Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's & Young Adult Book Picks US - June 2020 - Post Two

Nicky Drayden - The Hero of Numbani (Overwatch #1) - Published by Scholastic Inc. (June 2, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1338575972 - Paperback - Age: 12+

This action-packed novel features the fan-favorite characters Efi, Orisa, Doomfist, and Lúcio in an all-new, original story straight from the minds of the Overwatch game team and critically acclaimed author Nicky Drayden!
In the technologically advanced African city of Numbani, in the not-so-distant future, humans live in harmony with humanoid robots known as omnics. But when a terrorist tries to shatter that unity, a hero named Efi Oladele rises! 

Efi has been making robots since she was little -- machines to better her community and improve people's lives. But after she witnesses Doomfist's catastrophic attack on the city's OR15 security bots, Efi feels the call to build something greater: a true guardian of Numbani.

While Doomfist sows discord between humans and omnics, Efi engineers an intelligent and compassionate robot, Orisa, named after the powerful spirits who guide her people. Orisa has a lot to learn before she's ready to defeat Doomfist, but Efi has some learning to do, too, especially when it comes to building -- and being -- a hero. With Doomfist rallying his forces, and the military powerless to stop him, can Efi mold Orisa into the hero of Numbani before it's too late?

Jenny Elder Moke - Hood - Published by Disney-Hyperion (June 9, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1368047456 - Hardback - Age: 12+ 
You have the blood of kings and rebels within you, love. Let it rise to meet the call.
Isabelle of Kirklees has only ever known a quiet life inside the sheltered walls of the convent, where she lives with her mother, Marien. But after she is arrested by royal soldiers for defending innocent villagers, Isabelle becomes the target of the Wolf, King John's ruthless right hand. Desperate to keep her daughter safe, Marien helps Isabelle escape and sends her on a mission to find the one person who can help: Isabelle's father, Robin Hood. 
As Isabelle races to stay out of the Wolf's clutches and find the father she's never known, she is thrust into a world of thieves and mercenaries, handsome young outlaws, new enemies with old grudges, and a king who wants her entire family dead. As she joins forces with Robin and his Merry Men in a final battle against the Wolf, will Isabelle find the strength to defy the crown and save the lives of everyone she holds dear?

Svetlana Chmakova - The Weirn Books, Vol. 1: Be Wary of the Silent Woods - Published by JY (June 16, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1975311223 - Paperback Age: 7+

  • In the Night Realm, vampires, shifters, weirns, and other night things passing for human prowl the streets... but they still have to go to school! Ailis and Na'ya are pretty average students (NOT losers), but when a shadow starts looming and a classmate gets all weird, they are the first to notice. It gets personal, though, when Na'ya's little brother D'esh disappears-It's time to confront the secrets of the forbidden mansion in the Silent Woods!

    Join the acclaimed author of Awkward, Svetlana Chmakova, for an outing into her favorite fantastical world full of magic and adventure!

    Zoraida Córdova - The Way to Rio Luna -  Published by Scholastic Inc. (June 2, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1338239546 - Hardback - Age: 8+

    Eleven-year-old Danny Monteverde believes in magic. He knows that pixie dust is real, that wardrobes act as portals, and that rabbit holes lead to Wonderland. Most of all, he believes that his older sister, Pili, is waiting for him somewhere in Rio Luna, the enchanted land in their favorite book of fairy tales. 

    Danny doesn't care what the adults say. He knows that Pili isn't another teen runaway. When the siblings were placed in separate foster homes, she promised that she'd come back for him, and they'd build a new life together in Rio Luna.

    Yet as the years pass, Danny's faith begins to dim. But just when he thinks it might be time to put foolish fairy tales behind him, he finds a mysterious book in the library. It's a collection of stories that contain hints about how to reach another world. A map to Rio Luna . . . and to Pili. 

