Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Carlie Sorosiak - My Life as a Cat - (Nosy Crow) Book Review

 

This is a late book review for My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak as it was published in September 2020 by Nosy Crow. When I received this book through the post, I made a quick and snappy judgment not to read it. However, reflecting on my decision a few months later, I decided to have another look at it and give the book a chance. I started reading and felt it was quite slow going for me. However, the more I read, the more my own world started to slow down. In fact, the WORLD STOPPED as I became fully immersed in the characters; and what characters they are. Amazingly written, they lifted off the pages with such magical colour. I was absolutely hooked and loving this book so unexpectedly - that makes me really smile and feel delighted.

Let me introduce you to Leonard who has never had a name ... or a body. Or in fact a best friend but he is excited to try being a human. However, unfortunately, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. On their three-hundredth birthday, every alien from Leonard's home galaxy gets to spend a month in the body of an Earth Creature. Leonard was supposed to become a Forest Ranger in Yellowstone National Park but there was a mix-up and now he finds himself stuck as a stray cat. What is he going to do?

At the start of the plot, he is rescued in a storm by a young girl called Olive. The journey they both go on is beautiful and so heartfelt - it really is wonderful to read. Olive is brilliantly portrayed in a wise and thoughtful way which makes this narrative very, very special. She has the biggest heart and is loyal, loving, and might be seen very differently as she is judged by other people. The concept is brilliant and depicts an amazing and poignant friendship which is both moving and eye-opening at the same time. 

The storyline shows us the simplest of things like enjoying the sunset, sunrises, the beauty in the natural landscape, and spending precious time with family and friends. For me, I can certainly relate to that as this year has not been a great year for me and many others. However, one of my particular highlights was seeing the Cinnabar Moth and the rare Tansy Beetle for the first time. It was really amazing and helped to pull me through a tough patch - just like the characters in this book. There are some hilarious moments that cut through the seriousness of some of the topics. However, the brilliant ending is really up-lifting just like a good old movie. I give five huge paw prints for this book so please give it a chance and settle down to read it. 

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Book Cover Wars + Voters Competition - Round 4 2020/2021

 

Before we close the doors for the last time on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books, we like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the support you have shown us in the last twelve years or so. It has been a hard and very sad decision to make as it has been a fantastic journey and one that I've enjoyed very much. However, we would like to do one more fantasy tango with Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars. It's been a highlight for many years so let us go out with a BANG or maybe just a fizz! 

We are looking to find your favourite book cover ONCE again for 2020/2021. We do this to support the creative heroes of the children's book world; the illustrators and the creative teams behind all the books we love. So, please share this exciting adventure with your friends and followers on social media #bookcoverwars. Everyone is welcome so come and vote and share the FUN. 

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover War Rules: There will be five weekly heats (Two after this one)  with five book covers to vote for. All heat winners will make the grand final plus one more book cover (Wild Card Entry) with the highest amount votes will go through from any of the heats.

As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a prize each week. This week's prize is a £10 National Book Token (the UK only). Please leave a comment to show your interest. Good luck and let's all have some fun. 
  • Round One Winner: Elle McNicoll - A Kind of Spark Illustrated by Kay Wilson - Published by Knights Of (4th June 2020)
  • Round Two Winner: Nizrana Farook - The Boy Who Met a Whale - Illustrated by David Dean - Published by Nosy Crow (14th Jan 2021)
  • Round Three: K. L. Kettle - The Boy I Am - Illustrated by Thomas Truong - Published by Stripes Publishing (7TH Jan 2021)
If you are interested then all you need to do is:
  • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll - HERE  (or at the bottom of the post)
  • Leave a comment through this post or poll - HERE (or at the bottom of the post)
  • Have fun, share, and tell the world or just a friend. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram and watch the voting develop, and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). 
  • This poll will end on 9. 12. 2020 at Midnight UK time. 
So here are the FIVE brilliant book covers to vote for this week:


BOOK ONE: Hannah Gold - The Last Bear - Illustrated by Levi Pinfold - Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books (18 Feb. 2021) - VOTE HERE


BOOK TWO: Tamzin Merchant - The Hatmakers - Illustrated by Paola Escobar - Published by Puffin (18. Feb 2021) - VOTE HERE


BOOK THREE: Sophie Kirtley - The Wild Way Home - Illustrated by Ben Mantle  -Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books (1 July 2020) - VOTE HERE


BOOK FOUR: Saviour Pirotta - The Mysterious Island (Wolfsong) - Illustrated by Davide Ortu - Published by Maverick Arts Publishing (28 Jan. 2021) - VOTE HERE



BOOK FIVE: Annemarie Allan - Breaker - Illustrated by Annie Glennie -  Published by Pokey Hat  (8 April 2020) - VOTE HERE 



Sunday, 29 November 2020

Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Top Book Picks - Jan 2021

 

Lauren St John - Kate Wolfe on Thin Ice (Wolfe & Lamb) - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (7 Jan. 2021) - ISBN-13: 978-1509874279 - Paperback - Age: 9+

    Join Kat Wolfe and her best friend Harper Lamb on the winter holiday of a lifetime in Kat Wolfe on Thin Ice – full of mystery, intrigue, snow and huskies!

