blog tour, Book reviews, Science fiction, Steampunk, YA fiction

The Mechanical Maestro by Emily Owen – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Immerse yourself in the world of three brilliant siblings and their musical automaton, Maestro.

London, 1857.

Brothers George and Douglas Abernathy are clockmakers who are barely scraping a living in their family’s shop. They are also brilliant inventors with a sideline building custom- built androids and other technology ahead of its time. Their sixteen-year-old sister, Molly, is also a genius, specialising in transformative plant biology, but earns her keep by sewing.

The Abernathys’ fortunes improve dramatically when the brothers invent a clockwork automaton composer named Maestro, whose musical artistry takes London by storm. But there are those who believe Maestro is a fake, and others who think him a monstrosity.

As Maestro tries to make sense of the world of London’s high- society which he is thrown into, he incites the interest of sinister figures who would go to any lengths to discover what makes him tick.

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MY REVIEW 

Set in Victorian London, The Mechanical Maestro is a mix of historical fiction and steampunk with lots of music too. It’s the tale of the Abernathy family and their wondrous inventions. It’s aimed at young adults, but I feel there is something for any age to enjoy.

The Abernathy’s, George, Douglas and Molly are inventors.

The brothers work in the clockmaker shop, but they spend a lot of time creating mechanical marvels, such as a clockwork mouse and a chess playing automaton with mixed results. But when challenged to create an automata that can play and create its own music they rise to the challenge and the mechanical maestro comes into being. His incredible music touches the soul.

Meanwhile Molly is working on her botanical inventions which are just as amazing.

A wealthy Lord takes ownership of Maestro, and begins to show him off to London, some believe him to be a trick, others believe he is an abomination….

I love this tale, from the beautiful descriptions of the Victorian world, the vast differences between the wealthy and the poor is clear, to seeing the world through Maestro’s eyes, the beauty in simple things and the sounds around him is a reminder of what we take for granted sometimes. Like seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

I can’t wait to see what the Abernathy family creates next….I’ll be watching for the next book in this series, that’s for sure. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Since completing her Masters by Research, Emily Owen has worked as an Archives Assistant at the University of Huddersfield. She lives in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. http://www.e-owen.uk

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Book reviews, Fantasy, YA fiction

Harbinger by Olga Gibbs – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

“I am Uriel: The Harbinger of Chaos, The Keeper of the Gates, The Begetter of Life, The Dam of The Ends, and I’m coming to take what is mine!”

The clash with Baza and his angels had demonstrated to Ariel that Earth (Apkallu) is not the safe heaven she hoped it would be, and it is only a matter of time before she is hunted and dead.

The only way to survive is to accept her destiny and to fight back.

But upon her return to Uras, Ariel is rejected in her own domain and has to suppress the revolt against her reign. The angels refuse her and her lead, abandoning her and Uras in favour of another ruler.

She knows that without an army of followers she won’t stand a chance against Baza or Mik’hael, so now she needs to go into the most unexpected places to find it.

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MY REVIEW 

#3 in the Celestial Creatures series and yes it can be read as a stand-alone but you will miss out on a great YA fantasy series.

Ariel is back and looking after her sister, Jess. All the while she is getting ready for a battle with the evil angels.

Rafe is by her side as always, but they bicker and Ariel doesn’t always list to the advice she is given.

They end up in terrible trouble, but can the feisty, determined and stubborn Ariel be able to get everyone to safety or are they destined to remain in Hell?

Wow, the world building by Olga Gibbs is phenomenal, it feels so real. With some great characters, new and old to get acquainted with and a twisty plot really has you hooked from start to finish.

Thank you to Melanie at Fraser’s Fun House for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and an eARC of Harbinger. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Harbinger purchase link: https://books2read.com/u/bx8n1l

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Olga Gibbs lives in a leafy-green town, nestled amongst the green fields of West Sussex, England. She lives with her husband and their two daughters.

She was writing from the age of fifteen, mainly short stories and novellas and was a guest columnist for a local newspaper. When she is not dreaming up new adventures for her imaginary friends, she does outreach work with teenagers.

The “Celestial creatures” series is now complete!

Please visit author website http://www.OlgaGibbs.com for more information on upcoming books.

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Book reviews, Supernatural, YA fiction

Catalyst by Tracy Richardson – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Dallas, TX – There is more to this world than meets the eye in science fiction author Tracy Richardson’s newest installment in her young adult series, Catalyst (releasing on June 2, 2020 from Brown BooksPublishing Group). 

