Thursday, 26 March 2020

Dashe Roberts - Sticky Pines: The Bigwoof Conspiracy - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Welcome to STICKY PINES where things just get weirder by the minute. This debut book by Californian author Dashe Roberts is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. It was actually published in February 2020 by Nosy Crow so it might have already slipped by some potential readers. It is a fantastically creative story with a brilliant UFO/Sci-fi narrative. The Bigwoof Conspiracy is an encounter of the weird kind which has both a transatlantic feel and setting to go with it. 

With a click of the old camera and the flash of the night sky, the narrative starts at a rather sedate pace but ends up as a supernatural thriller. There has been a second disappearance in Sticky Pines. Beloved candy-store owner, Mandy Millepoids, has been reported missing. At this point, you find yourself in one of the craziest and most silly adventures you will read this year. It's creepy and yet so funny that it made me laugh out loud. I found myself racing through the pages to uncover the ongoing mystery. 

Lucy Sladen and Milo Fisher are an epic pair of characters who investigate the unexplained sightings and disappearances. Lucy is bold, brave and obsessed with UFO'S whilst Milo is very secretive and loves taking photos in the nearby woods. He often gets dragged along with Lucy's investigations - quite often against his will - but they always stick together. This relationship weaves a memorable thread through the story filled with fun and playful banter. 

This is such a great novel for anyone to read as it's pure fantasy escapism. It is certainly something that we could all do with at this difficult time. The levels of bizarreness increase as events unfold and mysteries become unravelled. The best part of the book, without giving too much away, was the Carnival (chapter nine) called Banana Drama. This was pure fantasy gold - it was very well written and cleverly put together. I have not read anything as good as this for some time. 

For me, this book ticks all the boxes. It is an example of why I love reading children's books. The narrative was not too complicated, very funny (definitely strange) and incorporated a number of classic sci-fi TV shows into it. The story leads you towards some timely banana skins. As you slip and slide through the plotline, there are some great sticky twists and turns. The Villians become bolder and daring which adds to the drama. In fact, it all becomes rather messy in places but I found that very pleasing.

Sometimes the ending of a book can let it down, however, this one was not one of those endings. The author does tie up all the loose ends to eventually satisfy the reader. However, at this point, I felt very sad knowing that I had finished the most entertaining book that I've read this year. Fortunately, I did notice that there will be another book THE THING AT BLACK HOLE LAKE which will be published in September 2020 - if all things still go to plan. I hope so as I know that I can't wait to read it.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Sharon Gosling - The House of Hidden Wonders - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

At the beginning of April 2020, Little Tiger will publish the latest book by Cumbrian author Sharon Gosling. When not writing, she is very busy being creative and, when not being creative, she might be found serving tea or wonderful cakes in her husband's second-hand bookshop. The House of Hidden Wonders has a brilliant title and an amazing book cover illustration produced by the very talented (a favourite illustrator of mine) Hannah Peck. It really makes this book stand out from the crowd and, hopefully, leap into the arms of many readers. They will certainly not be disappointed with the story inside. 

Set in the Victorian period, beneath the murky and eerie streets of Edinburgh, the story is a historical tale featuring some very notable people from that time period. One of the main characters is the young and slightly naive Arthur Conan Doyle. The story follows him in the early days as a medical student and sets the story off with an atmospheric flea in the tale. As a demon moves in the shadow and crimes have been committed, we find ourselves being introduced to Zinnie and her sisters fleeing from the authorities after stealing a silver watch from the pawnbroker's shop window.  As they run down the high street, we are catapulted into a mysterious world of danger and adventure. 

The story is very entertaining and well-written. It captures the place and time very well due to the author's careful research and her good knowledge of the city. Key places like Mary King's Close, which you still can visit today near the Royal Exchange, is used to great effect and helps create the atmosphere both below and above the streets. It leaves the reader with a creepy feeling that keeps you on the edge of the narrative abyss. 

The characters are all very likable; the genuine dialogue makes you engage quickly with them and help punch an element of realism into the plot. Especially as they all need to work together quickly to uncover the mystery surrounding The House of Wonders and the owner. Sinister activities are afoot with ghostly apparitions and an owner who seems to know more about this than they are prepared to let on. 

