Thursday, 13 June 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks June 2019 - Post Two

A . M . Howell - The Garden of Lost Secrets - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (13 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1474959551 - Paperback 

It is 1916 and twelve-year-old Clara’s father has gone to Devon to recover from gas poisoning. Clara, and the terrible secret she keeps hidden in her pinafore pocket, are sent to stay with her formidable aunt and uncle at Gardener’s Cottage in the grounds of a country estate.

Clara soon discovers that her new surroundings hold secrets of their own: a locked room and a hidden key, a mysterious boy who only appears in the gardens at night, covert meetings on misty mornings, and a fruit thief who is stealing precious pineapples from the Earl’s exotic hothouses.

But for Clara to unravel the garden’s secrets, she will have to face up to a truth she can’t bring herself to acknowledge and a war she’s desperate to forget.

Ryan Andrews - This Was Our Pact - First Second (11 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1250196958 - Hardback 

Ryan Andrews's This Was Our Pact is an astonishing, magical-realist adventure story for middle-grade readers.
It's the night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival, when the town gathers to float paper lanterns down the river. Legend has it that after drifting out of sight, they'll soar off to the Milky Way and turn into brilliant stars, but could that actually be true? This year, Ben and his classmates are determined to find out where those lanterns really go, and to ensure success in their mission, they've made a pact with two simple rules: No one turns for home. No one looks back.
The plan is to follow the river on their bikes for as long as it takes to learn the truth, but it isn't long before the pact is broken by all except for Ben and (much to Ben's disappointment) Nathaniel, the one kid who just doesn't seem to fit in.
Together, Nathaniel and Ben will travel farther than anyone has ever gone, down a winding road full of magic, wonder, and unexpected friendship*.
*And a talking bear.

Louie Stowell (Author), Davide Ortu (Ilustrator) - The Dragon in the Library - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (6 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1788000260 - Paperback 

This is the first book in a brand new series by Louie Stowell. The Dragon in The Library, which will be published by Nosy Crow, will soon hit the bookshops and libraries near you. The book will have amazing Neon artwork which you will be able to see from Mars. Whilst the book cover image has been fabulously illustrated by the very talented and rising star Davide Ortu. His collaboration makes this book a little extra special. Below is one of the inside illustrations to show you just how wonderful and engaging his artwork and the story together really are.  Book Review Here

Jeff Norton - Dino Knights - Published by Awesome Reads (6 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1912892044 - Paperback 

How to Train Your Dragon with Dinosaurs.

Imagine medieval times where the dinosaurs never went extinct. When dinosaur stable boy Henry Fairchild stops a vicious T-Rex from attacking his master, he is invited to join the most elite group in Brecklan, the brave Knights of Panterra, the Dino Knights. But before he can prove himself, the enemies of Brecklan attack with a flock of pterodactyls and kidnap Lord Harding. Whether he's ready or not, Henry and the Dino Knights mount a daring rescue mission...but nothing is what it seems. Dino Knights is a fast-paced chapter book for readers who've enjoyed Beast Quest and How to Train Your Dragon.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Katherine Rundell - The Good Thieves - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Trotting out this summer is the latest installment by Katherine Rundell. The Good Thieves will hit the shops on the 13th of June 2019. The book will be published in a lovely hardback edition by Bloomsbury Publishing. I'm a very big fan of the amazing cover that has been produced by Matt Saunders. In the finished copy, which I have not yet seen, there are some exquisite black and white chapter headers by the illustrator as well. They not only add a little slice of detail but also transport you straight back to the 1920s in New York City

This is an example of one of the images that I've had permission from the illustrator to use from his Twitter feed. You can check out some of his others at: @msaunders_ink

The magic of adventure is here to see in this book. The opening lines of the first chapter are both poetic and captivating. Vita set her jaw and nodded at the city in greeting, as a boxer greets an opponent before a fight. That is probably one of my favourite opening lines to a book for some time. It feels like a quotation from the great boxer, Muhammad Ali.

