blog tour, books, reviews

Bookstagram Tour: Cane Warriors – Alex Wheatle*

Today I’m over on Instagram sharing my thoughts on a new book, so head over there and follow the tour!

Nobody free till everybody free.

Moa is fourteen. The only life he has ever known is toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. Time is ticking, and the day of the uprising approaches . . .

Irresistible, gripping and unforgettable, Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky’s War in Jamaica, 1760.

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Alex Wheatle is the author of several acclaimed novels, many of them inspired by experiences from his childhood. He was born in Brixton to Jamaican parents, and spent most of his childhood in a Surrey children’s home. Following a short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981, he wrote poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixtonbard. Alex has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008.

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My thoughts:

This slim volume contains a powerful and moving story, based on real historical events and people.

Despite a lot of my school friends and classmates having Jamaican parents and grandparents, the history of the island, and of the Caribbean in general, don’t really appear on the curriculum – apart from briefly being mentioned in the British Empire bit sometimes.

This is a shame because it means that children are being denied their own history, and the rest of the class an understanding of the trauma handed down from slavery’s legacy.

It’s been left to talented writers, like Alex Wheatle, to correct this and fill in the gaps in our history. This book should be on all schools’ reading lists, packing a punch that will make you angry and sad, at the cruelty and horror inflicted on millions of people.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Bookstagram Tour: A Clock of Stars; The Shadow Moth – Francesca Gibbons, illustrated by Chris Riddell*

Today I’m over on Instagram sharing my thoughts on a new book, come and follow the tour!

With all the magic of Narnia and the humour of Mary Poppins, this is a future middle grade fantasy classic – and the beginning of an unforgettable journey…

Imogen should be nice to her little sister Marie. She should be nice to her mum’s boyfriend too. And she certainly shouldn’t follow a strange silver moth through a door in a tree.
But then… who does what they’re told?

Followed by Marie, Imogen finds herself falling into a magical kingdom where the two sisters are swept up in a thrilling race against time – helped by the spoiled prince of the kingdom, a dancing bear, a very grumpy hunter… and even the stars above them.

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FRANCESCA GIBBONS worked as a copywriter at a marketing agency before leaving to focus on her career as a children’s author. The Shadow Moth is her debut novel. It was inspired by the gardens she visited as a child, and her love of folklore and monsters. It is the first book in the Clock of Stars trilogy.

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My thoughts:

This was a tremendously fun read, with excellent illustrations from the legendary Chris Riddell.

First in a new trilogy, this felt like the work of an accomplished writer, not a debut author, weaving elements of Narnia, folklore and fantasy together in a new and fun way.

While I am several decades older than the intended audience I can see this being a winner with readers of all ages, the three protagonists are engaging and the relationship between sisters Imogen and Marie reminded me of that between my own younger sister and me (little sisters are just so annoying!)

A fantastic new writer has entered the shelves of great fantasy writing and I can’t wait to see what book two brings.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Doors of Eden – Adrian Tchaikovsky*

I’m on the bookstagram tour for Adrian Tchaikovsky’s amazing new book The Doors of Eden today, pop over there and follow the tour!They thought we were safe. They were wrong.Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back. Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time?Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions. Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks be-tween our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.

Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire before heading off to Reading to study psychology and zoology. For reasons unclear even to himself he subsequently ended up in law and has worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds, where he now lives. Mar-ried, he is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor, has trained in stage-fighting, and keeps no exotic or dangerous pets of any kind, possibly excepting his son. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, and the Echoes of the Fall trilogy. Children of Time was the winner of the 30th Anniversary Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

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My thoughts:

This is an epic book, exploring the many worlds theory and the idea of other Earths.

I loved the wise cracking Dr Kay Amal Khan and the rats (obviously super intelligent rats are going to appeal to me!) and the Cousins.

I felt for Lee, I would be like her, trying to understand what’s going on, despite not fully grasping all the science (maths is my weak point).