The story features returning characters from the series’ first book, The Field, but centers on Marcie, who has a sixth sense. She feels a sort of knowing about certain things that can’t be explained – an intuition that extends beyond normalcy.

This summer, Marcie is spending time working at Angel Mounds, the archeological dig her mother heads, along with her brother, Eric, and his girlfriend, Renee. The dig is the site of an ancient indigenous civilization, and things immediately shift into the paranormal when Marcie and her teammates meet Lorraine and Zeke. The two mysterious dig assistants reveal their abilities to access the Universal Energy Field with their minds – something Marcie knows, only vaguely, that her brother has also had experience with. Marcie learns how our planet will disintegrate if action is not taken. She and her team must decide if they are brave enough to help Lorraine and Zeke in their plan to save Mother Earth, her resources, and her history. It looks like the summer just got a lot more interesting.

“[Catalyst is] based in present-time Earth dealing with the real issues we face while also exploring the possibilities of what and who might be out ‘there’ and what our relationship with them can be,” said Richardson. “It also explores our evolution as a species.”

Inspired by a desire to protect and sustain the planet, Richardson wrote Catalyst not only to entertain readers but to encourage them to think. “We can make the world a better place,” Richardson also said. “We don’t have to go with the status quo. Each and every one of us can be a catalyst for positive change.”

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MY REVIEW 

Catalyst is a difficult book to categorise, yes it’s YA, and it deals with environmental issues such as fracking, and the deeper meaning of human consciousness. Is there more to this world than that we see?. It’s also about relationships between the characters and how they interact.

It has science, archaeology, telepathy and spirituality in a complex mix. The thought provoking plot makes this a intriguing and interesting read.

Thank you to The Write Reads for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a ecopy of Catalyst. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

TRACY RICHARDSON wasn’t always a writer, but she was always a reader. Her favorite book growing up was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. In a weird way that book has even shaped her life through odd synchronicities. She has a degree in biology like Mrs. Murry, and, without realising it, she named her children Alex and Katie after Meg’s parents.

 

Tracy uses her science background in her writing through her emphasis on environmental issues, metaphysics, and science fiction. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her doing any number of creative activities — painting furniture, knitting sweaters, or cooking something. She lives in Indianapolis, and, in case you’re wondering, yes, she’s been to the Indianapolis 500. 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, YA fiction

The Book Of Koli by M.R Carey – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is — what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

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MY REVIEW

Young Koli has grown up in Mythen Rood in Ingland. It’s not an easy life, summers are hot, winters are cold and the trees want to kill you…..so does the wildlife and the shunned men.

Some people are born able to control the ancient tech that keeps the society going…these are the Ramparts, but Koli finds out a secret and an adventure begins.

I loved the world building,  the fantastic creatures and the moving trees…although the Choker tree seeds that burrow into flesh and sprout are a thing of nightmares…I have to admit to struggling at first with Koli’s manner of speaking…..written like a 5 years olds grammar……but once I got used to it I found it charming and fit Koli’s character.

Well written, great characters and with a clever plot all make this a thoroughly engaging read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, YA fiction

Cynetic Wolf by Matt Ward – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

It’s 2096, sixty years after ninety percent died from a man-made Bioplague. Humanity has splintered into four unequal subspecies: immortals, cyborgs, enhancers, and subservient half-human, half-animal hybrids. 

The world is anything but equal. Hybrids everywhere are suffering, but sixteen-year-old Raek Mekorian, a wolfish with a nose for trouble, doesn’t see an alternative. Except the Resistance, who don’t stand a chance against the world government. His mom always said, “Keep your head down.”

And he does, until his sister is murdered by a pair of cyborgs. Overnight, his simple life is shattered, fracturing the rigid governmental caste as he is thrust into the dangerous world of superhuman hit squads, Resistance uprisings, and secrets better left unsaid.

With only built-in blasters and the advice of a mysterious professor, Raek must navigate crushing betrayal, self-doubt, and a limitless enemy whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Raek unify his people and free them from tyranny? The fate of mankind may rest in his hands.

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MY REVIEW

Cynetic Wolf is #1 of the Wolfish series. 

Set in 2096, this is a post apocalyptic YA fantasy tale in which Raek,16 and a wolf hybrid lives a quiet life.

