blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Island – C.L. Taylor*

Welcome to The Island.

Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re becoming a reality.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

My thoughts:

We’ve all read the books where the main characters meet at an NCT class or similar and swear to be BFFs and then over the years it goes off the boil or is The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Well these are the kids who wish their parents would stop with the group holidays.

Dragged off on yet another holiday, no longer fun like when they were kids, are 6 teenagers who don’t really have much in common anymore.

Sent to a private island for a survivalist style camp as a ‘treat’, things go badly sideways as their guide dies and they realise they don’t have the skills for this.

A stupid conversation about fear becomes a nightmare as everyone’s biggest phobia starts coming true. And with only the six of them there, someone is playing a nasty game…

Creepy, compelling and ultimately rather sad, this is a fascinating study in friendship and trauma.

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

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Cover Reveal: The Place Beyond Her Dreams – Oby Aligwekwe

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I am so excited to share this beautiful cover for Oby Aligwekwe’s debut YA Fantasy, The Place Beyond her Dreams! Pre-order a copy today!

THE PLACE BEYOND HER DREAMS 2020 FINAL (1)

The Place Beyond Her Dreams

Expected Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Coming-of-Age

Publisher: Eclat Books 

At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain drives her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities. There, she discovers she is an Eri, chosen to accomplish a special purpose on earth, and is handed a box in exchange for what she desires the most.

Burdened by her quest, Ona learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. As evil looms, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.

Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, The Place Beyond Her Dreams delivers life lessons using a powerful fable. This coming-of-age fantasy takes the reader on the path to self-discovery and demonstrates the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose. 

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About the Author

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Oby Aligwekwe is the author of Nfudu and Hazel House. The Place Beyond Her Dreams is her Young Adult debut. A talented writer, Oby is also an inspirational speaker and a chartered accountant. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her family and supports her community through her charity Éclat Beginnings.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle*

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

My thoughts:This was a high octane YA sci-fi thriller, set in a world where nanites can embue people with strange powers and abilities – mostly derived from animal DNA.Unfortunately instead of only using this new technology for good, to cure disease and benefit humanity, greed has caused many to go too far and it has caused corruption and harm. It’s also mutated some beyond human and turned them into disturbing hybrid creatures.Silver Melody’s parents are scientists and deeply involved in this new nanite tech, but also trying to find a way to reverse it. She is unadjusted, or so she believes. With a band of fellow outsiders she plans to bring down the corrupt President and rescue her parents.This was a fun, fast paced and engaging book, I liked Silver and her friends, a group of smart, determined young people, and the plot was intriguing and 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, reviews

Blog Tour: Belvedor & the Four Corners – Ashleigh Bello*

Arianna has only ever dreamed of winning her freedom from the Four Corners—a cold and cruel city where all the children of the world are kept, each with an opportunity to earn their citizenship upon their seventeenth year. Just months away from her ultimate battle, she is certain that her notable skills as a warrior-slave will give her an edge during the annual Free Falls Festivals: Free for the slaves who earn their citizenship; Falls for the ones who die.

But Arianna’s talent with a sword cannot outmaneuver the burning curiosities of her heart, leading her to reveal a shocking secret about King Devlindor and his long-standing reign as High King of Olleb-Yelfra.

The world as she knows it is a lie, its true spellbinding history exploited and suppressed under centuries of deceitful acts.
Her world turned upside down with new, unfathomable knowledge, Arianna must make a choice that could change her life forever—ignore the truth and continue following the path laid out for her since birth or break free from her chains and carve her own way… if she can survive.
Immerse yourself in this addictive YA Epic Fantasy adventure as Arianna is thrust on a thrilling journey to uncover magic and earn her right to freedom.
Belvedor and the Four Corners is a recipient of the 2017 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.

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Ashleigh Bello graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in International Studies. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY where she maintains a full-time career as a marketing professional. When she’s not writing, she spends her free time with friends, practicing yoga, and daydreaming about her next adventure.

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My thoughts:

The first book in a brand new fantasy series and it’s absolutely packed with magic, sword fights and lots of action.

Arianna is a slave in a cruel and vicious kingdom, forced to fight for their freedom, she and another slave attempt to flee, anything is better than staying where they are.

But others are intent on them staying and discovering her powers makes her more of a target for a cruel and violent general.

Fast-paced, clever and enthralling, the first book in this cracking new series lays the groundwork for a gripping read to come.