The plot is focused around a group of children (all fantastically different) who come together to right a wrong. Vita is the main character. A born fighter, she arrives on the wind with her mother from England. Fresh off the boat in New York City, she admires the horizon: tall, grey, blue and beautiful. However, Vita Marlowe is there for a reason. She has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather (Jack) has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again. So, she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. However, will Vita and her newfound friends be up to the challenge?

The story slowly creeps inside you and grips you with a brilliant all-out action heist of a plot like no other. As the adventure slowly builds, the characters personalities seep through and pull you on a journey of friendship and crazy antics that entertain. It's a story of loyalty, bravery and clever thinking. There are some brilliant moments built in which make this book both an entertaining triumph and a joy to read. 

The author has done a fantastic job of capturing the time period - approximately five years after the First World War. The children in the book radiate the feeling of recovery and anticipation as they bring their talents together to overcome any obstacles in their way. It's a fantastic story to escape into; an acrobatic circus of delights and truly wonderful storytelling with nature and wildness running at its heart. 

This is a brilliant story full of heart-stopping moments, thrills, spills and many different smiles. It's a fantastic performance - a pickpocket delight to read - where two boys with unusual skills, two girls full of determination and a host of animals find themselves in a death-defying adventure. What more could you possibly want? 

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks June 2019 - Post One

Taran Matharu - The Chosen: Book 1 (Contender) - Published by Hodder Children's Books (4 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1444938937 - Hardback - Age: 11+

In a world far from our own, where enemies come in many forms, the ultimate battle for survival is about to begin ... An epic new trilogy from the bestselling author of the Summoner series.
Convicted of a crime he didn't commit, Cade is facing a year in reform school when he finds himself suddenly transported to another realm.
Populated by bloodthirsty prehistoric creatures and fierce warriors, Cade's surroundings are full of danger. Along with his fellow students, Cade is forced to become a contender in a deadly game of the highest stakes, controlled by invisible overlords.
Who are these brutal rulers, and why did they choose Cade? Before he can find answers, Cade must get ready to fight ...

Julia Green - The House of Light - Published by OUP Oxford (6 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0192771568 - Paperback - Age: 8+

Bonnie is scavenging on a beach when she finds a battered old rowboat. And under the boat, a bare-footed boy-cold, hungry, and in need of help.

The authorities have already been troubling Bonnie and Granda for breaking rules, but how can she leave this boy when he has no-one? 

Bonnie does her best to keep the boy hidden from the border guards, but as their suspicions grow, she wonders if it's time to escape the life she's always known. Under cover of darkness, they set sail to the 'house of light' in search of a new beginning, and a sense of hope.

David Solomons - My Cousin Is a Time Traveller (My Brother is a Superhero) - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (27 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0857639929 - Paperback - Age: 8

Luke is surprised to learn that his cousin is a time traveller. He s even more surprised when she tells him that the machines are becoming intelligent and he must help her stop them taking over the world. It couldn't come at a worse time Zack has decided to give up his superpowers and live life as a normal teenage nerd. So Luke must swallow his irritation and rise to the challenge yet again ...
My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the fifth installment of Luke's laugh-out-loud adventures. From the author of My Brother Is a Superherowinner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the British Book Industry Awards Children's Book of the Year.

Alex Milway - Hotel Flamingo: Holiday Heatwave - Published by Piccadilly Press (13 Jun. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1848128057 - Paperback - Age:5+

An enchanting four-book series featuring the adventures of Anna and her array of animal friends
The temperature is rising, which can only mean one thing: it's summer! Bookings are up at Hotel Flamingo and the hotel is getting busy. Anna is excited to receive word from King Penguin royalty asking to holiday in their Royal Suite. But there's a lot to get done, and it's not easy to manage the needs of the penguins when there's a heatwave on and a huge ice shortage. Help! Can Anna get Hotel Flamingo back to its usual shining self and have happy guests all round?