    Kat and Harper can’t wait to join their parents on a winter vacation in a mountain cabin in the US. But a series of misadventures result in them being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Alone. 
    When Kat discovers that an argument she witnessed in New York City holds the key to a major crime, she's certain that it’s only a matter of time until the culprits come looking for her. 
    With a snow storm moving in and no way out, all that stands between the girls and disaster are a team of eight huskies and one impossible raccoon.

    Amy Sparkes - The House at the Edge of Magic - Published by Walker Books (7 Jan. 2021) - ISBN-13 : 978-1406395310 - Paperback - Age: 7+
    "Sometimes you are a whisper away from magic without even realizing it."
    Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped ornament from a mysterious woman’s purse, she knocks on its tiny door and watches it grow into a huge, higgledy-piggeldy house. Inside she finds a host of magical and brilliantly funny characters, including Flabberghast – a young wizard who’s particularly competitive at hopscotch – and a hideous troll housekeeper who’s emotionally attached to his feather duster. They have been placed under an extraordinary spell, which they are desperate for Nine to break – and if she can, maybe they can offer her a new life in return…

     

    Louie Stowell (Author), Davide Ortu (Illustrator) - The Wizard in the Wood (The Dragon in the Library) - Published by Nosy Crow Ltd (14 Jan. 2021) - ISBN-13 : 978-1788006323 - Paperback Age: 7+


    Kit, Josh and Alita are heading back to school - and they're excited to discover that they're getting a brand new library, which also means getting their own wizard librarian... and a dragon! But when something VERY BAD happens at the new library, it's up to Kit and her friends to save the world one more time. The third instalment in the funny, exciting, magical, and action-packed Dragon in the Library series, brilliantly illustrated throughout by Davide Ortu. Have you read the other books in the series? Look out for: The Dragon in the Library The Monster in the Lake. 

    Ross Welford - When We Got Lost in Dreamland - Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books (21 Jan. 2021) - ISBN-13 : 978-0008447182 - Age: 8+ - Hardback 

    The landmark new novel from Ross Welford, one of the fastest-growing and most critically acclaimed middle-grade authors in the UK, this funny, moving and brilliant sixth book cements his position as the most exciting storyteller around for readers of 10+.

    When 12-year-old Malky and his younger brother Seb become the owners of a “Dreaminator”, they are thrust into worlds beyond their wildest imagination.
     
    From tree-top flights and Spanish galleons, to thrilling battles and sporting greatness – it seems like nothing is out of reach when you can share a dream with someone else.
     
    But… impossible dreams come with incredible risks, and when Seb won’t wake up and is taken to hospital in a coma, Malky is forced to leave reality behind and undertake a final, terrifying journey to the stone-age to wake his brother…

    Wednesday, 25 November 2020

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Book Cover Wars + Voters Competition - Round THREE 2020/2021

    Before we close the doors for the last time on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books, we like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the support you have shown us in the last twelve years or so. It has been a hard and very sad decision to make as it has been a fantastic journey and one that I've enjoyed very much. However, we would like to do one more fantasy tango with Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars. It's been a highlight for many years so let us go out with a BANG or maybe just a fizz! 

    We are looking to find your favourite book cover ONCE again for 2020/2021. We do this to support the creative heroes of the children's book world; the illustrators and the creative teams behind all the books we love. So, please share this exciting adventure with your friends and followers on social media #bookcoverwars. Everyone is welcome so come and vote and share the FUN. 

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover War Rules: There will be five weekly heats (Two after this one)  with five book covers to vote for. All heat winners will make the grand final plus one more book cover (Wild Card Entry) with the highest amount votes will go through from any of the heats.