But then his sister is murdered and his parents are abducted,

People are now routinely a mix of human and animal genes and the world is a very different place to live.

This is a coming of age fantasy tale as Raek has to grow up quickly and deal with life and its many challenges. The pressure on him is immense. Can he rise to the challenge and help save the world?

This is action packed and so fast paced it will leave you breathless. A fantastic mix of characters, creatures and even cyborgs. Brilliantly entertaining.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

I’m an entrepreneur, blogger, startup advisor and futurist (actually ranked #24 worldwide), and I run Disruptors.FM, a podcast on exponential tech and where we’re headed. I wrote this book because I see humanity diverging in the coming years as genetic engineering and self-enhancement change our very essence and hope to safeguard against the big challenges I see facing all of us.

 

My website is mattwardwrites.com. You can also find me on Twitter @mattwardwrites and Instagram @mattwardwrites

 

Book reviews, Thriller, YA fiction

Are You Watching? By Vincent Ralph – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.

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MY REVIEW 

Jessica is 17 years old, her mother had been murdered 10 years ago by a serial killer known as The Magpie Man and she is determined to get justice.

She is taking part in an online reality show where cameras following a person for one day a week for a month. There are 4 others taking part too and the person with the most views wins a three month contract and ‘Celebrity’!

But, Jess has an agenda, she wants to draw the Magpie Man from hiding to stop him killing anyone else and finally getting justice for the 13 victims…..so far!

Then Jess starts receiving disturbing text messages and someone is watching her. Can Jess finally find out the Magpie Man’s identity or is she putting herself and others in danger?

This is a YA thriller murder mystery for the digital age, it shows the benefits and dangers of social media and the information we share. It’s a story of loss, grief, guilt, love and friendship. An emotional rollercoaster with a dark thriller edge.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here…..and it’s only 99p for kindle at the moment too : https://amzn.to/2QEpTqG

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Vincent Ralph has been writing in one form or another since his teens and always dreamed of being a novelist. He owes his love of books to his mother, who encouraged his imagination from an early age and made sure there were new stories to read.

Vincent has lived in London, Cornwall and Chester but he now lives in his home county of Kent with his wife, son and two cats

Book reviews, Fantasy, Police procedural, YA fiction

The Moon Eater by I.M. Bones – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Modern-day London.

The city of dark streets and mysterious happenings…And also the home of the half-werewolf assassin, Gold. If anything goes bump in the night, then it would definitely be this sugar obsessed, mask-wearing, hitman. 

He has a flare for the occult and an ear for classical music, but by day, the mortals know him as that ‘sweet young baker that makes those fantastic cupcakes!

Enter Curtis Walker, a detective investigating a string of strange murders, and the last person to believe that anything otherworldly is going on… but could this phantom killer have anything to do with his sister’s untimely death?

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MY REVIEW 

This is a YA dark fantasy and is #1 in the Gold series.

Gold is a half-werewolf. He was the son of a King until his werewolf tendencies made it obvious his father was not the King.

So, he became the King’s assassin.

He lives in the mortal world as Silas, a baker of fine cupcakes, a young, timid man who in reality is anything but!

Responsible for the death of a police detective, he now has her brother, Curtis on his trail. The Moon Eater is also looking for Gold, but why?

Can Curtis link the Moon Eater and Gold? Will he be able to catch Gold before anymore gruesome deaths and avenge his sister?

I loved this. It’s a dark, gruesome and completely engrossing tale. There’s plenty of background and history of the demon world, magic and the occult, with creatures, monsters and demons. I enjoyed the world building element, which helps build the atmosphere. Gold is narcissistic, sarcastic and I’d love to know more of his story. Curtis is damaged and grieving which makes him reckless at times and I wonder how far he will go to catch Gold.

Dark, tense and thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Ben at Cameron Publicity & Marketing for a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2FfCWIx

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

I.M. Bones grew up in the bleak Moors of the Peak District, an area full of local legends of vengeful witches and howling beasts. She now lives in Cambridgeshire. ‘Bones’ has been her actual nickname since she was very young, The Moon Eater is her first book.

 

More information can be found at http://www.imbones.com

Book reviews, Children’s fiction, Comedy, YA fiction

The Purple-Bellied Parrot by William Fagus – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

Discover … The power of the ‘HhhuuuUUTTT!

’Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions? Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do. It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

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MY REVIEW

Oh my, this broke my heart a little.