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Julie Pike - The Last Spell Breather - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

This is a review of the debut book from superstar Julie Pike. The Last Spell Breather will be published this July 2019 by the lovely Oxford University Press. The beautiful book cover has been illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova. (I hope I've spelled that right?) It is absolutely stunning and will certainly attract many potential readers. This is a book that I've been looking forward to reading for some time now as it sounded magical. However, the proof is in the reading. As I hold my breath and turn the first page - what will I discover?

After the first chapter, the narrative slowly distills into a story full of spells and unique charm. Rayne and her best friend (Tom) lead you into a story packed with sparkling fantasy adventure. Every page of the book is effortlessly enjoyable. It is very easy to get lost in a magical realm that packs such a fantasy punch. It's a place that you'll just want to explore more and more, especially the GREAT LIBRARY. The imagination and the ideas used in this book are fantastic. Whilst, the magic system feels and is totally original - I loved the concept as it certainly drives the heart of the plot. However, I feel this could have been used more by extending the story to give it greater impact. 

This is a book where you can escape into an immersive world for all of the family. There is a lot for the reader to enjoy including fantastic characters and monsters: a talking fox and the very bizarre fish people. However, my personal favourites were the GROTESQUES 
with their bushy eyebrows which were brilliantly written and very amusing. There are also bouts of warm humour, smugness and a sparkling friendship full of bickering and falling out which slowly builds throughout the story. 

The more you read this story, the more the mystery unfolds. It nicely builds-up the tension with an increasing sense of danger and peril. Finally culminating with some heart-stopping, nightmarish moments that I'm sure will make you run for cover. When the last page is eventually turned and the final breath expelled, the magical fantasy encapsulates the reader forevermore. The positive ending will certainly make you want to join the characters and setting once more in another adventure. It would be lovely to see some illustrations in the next book - I feel these would really make the reading experience particularly special. A fantastic new fantasy voice in children's literature.  

Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne – she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud devils that cover her mother's precious spell book.
But it is spell breathing that keeps her village safe from the dreaded monster curse that plagues their world. It is ancient powerful magic, but as Rayne learns to her horror . . . it is also fragile.
In one clumsy move, the magic that keeps them safe is broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . .

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Christopher Edge - The Longest Night of Charlie Noon - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

"If you go into the woods, Old Crony will get you."
Secrets, spies or maybe even a monster... What lies in the heart of the wood? Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are determined to discover the truth, but when night falls without warning they find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Lost in the woods, strange dangers and impossible puzzles lurk in the shadows. As time plays tricks, can Charlie solve this mystery and find a way out of the woods? But what if this night never ends...?

We are just about to skip, hop and jump into summer, so why not review the latest book by Christopher Edge at this time. The Longest Night of Charlie Noon will be published in paperback by Nosy Crow books on the 6th June 2019. The brilliant book cover artwork has been produced by Matt Saunders and comes with shimmering lettering that will sparkle both on and off the bookshelves. The illustrated cover inspires the characteristics of the story inside and leaves you asking many questions about the story. It certainly piqued my interest and  encouraged me to explore the story inside. In my opinion, this is an illustration job that has been done very well.

This is another fantastic plot that blends a deep sense of darkness with a science-fiction grounding. The story is told with a real sense of emotion and passion which drives this story into the woods and beyond. The book is inspired by a classic childhood read by Denys Watkins-Pitchford - a book called Brendon Chase. This planted a small acorn of an idea that the author explores and runs with before it explodes into a large Oak tree dangling with fantasy entrails. 

Whilst doing some research for the book, Christoper spent a very scary night in lower woods. This visit for me has has helped him capture the spirit, darkness and the magic beauty of nature and the great outdoors.

The three characters try and find a way out of the forest (an ancient woodland on the border of Gloucester and Wiltshire). However, they soon become incredibly lost and surrounded by ghostly shapes and strange noises. The deeper into the woods they go, the more ethereal the journey becomes. Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are led on a puzzling nightmarish adventure that will have you engrossed in this ghost story/time-travel mystery. As time stops and the heart beat races, what will happen next?