This is a brilliant read for anyone who loves an action-packed adventure full of drama. It's a historical gem capturing the very essence and feeling of the time; it will surround you in a fantasy bubble that you will simply not want to burst. 

Other books to read similar to this include: 
Philip Caveney - Seventeen Coffins -  Published by Fledgling Press.  Book Review Here.  
Robert J Harris - The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries - Published by Kelpies.  Book Review Here.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Young Adult/Teen Book Picks US - March 2020

  • Author: Joe Simonds
  • Book Title: The Chair: Daniel and the Twin Fountains of Alcazar
  • Paperback: 203 Pages
  • Age Range: 10+
  • Publisher: Independently Published 
  • Date: March 5, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1707404285

In this amazing new fantasy story, America is caught in a cyber-war with an evil underground civilization, which is attempting to shut down the United States power grid. Daniel Ruhlin, a teenager in a wheelchair, turns out to be the only one who can save the world... He has never walked or talked a day in his life. Daniel's severe cerebral palsy has left him confined to a wheelchair under the care of his widowed father. He has never had any real friends, played a sport or musical instrument, attended a party, or done anything that most teenagers would take for granted. He spends his days in the library learning how to hack into computers for fun. However, all of that is about to change when he discovers a magical fountain near an old, abandoned hotel. This fountain leads him into a mystical new world known as Alcazar. During his perilous journey through the underground, he develops friendships, discovers who he is, and uncovers a family secret, which has been hidden for decades. He learns of the fountain of youth, which gives him the ability to walk and talk again. Little does he know, he has been selected to thwart a plot to take over America by an evil, underground empire. Everyone from the citizens of Alcazar to the President of the United States is counting on him to save both worlds, but he will have to face his biggest fears in order to defeat these evil forces... 

Author: James Ponti
Book Title: City Spies (1)
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Date: March 10, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1534414914

Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. However, instead of being hailed as a hero, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time. Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI6 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Before she knows what she’s doing, Sarah is heading to Paris for an international youth summit, hacking into a rival school’s computer to prevent them from winning a million euros, dangling thirty feet off the side of a building, and trying to stop a villain…all while navigating the complex dynamics of her new team.

No one said saving the world was easy…

  • Author: Kenneth Oppel
  • Book Title: Bloom (The Overthrow)
  • Age Range: 10 and up 
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
  • Date: March 10, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1524773007

The first book in a can't-put-it-down, can't-read-it-fast-enough action-thriller trilogy that's part Hatchet, part Alien!
The invasion begins--but not as you'd expect. It begins with rain. Rain that carries seeds. Seeds that sprout--overnight, everywhere. These new plants take over crop fields, twine up houses, and burrow below streets. They bloom--and release toxic pollens. They bloom--and form Venus flytrap-like pods that swallow animals and people. They bloom--everywhere, unstoppable. 

Or are they? Three kids on a remote island seem immune to the toxic plants. Anaya, Petra, Seth. They each have strange allergies--and yet not to these plants. What's their secret? Can they somehow be the key to beating back this invasion? They'd better figure it out fast, because it's starting to rain again....

  • Author: Kaela Noel
  • Book Title: Coo
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • Date: March 3, 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062955975

  • In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.
    Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known. But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt.
    Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds. Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world is infinitely more complex―and cruel―than she could have imagined. 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Martin Howard (Author), Chris Mould (Illustrator) - Alfie Fleet's Guide to the Universe - Blog Tour Book Review

Step this way people as the UNIVERSE is now open for business. This is the second installment in Martin Howard's brilliant Alfie Fleet's series and has been given the title Alfie Fleet's Guide to the Universe. It is guided superbly by Chris Mould's expertly produced black and white illustrations and maps showcasing the narrative. This book is out in all galactic bookshops especially on OUTLANDISH, WINGSPAN and other holiday hotspots destinations around the globe now. You don't have to wait to join and enjoy this amazing adventure, so pick up a copy now.

Back in business with the Unusual Cartography Club or the UCC to its members, Alfie and Professor Pewsley Bowell-Mouvemont and Derek are travelling to far-flung planets. They are in search of the best holiday destinations for us to visit and fleece us out of our hard-earned money. They'll make sure you buy a gift from the gift shop on the way out! But don't worry,  I hear they are doing a roaring trade in Chris Mould's model Sheds which are made out of smelly socks, bits of fluff and, the all-important, blunt pencils.

