Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks - August 2019 - Post Two

Ted Hughes (Author), Chris Mould (Illustrator) - The Iron Man - Published by Faber & Faber (1 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0571348862 - Hardback 
The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.
Where had he come from? Nobody knows.
How was he made? Nobody knows.
Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction by the Iron Man and set a trap for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threatens to lay waste to the planet, it is the Iron Man who finds a way to save the world.

Marie Basting - Princess BMX - Published by Chicken House (1 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1911490944 - Paperback

Enchanted meets BMX in this hilarious, spellbinding adventure!
Trust me, the fairy tales have it so wrong. Dingy towers and wicked step-mums are the least of my worries: it's the boredom that will kill me. Honestly, apart from the endless supply of cupcakes, being a princess is pretty rubbish. I used to think about locking myself in a tower and throwing away the key. Thank the good goblin I discovered BMX. If it wasn't for BMX, nothing would have changed ...

Damaris Young - The Switching Hour - Published by Scholastic (1 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1407195049 - Paperback 

Never stay out after the Switching Hour... never let the outside in... Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tao in a land suffering a terrible drought. Every night, the doors must be locked after twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badoko, a creature that snatches people away to eat their dreams. Three days later, the memory that they existed is gone from those that knew them, and those that are left are afflicted with The Sorrow Sickness - grief which consumes a person without them knowing why. When Kaleb is taken by Badoko, Amaya must journey into the terrifying forest to find her brother before she forgets him.

T C Shelly - The Monster Who Wasn't - Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books (8 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1526600837 - Paperback 

A brilliantly rich and strange fantasy adventure that will make us all believe in monsters - be they good, bad or somewhere in between.

It is a well-known fact that fairies are born from a baby's first laugh. What is not as well documented is how monsters come into being.
This is the story of a creature who is both strange and unique. When he hatches down in the vast underground lair where monsters dwell, he looks just like a human boy - much to the disgust of everyone watching. Even the grumpy gargoyles who adopt him and nickname him 'Imp' only want him to steal chocolate for them from the nearby shops. He's a child with feet in both worlds, and he doesn't know where he fits.
But little does Imp realise that Thunderguts, king of the ogres, has a great and dangerous destiny in mind for him, and he'll stop at nothing to see it come to pass.

Garth  Jennings - The Good, the Bad and the Deadly 7 - Macmillan Children's Books (8 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1509887651 - Paperback

The Good, the Bad and the Deadly 7 is a funny, action-packed, exciting monster adventure by the director of Sing Garth Jennings.
Having seven invisible monsters to hang out with during the summer holidays is pretty great, but now it's time to go back to school, and if Nelson's not careful, the Deadly 7 are going to get him into serious trouble. The monsters agree to stay away (and hang out in London Zoo), but there's one problem: something huge and invisible has started rampaging through the French countryside and it looks like Nelson and his monsters might be the only ones who can help. 
Who better to stop one enormous terrifying monster than seven little angry, sneaky, greedy, vain, adorable, thieving, farting monsters? That's right, Stan, Puff, Nosh, Miser, Hoot, Crush and Spike are here to save the day!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Julie Pike - The Last Spell Breather - Blog Tour (Stories that Inspired)

Welcome to the second week celebrating the brilliant publication of Julie Pike's debut book. we're delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Last Spell Breather which is a fantastic read. I wholeheartedly recommend you spare the time to read it. This post is about the stories that might have led to inspiring this book.

If you were to write a book, blog readers, what stories might influence the novel you would write today? Have a think, it's an interesting question. If you have any thoughts and you would like to share them on Twitter then use #TheLastSpellBreather. 

I would like to thank Julie and Oxford University Press for letting Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books host a stop on this wonderful blog tour. You are always welcome here at any time. 

I hope you enjoy the post. 

I am delighted the Spell Breather blog tour has swung by Mr. Ripley’s Enchanted Books. As you’re reading this web page, you already know that for brilliant books you can’t beat a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation. Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books is a place I have discovered many great books over the years. 

The first person to recommend a book to me was my mother. She introduced me to Enid Blyton when I was six, and happily watched as I devoured as many of her magical adventures as my pocket money would allow. I wrote a sequel to Enid Blyton’s Book of Brownies, because I enjoyed the story so much I wanted to carry on the adventure. I remember writing it with a blue ballpoint pen, on lined A4 paper. When it was done, I tied the pages with grey wool, ‘borrowed’ from my mother’s knitting bag. 

