fields just then. They were sweaty and tired. They had been up since long before sunrise. Their eyelids were heavy, and their arms and backs ached.
They pushed open the door of their little house. As the yellow light of summer streamed into the darkness, they saw the straw of the beds scattered all over the floor. They saw the fire circle, ruined. They saw Gwenforte, standing in the center of the dark room, panting, her tail wagging, her head high with pride—completely covered in blood.
What they did not see was their baby girl.
Well, they got panicked. They figured the worst. So they took that dog outside. And they killed her.
“Wait!” I cry. “But the dog—the dog isn’t dead! It’s alive!”
“It was dead,” says Marie. “Now it’s alive.” 
I open my mouth and no sound comes out.
They come back into that house and try to put their lives back together. They were crying, a-course, because they loved that dog, and they loved their little girl even more. But we peasants know that life ain’t gonna stop for our tears. So they clean up. They put the embers back in the fire pit, they pick up the straw from the beds. And that’s when they see her. Baby Jeanne. Lying asleep in the hay. And in a corner, the dead snake.
Well, they picked up their daughter and held her tight and cried for joy. And after a little bit of that, they looked at each other, mother and father, and realized the horrible mistake they had made.
So they took the body of Gwenforte, and they buried her out in a beautiful grove in the forest, a short walk from the village. They dug up purple crocuses and planted them all around her grave. As the years went by, we started to venerate that dog proper, like the saint she is. Every time a new baby was born, they’d always go out to the Holy Grove, and pray to Saint Gwenforte, the Holy Greyhound, to keep that baby safe.
Well, years passed, and baby Jeanne grew and grew. She was a happy little thing. She liked to run down the long dirt road of the village, stopping into the dark doorways, wav­ing to the people who lived inside each house. She came and saw me and helped me stir the hops in my old oak barrel. She visited Peter the priest, who lived with his wife, Ygraine—even though he’s not supposed to have a wife, on account of him being a priest. She would stop by and see Marc son of Marc, who had a little boy named Marc, too. She didn’t visit with Charles the bailiff, though—who’s my brother-in-law—because in addition to being our officer of the peace, he’s also about as kind as an old stick.
But of all the peasants in our town—and there were more than that, but I don’t want to bore you with long lists of people who don’t come into the story—Jeanne’s favorite was Old Theresa.
Old Theresa was a strange one. She collected frogs from the streams in the forest and put their blood in jars, to give to people when they were sick. She stared at the stars at night and told us our futures by how they moved. She was, I think it’s fair to say, a witch. But she was a nice old witch, and she was always kind to little Jeanne.
And then, one day, it turned out little Jeanne was just as strange as Theresa.
I was there the first time it happened. She couldn’t have been more than three years old. She was chasing Marc son-of-Marc son-of-Marc around my yard—when she stopped cold. She pulled up straight, like a stack of stones, and her eyes rolled back in her head. Then she went toppling to the ground, like somebody tipped that stack of stones over. She lay on the ground, and I saw her pudgy little arms and legs shaking, and her teeth grind­ing in her head. Scared the life out of me, it did. I ran screaming to Old Theresa, because she’s the only one not out in the fields. So we huddled over little Jeanne.
And then, the fit stopped. Jeanne’s breathing was ragged, but she weren’t shaking no more. Theresa bent over and roused the little girl. Cupped her wrinkled hand behind Jeanne’s head. Jeanne opened her eyes. Old Theresa asked her what happened, how she was feeling, that sort of thing. I’m leaning over them, wondering if Jeanne’s gonna be all right. And then Theresa asks, “Did you see something, little one?” I don’t know what she means.
But finally Jeanne’s face clears up, and she answers, “I saw the rain.”
And then, at that very moment, there’s a clap of thunder overhead and the sky opens up and the rain starts to fall.
I swear it on my very life.
I crossed myself about a hundred times, and was about to go tell the world the miracle I just witnessed, when Theresa grabbed my wrist.
She had milky blue eyes, Theresa did. She held my wrist tight. And she said, “Don’t you tell no one about what just happened.” The rain was running down the wrinkles in her face like they was streambeds. “Don’t you tell a soul. Not even her parents. Let me deal with it. Swear to me.”
Well, that’s a hard thing to ask—see a little girl per­form a miracle and not tell her parents or no one about it. But when Old Theresa grabs your wrist and stares at you with those pale blue eyes . . . Well, I swore.
After that, Jeanne spent a lot of time with Theresa. She had more fits, but she never did see the future again. Or if she did, she didn’t tell no one what she saw.