Whilst exploring the narrative, you can expect to bounce along at an average pace on Betsy the Moped.  In other parts of the universe, time might vary so check the reader's ability and how many hands they have. On the FLEET, Unsuality Scale is a whopping eight and a half - it definitely tick-tocks with fizz and many moments of fantasy craziness. I can guarantee that you'll enjoy the journey immensely whilst holding on to your trousers as you fight off a bunch of pirates in ladies' clothes.

The peril in this adventure is a high octane nine on the danger twonk scale as you find yourself part of a sword chopping adventure. However, this involves none other than green, bogey-eating monsters and grog-swigging seadogs. All mixed in with many BAD PIRATE jokes. The biography of the Chosen One will become an outer planet classic that exhumes a bad smell of language as the windup translator malfunctions. The ingenious creativeness is only as good as the great scum baskets in the plot which are both cheesy and smelly. Lots of trout-waggling maybe encountered to give the reader a sense of character whilst falling over a knobbly knee.

This is a book that readers will not be reluctant to read as they are driven through a fantasy narrative by aliens or a mouthful of fruit. The book has a satisfying crunch with a fantastic array of characters that could have their own spin-off movies. The language is definitely aimed at children with the introduction of many nonsense words. However, the only thing you'll need for protection is a suit of armour and lots of emotional support.

On this website, we rate all the books. We show you the best, not too bad, and never-go-there-in-a-million years. However, this book is one to definitely give a spin, or even place it in your sock drawer with Chris Moulds Model shed! You'll look to revisiting and rereading this book time after time. Thanks for reading - I'll see you on the next voyage.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's Book Picks March 2020 - UK POST TWO

  • Author: Mikki Lish + Kelly Ngai
  • Book Title: The House on Hoarder Hill
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Chicken House 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912626212

Magical, spooky and mysterious: welcome to the House on Hoarder Hill ...
When Hedy and Spencer start receiving messages on dusty picture frames, Christmas at their grandfather's spooky house turns into a mission to solve the mystery of their grandmother's disappearance. What is their magician grandfather not telling them? With the help of a (talking) mounted stag head, an (also talking) bear rug, and other (currently) disembodied spirits, and against the resistance of gargoyles and ravens, Hedy and Spencer set out to find the truth.

  • Author: Guy Bass
  • Illustrator: Pete Williamson
  • Book Title: Skelton Keys: The Haunting of Luna Moon 
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Publisher: Stripes Publishing 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788951043
The second tall-but-true tale in the darkly comic new series SKELETON KEYS from the award-winning duo behind STITCH HEAD...

Greetings! My name is Skeleton Keys and these fantabulant fingers of mine can open doors to hidden worlds… Join me for the strange tale of Luna Moon, whose family is disappearing before her very eyes…

Luna is the only one to mourn the death of her grandfather Old Man Moon – the rest of her family couldn’t be happier to see the back of the bad-tempered old miser. But as they celebrate his demise with a giddy jig, Aunt Summer vanishes ... only to reappear as a painting.

While Luna is convinced her grandfather has kept his word to haunt them from beyond the grave, Skeleton Keys is certain that this is the work of an unimaginary. Can he get to the bottom of the mystery before the whole of Luna’s family disappears?

  • Author: Sally Gardner
  • Illustration: Nick Maland
  • Title: Mr Tiger, Betsy, and the Golden Seahorse 
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Zephyr 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788546614
Following the success of their first two adventures Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon and Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Sea Dragon, the intrepid pair join Betsy's mum, Myrtle the mermaid, beneath the waves, from bestselling author Sally Gardner and illustrated by Nick Maland.
Crumble cakes! When Betsy joins Myrtle the mermaid in her underwater world, she discovers there may be monsters... shipwrecks, lost treasure and secret cities. A seapig's prize seahorse, Pudding Pie, has been stolen by a cantankerous giant octopus and Betsy and Mr Tiger must go to the rescue in their new submarine. But what happens when a tiger's whiskers and tail are simply too long to squeeze into forgotten dark caverns where even the moon cannot shine, and Betsy has to take the final steps of the adventure on her own? 
The hardback edition of this book is printed in blue ink in Dyslexie, a font specially designed to make reading easier – and more fun.