Gripping, clever, funny and highly enjoyable.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, instagram, reviews

Blog Tour: The Short Knife – Elen Caldwell*

Today I’m hosting a Bookstagram tour stop for The Short Knife – follow along on #TheShortKnife and #DarkroomTours

It is the year 454AD. The Roman Empire has withdrawn from Britain, throwing it into the chaos of the Dark Ages. Mai has been kept safe by her father and her sister, Haf. But when Saxon warriors arrive at their farm, the family is forced to flee to the hills where British warlords lie in wait. Can Mai survive in a dangerous world where speaking her mother tongue might be deadly, and where even the people she loves the most can’t be trusted?

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Elen Caldecott graduated with an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and was highly commended in the PFD Prize for Most Promising Writer for Young People. Before becoming a writer, she was an archaeologist, a nurse, a theatre usher and a museum security guard. Elen’s debut novel, How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant, was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Prize and longlisted for the 2010 Carnegie Medal.

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My thoughts:

This short and clever piece of historical fiction takes you to post Roman Britain and the struggle to stay alive in the face of invading Saxons and increased isolation. Gripping and moving, with a strong sense of time and place.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, instagram, reviews

Blog Tour: The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth*

Find this tour on Instagram today – follow #TheFallingInLoveMontage and #DarkroomTours for all the posts.

Seventeen-year-old Saoirse has finished with exams and is facing a long hot summer before uni. She plans to party, get drunk, watch horror movies and forget all her troubles by kissing girls. Ever since the breakupocalypse with her ex Hannah, she’s been alone and angry, dealing with the hole left in her family by her sick mother’s absence. Worse, Dad drops a bombshell: he’s remarrying at the end of the summer. Enter the scene: Ruby, who might just be the prettiest girl Saoirse’s ever seen. A romcom fan and a believer in true love, Ruby challenges cynical Saoirse to try a summer romance with the serious parts left out, just like in the movies. But what happens when the falling in love montage ends?

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My thoughts:

Like a rom com in book form, this follows Saoirse (Seer-sha) and Ruby as they date in movie montage moments and learn that life isn’t like the movies.

Sweet, funny, clever and heartfelt, this was a delightful read that made me smile.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, instagram

Cover Reveal: Nutmeg Street – Sherrill Joseph

Something different today, a cover reveal and sneak peek of a book due to be published next year.

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

Goodreads due to be published February 1st, 2020

Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

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Sneak Peek

“Here we go again. An aftershock! I’ve been afraid this would happen,” said Dr. Kurtz. She rapidly surveyed the room full of terrariums. “And one of my assistants just called to say he’s found a somewhat hidden but large crack from this morning’s tremor on one of our venomous snake enclosure’s glass panes. It’s a major emergency. Come out with me quickly boys—now! I have to attend to this immediately,” she shouted behind her, as she grabbed her tool bag, yanked open the heavy door, and fled outside and down the breezeway to the enclosure.

Unfortunately, Moki and Lanny weren’t as fast as Dr. Kurtz. The door banged shut in their surprised faces and locked. They were trapped in a windowless room.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the power failed simultaneously, and the room went pitch black. Both boys froze, helplessly surrounded by three walls of venomous snakes they could still hear but no longer see.

Cover reveal organised by R&R Book Tours.

blog tour, books, instagram, reviews

Bookstagram Tour: War Girls – Tochi Onyebuchi*

Something a bit different today, I’m taking part in a Bookstagram tour so come join me on Instagram. Below is some info on the book but for my thoughts head over to see some photos I took and check out the rest of the tour too!

Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria.

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

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Tochi Onyebuchi is a writer based in Connecticut. He holds a BA from Yale, an MFA in screenwriting from Tisch, and a JD from Columbia Law School. Tochi is the author of Beasts Made of Night and Crown of Thunder.

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of the book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, challenges, reviews

#5books7days – round up

So over on Instagram and Twitter this week I’ve been taking part in a readathon #5books7days which has been really enjoyable.
My five books were:
A real variety of books. Fantasy, autobiography, classic crime, and finally a book written by a friend of mine.

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I haven’t read with purpose since uni, when I read for class or essay writing. Nowadays I read whatever takes my fancy, and sometimes I pick the wrong book. Life’s too short to read books that don’t hold my attention.

This was a really fun reading challenge, and I managed to make a tiny dent in the mountain of unread books, unfortunately it seems to grow while I sleep.

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