Review of Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

20.10.2014
07:49

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I am delighted to be hosting the blog tour today for Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is a powerful and emotive read that had me hooked from the very first page.

Set in Virginia in 1959 where the battle for civil rights is raging. It is Sarah’s first day at Jefferson High and she is one of the first black students. No one at this previously all white school wants Sarah there. Everyone is against it – the students, principal and even the governor. Linda, daughter of the local segregationist, is especially anti Sarah’s arrival and is determined to make things more difficult for her. However, as they spend time together they start to realise that there differences do not matter as much as they were brought up to believe.

This is an emotional and compelling read that I did not want to put down. It is not easy subject matter to read and is very thought provoking, but is beautifully written and the tension just simmers on the pages.

I look forward to reading more by Robin Talley.

Thank you to Mira Ink for sending us a copy to review.

Blog Tour – Review of Humbugs and Heartstrings by Catherine Ferguson

18.10.2014
11:03

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I am delighted to be hosting the Humbugs and Heartstrings blog tour today. Here is my review…

Humbugs and Heartstrings is my first Christmassy read of 2014 and I loved it. Bobbie works at a cleaning firm called Spit and Polish with her nasty boss Carol who also happens to be her ex best friend. They were once inseparable, but now things couldn’t be more different and all Carol is concerned with is where she will find her next bargain.

When Charlie, a handsome hotelier from London, arrives on the scene both women are excited. Bobbie feels an attraction to him, whilst Carol thinks he may be able to help her business. As Christmas approaches, things start to change and Bobbie and Carol will be forced to confront their past.

I sailed through this book and read it in one sitting, as I didn’t want to put it down. Humbugs and Heartstrings is a heart warming, fun, light read with lots of laugh out loud moments that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is perfect for snuggling up with by the fire on a cold evening. I would recommend this for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

This is a fantastic debut novel and I look forward to reading Catherine Ferguson’s next book.

The cover is gorgeous!

Thank you to Avon and Light Brigade PR for sending us a copy to review.

Review of A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

15.10.2014
09:32

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A Little in Love is a captivating and haunting read that I did not want to put down. It is Eponine’s story from Les Miserables and Fletcher vividly brings this unlikely heroine to life. Eponine has grown up with deceitful and thieving parents and has herself been taught and forced to steal from a very young age. However, to me she came across as a vulnerable, loving and hopeful person who, despite her mistakes, only wanted love in return.

The book follows Eponine’s life from her childhood to being on the run from the gendarmes during her teens and finally reaching Paris. The Paris that they find is not the one that Eponine had dreamt about after reading her Maman’s novels. It is, in fact, a city on the verge of revolution simmering with anger and hatred. Fletcher’s description of Paris itself really brought the city, complete with all of its sights, sounds and smells, to life for me. All of the characters in this book seem very strong from Eponine’s sister Azelma and her evil Papa to handsome Marius and beautiful Cosette.

A heart wrenching read that I highly recommend. Keep some tissues handy too, I doubt there will be many dry eyes on reaching the ending. I will definitely be looking out for more books from this author.

I also really loved the cover of this book.

Thank you to Chicken House for sending us a copy to review.

Oksa Pollock Blog Tour: Trailer Competition and win a copy of Oksa Pollock: The Heart of Two Worlds

13.10.2014
08:47

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I am delighted to be hosting the Oksa Pollock blog tour today. Below are details of how to enter the fantastic trailer competition from Pushkin Children’s Books.

We also have a copy of Oksa Pollock: The Heart of Two Worlds and a paperback copy of book 2 in the series Oksa Pollock: The Forest of Lost Souls. To enter, re-tweet this post or leave a comment below. Open to UK residents only. Closes on 17/10/14.

To mark the exciting release of the gripping third instalment in the Oksa Pollock series, The Heart of Two Worlds, Pushkin Children’s Books are launching The Heart of Two Worlds trailer competition and inviting schools, libraries and book groups to get involved!

To take part all you need is a video camera (either on a smart phone or a camcorder), a synopsis (which we will send you once you have registered below) and then off you go!

To enter please email books@pushkinpress.com with ‘Oksa Pollock trailer comp’ as the subject and Pushkin Children’s Books will send you all the information you need to get started.

First prize for The Heart of Two Worlds trailer competition is one complete set of the Oksa Pollock series and a bumper pack of Pushkin Children’s Books backlist children’s titles for your class/library/bookgroup, plus a copy of Oksa Pollock: The Heart of Two Worlds for each person involved in the winning trailer (max 35 group size) AND the winning trailer will feature on the Oksa Pollock official website!

www.oksapollock.co.uk

Five runners up will win a copy of the first book in the series, Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope for their class/book group.