    As his adventure takes him from New York to Ecuador to Brazil, Danny learns that meeting your favorite characters isn't always a dream come true. But nothing will stop him from finding his sister . . . even if it means standing up to the greatest threat the magical realm has ever known.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Julia Golding - The Tigers in the Tower - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Julia Golding is a multi-award-winning writer. She writes under three different pen names for both adults and young adults; all with a spark of magic for different tastes. Two of my favourite series are Cat Royal and the Campanions which are fantastic and definitely worth checking out if you have not already read them.

Her most recent book, The Tigers in the Tower, is a standalone novel that will be published by a smaller publishing company (Lion Hudson) in Oxford. The book will be published in paperback on the 18th of September, 2020. Therefore, I am really excited to be able to tell you about this book early doors. 

It was fantastic to fly back into a world with an adventure that captured the imagination. The current world slowly merged into the captivating world of the main character Sahira. Her family is travelling to England to deliver two majestic Indian tigers. However, tragedy strikes and Sahira's loving parents die on the sea voyage. Arriving alone in London, she finds herself in a much different world from the country she has just left behind. Placed in an orphanage - a soulless environment full of heartache and danger - the adventure starts to take form. With newfound friendships, her past and future all start to roll into one. Can Sahira carry out her father's last request? What will happen to the beautiful Tigers? These are the questions on every reader's lips which are answered brilliantly in this book.

This story has a fantastically thrilling plot full of magical colour, tastes and the smells of India. It shimmers in the bright fabric of the mind's eye like a silky light dancing on the Indian forest. It connects the reader to nature and the natural beauty of India. All of which is in stark contrast to the drab and dangerous times of Georgian London! 

Set around the start of the first police force (founded by Robert Peel), the book is based on the history around this time. Thus providing an authentic feel as well an opportunity to introduce more famous people of that wonderful time. It certainly produces a fabulously engaging story that warms the heart of the reader. The riot of animals - both strange and mischievous - are all written in great detail and provide a whirling dervish of action and adventure. You will feel the ups and downs with heartfelt emotion as the book deals sensitively with themes of grief, friendship, and protecting our natural environment. All of which are important themes, especially at the moment.

There is everything to love about this book and nothing to dislike. Therefore, the only thing to do now is to put this on your future booklist and join the wild adventure to find out what happens to the Tigers and whether Sahira will ever find a place she can call home.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's & Young Adult Book Picks US - June 2020 - Post One

Alex Aster - Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island) - Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers (June 9, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1492697206 - Hardback - Age: 7+
A fast-paced series starter, perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and filled with adventure, mythology, and an unforgettable trio of friends.
On Emblem Island all are born knowing their fate. Their lifelines show the course of their life and an emblem dictates how they will spend it.
Twelve-year-old Tor Luna was born with a leadership emblem, just like his mother. But he hates his mark and is determined to choose a different path for himself. So, on the annual New Year's Eve celebration, where Emblemites throw their wishes into a bonfire in the hopes of having them granted, Tor wishes for a different power.
The next morning Tor wakes up to discover a new marking on his skin...the symbol of a curse that has shortened his lifeline, giving him only a week before an untimely death. There is only one way to break the curse, and it requires a trip to the notorious Night Witch.
With only his village's terrifying, ancient stories as a guide, and his two friends Engle and Melda by his side, Tor must travel across unpredictable Emblem Island, filled with wicked creatures he only knows through myths, in a race against his dwindling lifeline.
"Debut author Aster takes inspiration from Colombian folklore to craft a rousing series opener that's both fast-paced and thrilling. As her protagonists face off against a host of horrors, they learn the value of friendship and explore the possibility of changing one's fate in a world where destiny is predetermined.

Erin Bowman - The Girl and the Witch's Garden - Published by Simon & Schuster Books (June 23, 2020)  - ISBN-13: 978-1534461581 - Hardback - Age: 8+

The Secret Garden meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in this rich, charming middle-grade adventure about a girl determined to infiltrate her grandmother’s enchanted garden with the help of some magically gifted friends.
Mallory Estate is the last place twelve-year-old Piper Peavey wants to spend her summer vacation. The grounds are always cold, the garden out back is dead, a mysterious group of children call the property home, and there’s a rumor that Melena M. Mallory—the owner of the estate and Piper’s wealthy grandmother—is a witch.