Until one day, a few years later. I was with her and Theresa when Jeanne had another one of her fits—falling down, shaking, eyes rolling back in her head—and when she woke up, she said there was a giant coming. Theresa said that was nonsense and to hush. There were no giants in this part of France. But she said it again and again. I couldn’t figure out why she was saying all this in front of me. Hadn’t Theresa told her to keep her mouth shut?
But then Jeanne said that the giant was coming to take away Old Theresa.
That scared us. I admit it. Theresa got real quiet when she heard that.
The next day, sure enough, the giant came. I don’t know if he were really a giant or just the biggest man I’d ever seen. But Marc son-of-Marc father-of-Marc, who’s the tallest man in our town, only came up to the middle of his chest. The giant had wild red hair sticking up from his pate and wild red whiskers sticking out from his jowls. And he wore black robes—the black robes of a monk.
He called himself Michelangelo. Michelangelo di Bologna.
Little Jeanne had been working with her parents in the fields when word spread that the giant was come. She came to the edge of the fields. She saw the giant striding toward the village, his black robes billowing behind him.
Walking toward the giant, through the village, was my idiot brother-in-law, Charles the bailiff. He had Theresa by the arm, and he was bellowing some nonsense about new laws about rooting out heresy and pagan sor­cery and some other fancy phrases he had just learned that week, I reckoned. He bowed deeply to the giant and then shoved Theresa at him, like she were a leper. The giant grabbed her thin wrist and began dragging Old Theresa out of town.
Jeanne ran down from the edge of fields. “Charles!” she shouted. “What’s happening? What’s he doing with Theresa?”
Charles spoke as if Jeanne were a small child. “I don’t know. But I imagine Michelangelo di Bologna is going to take her back to the holy Monastery Saint-Denis and burn her at the stake for pagan magic—for witchcraft. Burn her alive. Which is good and right and as it should be, my little pear pie.”
Little Jeanne cast a look of hatred so pure and deep at Charles that I don’t think he’s forgotten it to this day. I know I haven’t. Then she went sprinting out onto the road after the giant and Theresa, screaming and shouting, telling that giant to give Theresa back. You’ve never seen a girl so fierce and ferocious. “Give her back!” she cried. “Give her back!”
Old Theresa turned around. Her wrinkled face con­torted with fear when she saw what little Jeanne was doing. “Jeanne!” she hissed. “Go! Quiet! Go back!”
But Jeanne would not quiet. “You stupid giant!” she screamed. She came up right behind them. “Stop it! Stop it you . . . you red . . . fat . . . wicked . . . giant!”
Slowly, the monk turned around.
His shadow engulfed the little girl.
He gazed down at her, his pale red eyes vaguely curious.
Jeanne looked right back up at him, like David facing Goliath. Except this Goliath looked like he was on fire.
And then the monk did something very frightening indeed.
He laughed.
He laughed at little Jeanne.
Then he dragged Old Theresa away.
And we never saw her again.
Jeanne ran home, her tears flying behind her. She threw open the thin wooden door of her house, collapsed on her bed, and cried.
Her mother came in just after her. Her footsteps were soft and reassuring on the dirt floor. She lowered herself onto the hay beside Jeanne and began to stroke her hair. “What’s wrong, my girl?” she asked. “Are you scared for Theresa?” She ran her fingers through Jeanne’s tangled locks.
Jeanne turned over and looked through tears up at her mother. Her mother had a skin-colored mole just to the left of her mouth and mousy, messy hair like her daughter’s. After a moment, Jeanne said, “I don’t want to be burned alive.”
Her mother’s face changed. “Why would you be burned alive, Jeanne?”
Jeanne stared up at her mother. Her vision had come true. Wasn’t that witchcraft?
Her mother’s face came into focus. It wasn’t com­forting anymore. It looked . . . angry. “Why would you be burned, Jeanne? Tell me!”
Jeanne hesitated. “I don’t know,” she mumbled. And she buried her face in the hay again.
“Why, Jeanne? Jeanne, answer me!”
But Jeanne was too afraid to speak.
From that day on, Jeanne was different. She still had her fits, a-course, but she never opened her mouth about what she saw. Not once. More than that, she weren’t the happy little girl anymore. No more pok­ing her head in our huts or chasing Marc son-of-Marc son-of-Marc around. She got seriouser. More watchful. Almost like she were scared. Not of other people, though.
Like she were scared of herself.
And then, about a week ago, some men came to our village, and they took Jeanne away.
“And that’s the end of my story.” 
I’m in the midst of taking a quaff of my ale and I nearly spit it all over the table. 
“What?! That’s it? They took her away? Why?” I sputter. “Who were they? And what about the dog? How did it come back to life?!” 
“I can tell you.” 
This isn’t Marie’s voice. It’s a nun at the next table. She’s been listening to the story, obviously, and now she’s leaning back on her little stool. “I know about Gwenforte and about the men who took little Jeanne.” She’s a tiny old woman, with silvery hair and bright blue eyes. And her accent is strange. It’s as proper as any I’ve ever heard. But it’s a little . . . off. I can’t quite say why. 
“How would you know about Gwenforte and Jeanne?” Marie says. “You ain’t never even been in our village!” 
“But I do know,” answers the nun. 
“Then please,” I say, “tell us.”