This is a compact story full of wild imagination. The author has an expert eye for pulling on the emotional heartstrings of the characters and the readers. A giggle here, a sob there and a howl from the wind which will rattle the bushes and make you run for cover as the eeriness creeps in and plays with your mind. As with all stories by Christopher, you never just know what is going to happen next. His quirkiness for story telling and the exquisite blending of character dialogues makes his books standout; this book is no exception. 

This is another middle-grade blossom that will bloom to grasp a bigger audience. It's an interesting and great concept for a story. Intelligent, with a clear moral underlining and instilling the author's passion for teaching, science and nature. This book reflects on the world helping other people in finding comfort during the hardest and bleakest of times. It's another great story which captures the beating heart, so pick up a copy and read it sooner rather than later! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: US Kids/Young Adult Book Picks - May 2019 Post One

Laura Ruby - York: The Clockwork Ghost - Published by Walden Pond Press (May 14, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0062306968 - Hardback - Age: 9+

National Book Award finalist Laura Ruby returns with the middle chapter in her epic alternate-history adventure—a journey that will test Tess, Theo, and Jaime and change their lives forever. 
It was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further than anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process.
But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on.
But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it.
It's also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.

Sarah Beth Durst - Spark - Published by Clarion Books (May 14, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1328973429 - Hardback - Age: 9+

When a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.

Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country's weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.

Sarah Graley - Glitch - Published by Graphix (May 14, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1338174519 - Paperback - Age: 7+

From comics rising star Sarah Graley, a fresh and funny middle-grade graphic novel featuring a girl who must save a virtual world... and her own!
Izzy has an incredible secret -- she can enter the world of her new video game! She meets Rae, a robot who says Izzy is destined to save Dungeon City from the Big Boss. How is this possible?! And how can she fight for this virtual world when she's got a whole reallife to keep up with: her family (though she could do without her mom's annoying cat), and her best friend, Eric. Things get even weirder when Izzy loses a life while inside the game, and she starts to worry about what might happen if she gets a Game Over for good. Meanwhile, Eric has been super upset with Izzy since she's been keeping secrets and bailing on their plans. Can Izzy survive Dungeon City and save their friendship?

Kurt Kirchmeier - The Absence of Sparrows - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 7, 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0316450928 - Hardback - Age: 8+

Stranger Things meets Alfred Hitchcock in this haunting coming-of-age novel about a plague that brings the world to a halt, and one boy's belief that his town's missing sparrows can save his family.

In the small town of Griever's Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in.

Old Man Crandall is the first to change--human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it's happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky and, at random, people are turned into frozen versions of themselves. There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it.

With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town's missing sparrows will return with everyone's souls before the glass plague takes them away forever.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks May 2019 - Post Two

This May 2019 we have seen so many fantastic books being published. This is the second post of our top book picks. Many of which we have already reviewed so check them out on the site - we are truly spoilt at the moment for choice. 

We certainly need to marvel at the strength and depth of the book covers supporting these wondrous books. With so many books being amazingly illustrated, to accompany such great stories highlights just what a great time for children's books it is. I hope you enjoy the picks of what to read over the next few months. All the best, Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books. (Post One HERE)

Judith Eagle - The Secret Starling - Published by Faber & Faber (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0571346301 - Paperback 

Clara has lived a life of solitude, homeschooled under her mean uncle's strict regime . . . until now! 
The day that Uncle abandons Clara, leaving her with nothing but a wedge of 'guilt money' and a half empty, crumbling manor house, she is determined to do things her way for a change. And when streetwise Peter turns up, with his rescue cat and a surprising array of knowledge, she is sure that between them they have everything they need to survive.
But the house is to be sold . . . and Uncle has lied to Clara . . . and nothing, NOTHING is as it seems.