  • Author: J. M. Joseph 
  • Book Title: Fire Boy
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
  • Date: 19 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444954685
Fire Boy is a laugh-out-loud story about friendship, unexpected superpowers, magical sweets, Inca legends and a cat named Lemon - perfect for fans of My Brother is A Superhero and The Parent Agency.
When 11-year-old Aidan receives a mysterious package of sweets from South America in the post, he and his two best friends Sadie and Hussein eat one sweet each - and suddenly develop amazing superpowers. Sadie can move objects with her mind. Hussein can control any electronic device. And Aidan can ignite his body at will...though he can't always control the resulting flames.
When they discover that the sweets were sent by a dangerous criminal who is trying to hunt them down to get them back, they have to use all their new powers to outwit him ... before everything goes up in a fiery blaze.
But can three ordinary kids keep their powers a secret? Will Aidan learn to control his fiery capabilities? Or will the ultimate bad guy spoil the whole adventure?

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Jenny Pearson (Author), Rob Biddulph (Illustrator) - The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

This is a book to look forward to as part of the latest adventure from Jenny Pearson. The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates is set to be published on 30th April 2020 by Usborne Publishing. The book illustrations and cover have been illustrated brilliantly by award-winning illustrator Rob Biddulph. He has done an amazing job of depicting the story visually to enhance the very engaging narrative.

This story will definitely capture the reader's attention from the very first page. The main character, Freddie Yates, loves facts. You can rely on them. An example of one such fact is: the fastest time to eat a raw onion is 29.56 seconds which was achieved by Yusuke Yamaguchi in Japan 2013. You may think this is a bizarre fact to choose but it is very relevant to the story, as you will find out if you read the book. This thought-provoking, family adventure is full of many other fun facts. For example, did you know that Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to have been successfully cloned from an adult cell in 1996?

The book will take you on a hilarious journey following three boys on an adventure of a lifetime. Armed with a spare pair of underpants, they go in search of Freddie Yates's Dad whom he has never met before. However, things don't quite go according to plan! The adventure is fraught with danger and includes some very strange events along the way. The narrative is delivered comically as the three boys argue and fall out - just like most friends do.

This super fun, brilliantly engaging story will certainly have tears streaming down your face from laughing too much or from the thought of eating a raw onion. You can expect some well-timed miracles: a seagull with a deadly shot, naked scarecrows, three kids running down the high street with superhero costumes on and an exploding toilet. Yet at its heart, it's also a book that explores the importance of kindness, hope, and understanding what really matters. 

This is definitely a book for younger readers or someone with a good sense of humour. It's not overly complex but it has enough within it to keep an adult entertained. The book relates to the ups and downs of family life. In fact, it's a human rollercoaster of emotions but all make for great entertainment and reading. What more could you possibly ask for? Pre-order your copy now

Read a free chapter HERE

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Children's Book Picks March 2020 - UK POST

  • Author: Judith Eagle
  • Illustrator: Kim Geyer
  • Book Title: The Pear Affair
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber 
  • Date: 5 March 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571346851
When Penelope Magnificent's awful parents tell her they're taking a trip to Paris, she surprises them by begging to go along. 
Nell is usually content to avoid her money-obsessed father and her fashion-focussed mother, but Paris holds something very dear to her... her old au pair Perrine - Pear - lives there. Pear used to write to Nell every week promising to come to her rescue but recently the letters have stopped...
Arriving at her parent's posh hotel, Nell is determined to find Pear... but no one has seen her at her last known address, and no one seems to want to tell her anything about Pear's whereabouts. 
Luckily she befriends the hotel bellboy who introduces her to the world of tunnels underneath the city, and together they set out to find Pear, whilst uncovering an extraordinary mystery of their own...
Black and white chapter head illustrations bring this story to life.