*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: Frank Penny & The Last Black Stag – Jeremy Elson*

Power is not for the weak or faint-hearted.

If Frank, Cas, Gabby and Anya want to find the next two guardians of the Simbrian and keep them safe, they need to journey across the dangerous borderlands and into the dark and
shadowy world of Kzarlac, sworn enemy of Byeland.

Ruled by the fearsome Etamin Dahke, Kzarlac is no place for four naïve teenagers. Keen wits and a large helping of luck are no guarantee they will succeed and return safely.
Driven by their desire to protect the delicate peace that has existed since the time of Kester, their quest is about to take a deadly turn, and the exposure of an unconceivable secret may make Frank regret ever having started.

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About the Author

Jeremy Elson is the author of the Frank Penny series of adventure books for young adults.
Jeremy is a home educating parent himself, and Frank Penny was borne out of his desire to bring to life a home educated child, as well as tell a straightforward and compelling adventure story.

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My thoughts:

I hadn’t read any previous books in the series, and while it isn’t essential to do so, it might flesh out the back story a bit if you decide to.

Frank and his friends are on an epic quest to save their homeland from an evil emperor and her henchmen. They must find the guardians, but the enemy is a few steps ahead of them, and they have teenage things like love, school and parents to contend with first.

There’s lots of action and adventure, as well as milkshakes and having fun at a festival, before heading off into enemy territory and putting themselves at great risk.

Frank also discovers some secrets along the way, including about himself, that could change things completely.

*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 Cousins – Karen McManus*

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You’ll never feel the same about family again.
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.
Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.
The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

My thoughts:

This was a very clever YA thriller, something this author does very well. Her series, beginning with One Of Us Is Lying, is set in a small town and so in a way, is The Cousins.

Small towns, and islands, are hot beds of rumour and gossip. Long time residents know everyone and think they know everything. And so it is here. The island, where the Story family have lived for several generations, is populated by people who either know a lot about them or claim to.

But yet no one can tell the titular cousins, Milly, Aubrey and Jonah, what their parents did that was so bad they were disinherited and banished from the island. And their grandmother won’t even talk to them, even though she invited them there, right?

The three have more questions than answers and mysteries to unravel that seem far from straightforward, also they don’t really know each other, so who can they truly trust?

Families are tricky, and none more so than the Storys, the older generation have never been more distant, so the cousins resolve to find out what happened twenty four years ago and why some people seem very keen on them staying away from the family home, Catmint House.

This was smart, funny, twisted and highly enjoyable. The three cousins were interesting and multilayered, different in ways that made each of them right for the various things they needed to learn, Milly is good at reading people, Jonah is good at research and Aubrey is smarter than people think.


*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: Barnabus Tew & the Case of the Hellenic Abduction – Columbkill Noonan*

Zeus is used to getting what he wants…but that was before he met Barnabas Tew!

Barnabas and Wilfred, the unluckiest detectives ever, are happily enjoying their time in India, working on mastering their emotions, and learning how to do all sorts of interesting yoga poses.They’re having a splendid time, and feel as if they’ve finally found some peace in their lives.

Everything changes, though, when Zeus suddenly whisks them away from their idyllic retreat and
demands that they solve a case for him.

Having no choice, they reluctantly accept the job, but quickly come to realize that nothing is as it should be. Zeus’ motives are suspect from the beginning, the rest of the Greek gods and goddesses are untrustworthy at best, and Barnabas’ temper hasn’t improved at all during his time in India.

And, most importantly, who is the mysterious lady who keeps popping up just when they need her? Is she
friend, or is she foe?

To make matters even worse, both Barnabas and Wilfred have unresolved feelings of their own.

Can they settle their own emotional affairs, once and for all? Will they figure out what’s right and what’s
wrong in this topsy-turvy world of lies, intrigue, and trickery? Or will the Greek gods and goddesses prove too much for them?

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Columbkill Noonan is the author of the best-selling Barnabas Tew series, which features a proper British detective from Victorian London who ends up solving mythological cases for gods all around the world.

She was was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Maryland.

Her writing is mostly speculative fiction (especially stories that involve mythology, or the supernatural, or any combination thereof). Some of
her work is a bit on the spooky side, but usually there is a touch of humor (who says the afterlife has to be serious?)