It’s the story of the Purple Bellied Parrot. His sad life life in cages where he can only just spread his wings, let alone fly.

Even the Spuggies (house sparrows) laugh at him, but he wants more, he wants his best life and so the adventure begins.

I love the humour in this, it will make you laugh out loud at times, but then there is sadness too, that will cause tears…..his poor little foot for a start!

Will the little parrot reach Brazeel? Will he have friends to talk to? Will he learn how to sing?

Beautifully written and full of emotion too. It really will appeal to all ages young and old…..plenty of poopy moments too. The handy notes at the back of the book explain the birds, language and slang.

Brilliant, funny, moving and thought provoking, one to rival Johnathan Livingstone Seagull. I loved it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2NABN3n

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The publicity-shy William Fagus lives in a remote location in an upturned fishing smack with a parrot and sundry antique musical instruments and carpentry tools.

The redoubtable Mrs Lush, his cleaning lady and confidant, is his most frequent visitor.

William Fagus’s biography, of uncertain origin and dubious veracity, is available here: http://www.williamfagus.com/fagus_biog.html

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Book reviews, Children’s fiction, YA fiction

The Three Hares, The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder & David Ross – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her a thousand years into China’s past. With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.

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MY REVIEW 

Sara is 14 years old, living in Beijing and attends the International School. Her Granny Tang lives in an apartment nearby, so she visits regularly but as a 14 year old, she’s a little bored of her stories……but will the knowledge in these tales be useful ?

Sara starts to see things, are they daydreams? Or can she see a world beyond? 

This is a marvellous adventure tale, yes it’s young adult fiction, but it’s so well written and will appeal to any age. There’s Chinese history, art, culture and even a mention of Harry Potter. A little reminder too, that our elders have a lot to offer and deserve our respect. I love the two timelines and how they link……will the first hare get her answers? Charming, twisty and very engaging…..

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
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Author Details

Scott Lauder was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Having taught in Greece, Japan, and England, he now lives with his wife and four cats in the UAE where he teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and drinking good coffee. His other books include The Right Thing, A Single Shot, and The Boy-King Tutankhamun.

David Scott Ross has traveled and taught throughout Asia since he first moved there in 1987. He currently teaches in upstate NY, where he lives with his wife and two sons. When David is not writing or teaching, he dreams about becoming a chef, a rock star, maybe an actor, but probably not all at once. At present, he is wrapping up two projects: Pastimes, encounters with a Stone Age people, and Dim, a detective novel.

 

Book reviews, YA fiction

Hallowed Ground by Paul Twivy – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Hallowed Ground: The Mystery of the African Fairy Circles

This magical story is inspired by the most haunting and least explored country in the world – Namibia – with its foggy Skeleton Coast, buried goldmines, shocking secrets and awe-inspiring sand dunes.

Spread across the face of its deserts are hundreds of miles of ‘fairy circles’ : vast enough to be seen from space. They grow and die with the same lifespan as humans, yet no-one has been able to explain why or how they appear. 

Then one day, three teenagers and their families arrive from different parts of the globe. Helped by bushmen, the buried possessions of a Victorian explorer, and a golden leopard, they solve the mystery of the African Circles. What will be discovered beneath the hallowed ground? And how will it change the future of the planet above it? 
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MY REVIEW

This is a YA novel, set in Namibia.

The tale centres around the Namibian myth of the fairy circles. A clever mix of old myth and present day life and issues. It tells some of the history of Namibia, it’s culture, landscape and doesn’t shy from the brutal side either.

The protagonists are teenagers who want to solve the mystery of the fairy circles and with the help of a local bushman and some Victorian art ifs ts they mystery begins. Can they solve the mystery? What will the consequences be for the world if they do?

An interesting, well paced read about young people and their desire to save this planet. Thought provoking.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Paul Twivy
Paul Twivy

Paul Twivy studied English at Oxford University and became one of the most famous British admen. 

He has written comedy and drama for the stage and radio. He edited the bestseller Change the World for a Fiver. He is married with five children. He was inspired to write Hallowed Ground by his first-hand experiences of the extraordinary landscapes and culture of Namibia.