Closing date for the competition is 31st January 2015. Lights, camera… action!

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Review of Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

10.10.2014
07:55

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Jam Gallahue has been sent to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school in rural Vermont for students suffering from issues including struggling with grief. We find out almost straight away that her English boyfriend Reeve Maxfield has died, but we don’t know any of the circumstances surrounding his death. On the first day, she finds out that she has been enrolled in the Special Topics in English course, her roommate is envious and tells her that only a handful of students get chosen for this each year.

Each student in Special Topics in English is given a journal and this is where strange things start to happen. Each student goes back to the traumatic event that they experienced before it happened, so for Jam that means that shecan be with Reeve again. It sounds ideal, but it forces each of them to question what really happened in each situation with unimaginable consequences.

Each character is so well formed that I felt like I knew them. I particularly liked Mrs Quenell’s character and thought that she knew more than she let on. This is such a fascinating read, I loved it.

Belzhar is an amazing read that is quite unlike anything I have read before. This is a book with surprises around every corner and I found that the ending was totally unexpected.

5 stars

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

Black Ice Blog Tour – Trailer and Win a Black Ice Goodie Bag

06.10.2014
08:39

Black Ice cover

I am thrilled to be hosting the Black Ice blog tour. As part of the tour, here is the link to the amazing Black Ice trailer:

http://bit.ly/BlackIceUncutTrailer

To celebrate the publication of Becca Fitzpatrick’s hot new thriller, Black Ice, Simon & Schuster has set up a blog tour with a twist. To be in with a chance of winning a Black Ice goodie bag, all you have to do is visit each of the five blogs in the banner over the course of this week.

Each blog will have one question associated with its content. Take the first letter from the answer of each of those questions to reveal the identity of a character in Black Ice. For example if the answers each day were Log, Under, Chilling, Idaho and Emergency the final answer would be LUCIE.

When you have the name of the character, please send your answer to blackice@simonandschuster.co.uk with the subject header BLACK ICE BLOG TOUR. Entries will close at midnight on Wednesday 15th October.

Today’s question is below:

What one word appears in the newspaper cutting at the beginning of the trailer?

You can follow the blog tour tomorrow at www.havebookwillread.com

Review of Cinderella’s (Not So) Ugly Sisters by Gillian Shields and Berengere Delaporte

03.10.2014
12:15

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Cinderella’s (Not So) Ugly Sisters is the story of what the ugly sisters were really like and it is a lot different to the classic tale. In this re-telling, we see Cinderella as the naughty spoilt girl with a bad fairy godmother who answers her every whim. The ugly sisters are really called Winifred and Prudence and they live with their mother, Widow Fairpenny, in a pretty little cottage called Fairpenny Cottage. The sisters’ are in awe of Ella and think she is beautiful. However, when her father marries their mother things aren’t quite what they seem – especially beautiful Ella.

This is a great re-telling of Cinderella, which we really enjoyed. The illustrations are fantastic and bring the story to life. It is a must for all fairytale fans.

Thank you to Macmillan for sending us a copy to review.

The Maze Runner: 8 Days to Go! Review and Giveaway

02.10.2014
08:14

MR Cover

I am super excited to be hosting the blog tour for The Maze Runner by James Dashner. The Maze Runner will be released as a film in only 8 days time on the 10th October.

We have a signed copy of the classic edition of the book to giveaway. To enter, re-tweet this post or leave a comment below. Open to UK residents only. Closes on 10th October 2014.

Summary from Goodreads:
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Review:
The Maze Runner is fantastic read, full of suspense and twists and turns.

Thomas wakes up in a lift and can only remember his name, he is also surrounded by other boys who also have no memory. Soon he discovers that the are all trapped in the Glade, a terrifying place surrounded by a maze full of creatures known as Grievers. There seems to be no escape. Then, someone new arrives. A girl and things start to change. Alot.

I absolutely loved this action packed book and highly recommend it as one of the most gripping books I have read this year. The cliffhanger ending has left me desperate to know what will happen next.

The Maze Runner out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House) and the link to the trailer on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwwbhhjQ9Xk as well.

You can follow the blog tour tomorrow at Fiction Fascination.