Anna Fargher (Author), Sam Usher (Illustrator) - The Umbrella Mouse - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1529003970

A timeless tale of courage, resistance, and friendship, The Umbrella Mouse is a heart-stopping adventure drawing on the true stories of animals caught in the conflict of WWII. 
1944, and London is under attack. Young mouse Pip Hanway's safe and quiet world is turned upside down when her home, umbrella shop James Smith & Sons, is destroyed by a bomb. Orphaned and alone, she must begin a perilous quest to find a new home. 
But the only way to get there is by joining Noah’s Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting the resistance in France, operating beneath the feet of the human soldiers. Danger is everywhere and as the enemy closes in, Pip must risk everything to save her new friends.
Beautifully illustrated by Sam Usher, Anna Fargher's debut novel takes you on an incredible journey through a war that reaches even the smallest of creatures.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Author), Steven Lenton (Illustrator) - Runaway Robot - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1509851775

Runaway Robot is a funny and heartwarming adventure about two best friends helping put themselves back together, from the award-winning Frank Cottrell-Boyce, illustrated by Steven Lenton.
When Alfie goes to Airport Lost Property, he finds more than he bargained for. A lot more. Because there's a giant robot called Eric hidden away on the shelves. Eric has lost one leg and half his memory. He's super strong, but super clumsy. He's convinced that he's the latest technology, when he's actually nearly one hundred year's old and ready for the scrap heap. 
Can Alfie find a way to save Eric from destruction - before Eric destroys everything around him?

Lorraine Gregory - The Maker of Monsters - Published by OUP Oxford (2 May 2019) -  ISBN-13: 978-0192768834 

Brat has always lived in the isolated castle on the island, taking care of the vicious creatures that his master creates, waiting in terror for the moment when they are ready to be put to use. But then the unthinkable happens. The monsters get out. Now Brat must overcome his fears, and venture into the world he has hidden from his whole life. For the fate of everyone rests on his shoulders alone. . . 
A thrilling new standalone adventure from Lorraine Gregory.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

William Sutcliffe - The Gifted, the Talented and Me - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

The Gifted, the Talented and Me is the latest YA book by William Sutcliffe to find its way onto the bookshelves this May. Published by Bloomsbury, this will be William's third YA novel and it is very different from his previous books. When I received this book for review, I scanned the synopsis and thought this is not my cup of tea. One of the lines on the press release was "you think Adrian Mole had problems?" I knew at this point that I'd got problems as this was not a book I thought I was going to remotely enjoy. So, you can see that my expectations were set really quite low.

I started to read this book but then, to be honest, the preface left me slightly intrigued. Dad got rich and his mum moved the family to London. Sam, the main character, then takes us on a teenage journey of mixed emotions that actually feel like you are reading an actual account from a real person. The author has really skillfully achieved this in his writing.

Sam and his brothers find themselves moving to a new school, but not any ordinary school. It's the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented. At this point, the idea slowly reeled me in like a little worm looking for some fantasy gold. I actually started to find the story interesting and before I knew it, with a grumpy teenage strop here and an Instagram update there, I found this book to be really brilliant.

I felt like I was sitting on a fantasy fence watching how some families when elevated with wealth, change their lives and their outlook on the world. The Mum in the family suddenly embraces the arts and is laughed at. I also like the blogger side of Mum in the plot - a very neat touch and, for me, particularly relatable to.  Dad is aloof but brings a sense of realism to some of the situations, alongside his many rounds of golf. This book really explores the lives of the three siblings adapting to their new school life. It's brilliantly warm and very comical. It will make you laugh and possibly choke on your tears at the same time.

The story is essentially about adapting and finding your own place; playing the LIFE game and dealing with emotions. It has a great message for the reader about staying true to yourself. This, for me, was five-star entertainment from a book that I thought I was going to struggle with. HOW wrong was I? I loved it. A delight and an absolute joy to read from the very first page. It will keep you on your toes with crazy capers until the very last page has been turned and only then will you be able to breathe easily again!