 

https://twitter.com/paultwivy

 

http://www.thefairycircles.com and https://hallowedground.co.uk

 

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hallowed-Ground-mystery-African-Circles-ebook/dp/B07YDY9LF2/

Com – https://www.amazon.com/Hallowed-Ground-mystery-African-Circles-ebook/dp/B07YDY9LF2/

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Book reviews, YA fiction

The Wild Book by Juan Villoro – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Middle Grade Fiction / Age Range: 10–14

The Wild Book is the YA debut of one of Mexico’s foremost authors: a wondrous adventure story of a boy who goes to live with his kooky, book-obsessed uncle in a library where books have supernatural powers.

Thirteen-year-old Juan’s summer is off to a terrible start. First, his parents separate. Then, almost as bad, Juan is sent away to his strange Uncle Tito’s house for the entire holiday! Who wants to live with an oddball recluse who has zigzag eyebrows, drinks fifteen cups of smoky tea a day, and lives inside a huge, mysterious library?

As Juan adjusts to his new life among dusty shelves, he notices something odd: the books move on their own! He rushes to tell Uncle Tito, who lets his nephew in on a secret: Juan is a Princeps Reader, which means books respond magically to him, and he’s the only one who can find the elusive, never-before-read Wild Book. But will Juan and his new friend Catalina get to The Wild Book before the wicked, story-stealing Pirate Book does?

An unforgettable adventure story about books, libraries, and the power of reading.

Shy and uncertain, Juan learns from his uncle what makes him special, and how to embrace his uniqueness.

Featuring both a child of marital separation and a blind character, The Wild Book offers an opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the important issues of divorce and disability. Braille books are a major plot point, and there is no line drawn between the disabled and abled: we are all just lovers of stories.

The Wild Book is a YA debut by one of Mexico’s best-known authors. It has sold over 1.3 million copies in Spanish.
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MY REVIEW 

“And that’s how my time in the labyrinth of books began “

Juan is sent to stay with his Uncle Tito after his parents separate and his mum needs a little time on her own. Uncle Tito’s house is quite literally full of books, from floor to ceiling…”a library is a collection of souls”

Uncle Tito is an eccentric with an absolute passion for books and reading…..but he is searching for one elusive book and he feels Juan will be able to find it as he is super special. With Juan in the house he is no longer lonely and they forge a special bond.

Juan is at first a little unsure, he gets lost in the house and books, carrying with him a little bell at all times. He then meets Catalina, a girl in the nearby pharmacy and together they bring life to the house and Uncle Tito…..will they find The Wild Book?

I know this is a middle grade book but oh my, I absolutely adore it. It captures the love of books and how they have a different meaning to each reader. It is so full of marvellous descriptions that I could write a whole post just using quotes…it is truly special and with its magic, will appeal to book lovers everywhere and of all ages. 

“Every Book is like a mirror, it reflects what you think.”

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2YZxFQP

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Juan Villoro is Mexico’s most prolific, prize-winning author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. His books have been translated into multiple languages. Several of his books have appeared in English, including his celebrated 2016 essay collection on soccer, God Is Round (Restless Books). Villoro lives in Mexico City and is a visiting lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities.8

Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and translator of books. He lives in Madrid and New York City. HopeRoad, set up in 2012, specialises in writers and writing from and about Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Their aim is

to give a voice to writers and stories that might otherwise be missed by the mainstream book trade.

 

PRAISE

 

This is a beautifully written ode to the inherent magic of books and reading. … Translated by award-winning Lawrence Schimel, Juan Villoro’s prose is lovely and clear. Villoro, ‘Mexico’s Updike,’ is his nation’s most prolific, prize-winning writer. The Wild Book is no exception within his canon. Each of the twenty-one chapters is accompanied by Eko’s stunning woodcut-style illustrations, depicting books with teeth and pages flying. Deserving a place beside classics like The Phantom Tollbooth and Half-Magic, The Wild Book is a timeless celebration of reading.’

Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, Five-Star Review

 

‘For me, when it comes to good writing, texts are alive and living among us, no matter the genre. Juan Villoro’s The Wild Book — a story in which books themselves are characters — is an especially good example…. In Uncle Tito’s library, the books choose their readers. So Villoro’s novel chose me…. Equal parts ecology and magical realism, Villoro explores the nature of literature and reading. The best stories are wild, after all…. Villoro entrusts young readers to care for and sustain the magic — and in doing so, takes them seriously. But the novel is also generous with its adults…. Villoro’s novel illuminates why YA literature has such a large adult readership. Even as we age, or perhaps especially then, our purpose is not to tame our life stories — but rather to allow them their wild lives.’