    As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a prize each week. This week's prize is a £10 National Book Token (the UK only). Please leave a comment to show your interest. Good luck and let's all have some fun. 
    • Round One Winner: Elle McNicoll - A Kind of Spark Illustrated by Kay Wilson - Published by Knights Of (4th June 2020)
    • Round Two Winner: Nizrana Farook - The Boy Who Met a Whale - Illustrated by David Dean - Published by Nosy Crow (14th Jan 2021)
    If you are interested then all you need to do is:
    • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll - HERE  (or at the bottom of the post)
    • Leave a comment through this post or poll - HERE (or at the bottom of the post)
    • Have fun, share, and tell the world or just a friend. Tweet, Facebook, Instagram and watch the voting develop, and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). 
    • This poll will end on 1. 12. 2020 at Midnight UK time. 
    So here are the FIVE brilliant book covers to vote for this week:

    BOOK ONE: Katya Balen - October, October - Illustrated by Angela Harding - Published by 
    Bloomsbury Children's Books (17 Sept. 2020) - VOTE HERE


    BOOK TWO: K. L. Kettle  - The Boy I Am - Illustrated by Thomas Truong - Published by 
    Stripes Publishing (7 Jan. 2021) - VOTE HERE 


    BOOK THREE: Lindsay Galvin - Darwin's Dragons - Illustrated by Gordy Wright - Published by 
    Chicken House (7 Jan. 2021) - VOTE HERE


    BOOK FOUR: 
    M. G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman - Murder on the Safari Star - Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli - Published by Macmillan Children's Books (4 Feb. 2021) - VOTE HERE 


    BOOK FIVE: Jack Meggitt-Philips - 
    The Beast and the Bethany - Illustrated by Isabelle Follath - Published by Egmont (1 Oct. 2020) - VOTE HERE

    HAPPY VOTING! #Bookcoverwars 


    Tuesday, 24 November 2020

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Eve McDonnell - Elsetime - Book Review ( Everything with Words)



    This is the debut book from the Irish writer Eve McDonnell. ELSETIME was published in September 2020 by the fantastic independent publisher Everything With Words. It has been inspired by a real-life tragic event: The Great Flood of London in 1928. It's a brilliantly breathtaking story full of unique charm and fantastic characters. Each feels different on paper as they float through the fantasy brain leaving an ever-lasting memory of a dream-like quality. 

    One of the main characters in the book is a young twelve-year-old orphan girl called Glory. She works in the fantastically named The Frippery and Fandangle Emporium creating jewellery in 1928. Glory is a character that will stay with you as she is not your normal archetype and is written brilliantly. The other character, Needle - a mudlark boy from 1864 - has an amazing talent as he can read the history and the story of an object just by holding it in the palm of his hand. However, when his father disappears, a journey begins that will have you soaring from great heights in a tale combining historical events. Both character's lives intertwine on this special journey involving time travel in a mission to save fourteen lives.  

    The story has a wonderful classic feeling that will have you gripped throughout each page as you follow a real action-packed adventure. This is partly due to the small illustrated images that have been produced by HOLLY OVEDEN; just like the book cover they are captivating and attract the reader's attention. I really loved the different poses of the crow on the inside of the cover. The story also encapsulates the wicked element of another major character (Mrs Quick) that keeps you transfixed providing an edgy and nasty side. It is definitely thought-provoking and instills an empathic feeling into the story. 

    Can the children and their pet crow (Magpie) who influences their paths change the future and save the folk of Inthington? Well, you will have to pick up a copy and find out. I would heartily recommend reading this book as it's very imaginative with a quirky plotline and excellent description full of historical references. It's compelling, full of magical realism and has heartfelt characters that stand up to bullying. The setting feels like a fairytale but with an explosive ending that will leave you fully satisfied. So strap yourself in for the most brilliant (non-mainstream) adventure you are likely to have this year. 

    Tuesday, 17 November 2020

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Book Cover Wars + Voters Competition - Round TWO 2020/2021

     Before we close the doors for the last time on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books, we like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the support you have shown us in the last twelve years or so. It has been a hard and very sad decision to make as it has been a fantastic journey and one that I've enjoyed very much. However, we would like to do one more fantasy tango with Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars. It's been a highlight for many years so let us go out with a BANG or maybe just a fizz! 

    We are looking to find your favourite book cover ONCE again for 2020/2021. We do this to support the creative heroes of the children's book world; the illustrators and the creative teams behind all the books we love. So, please share this exciting adventure with your friends and followers on social media #bookcoverwars. Everyone is welcome so come and vote and share the fun. 

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover War Rules:There will be five weekly heats with five book covers to vote for. All heat winners will make the grand final plus one more book cover (Wild Card Entry) with the highest amount votes will go through from any of the heats.