But when Piper’s father falls ill, Mallory Estate is exactly where she finds herself.

The grand house and its garden hold many secrets—some of which may even save her father—and Piper will need to believe in herself, her new friends, and magic if she wants to unlock them before it’s too late.

J . C. Lucas - Sword of Light (The Four Keys) - Published by J.C. Lucas - Author (June 15, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1735076409 - Paperback - Age: 8+

"You must find the four Keys to keep our worlds from burning..."Andie didn't expect to be orphaned, and she doesn't want to leave the only house she ever lived in. No parents, no Nan, no one but Anne, a weird woman who carries on conversations with old books and empty purses.
When Anne drops her off at her new home in a small town in The Middle of Nowhere, Texas, Andie is at a loss. Her new guardian, Celeste, claims to have been a lifelong friend of her nan, and is one eccentric figure among many others who live in the small town, all of whom seem to know something that Andie doesn't...
One evening, when the woods behind Celeste's house spirit her away, Andie discovers a secret so incredible she can scarcely believe it: she's half-Fae, half-Witch, and it's her destiny to find the four Keys that will save the Tuatha De Danann from annihilation. 
Worlds collide when two of her new friends from school, the sweet, helpful Teagan and the rude bad boy Hunter, join her on her journey to reach the mysterious place known only as Finias. There; they'll find the first Key: the Sword of Light.
As they flee the wicked Fomorians and do battle with the Witch Freya, Andie and the boys forge new alliances and make some more adversaries. Will Andie and her friends rise to the challenge, or is the magical realm as good as gone already?

A . J. Hartley - Cathedrals of Glass: Valkrys Wakes - Published by To the Stars (June 23, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1943272365 - Hardback - Age: 11+ ( Foreword by Tom DeLonge )

Teenagers fight for survival on an icy planet in this dystopian science fiction thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Steeplejack.

Second in the Cathedrals of Glass series.

The struggle is far from over for the deviant passengers of the Phetteron

Since their ship crash-landed on frozen Valkrys, life for Sola and her companions has been harsh. The deserted, unknown planet has awakened troublesome psychic powers within them. Meanwhile, a malevolent parasite used their minds to turn them against one another. Then what they thought was a rescue team was actually a group of soldiers sent to eradicate them.

Months later, those who survived seem to have settled into a quiet routine. Instead of the protein bars and nutra drinks they once consumed back home, they now eat what small birds and furry animals they can catch. They’ve also traded server towers and chat rooms for the cobalt blue crystal underground caves and ancient cities that block out their psychic powers and allow them to disconnect from each other.

Sola, however, tires of this life and is desperate to leave this world behind. She believes the ancient crystal ruins hold the solution. What she discovers may help everyone escape Valkrys—if they can still trust each other. Otherwise, the icy planet may be their final resting place…

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Free Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown - Published by Cranachan

Island-based publisher Cranachan has launched a free, illustrated anthology of poems and stories for children aged 8-12. Stay at Home! Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown is a collection of 40 lockdown-themed contributions by writers based in Scotland. 

The new book, which is available for free and available on the Books from Scotland website and on Amazon, is described as “a book about lockdown– the good bits, the bad bits, and the ugly bits when nobody could get any toilet roll. It’s divided into three sections – Life in Lockdown, Everyday Superheroes, and the World Beyond Our Windows.” 

Stay at Home!, illustrated by Darren Gate, aims to help children reflect on their time in lockdown. There is something in the anthology for everyone, from the serious to the hilarious, with short stories, flash fiction, poems, letters and diaries (including some in Scots) all giving their take on lockdown life topics such as kitchen haircuts, birthdays, home-schooling, daily exercise, pets, nature, neighbours–and even toilet roll alternatives.