When I was a young teen, Mam introduced me to Georgette Heyer. Her adventure stories were thrilling! One of my favourites is The Masqueraders, where a brother and sister, fleeing from the Jacobite rising, swap clothes and have dangerous adventures in Regency London. I adore her character Prudence, who dresses as a young buck, brazening it out, drinking and duelling. It may seem tame today, but it was written in the 1920s, and I first read it in the 1980s. I love this story. So much so I have written Georgette Heyer fanfiction. 

As an older teen, my brother introduced me to the wonderful Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. Looking back, it’s no surprise that my first novel should feature a fantasy version of a medieval healer. I didn’t realise at the time, but it’s clear to me now that all the stories I love have found their way into my ‘writer’s cauldron’. I’m sure you know what I mean. My cauldron is the place where all the stories swirl together, synthesising themselves into different shapes, ready for me to ladle out when I’m thinking up new ideas. 

Peering into my cauldron today, I can clearly see three stories that wormed their way into my imagination and wove themselves into The Last Spell Breather.

The first is a The Abhorsen Trilogy, by Garth Nix. I love everything about this story. I love its characters, its large-scale world building, and its unique ‘charter magic’. Reading this story was the first time I’d encountered a cast of creatures and characters perfectly set within their own myths and magic systems, and it lit my imagination like a firework. When I turned the last page, I wanted to carry on the adventure. 

The second is Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. When I was writing an early draft of Spell Breather, my friend Jacqui recommended this brilliant story. It reminded me that books are powerful objects. The words inside have a life of their own, and bad things happen when they’re not looked after properly. 

Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney tells a magical and medieval tale of a boy training to protect his home from witches. Witches so powerful they can outwit his every move. I love a good apprentice story. This one particularly resonates because his Mam has a dark secret. 

Putting these stories together, I can see they share a common theme. A warning about what happens when magic breaks or falls out of balance. This theme is something I wanted to explore in The Last Spell Breather and now I can see what drew me to it. 

Looking into my cauldron again, I’m wondering if every ‘original’ idea in my tale has come from other much-loved stories? Stories like, Magyk by Angie Sage, Sylvester by Georgette Heyer, Labyrinth, Dr Who, A Matter of Life and Death, and Sapphire & Steal. 

I think I’ll give my cauldron a good stir, so I can’t see the ingredients anymore. I prefer my idea ladles brimming with mixed magic. 

Writers often get asked: Where do your ideas come from? I’ve been wondering how I would answer that question. Writing this blog has given me my answer. Ideas come from all the stories that have gone before. We writers pass them on to each other in a glorious story continuum, from one cauldron to another.

If you’d like to write stories, then my advice is to ‘fill your story cauldron’. Fill it with Books, and TV and Films and Video Games – and keep stirring. That way, when you settle to write, the synthesis of all your favourite stories is guaranteed to deliver a ‘unique’ adventure, one that you want to follow and read yourself.

And then one day, YOUR story will be recommended to others. It will go on to fill their writer’s cauldron and take its place in the great continuum. 
Happy reading. Happy writing.

Julie Pike – Biography 
Julie grew up on a council estate, nestled between the forests and foothills of the Welsh Valleys. She is passionate about adventure stories, and volunteers in local schools and libraries in Dorset, helping children find stories that excite them. She is passionate about real-life adventures too, and has crawled inside the great pyramid of Giza, travelled to the peak of Kilimanjaro, and camped on the Great Wall of China in a lightning storm. Twitter: @juliepike

(The Last Spell Breather – Book Cover – illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova)

The Last Spell Breather – Synopsis 
Enter the unique world of the Spell Breathers! Spell Breathing does not come naturally to Rayne - she loathes the hours of practice, the stacks of scrolls, and the snapping mud grotesques that cover her mother’s precious spell book. When she holds the spell book over a fire, it is only meant as an empty threat – until she feels the grotesque’s tiny teeth biting into her finger and lets go. In one clumsy move, her mother’s spells are broken, her village is plunged into danger, and an incredible adventure begins . . . 

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books Book Review is HERE

Friday, 5 July 2019

Liz Flanagan (Dragon Daughter Blog Tour) - Top 5 Dragon Books - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Good morning. All this week we are celebrating the paperback book release of Liz Flanagan's DRAGON DAUGHTER. There is a lot to get excited about as Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books is the fifth stop on this blog tour (please see the list for the other stops at the bottom of the page). All posts explore the ideas and inspiration behind this brilliant story. However, this particular post is focused around the authors top five dragon books and school visits. 