  • Author: Jennifer Bell
  • Illustrator: Alice Lickens
  • Book Title: Agents of the Wild (Operation Honeyhunt)
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Publisher: Walker Books 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406388459
  • Enter the world of Agnes & Attie: AGENTS OF THE WILD; fun-packed young fiction with wildlife conservation themes.
    When 8-year-old Agnes is signed up for SPEARS (the Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species), she has no idea of the adventures that lie ahead with her elephant-shrew mentor Attie (short for "Attenborough"). Operation Honeyhunt sends them to the Brazilian rainforest, on a mission to save an endangered, dance-loving bee named Elton. Will Agnes pass the test and become a full SPEARS agent? Species in danger? Girl and shrew to the rescue!

  • Author: Alison Croggon
  • Book Title: The Threads of Magic
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Walker Books 
  • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406384741
  • Pip lives on his wits in the city of Clarel. When he pickpockets the wrong man, he finds himself in possession of a strange object - a heart in a silver casket. What's more, the heart seems to be trying to communicate with Pip, and the royal officials who lost it will stop at nothing to get it back.
    Pip has unwittingly broken an ancient spell, and his theft will have far-reaching consequences for the whole city. As the ancient war between the Spectres and witches of Clarel reignites, the heart prepares to seek revenge for all it has suffered…
    Alison Croggon conjures a rich, immersive world with brilliant and memorable characters in this captivating story of loyalty, courage, and friendship.

    • Author: Ally Carter
    • Book Title: Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valour
    • Paperback: 336 pages
    • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
    • Publisher: Orchard Books 
    • Date: 5 Mar. 2020
    • ISBN-13: 978-1408357378
      When 11-year-old April joins a group of kids living at Winterborne Home she doesn't expect to be there for very long. But she soon learns that this home isn't like any of the others - especially when she unearths the secret of the missing-and-presumed-dead billionaire, Gabriel Winterborne, who is neither missing nor dead but is actually living in a basement lair, sharpening his swords and looking for vengeance.
      Now that April knows Gabriel Winterborne is alive, she must turn to the other orphans to keep him that way. As a looming new danger threatens to take Gabriel down once and for all, they must use their individual talents to find a way to make sure this home for misfits isn't lost to them for ever.
      Because at the Winterborne Home, nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say they are and nowhere is safe. And now a ragtag group of orphans must unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a supposed phantom and a secret key, all without alerting the adults of Winterborne House that trouble is afoot.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Jennifer Killick - Crater Lake - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Dear Reader,

We warmly welcome you to this year's epic trip to CRATER LAKE, a brand new activity center built in an old volcanic crater, miles from anywhere. Please pack appropriately and be aware that you'll need to be prepared to run for your life. Please take plenty of rations as the food is pretty awful and the service is beyond belief. It is rated with no stars on Trip Advisor as no one has ever come out alive. Whatever you do, DONT. EVER. FALL. ASLEEP!

This thrilling preface is for Jennifer Killick's latest book CRATER LAKE.  It's a contemporary horror story aimed at middle-grade readers due to be published on the 19th March 2020 by Firefly Press. As you turn the bloodied pages, you'll need to strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride as a mysterious bloodstained man tries to stop the coach. This is the start of a rollercoaster adventure that is entertainingly bonkers full of wit and humour.  

Strange things happen to the children. No one turns up to meet them, and then a strange man serves them all only TOMATO SOUP for their tea. Something is definitely not RIGHT. As night arrives, things get much stranger and the nervous tension can be felt buzzing in the air. This is the year six school trip where your first day could be your last ...

The deeper you travel into the plotline, the more you become engrossed in a bizarre and surreal world where kids are fighting for survival against a strange swarm of enemies. The characters are all very well written. They each have secrets of their own especially the main character, Lance, who I thought was brilliant. The book explores the relationships and emotions between different characters in a fast-paced action horror story. It certainly glues the narrative together with human empathy in the face of fear and the unknown. It produces a very captivating and relatable story as they each work through this unusual situation. However, after some messing around and eating an abundance of sweets, the sugar levels get going and the kids become wise.

This is a book in which readers will sit up all night to read in one sitting. Mysteriously edgy, warm-hearted and full of many bouts of crazy action and eventful moments, it certainly keeps the reader on their scary toes as flying PHLEGM hits you full-on in the face. Remember the only way to survive is DON'T EVER FALL ASLEEP. So, pick up this book and give it a read; it might just save your life. I fully recommend it as it's pure fantasy OXYGEN. 