The collection is edited by debut novelist Joan Haig and comprises work written especially for the lockdown volume, from well-loved children’s authors and new writers including: 

Raisah Ahmed, Annemarie Allan, Dean Atta, Nayanika Basu, Pamela Butchart, Philip Caveney, Maisie Chan, Suleman Chebe, Alastair Chisholm, Justin Davies, Lari Don, Elizabeth Ezra, Matthew Fitt, Kerry L Fleming, Merryn Glover, Laura Guthrie, Joan Haig, Yasmin Hanif, Robert J Harris, Callum Heitler, Barbara Henderson, Diana Hendry, Emily Illet, Lindsay Littleson, Joseph Lamb, Elizabeth Laird, Joan Lennon, Caroline Logan, Janis Mackay, Alan McClure, Miranda Moore, Raman Mundair, Alex Nye, Rachel Plummer, Ross Sayers, Linda Strachan, Chae Strathie, and Victoria Williamson.

Explaining her motivation for creating the book, Haig says: “Originally, I had an idea at the start of Lockdown for a recipe book from children's stories and contacted a few authors then to gauge interest. It was pointed out that ingredients were short in the shops and I gave up thinking about it! But I still felt that there was an opportunity to do something incredibly positive through writing in the Covid crisis, to reach out to children, but also to bring together children's authors in Scotland.” 

The book’s publisher, Anne Glennie of Cranachan, added: “It is the job of writers to record and to make sense of this new world. We are living through an historical moment in time–and this collection does not shy away from that reality but explores it, and hopefully, helps children come to terms with it as they recognise themselves and their experiences in its pages.”

Stay at Home! Poems and Prose for Children in Lockdown launches on 28th May and is available to read for free here: and is free for download on Amazon.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

J. R. Wallis - The Book of Mysteries (Tales From the Badlands 3) Guest Post + Book Reading

Hello Everybody. We hope you are keeping well. Today, we are rather pleased to be celebrating the release of the third book in the Tales From the Badlands series by J. R. Wallis. This book is entitled The Book of Mysteries and will be published by Simon & Schuster Children's books on the 28th May 2020. 

We are doing a lovely virtual book tour to celebrate this fantastic slice of fiction heading into the real world for you lovely people to read. This is the second stop with the first one calling at Book Monsters yesterday. Follow the link HERE if you missed it. Whilst tomorrow’s reading will take place on Miss Clevland's fantastic BLOG so be sure to visit this for the next part in the story reading. 

We are particularly excited to announce a giveaway for a copy of The Book of Mysteries @enchantedbooks on twitter. Why not head over there now for your chance to win a fantastic copy? 

Finally, there is a really interesting guest post from the author about writing Endings below.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Philip Caveney - The Book of Secrets - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

It's always a real pleasure to read a new book by Philip Caveney. This is his latest offering, a thumping rip-roaring theatrical comedy that has been published by an independent publisher (UCLan Preston, England). The book was published in April 2020 and is another fantastic stand-alone Middle-Grade novel. It's very reminiscent of the author's previous epic book series SEBASTIAN DARKE which are all fantastic and very much worth seeking out if you're not familiar with them. 

The book starts with Boy riding across the desert with fantastic plans for the future. No sooner does he start his adventure when things begin to go badly wrong for him. Whilst on his way to the great city of Cherabim armed with the BOOK OF SECRETS, which contains his late father's brilliant inventions, he is cheated, robbed, and left for dead in the desert. One of the brilliant reasons I love reading books by Philip Caveney is that he always comes up with something different and exciting to read. He has a fantastic imagination and leads the reader to amazing places and unimaginable situations. 

As you follow BOY throughout this epic adventure you will encounter a brilliant group of eccentric travelling actors. Lexi, Pompio, and Grud (all fantastic characters) will charm you both on and off the stage.
The only problem is that their latest star is no longer part of the troop and they are looking for a new leading man - I wonder who might end up with this role? Events start to take on a medieval fantasy that is brilliantly captivating and highly addictive. The book is told with witty dialogue, funny banter and comical incidents that will leave you walking a tightrope of action on a stormy day.