Synopsis: Laugh-out-loud funny and instantly recognisable - not since The Inbetweeners has a coming of age story been so irreverent and relatable. 
Fifteen-year-old Sam is not a famous vlogger, he's never gone viral, and he doesn't want to be the Next Big Thing. In fact, he's ordinary and proud of it.
None of which was a problem until Dad got rich and Mum made the whole family move to London. Now Sam's off to the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented, where everyone's busy planning Hollywood domination or starting alt-metal psychedelica crossover bands. Sam knows he'll never belong, even if he wanted to. And that's before he ends up on stage wearing nothing but a fur onesie ...
A brilliantly funny look at fitting in, falling out and staying true to your own averageness.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Bonnie Bridgman - Guest Post (The Road to Getting Published and Lots of Shrieking)

Today on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books, we have a fantastic guest post by Bonnie Bridgman. The road to publishing can be a time of mixed emotions. This is a post of loud shrieking, dancing and super excitement about the prospect of being a published author. Mr. Ripley would like to congratulate Bonnie Bridgman and welcome her to the best place on the planet, The WORLD OF CHILDREN'S Books. Happy reading everybody.

My debut comes out this year. I can’t even believe the words as I type them. I have a book coming out. This year!

I’m going to write about what happens after the yes email from a publisher. The one that you constantly check your inbox for. Well, lots of things actually.

The first thing to do is shriek. Around the house. Jump. Around the house. And dance. Around the house. It’s at this point you may need to warn your neighbours that you are going to be a published author and that they should expect a lot of shrieking, jumping and dancing around the house.

After jumping around the house. You cannot tell anyone until the publisher says it’s okay to tell people. Imagine that. The best secret ever and the hardest to keep. But you do. Obviously, you tell your husband. And your daughter. Your Mum. Best friend. Stranger in the street. And neighbour due to house shrieking but other than that, not a single soul.

Before you know it, the news is out. It becomes official and everyone wants to know when the book will be published. 

“2019.” I say.
“That’s two years away.” They say. 
“That’s how long it takes,” I shrug.

I get to help find an illustrator. My book is being published by Tiny Tree books and as they are an independent publisher, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the process of finding an illustrator. Let me tell you, the talent out there is incredible and just because you find an illustrator whose work you think would marry well with your text, does not mean they will want to work with you. I was lucky however that our first choice said yes. Louise Forshaw, illustrator extraordinaire was going to illustrate my text.

The first time Louise sent me a sneak peak of an illustration, I did the shrieking, jumping and dancing around the house thing again. I should point out that my neighbours have now moved and I’m hoping it wasn’t because of my very vocal elation. Anyway, you get the roughs (black and white version of the illustrations) and then the colours and then you sit and think. Oh. My. Goodness. I have a book coming out this year!

It’s overwhelming. Nerve-wracking. Anxiety-inducing. Thrilling. Exciting and totally unbelievable. I am soon going to be able to pick up my book, with my name on it and everything, and read my words to children. I know they will love it, Louise’s illustrations have ensured that, I just hope that they love it enough to want to read it again and again. I hope everyone loves it. And that everyone buys it. 

The wait is both quick and endless. So I write as I wait. I write more stories. Picture Book texts, Junior Fiction, middle grade. I write and I write and I write and hope that I will get another ‘yes’. I’m greedy you see. I’m chasing another dream; more published books. I can’t help myself. The constant rollercoaster is addictive.

Catch that Cough will be out in September and I would appreciate all the support You can give.  

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's Book Picks May 2019 - Post One

Thomas Taylor - Malamander (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea) - Published by Walker Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1406386288 - Book Review Here

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…
Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...

Vashti Hardy - Wildspark: A Ghost Machine Adventure - Published by Scholastic (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1407191553

A year after the death of her older brother, Prue Haywood's family is still shattered by grief. But everything changes when a stranger arrives at the farm. 
New, incredible technology has been discovered in the city of Medlock, where a secretive guild of inventors has developed a way to capture spirits of the dead in animal-like machines, bringing them back to life. 
Prue knows that the "Ghost Guild" might hold the key to bringing her brother back, so she seizes the stranger's offer to join as an apprentice. But to find her brother, she needs to find a way to get the ghost machines to remember the people they used to be. 
Yet if Prue succeeds, all of society could come apart...