    As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a prize each week. This week's prize is a £10 National Book Token (the UK only). Please leave a comment to show your interest. Good luck and let's all have some fun. 

    Congratulations: Round One Winner: Elle McNicoll - A Kind of Spark - Illustrated by Kay Wilson - Published by Knights Of (4th June 2020)

    If you are interested then all you need to do is:
    • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll - HERE  (or at the bottom of the post)
    • Leave a comment through this post or poll - HERE (or at the bottom of the post)
    • Have fun, share, and tell the world. Tweet, Facebook and watch the voting develop, and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). 
    • This poll will end on 23.11.2020 at Midnight UK time. 
    So here are the FIVE brilliant book covers to vote for this week:


    BOOK ONE: Phil Hickes - The Haunting of Aveline Jones - Published by 
    Usborne Publishing Ltd (17 Sept. 2020) - Illustrated by Keith Robinson - VOTE HERE


    BOOK TWO: Nizrana Farook - The Boy Who Met a Whale - Published by 
    Nosy Crow Ltd (14 Jan. 2021) - Illustrated by David Dean - VOTE HERE


    BOOK THREE: Dan Smith - The Invasion of Crooked Oak - Published by 
    Barrington Stoke (3 Sept. 2020) - Illustrated by Chris King - VOTE HERE



    BOOK FOUR: Eve McDonnell - Elsetime - Published by 
    Everything with Words (17 Sept. 2020) - Illustrated by Holly Ovenden - VOTE HERE


    BOOK FIVE: P.G. Bell - Delivery to the Lost City (The Train to Impossible Places) - Published by 
    Usborne Publishing Ltd (7 Jan. 2021) - Illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino - VOTE HERE


    Monday, 16 November 2020

    Catherine Bruton - Another Twist in the Tale - (Nosy Crow) - Book Review (Mr.Ripley's Enchanted Books)

    I've always enjoyed the ability to pick up a book and read it from cover to cover. However, like many others, I've really struggled of late to keep my focus and concentrate. Fortunately, this book has been a turning point as I have really enjoyed it. Another Twist in the Tale is the second book by Catherine Bruton and was published by Nosy Crow (5th November 2020). The story takes us back to Victorian London as we gatecrash a world created by the great man and author Charles Dickens. You've heard the tale of Master Oliver Twist, but have you heard the tale about Twill Twist?

    Well walk this way, my fellow reader, and watch your step on the slippery, cobbled streets rife with pickpockets, gangs, and cutthroat thieves. It's time to discover the mysterious tale of TWILL TWIST who was separated at birth and discarded on a rubbish heap. Here the imagination begins as we set off on a thrilling journey that will entertain the socks off a spider and send you spinning into a Victorian frenzy full of mayhem and mishaps. 

    This is an action-packed adventure full of life where characters gamble the odds and undertake daring rescues. The book is very well executed and delivers the time period rather well; the plot is compact and full of intrigue and suspense. Weaving through the thick smog with the child catchers chasing you will leave you with an uneasy feeling in your bones. It is a perfect introduction to the young and old as we visit some very familiar Dicken's characters such as Jack Dawkins (better known as the ARTFUL DODGER) and Fagin (a miser and cheat who would swindle his own mum out of the clothes on her own back). 

    I loved every minute of this book; it's a magical walk into fantasy and beyond. It really depicts Victorian hardship through the feminist characters all of whom you will be cheering on and hoping for the best. The world is depicted full of dark promises and nefarious deeds that you will enjoy from the very first page to the last. The ending is brilliant and leaves a hint of another adventure yet to come. There's plenty to reflect on as you pop on the kettle, crack open the Jammy Dodgers, and ask for more. MORE?! Absolutely! 

    Teaching Resources

    They have also produced some Activity packs which we hope you will enjoy – they can be downloaded here as PDFs.  There is a teaching pack, some activity sheets, and some stylish bookmarks!

    Sunday, 8 November 2020

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books - Lockdown Book Cover Wars - Round One 2020/2021

    Before we close the doors for the last time on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books, we like to take the opportunity to thank you all for the support you have shown us in the last twelve years or so. It has been a hard and very sad decision to make as it has been a fantastic journey and one that I've enjoyed very much. However, we would like to do one more fantasy tango with Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover Wars. It's been a highlight for many years so let us go out with a BANG or maybe just a fizz! 

    We are looking to find your favourite book cover ONCE again for 2020/2021. We do this to support the creative heroes of the children's book world; the illustrators and the creative teams behind all the books we love. So, please share this exciting adventure with your friends and followers on social media #bookcoverwars. Everyone is welcome so come and vote and share the fun. 