Monday, 24 February 2020

Nicola Penfold - Where The World Turns Wild - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

This month we have another fantastic and memorable read by debut author Nicola Penfold. Where The World Turns Wild was published on the 6th of February 2020 by Stripes Publishing. It's a topical book about HUMANS VERSUS NATURE which looks at climate change and human destruction to the planet. The book is set fifty years from now when the world is at breaking point. Nature is dying: plants, trees, animals, and birds are disappearing every day. However, the story takes a radical course of action by controlling the adult population. A group of people known as the Re-Wilders creates a deadly disease (carried by a population of ticks) that only affects humans which kills many of the population.

The story builds a fantastically thought-provoking read that will have you hooked. The walled city becomes the only place for humans to survive from catching the deadly disease. As you follow Juniper Green and her six-year-old brother (Bear cub) into a non-stop adventure, the story takes you outside the city walls, beyond the buffer zone and into the UNKNOWN. The story really picks up pace as you venture further into this wilderness in a heartfelt and beautifully crafted adventure. I really loved the relationship between the children and the lynx cat that was established. It was truly mesmerizing and really added a little something extra to the story.

The brilliant use of description sets you on a course of vivid colour. Flowers and animals come alive, whilst the sounds of swaying trees and snapping of twigs can be heard all around you. The story really packs a punch as it takes you to a fantastic backdrop of the natural landscape which is very reminiscent of the LAKE DISTRICT - a place of outstanding beauty even on a rainy day! 

The storyline is fuelled full of danger and the unexpected which is very compelling. The book shares a special relationship between brother and sister which is full of warmth and tenderness. It expresses their love and loyalty to one another, but there's also a lot of naivety which makes it really engaging. As they are looking out for each other, they take on the biggest risk to find their parents. However, will they find them?  This is a well thought out story with many great ideas and moments. There is certainly a deep connection to the future which highlights the global harm we do to this planet every day.  

The plotline breathes heavily to clear the air and atmosphere. Every in-breath is full of nature and human relationships, whilst the out-breath expels the danger and darkness. It's a great visual escape from one world to another that will touch the hearts of all. It'll leave you with a warm feeling even after the last page has been turned. This is an intelligent Family Adventure with a five-star heart. It is both heartily and fully recommended by Mr. Ripley.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Young Adult/Teens Book Picks US - February 2020

Kat Leyh - Snapdragon - Published by First Second (February 4, 2020) - SBN-13: 978-1250171115 - Paperback 

Kat Leyh's Snapdragon is a magical realist graphic novel about a young girl who befriends her town’s witch and discovers the strange magic within herself.
Snap's town had a witch.
At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online―after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.
They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may, in fact, have real magic―and a connection with Snap’s family’s past.

John August - Arlo Finch in the Kingdom of Shadows - Published by Roaring Brook Press (February 4, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1626728189 - Hardback 

Arlo Finch in the Kingdom of Shadows is a captivating fantasy-adventure story by master screenwriter John August.
After a harrowing summer camp, Arlo Finch is back in Pine Mountain, Colorado, preparing to face a new school, new threats, and two new Rangers in Blue Patrol. 
Arlo is about to undertake his most dangerous journey yet: all the way to China to try to bring his father home.
But when the mysterious Eldritch reveals their true agenda, Arlo must make an impossible choice: save his friends and family, or save the Long Woods. Both worlds will never be the same.

Nicki Pau Preto - Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers) - Published by Simon Pulse (February 11, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1534424654 - Hardback 

 Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”

You are a daughter of queens.

The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.

Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.

Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.

Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.

As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.

I pray you are able to pass through the flames.

K. R. Alexander - The Undrowned - Published by Scholastic Paperbacks (February 4, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1338540529 - Paperback 

In too deadly.

In too deep.

Samantha and Rachel used to be friends. But then Rachel betrayed Samantha . . . and Samantha decided to make her life a living nightmare.

Then one day, Sam and Rachel found themselves in a fight

by a lake.

Samantha pushed Rachel . . . and watched as Rachel fell back.

And back.

Into the water. And gone.

No way to save her. No way she could be alive.

The next day, Rachel shows up to school as if nothing happened.

And now she's the one who wants to make her former friend's life a living nightmare . . .