Can Boy track down the all-important Book of Secrets? Can he lead the troop to theatrical success? These are all questions you will be asking yourself and ones that you will not be able to resist finding out the answer to. I can highly recommend that you raise the curtains and take the final bow in reading this magical escapade that has been written by one of the best authors around. It's full of surprises, mysteries, thrills, and more importantly tales of friendship with a hint of romance. Buy it and escape into a fantasy bubble for a few hours - leave these troubled times temporarily. With this book you'll find yourself clapping wholeheartedly for an encore.

If this review has not piqued your interest then why not read this one which has been written by a very harsh critic. Please follow me this WAY to find out even more. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Ewa Jozefkowicz - Girl 38: Finding a Friend - Book Review - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

One of the books I have read recently is the second book by Ewa Jozefkowicz entitled Girl 38: Finding a friend. It was actually published in March 2019 by Zephyr so I am a little bit behind with this one. Ewa's debut novel The Mystery of the Colour Thief was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Prize 2019. This second book builds on the same characteristics of her debut story, but with a little added extra superpower layered into the storyline. 

The first part of the story follows Kat, a 12-year-old girl, who loves working on her super-heroine in her Comic: Girl 38. Kat is lonely as her parents are busy working long hours and, at school, Gem is no longer her 'best friend'. This part of the plot draws out the narrative with a considerate and heartfelt approach.   

The second part of the story is told through the creation of Kat's inventive super-hero, a comic that she starts to write. It's a place that Kat loses herself in, an imaginary world that pulls into the contemporary thread fantastically. This helps to water down the tension, seriousness, and the dark situations that the characters face in the book. 

The final part of the storyline is also the most compelling. It is the real-life story told by Ania, Kat's lonely next-door neighbour. The story is set at the time of WWII in Poland retelling the encounters by Ania such as her daring leap to freedom, and her search for her lost friend, Mila. Unfortunately, she was taken away by soldiers to a 'walled village' at the outbreak of the war. This part explains the terrifying, darkest times and the emotions that Ania faced through her ordeal. It is told in snippets that all pull the story threads through a rollercoaster of events creating a magical performance. It really softens the heartstrings and makes it a joy to read. 

All the stories relate to unlikely friendships both new and old as well as overcoming fear in the darkest and bleakest of times. However, it also teaches us about courage, bravery, and superhero powers as Kat unravels the mystery of the girl in the painting. This is all done with an imaginative flair by a writer who understands how to keep a reader engrossed. It encompasses the darkness as well as showering the reader with light, love, and warmth told through great storytelling.

This is a fantastic thought-provoking read that will be loved by everybody regardless of age. It shows both human frailties and strengths in a blink of an eye. It is a fantastic adventure from start to finish - a book to savour and reflect upon. 

Monday, 18 May 2020

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Favourite Children's Publisher 2020 - Winners Post

Hello Everybody. We had a lockdown idea to find your favourite children's publisher by giving you the chance to vote from 24 different children's publishers. Overall, we had an amazing response with the contest receiving over two thousand votes. Over half of these were from the final where more than 1200 votes were cast. It has been really exciting to watch and follow over the last five weeks. The whole experience has been a real privilege and a pleasure to host.

I would like to thank everybody involved in this all the publishers, authors, and voters for sharing and supporting this little adventure. A story of Winners and no losers.  We have had fun and excitement at times like these it's great to see the love for our children's book community once again. We love you. 

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books would love to take this opportunity to Congratulate CRANACHAN PUBLISHING for winning the first-ever favourite Children's Publisher of the year 2020. You are the shining jewel in the Scottish Crown of publishing.  Thank you all once again and enjoy your day. 

Friday, 15 May 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's & Young Adult Book Picks US - May 2020

Celesta Rimington - The Elephant's Girl - Published by Crown Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0593121221 - Hardback - Age: 8+

An elephant never forgets, but Lexington Willow can't remember what happened before a tornado swept her away when she was a toddler. All she knows is that it landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo, and there an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her birth family, Lex grew up at the zoo with Nyah and her elephant family; her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.