Kristin Van Tassel, Los Angeles Review of Books

 

‘This quirky tale – originally published in Mexico – is a delight, giving books a life of their own. Before long, you’ll see your reading list in a whole new way…. The Wild Book has a classic, magical feel, but it’s also grounded in reality, as we see Juan coming to terms with his parents’ separation and his feelings for Catalina, the girl who works in the local pharmacy…. A must-read for book-lovers everywhere.’

BookTrust, Five-Star Review

 

‘Villoro’s lighthearted and timeless voice makes it easy to suspend any disbelief and revel in the bookish magic.’

Caitlin Kling, Booklist

 

‘A rewarding and bewitching story which goes to the heart of why books are so powerful and incredible…. The Wild Book is a paean to the potential of books. If you consider yourself a bibliophile, this, quite simply, is a must-read. In some ways a Library of The Shadow of the Wind for younger readers, The Wild Book luxuriously riffs on how books can be mirrors and windows…. Delicate, fine and surprising turns of phrase pack this novel, originally published in Mexico, mixing moments of humour with splashes of original beauty. The smooth and seamless translation is a delight, as are the glimpses into another culture…. Apart from the glorious celebration of stories, I also loved how The Wild Book movingly and sensitively navigates a teenage boy’s changing relationship with some of the adults in his life…. The emotional sensitivity of Villoro’s novel is nuanced and subtle. Perfect for intrepid book explorers who relish getting lost inside the pages of a book, The Wild Book is a dazzling adventure you’ll not want to miss.’

Zoe Toft, Playing by the Book

 

‘Rich on multiple levels, a cast of colorful characters, plots and twists galore, and plenty of humor, author Juan Villoro weaves his words with a style that will delight older kids, start to finish, making The Wild Book a wild ride, indeed.’ Kendal A. Rautzhan, The Port Huron Times Herald

 

‘This book is awesome. It is very interesting; there are just so many books, and it strikes on so many topics. It is also a great adventure story, one that is even believable because the author’s name is also Juan, so that is really funny. I like how the Wild Book acts – the books are characters in this story, too, and some of them become good friends with Juan and help him. This is a great story for anyone who loves books like I do!’

Raifl – Age 9, Kids’ Book Buzz, Five-Star Review

 

‘Brings to mind the same ecstatic thrill I felt reading The Phantom Tollbooth as a child, Fahrenheit 451 as a teen, and Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore as an adult. I’m absolutely envious of the young readers who are about to discover the magic of Juan Villoro’s The Wild Book.’

David Gonzalez, Skylight Books (Los Angeles, CA)

 

Book reviews, YA fiction

The Misfit Tribe and The Secret of Mystery Island by B J Rowling and D G Lloyd – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Some secrets are best kept hidden… and some are just too magical not to share.

Teenagers, who unexpectedly acquire a vast collection of magical, mystical powers and abilities, find an ancient map. This map leads them on a quest for buried treasure to a mysterious island filled with hidden secrets, booby traps and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What could possibly go wrong? A lot!  
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MY REVIEW 

This is a YA fiction adventure story, which I found reminiscent of The Goonies. There’s JJ and his friends searching for treasure after finding an old map….

There’s lots of puzzles, clues, booby traps and even a dastardly villain after them. 

The characters are all well rounded and all have their unique personalities, all are misfits, from JJ, Digger the military obsessed to Genius (says it all) and Karli, Aaron and Sandra. All on a fun, exciting adventure. Very entertaining.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

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Author Bio: 

 

  1. J. Rowling, a native of England, is an author, screenwriter, producer, actress and cousin of Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling.

 

  1. G. Lloyd is an American-Australian author, screenwriter, producer, actor and script coverage analyst.

 

https://twitter.com/bjrowling

 

https://twitter.com/themisfittribe

 

https://www.facebook.com/BJRowling

 

https://twitter.com/dglloyd66

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, YA fiction

Jacob’s Ladder by Charlie Pike – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

We have heard your call

You no longer need to fear.

You will receive five messages, of which this is the first.

The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation.

 

Two hundred years from now, the earth is dying, scorched by powerful flares from the sun. A series of messages from an alien civilization sent to humanity over two centuries promise rescue to those strong enough to survive on their planet.

Initiate Leon is a member of the True Path warrior culture and preparing for his Rising. But when his test comes – to kill in cold blood – he cannot do it. To redeem himself, he must journey to find the earth’s fifth and final message from the Saviours, with the help of his resourceful servant, Martha.