Katherine Woodfine - Spies in St. Petersburg (Taylor and Rose Secret Agents) - Published by Egmont (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1405287050

With Sophie still missing in action after their explosive mission in Paris, Lil decides to take matters into her own hands. On a new mission for the Secret Service Bureau, can Lil find Sophie in misty, mysterious St Petersburg?
Can they uncover the identity of their true enemy and can they trust anyone – even the Bureau? 
It's time for Sophie and Lil to put their spy skills to the test. 
Read the first book in the TAYLOR AND ROSE SECRET AGENTS series: 
Don't miss The SINCLAIR'S MYSTERIES series:

Elly Griffiths - A Girl Called Justice - Published by Quercus Children's Books (2 May 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1786540591

Missing maids, suspicious teachers, and a snowstorm to die for... For a fearless girl called Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, it's just the start of a spine-tingling first term at Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.
When Justice's mother dies, her father packs her off to Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. He's a barrister - specialising in murder trials - and he's just too busy to look after her alone. 
Having previously been home-schooled, the transition is a shock. Can it really be the case that blondes rule the corridors? Are all uniforms such a charming shade of brown? And do schools normally hide dangerous secrets about the murder of a chambermaid? 
Justice takes it upon herself to uncover the truth. (Mainly about the murder, but perhaps she can figure out her new nemesis - the angelic Rose - at the same time.) But when a storm cuts the school off from the real world, the body count starts to rise and Justice realises she'll need help from her new friends if she's going to find the killer before it's too late ...

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Sharon Gosling - The Golden Butterfly - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

The Golden Butterfly danced in the air, beautiful and impossible, yet there before their eyes. Then the Magnificent Marko flicked his wand again. There was a shower of sparks, a bang and ... the Golden Butterfly vanished. 

Let the show begin with the latest book by Sharon Gosling. The Golden Butterfly will be published this May 2019 by Stripes Publishing. The fantastic golden book cover has been produced by the talented Pip Johnson and will certainly sparkle on the bookshelves. The story is set around 1897 and is particularly rich in detail at a time that magic was a spectacular event. It's a fully engrossing period read that makes the reader think back to the golden age of performance. However, it's also a time when women were never permitted to do magic and strict rules were adhered to by the Grand Society of Magicians.

It's 1897 and since the Magnificent Marko dramatically departed the stage, no magician has come close to performing a trick as spectacular as the Golden Butterfly. With her grandfather gone, Luciana feels that the world has lost its wonder. Then the imposing leader of the Grand Society of Magicians appears, searching for something belonging to Marko, and Luciana is drawn into a world of danger and deception. As she battles to protect her grandfather's greatest legacy, can she distinguish reality from illusion?

This book has a theatrical delight that will entertain readers. However, the tiny lights glint on the soft white snow and sadness comes sweeping in as life sadly slips away for Luciana's grandfather - The Greatest Magician - MAGNIFICENT MARKO. Then when a strange man comes looking for a mystery object, the plot once again grazes the reader's fantasy taste buds with a sense of sadness. However, Luciana and her best friend, Charley, are soon hurtled into a headlong adventure full of puzzles to solve. Whilst also hoping to uncover the hidden secrets to one of the best magical illusions ever seen, THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY.  

This fast-paced narrative ticks all of the boxes when it comes to an entertaining read. I was hooked and mesmerised by a story full of colour and a set of strong characters that felt both real and believable; they certainly make you want the best for them. The book shows intelligence and tackles social issues that I felt were well researched and poignantly used in the plot. The story is a fantastic fluttering performance full of suspense, drama, family secrets, and dazzling bravery that will shine and hit you in the heart.

The plot is brimming full of friendship, loyalty and lots of deceitful deeds which makes this journey all the worth following. As the plot unfurls, the sense of mystery will engulf the reader and as the curtain falls, the fantasy soon roars into a middle-grade read that will certainly appeal to everybody. I loved the ending of this book; it wraps the story into a cinematic vision that will leave you breathless and wanting more. You will be desperate for an encore as the joy spills out leaving you enchanted, uplifted and longing for another book. This is a fantastic read from start to finish; an unexpected MARVEL that is very much recommended by Mr. Ripley.