What would your favourite dragon books be? Please share your favourite on Twitter using #DragonDaughter. For me, the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini and Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke would be in my top five list. However, check out this fascinating post below. Hopefully, it will inspire you to pick up this amazing book or invite the author to your school for an author event. Enjoy the post.

Writers are often told to ‘write what you know’, but how do you write about mythical creatures like dragonsunless you do actually have a secret dragon at your house? Partly, my dragons are a combination of many different real animals I’ve known, and partly they’ reinspired by the dragons from books and films I’ve loved. 

In my school visits, we always have long chats about why we love dragons so muchwhy they hold an enduring fascination for us, in so many different times and cultures, and why people have imagined dragons in many varied ways. I really enjoy hearing all the different ideas children have on this subject!

Personally, was drawn to the contrast between a tiny fragile scaly creature that’s just tapped its way out of an egg, and the massive, powerful firebreather with the capacity to destroy whole cities. I love the idea of an animal who can fly anywhere, but who chooses to seek out people. And I loved the idea of a unique bond between a dragon and a particular child, a bond that would last a lifetime and define both of them. My dragons can’t speak, but they can communicate via their calls and their gestures, and they can read the thoughts of people around them. 

In the past, I’ve loved the way different authors describe dragons include the great Ursula Le Guin and Anne McCaffrey. But there are also some more recent middle-grade novels that are full of memorable dragons, so I’ve made a list of five that I’ve loved recently. 

All these authors have imagined dragons in different ways, but here are just a few of my middle-grade favourites. Some are very new; some are old friends:

  • The Secret Dragonby Ed Clarke (Puffin) Eleven-year-old Mari Jones is a fossil-hunter, inspired by her hero Mary Anning, and she longs to be a real scientist. She thinks she’s found an amazing fossil on the beach one day and is shocked to realise it’s alive and is, in fact, a real Welsh dragon. I loved Mari, and her friendship with Dylan, the new boy at school. This story is so beautifully written, with deeper themes of loss and finding your courage and self-belief. The soft, sweet interior illustrations are by Simone Krüger.

  • The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (Piccadilly Press) At the heart of this book is a beautiful relationship between the main character Tomas and his grandad. Helping Grandad in the garden, Tomas discovers an incredible plant that actually grows dragons. Tomas bonds with a little dragon called Flicker, but soon learns that young dragons cause chaos and that he is likely to be blamed for their destructive habits and incendiary poos. There's so much humour and fun, as well as real warmth and tenderness, in this book, and the illustrations by Sara Ogilvie are full of life and energy.

  • How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (Hodder Children’s Books) One of the most popular dragons of all! I’ve loved the film adaptations of this series tooalthough I find the books have more mud and snot and humour. I really love the relationship between Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and his undersized dragon Toothless. The pair save all the Vikings on their island with their quick thinking and skill at speaking Dragonese.

  • Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons by Dugald A. Steer, illustrated by Wayne Anderson, Douglas Carrel and Helen Ward (Templar) This book is like an encyclopedia of dragons! It covers many different species, habitats, and life-cycles. It also includes magical elements, offering some useful spells and charms. Stunningly illustrated, it blendreal history and science with mythology in a truly bewitching way. For those who like their dragons grounded in lots of gorgeously presented ‘information’.
  • The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis (Bloomsbury) Adventurine the young dragon is so impatient to start exploring that she ignores her family’s warnings about the danger of the outside world and those alarming creatures out there. food-mage wizard turnsAdventurine into a girl and she must learn to survive in the human world. The book features friendship and chocolate, two of life’s most delightful things, and I couldn’t help falling in love with this charming story.

Dragon Daughter is published by David Fickling Books.
ISBN: 978-1-78845-021-8 - Priced £6.99
Cover art by Angelo Rinaldi
Interior art by Paul Duffield

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks - August 2019 - Post One

John Robertson (Author), Louis Ghibault (Illustrator)The Little Town of Marrowville - Published by Puffin (1 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0241344743 - Paperback
In a town surrounded by deadly mist, and filled with oddities, two young siblings become orphans.
And that's the best thing that's happened to them all day.
Howard Howard was a Wrecker (a brute and bully by profession) who was brutal and bullish to his children - Aubrey and Aubrey's Sister. Howard Howard deserved to be turned into mince, and thanks to a mysterious duo called The Grinders, that's exactly what happened to Howard Howard. 
Hunted by the police and their father's gang of Wreckers, the siblings find some new friends to help keep them safe: a talented burglar named Charlie (who has no bones, but a great moustache) and a sword-wielding assassin named Calo (who has a sword, duh.) 
In a town already revelling in its own chaos and with new dangers around every corner, Aubrey's Sister and Aubrey stumble into a world of secrets, myths, and monsters.