Now that she's twelve, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephants. But during their first training session, Nyah sends her a telepathic image of the woods outside the zoo. Despite the wind's protests, Lex decides to investigate Nyah's message and gets wrapped up in an adventure involving ghosts, lost treasure, and a puzzle that might be the key to finding her family. As she hunts for answers, Lex must summon the courage to leave the secure borders of her zoo to discover who she really is--and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago.

Mari Mancusi - Dragon Ops - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 12, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1368040907 - Hardback - Age: 8+

One wrong move, and it's game over.
Welcome to DRAGON OPS, the world's first augmented-reality video-game theme park. Set on a once-deserted island, our three beta players-classic gamer geek Ian; his adventure-seeking sister, Lily; and their too-cool-for-gaming cousin, Derek-have been lucky enough to score an invite to play before the fully immersive experience opens to the public.

But once inside, they find themselves trapped in a game taken over by a rogue AI dragon called Atreus, and suddenly the stakes go beyond the virtual world. With no cheat codes, guidebooks, save points, or do-overs, they'll need all their cunning and video-game hacks to beat the game? and survive in real life.

Action-packed and unputdownable, Dragon Ops will thrill gamers and reluctant readers alike with high-tech adventure and electrifying twists and turns.

Peter Lerangis - Throwback: The Chaos Loop - Published by HarperCollins (May 5, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0062406415 - Hardback - Age: 7+

Peter Lerangis, the New York Times bestselling author of the Seven Wonders and Max Tilt series, returns with the second installment of his electrifying trilogy about a boy who discovers that he alone can alter the course of history.
Ever since Corey Fletcher found out that he’s the world’s first “throwback,” with the power to not only visit history but change it, he’s been spending as much time in the past as possible. Corey loves using his skills to fix problems and help his friends and family. But as Corey becomes more and more addicted to rewriting history, he learns that time travel might change him in ways he may never be able to reverse. 
Aware now that he can’t keep going into the past forever, Corey decides to use the trips he still has to change history in the most meaningful way he can imagine: by stopping Adolf Hitler. But when Corey travels back to World War II-era Germany, he quickly learns that the forces of history are strong and that it’s going to take a lot more than his good intentions to turn back the tides of evil—or even to survive them.  
Get ready for a time-warping adventure with a historical twist in the second book of the Throwback trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Peter Lerangis, whose books have sold over five and a half million copies worldwide.

Kevin Emerson - Lost in Space: Infinity's Edge (Lost in Space (2)) - Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 19, 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0316425971 - Hardback - Age: 8+

The second thrilling, original novel based on Netflix's smash hit Lost in Space! This all-new story focuses on twelve-year-old Will Robinson and his closest friend and greatest protector--a mysterious Robot with a dangerous past.

The Robinsons--Will, his two teenage sisters, and their parents--are members of a colonist group who had been traveling across the galaxy to establish a new home, only to have had their ship attached and stranded on an alien planet. Just when they had finally managed to get off-world, the Robinsons were thrown off course yet again and were sent drifting toward an unknown location.

Now, six months later, the Robinsons are stuck on an inhospitable water planet with no contact from their fellow colonists or from Will's beloved Robot. The twelve-year-old doesn't have any friends in his new home until he discovers a mysterious girl...from the future. Her name is Clare, and she desperately needs Will's help to save her family. Will is eager to bond with his new friend, but--little does he know--something sinister lurks just beneath her surface. Can Will find a way to help Clare while keeping his own family safe?

Monday, 11 May 2020

Philip Caveney - The Book of Secrets - Guest Book Review

This is an unlikely source for today's reading entertainment from the shady but real deal Danny Weston. This is his opportunity to sing the praises of Philip Caveney's latest shindig The Book of Secrets. Sorry, I've got that all wrong as Danny Weston said it was a pile of horse manure. In fact, he is quoted as saying 'He will never be as good as me, so get over it'. 

This review is the witness and testament from the Plague Doctor. Otherwise known as the skeleton of death with the oversized hooter from the world-renowned books the CROW BOY Trilogy. These books have been published by bad-ass Fledgling Press and can bought from their SITE.