Monday, 4 July 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's/Teen Book Picks UK Published - July 2016 - Post Two

David Solomons (Author) Laura Ellen Anderson (Illustrator)  - My Gym Teacher is An Alien Overlord (My Brother is a Superhero) - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (7 July 2016) - Book Review Here

Sequel to the bestselling My Brother is a Superhero - over 47,000 copies sold to date! David Solomons is a meteoric new voice in children's fiction - perfect for fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce Zack and Lara have superpowers. Luke has new school shoes and a burning sense of resentment. He KNOWS that aliens disguised as gym teachers are about to attack Earth but will anyone listen? No. So one dodgy pact with a self-styled supervillain later, and Luke is ready to save the world. He just needs to find his trainers...
Caroline Clough - Silver Storm: Red Fever 3 (Kelpies) - Published by Kelpies (21 July 2016) - Buy Book Here.
A terrible virus has wiped out most of the human population and Scotland is now a wasteland. Toby and his family are being held hostage on the island of Orkney by a terrifying militia group called the Corporation. Toby knows he and his friend Tash must escape and find their way to Edinburgh if they are ever to bring about an end to the carnage that the red fever has caused. Arriving in Edinburgh, things are even worse than they feared: the city is deserted, and overrun with wild animals. All they have is a name - but can they find the one person who could help them save not only their friends and family, but the whole world?
Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell - Scavenger: Mind Warp - Published by Macmillan Children's Books 14 July 2016) 
My name is York. I'm a scavenger. I'm fourteen years old . . . I am on a mission to save mankind.
The zoids have taken over the Biosphere and it is up to York to journey back into the memory banks of the central computer to discover the glitch that first corrupted the zoids and threatened humanity. In danger of losing himself in this warped world, York must battle his own mind to find the answers he needs. 
With the fate of mankind in his hands, is York strong enough to hold on to himself?
The final book in this exciting series, Scavenger: Mind Warp is a gripping futuristic advetnure from the award-winning Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.


Fleur Hitchcock - Bus Stop Baby - Published by - Piccadilly Press (28 July 2016)

On her way home from school, 13-year-old Amy finds a newborn baby abandoned at the village bus stop. It's wrong, just like when Mum walked out on Amy and her sister ten years ago - so she tries to fix it, by finding the baby's mother. But as Amy searches, she uncovers another story, a secret even closer to home. A thought-provoking story exploring the complexities of family, friends and making difficult choices.
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