Ellen Renner - Under Earth (Storm Witch) - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (1 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1788003605 - Paperback 

As the island's new Weather witch, Storm must sail with the fleet into dangerous waters. The Drowned Ones are out for revenge and the sea itself is treacherous. But it's Bellum Town that brings Storm her first real test. And where she learns that her magic could save her or it could be the end of everything... Another action-packed fantasy adventure as Storm discovers just how powerful she really is!

Julie Pike - The Last Spell Breather - Published by OUP Oxford (4 July 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-0192771605 - Paperback - See Review HERE

A stunning fantasy debut, enter the unique world of the Spell Breathers. 

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 . . .

Simon Lelic - Revolution: Book 2 (The Haven) - Published by Hodder Children's Books (8 Aug. 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1444947625 - Paperback

You don't know it exists, but when you have nowhere else to turn, the Haven will find you ... An adrenaline-fuelled adventure, second in the Haven series, by top thriller writer Simon Lelic. 

Our city. Our secret. Our rules. 
When pupils start going missing from a prestigious boarding school, Ollie Turner knows it's a job for the Haven. 
Below the city streets, the Haven is a sanctuary for kids run by kids. 
Ollie and the Haven's investigations team put their lives on the line, going undercover to find the missing children. But little do they realise that a deadly enemy awaits them - one with plans to destroy everything they hold dear. 
What they're saying about The Haven:

Monday, 1 July 2019

David Solomons - My Cousin Is a Time Traveller (My Brother is a Superhero) - Intergalactic Galaxy Review (Nosy Crow)

Here at the Intergalactic Galaxy Review Board, we like to point out the books that rock our planet and invade our world. Today, we have the latest book by David Solomons, My Cousin is a Time Traveller, which is the fifth or sixth book featuring Luke and Zack's adventures. The book will be published by Nosy Crow books and will be available as soon as you read this post ... unless you are a time traveller yourself of course. 

This week, we've searched the solar system to find cosmic readers who would like to share their reading thoughts with you. I've hunted around the sofa (and the internet) to find some choice words about this book. Please find some of the best quotes sent to Mr. Ripley's Intergalactic Review Board. In the meantime, if you have your own review, then please send this to us as soon as possible to be added/included. said "all the superheroes in this book were underdressed and need some serious advice. Please remember, if you are going to be a superhero and try to save the world then you need to dress like one! Call us for outfit support and advice!"  

Time Traveller Brad said "this is the best breakfast read - it will put a smile on your toaster's face and a whistle in the kettle. The story was so buttery with characters getting out of a tricky jam. A spreadable five stars. I now just need a cup of Yorkshire Tea and a lie-down". 

"Hello, Nigel. I'm the toaster and I need an update. I laughed my circuits off and blew a fuse. The electrical voltage on this book was set to maximum, please don't touch my dials. All the readers on the planet will find this full of action depicting real-life events. I almost tripped on the flex and choked on the crumbs."  

The Book-inter-steller supplement said "this is not The Beano. Although, it is comically very good and the humour was out of this world. The narrative was not realistic enough and the author must get his facts correct about the true events of that day. He needs a good cape and an editor. Call me for hire". 

Kate Meg Wilson aged thirteen toes and twelve fingers said "a brilliant superpowered adventure set to spin cycle. The national grid did lose power in the telling and making of this book. I had to read the book by candlelight which burnt half the pages and my eyebrows. Every page was literally on fire - a reader's dream - fantasy triumph in type. Pick it up and give it a spin. Ten pages and a snack a minute recommended reading time. Although, please read responsibly. No other editor required in my eyes!"

I'm sure you'll agree that there have been some brilliant first book reviews from around the planet. This for me just sums up this book: strange, interesting and very funny. Who would have thought that underdressed superheroes would try to save the world just one kitchen appliance at a time. This leads me to one final review from someone called Servatron "I'LL BE BACK ... with the kitchen sink and some chocolate buns". Why not give this book, and the series a read, it appears to come well recommended.

Check back for more reviews...