So, are you ready to hear his thoughts about The Book of Secrets? Sure you are. Enjoy and stay safe in these crazy times. 

Greetings, fiction fans. Your friendly neighbourhood plague doctor here. Some of you (the lucky ones) may have read of my exploits in the Crow Boy trilogy, where I keep coming up against that pesky time-travelling intruder, Tom Afflick. Despite coming from the future and knowing nothing about life in the various eras in which we meet, he keeps getting the better of me. Curse him!

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that being a plague doctor is no bowl of cherries. In fact it’s sometimes quite depressing. So in those rare moments when I can find time to lose myself in a good book, I tend to seek out stories that are designed to lift my mood a little. You know the kind of thing - something that will make me smirk, chuckle and even (very occasionally) laugh out loud.

The other day, one of my patients, who clearly wasn’t going to be around long enough to finish reading it, handed a book to me, saying that since he was a bit short of cash, maybe I’d take it as part-payment for my services. I reluctantly agreed but in the end, I was glad I did!

It’s called The Book of Secrets and it’s set in this strange desert world where the climate is clearly a lot warmer than my home city of Edinburgh. It’s about this boy called er… Boy (to find out why, you’ll need to read the book) and he’s the possessor of an amazing invention, created by his late father, that can actually turn sand into water. I know, incredible, right?

Boy is on his way to the city of Ravalan, where he intends to enter the invention in a great competition that’s taking place there - but in the desert he meets up with a rascal called Gordimo, who steals the invention and leaves Boy for dead.
Now, before I go on, let me tell you that a part of me really identified with Gordimo. Yes, I appreciate he’s supposed to be the villain of the story, but as a bit of a villain myself, I really admired his cunning and evil trickery. Just saying!

Anyway, Boy is rescued by a troop of travelling players led by a fearless girl called Lexi. She’s part elvish and it’s clear from the word go that she and Boy have taken a bit of a shine to each other. Lexi’s theatre company is in dire need of a new leading actor and they ask Boy if he can help out. Since they’ve just saved his life, he can hardly say no, right?

And this is where the laughter starts because Boy is useless as an actor and accidentally turns the very serious play they’re performing into a slapstick comedy. Weirdly though, it’s a much bigger success because of this! There are lots of other characters. I particularly liked Pompio, who is a ‘boobo,’ a kind of ape-like creature who can talk and who spends most of his time making sarcastic comments about everyone he meets. (Reminded me of myself when I was younger and more care-free.) And there’s this big clumsy oaf called Grud who despite his size, is actually very gentle and child-like. I wanted to hate him, but somehow, he got to me. Grrr!

So, can Boy get to Ravalan before Gordimo does? Can he retrieve his wonderful invention and claim the (massive) prize money? And can he cope with being the new comedy hit on stages at every town the theatre troupe visits?

Well, as I said earlier, read the blessed book. 

Now it’s time for me to put on my bird mask and head off to do battle with that pesky Tom Afflick again. Honestly, who said that it was a quiet life being a plague doctor? 

I bid you good day and I hope you enjoy The Book of Secrets as much as I did.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Children's Books Published May 2020 - Twitter Round Up Post - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books

Hello Everybody, I hope you are all safe and well. I thought we would do a post to help support authors, illustrators, publishers, and hardworking bookshops who are currently facing extraordinary times. With everybody turning to social media and online sites to promote their books or businesses, it can be a whirlwind of noise. At times like this, some books may go unseen by people (including me!) which is the inspiration for this post. A recent @Enchantedbooks tweet post as highlighted some of the fantastic books that are weathering the fantasy storm this month (May 2020). 

We've put a collection of the books from this tweet that covers a diverse range of books for children which can be loved by adults, especially the ones I have missed mentioning previously.  We will also try and put in Independent books sellers links with each selection which might help small or independent businesses at a time like this.  We have a graphic novel, picture book, and an assortment of books that we thought you might be interested in reading and buying. I would like to thank you all who responded on twitter it was fantastic to hear from.  I'm also happy to put other book shop links if any of you come forward. I did best to put them all on here and it might be a feature we will do regularly again. Stay safe and well and happy reading. 