When she’s not teaching or writing, Columbkill can be found with her rescue horse (whose name is Mittens), hiking in the woods, or doing yoga of all kinds (aerial yoga and SUP yoga are particular favorites). She is an avid traveler, and can’t wait to get back to seeing the world again.

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My thoughts:

This book was a lot of fun, I hadn’t come across this series before but I have downloaded the previous books as they’re just so enjoyable and play with some of my favourite things – mythology and Victorian detectives that aim to be (but aren’t quite) Sherlock Holmes.

Barnabus only seems to unravel this case because he has an incredible sidekick in the ever patient Wilfred, some good friends and the help of a few Olympians who don’t agree with Zeus’ behaviour.

They also seem to get further and further into trouble as they go along, from poisoning the Minotaur, to being almost eaten by Scylla and Charybis, to headbutting Hades and insulting Charon. It’s a wonder they ever get out in one piece!

Also one final thing, the author has the most marvellous name and I will be looking out for it on the front cover of many more books.

*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 Love Curse of Melody McIntyre – Robin Talley*

Read my review of Music From Another World here

Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this #ownvoices romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

My thoughts:

I loved, loved, loved this book. Be still my theatre nerd, bisexual heart. Honestly, it’s freaking adorable. Funny, silly and very realistic to the stress of putting on a show.

If this book had been around when I was a teen theatre geek, it would have been my go-to read. I loved the characters, Melody and her friends are so charming and snarky and funny.

The relationship between Melody and Odile is sweet and romantic, their sneaking around less so, but we all make mistakes when we’re young.

The triumphant staging of Les Mis is a joy, when all the disasters of rehearsal (as any theatre kid knows, a terrible dress makes for a great run) finally come together, and if you can get through this book without breaking into One Day More, you’re dead inside (and as someone who is dead inside, I mean really dead inside).

*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 Silent Stars Go By – Sally Nicholls*

Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiancé Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.
Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James?My thoughts:This is a lovely, bittersweet story of young love, war, family, hope and redemption. Having given her son James to be raised by her parents as theirs, Margot’s heart is breaking. Her fiancé Harry has somehow survived the war, despite being reported as missing, and now she must decide whether to tell him the truth about James.Margot returns home for Christmas, seeing James happily ensconced as the baby of the family and coming face to face with Harry for the first time.She wrestles with her decision, spends time with her siblings, parents and friends, trying to decide what the right thing to do is.This was a truly lovely book, the story was moving and a little heartbreaking, it was also educational – I didn’t know adoption was legal until the 1926 Adoption Act – and the thought of all those young women forced into giving away their babies before then were wronged.Although James is one of the lucky ones, his grandparents love him and treat him as they do the rest of their children, which makes Margot worry even more – will this destroy his happiness, if she and Harry married and took him with them?I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher and if you’d like to see the special edition I received, I’ve shared it over on Instagram.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly*

Beautiful Sophie, with lips as red as blood, skin as pale as snow, and hair as dark as night, is about to come of age and inherit her father’s throne. But Sophie’s stepmother wants rid of her – beautiful she may be, but too weak and foolish to reign. And Sophie believes her, as she believes all the things that have been said about her – all the poisonous words people use to keep girls like her from becoming too powerful, too strong.

When the huntsman carries out his orders of killing Sophie, she finds a fire burning inside her that will not be extinguished, and sets off to reclaim what was taken from her.

Jennifer Donnelly turns her feminist eye to this most delicious of fairy tales and shows Snow White as she’s never been seen before.

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Jennifer Donnelly is the author of seven novels and a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.

Jennifer’s first novel, THE TEA ROSE, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called ‘exquisite’ by Booklist, ‘so much fun’ by the Washington Post, a ‘guilty pleasure’ by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times.

Her second novel, A GATHERING LIGHT, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as ‘rich and true’ by The New York Times, the book was named on the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal.

REVOLUTION was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling WATERFIRE saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, DEEP BLUE, was released in May, 2014; the second book, ROGUE WAVE, launched in January 2015.

Jennifer Donnelly lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

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My thoughts:

This was a very good retelling of Snow White – but with a bit more bite and a princess that was determined even if a bit naive.

The seven dwarves are given a bit more in terms of personality, and the charming prince is anything but. Instead it is up to Sophie herself to defeat her stepmother and the evil King of Crows to regain her heart and her throne.

I really enjoyed this book, I love a fairy tale retelling with a bit more bite, and a princess who saves herself.

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