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Blog Tour: Iron Sky – Dread Eagle by Alex Woolf

30.09.2014
20:04

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I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Iron Sky: Dread Eagle today. Here is a post by David Saliriya on the creation and design of the book…

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The Creation and Design of the Iron Sky: Dread Eagle. David Salariya

Alex Woolf has already written his brilliant futuristic series Chronosphere for us. Alex has an amazing knowledge of history and is well known for his historical writing. I discussed the idea with him that we would like a set of three novels in the Steampunk genre, featuring an independently minded aviatrix as one of the central characters amidst a theme of war, spies and a great deal of machinery. Alex has created an alternative history set in 1845, where Napoleon has won the Battle of Waterloo and the two great Empires, Britain and France, are still engaged in a bloody war. Napoleon is in the process of building a secret weapon-a massive war machine-with the intention of invading Great Britain. The aviatrix character became the engaging Lady Arabella West, one of a crack team of fliers, the Sky Sisters, who each have their own steam carriages. Lady Arabella has an unforgettable sidekick, the steam-powered robot named Miles.

I envisaged the books in this series, to be beautiful objects that the reader would want to keep. I wanted the cover design, the paper, the binding, the illustrations and the typeface for the cover and text to make up an interesting whole that would stand out in the bookshops and online. The design must grab the attention without being distracting. A book should feel good in the hand and present well to the eye. So, of course, this Steampunk book had to be published in hardback, with embossed cloth boards, a dust jacket, tail bands, endpapers, a colour plate and four full-colour double-sided gatefolds.

The elegant Cochin font family has been used throughout the book as the main text; it has many oddities and eccentricities which make it highly appropriate for a Steampunk novel. The design itself harks back to the 18th century although it was actually created in 1914 by the French designer Georges Peignot. The drop caps used on chapter openings have been custom designed to incorporate machine cogs.

From the list of great coal-and steam-powered machines in the books, Jonathan Salariya created 3D grayscale models that could be viewed from any angle. The wireframe models were used to make a short Iron Sky video. On completion of the models we then commissioned Mark Bergin to create artwork that looked like original drawings and plans, or blueprints, for these fantastic machines. The innovative design of the air galleons is a fusion of 18th-century sailing ships, Zeppelin airships and 1930s coal-powered engines.

The inspiration for the cover design and the gatefold illustrations comes from the lavishly illustrated Eagle comics, published between 1950 and 1969, and Look & Learn the children’s magazine published between 1962 and 1982. The Eagle was especially famous for its cutaway illustrations. Our cover illustration is by Matthew Laznicka.

Thanks, David.

You can follow the blog tour tomorrow at www.sisterspooky.co.uk

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Review of Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

25.09.2014
07:18

Black Ice cover

Britt Pfeiffer has quite happily let the men in her life protect her. First her dad and older brother, then boyfriend, Calvin. But she is out to change that and convinces her best friend, Korbie, to take a hiking trip for their spring break. Britt is convinced it will impress her ex Calvin who has spent half his life in the mountains. A freak storm hits as the girls are making their way up the mountain. They stumble on a remote cabin and they think they have been saved when two good-looking boys answer the door. Little do they know, they’ve just stepped into a world of trouble.

In the cabin, Mason and Shaun are wanted by the police. And they will exchange Britt’s life for their escape if she helps them off the mountain. She knows right off the bat that Shaun is dangerous. He has an unflinching and aggressive nature that shoots fear up her spine. But Mason…she can’t read. He seems angry and dangerous, but hints at something underneath that could make him a potential ally.

Armed with Calvin’s map he has spent years adding to, Britt uses what knowledge she has to try and get everyone out alive. The trio face bitter cold and unrelenting snow as they slowly trudge their way down. But something darker lurks in the forest and everything Britt thinks she knows is about to be shot to smithereens.

Okay, it just has to be said right away, that this book is amazing. Absolutely amazing. I loved Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series and this is so different but still brilliant.

Britt is a remarkable character. I liked her straight away and really felt for her. Here is a girl who has been sheltered her entire life but makes the decision to step out of her comfort zone…okay, it’s to impress a boy, it becomes the catalyst that will change her entire life. Korbie…I could have left on that mountain if I’m being honest. And Mason…he’s harder than rubix cube to solve but that was half the fun.

Black Ice is nothing like I thought it would be. It was pulse-pounding and pretty agonising to read as I chewed on my fingernails. Seriously, it was the kind of book where I had to force myself to stop reading otherwise it would be a 4 a.m. job until I finished it.

Reviewed by Pamela.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.

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