Out in the wild, Leon discovers alarming changes in his body – he can drink water through his skin, and has poison barbs buried deep in his flesh. Martha reveals to him the secret that the True Path have kept from him all this time: Jacob’s Ladder, an adaptation for life on the alien planet, has lain dormant in his genes and is now being activated. He is part alien and part human, and he is in grave danger from those who wish to take what is in his body.

An ambitious YA novel for fans of Patrick Ness, Rick Yancey and James Dashner.

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MY REVIEW

Leon is ready for his Rising, he has trained for this all his life……he meets his bind and is shocked it’s a woman…surely he is worth more than this? It will be too easy to hunt and slit her throat with Stella! ……won’t it?

His bind is sent and he and his ‘crew’ are on the hunt, but she escapes when Old Sally, the acid rain, hits……

They eventually find her, wounded but she pricks Leon’s neck with something, before all hell breaks out and the only survivors are Leon and his divvy (slave) Martha….

What follows is a journey, a perilous one to say the least and the relationship between Martha, or Ulya as she has said her real name is, and Leon….will they hear the final message from Thule……or is everything Leon believes about to come crashing around his newly changed body…?

While this is a YA novel, it’s not a light read….there’s brutality to women, slavery and general cruelty, oh and worm brood!! A clever and well plotted tale of a dystopian world…..dark and moody with the underlying desperation of hope…

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacobs-Ladder-Prepare-Born-Anew/dp/1788490401

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Charlie Pike
Charlie Pike by City Headshots Dublin

Charlie Pike started his writing career when he lived in Turkey, teaching English to adults and children. When he returned to Ireland he worked as an advertising copywriter and freelance journalist, writing feature articles for Irish newspapers, until an opportunity came along to work for an Internet start-up. In 2003 he formed his own web company, Usable Design. He met his wife, Birgit, in Turkey and they now live in County Wicklow. They have two children. Charlie is a graduate of Trinity College.

His debut YA science fiction novel, Jacob’s Ladder, was published in spring 2019.

 

Jacob’s Ladder by Charlie Pike

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The O’Brien Press (1 April 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1788490401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788490405

 

Book reviews, YA fiction

The Girl Who Came Out Of The Woods by Emily Barr – Book Review

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB

A commune hidden from the world. A terrible accident. A lifetime of secrets to uncover. The new YA thriller from Emily Barr.

I’ve been trapped here for days. What if I die here? I decided to write down my story so that one day, when I’m discovered, they will know who I was and why I was here.

Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a small settlement in the forests of south India. But their happy life, hidden from the rest of the world, is shattered by a terrible accident. For the first time in her sixteen years, Arty must leave the only place she’s ever known, into the outside world she’s been taught to fear.

Her only goal is to get help from a woman called Tania, who used to live in the forest, and the Uncle she knows is out there, somewhere. As she embarks on the terrifying journey, pursued by an enemy she can’t fathom, Arty soon realises that not everyone is to be trusted. She’s looking for answers, but what she’ll learn from Tania and Uncle Matthew is a shocking truth about her past.

Everything is changing too fast for this girl who came out of the woods, and is she running into a trap…? (Courtesy of Goodreads)
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MY REVIEW

Arty (Artemis) has grown up in a tiny community almost entirely cut off from the outside world….except the shaman sells the ‘herbs’ they grow occasionally for essentials and once a year for Kotta, they have Kingfisher beer and Dairy Milk.

They live in a clearing in a forest about sixty miles from Mumbai, in a matriarchal society, and all have the names of goddesses and gods.

Arty has never known any other life, until a sickness hits the clearing and she has to leave and is taken to the real world…..and it’s a total shock to her…..the smells, the food and sheer number of people….

Along with Arty’s tale, is that of a prisoner in a basement…..who is it? Arty’s mum?

I loved Arty, smart but totally naive as to how the world really works…..trusting everyone..will she survive? Will she see Zeus or any of her family again?

I loved The Girl Who Came Out Of The Woods by Emily Barr, thought provoking and moving and a beautiful end….

I would like to thank the publishers, the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free and this is my honest and unbiased review.

#TheGirlWhoCameOutOfTheWoods


I would like to thank the Pigeonhole and the author for the opportunity to read this book for free and this is my honest and unbiased review