Metaphrog - Bluebeard - Published by Papercutz (19 May 2020) - Graphic Novel Hardback - Age: 8+ Buy Here From Page 45
The award-winning duo, Metaphrog, transform the classic folktale into a feminist fairy tale, about the blossoming of a young child to womanhood striving for independence. Eve spends an idyllic childhood of long summer days with her sweetheart Tom, and together they dream of exploring the world. But that dream is soon shattered as she comes of age. The mysterious Bluebeard is looking for a new bride and has his sights set on Eve, and rumor has it that his former wives have all disappeared. What will Eve find in the castle beyond the enchanted forest? A forbidden chamber, a golden key, and the most terrifying secret take on a new life in this gothic graphic novel.

Tim Allman (Author), Nick Shepherd (Illustrator) - Max Takes a Stand - Published by OUP Oxford (7 May 2020) - Paperback - Age: 7+ Buy From Blackwells Here

This fun, anarchic series revolves around a boy called Max and his mission to make the world a better place. In each book in the series, Max tries to save the planet through positive direct action, with hilarious results but real heart too. Unfortunately, not everyone reacts so positively to Max's methods-but nothing can dampen his passion!

Josh Lacey (Author), Beatriz Castro (Illustrator) - Hope Jones Saves the World - Published by Andersen Press (7 May 2020) - Paperback - Age: 8+  Buy Here From Hive (Read Extract Here)
My name is Hope Jones. I am ten years old. I am going to save the world. 
Hope Jones New Year s resolution is to give up plastic, and she s inspiring others to do the same with her website When she realises her local supermarket seems to stock more unnecessary plastic than food, she makes it her mission to do something about it. She may be just one ten-year-old with a homemade banner, but with enough determination, maybe Hope Jones really can save the world.

Angela Woolfe - Roxy & Jones: The Great Fairytale Cover-Up - Published by Walker Books (7 May 2020) - Paperback - Age: 8+ Buy Here From Waterstones

A hilarious modern fairy-tale mash-up set in a world in which witches are real, magic is real and fairy tales are not only real ... but recent history.
Once Upon a Modern Time, in the city of Rexopolis, in the Kingdom of Illustria, lived twelve-year-old Roxy Humperdinck, half-sister to Hansel and Gretel (yes, THE Hansel and Gretel, not that she knows it). Enter Cinderella ("Call me Jones") Jones, who most definitely does NOT want to marry ghastly Prince Charming and is far too busy hunting for lost relics of the Cursed Kingdom. But now she needs Roxy's help. And Roxy's about to discover the truth about her world and her family: that witches are real, magic is real and fairy tales are not only real ... but recent history.

Sylvia Hehir - Deleted - Published by Garmoran Publishing (28 May 2020)  - Paperback - Age: 12+ - Check Out The Publisher Here
How much worse can Dee's life get? Having already suffered a traumatic break up with her boyfriend, her best friend is now warning her off the handsome new boy in the village. So what if his dad is a traveller? And that's without all the problems she's having with her mobile phone. A young adult romance with a hint of mystery.

Julia Rawlinson (Author), Tiphanie Beeke (Illustrator) - Fletcher and the Summer Show Published by Graffeg Limited (10 May 2020) -  Hardback Picture Book - Buy Here From Publisher

Combining emotive, lyrical storytelling with an engagement with nature, the adventures of Fletcher coincide with the characteristics of the four seasons, inspired directly by author Julia Rawlinson's experiences with her own children and their inquisitiveness about nature.
The character and book series have been widely used in educational settings as a springboard for exploration of language, illustration, storytelling, friendship and the natural world.
As summer begins, the wood comes alive with new sounds, but without a distinctive one of her own to join in with, Rabbit feels left out. With the help of his friends, Fletcher decides to put on a show where everyone's talents can shine. The second of four Fletcher titles themed around the passing seasons.