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Book Cover War Rules:
    There will be five weekly heats with five book covers to vote for. All heat winners will make the grand final plus one more book cover (Wild Card Entry) with the highest amount votes will go through from any of the heats.


    As a voter, not only will you get the chance to choose your favourite book cover, but you will also be in with the chance to win a prize each week. This week's prize is a £10 National Book Token (the UK only). Please leave a comment to show your interest. Good luck and let's all have some fun. 

    If you are interested then all you need to do is:
    • Vote for your favourite book cover using the poll - HERE 
    • Leave a comment through this post or poll - HERE
    • Have fun, watch the voting develop, and wait to hear whether you've won (once the poll has closed). 
    • This poll will end on 15.11.2020 at Midnight UK time. 
    So here are the FIVE brilliant book covers to vote for this week:

    BOOK ONE: Christopher Edge - Space Oddity - Published by Chicken House (7 Jan. 2021) - Illustrated by Ben Mantle/Steve Wells. VOTE HERE


    BOOK TWO: Philip Caveney - The Sins of Allie Lawrence - Published by Fledgling Press (30 Nov. 2020) -  Illustrated by Yvonne Gilbert - VOTE HERE


    BOOK THREE: Jaclyn Moriarty -  The Slightly Alarming Tale of The Whispering Wars - Published by Guppy Books (1 Oct. 2020) - Illustrated by Karl James Mountford - VOTE HERE


    BOOK FOUR: Hana Tooke - The Unadoptables - Published by Puffin (23 Jul. 2020) - Illustrated by Ayesha L. Rubio - VOTE HERE


    BOOK FIVE: Elle McNicoll - A Kind of Spark - Published by Knights Of ( 4 Jun 2020) - Illustrated by Kay Wilson - VOTE HERE

    HAPPY VOTING ALL! 

    Monday, 6 July 2020

    Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books: Children's Book Picks - July 2020

    Sophie Kirtley - The Wild Way Home - Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books - (1 July 2020) - ISBN-10: 1526616289 - Paperback - Age: 9+ (Book Review Here)

    When Charlie's longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie's world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive. But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It's become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day. Or is there?
    What follows is a wild, big-hearted adventure as Charlie and the Stone Age boy set out together to find what they have lost - their courage, their hope, their family and their way home.
    Fans of Piers Torday and Stig of the Dump will love this wild, wise and heartfelt debut adventure.



    Alex English (Author), Mark Chambers (Illustrator) - Sky Pirates: Echo Quickthorn and the Great Beyond - Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK (23 July 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1471190773 - Paperback - Age: 8+

    Take to the skies in this thrilling new series from author Alex English. (BEWARE: THERE WILL BE PIRATES!)
     
    11-year-old Echo Quickthorn has grown up believing that nothing exists outside the Kingdom of Lockfort, but everything changes when an eccentric professor parks his airship outside her window armed with a map that shows all the magical places that exist beyond the city walls. 

    Together with her pet lizard, Gilbert, Echo sets off on an incredible adventure to find her missing mother; an adventure that will take her to unimaginable places filled with giant butterflies, mechanical dragons and . . . sky pirates!


    Maria Kuzniar - The Ship of Shadows - Published by Penguin (16 July 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-0241372913 - Paperback - Age: 8+

    Aleja is a dreamer who longs for a life of magic and adventure. So when a mysterious ship arrives in her Spanish harbour city, crewed by a band of ruthless women, Aleja knows it's sailed right out of a legend.
    And it wants her.

    But life aboard the Ship of Shadows is more than even she bargained for. It will take all of Aleja's strength and skill to gain the trust of her fellow pirates - and discover what they are risking everything to find . . .
    Maria Kuzniar spent six years living in Spain, teaching English and travelling the world, which inspired her debut novel The Ship of Shadows. Now she lives in Nottingham with her husband, where she reads and writes as much as she can and bookstagrams. She is always planning her next adventure.

    Gabrielle Kent (Author), Rex Crowle (Illustrator) - Knights and Bikes 3 - Published by Knights Of (2 July 2020) - ISBN-13: 978-1913311049 - Paperback - Age: 8

    A new mystery has rolled onto Penfurzy island and the Rebel Bicycle Club are ready to investigate! Nessa, Demelza and Captain Honkers set-off to explore a travelling fun-fair when things begin to get strange. With new friends and a new legend to uncover, the bestfriends do what they do best: SAVE THE DAY FROM A FATE WORSE THAN HOMEWORK. A mysterious adventure with twists, turns and gross-out caravan invaders guaranteed to make you laugh!