Blog Tour Review: Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

Hello everybody! Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend, the debut middle grade from social media superstar Lizzie Huxley-Jones, who brightens up my feed every single day. Onto the post!

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Disability and Friendship by Courtney Smyth

Hello everybody! Today, for my last post of May, I have a great piece from upcoming debut author of the Undetectables, Courtney Smyth. They’ve written about disability and friendship, which isn’t discussed nearly enough. Onto the post!

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Author Interview with Jenny Ireland

Hello everybody! Today, I’m so thrilled to finally be bringing you another post as part of my #AreYouWithUs initiative, which will now likely continue into June as I just haven’t been able to fit everything I have planned into May. Today is an interview with 2023 debut author Jenny Ireland, who wrote one of my favourites of the year so far. Onto the post!

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Blog Tour Guest Post: Welcome to Dead Town, Raven

Hello everybody! Today, we have yet another blog tour, and this time it’s for MG debut Welcome to Dead Town, Raven Mckay, a gothic novel I can’t wait to read. I have a guest post from the fabulous author to show you, and it’s about writing villains. Onto the post!

I enjoy creating creepy characters. They form in my imagination and they become different shades of dark until they spring into being. I always like to end up with something as dark and delicious as Black Forest gateau. Some of my eerie characters are inspired by Irish folklore and mythology: a white lady, a murderous redcap, a ghoul, a shapeshifting werewolf, a bogeyman, banshees, zombies, a selkie, a druid. I have put some of my favourite baddies in Dead Town and I’ve had such fun writing their parts. I really feel I know them well. I sort of miss them. But I know they’ll always be in the pages of my book. Callie is a white lady. A female ghost with long white hair in a white dress. She can appear during the day or night. One look from her and you might die the following day. The red cap is a very nasty goblin, who kill children with a knife and dips his cloak in their blood. The Pooka is the most feared fairy. A shapeshifter that appears in my book as a dark sleek horse with a flowing mane and golden eyes. I make sure that all my creepy baddies have traits that are found in real people: jealousy, greed, betrayal, vengeance, insincerity. We all encounter friends and frenemies at different stages of our life. There are good and dark forces in life. We all have to use our head and heart to overcome these challenges. But Grave’s Pass isn’t an ordinary town. Raven McKay is a vulnerable foster girl. She is longing for friendship and a sense of home. She encounters an array of characters in Dead Town and is unsure who to trust. This adds to the spooky mystery and mayhem.

Thank you so much for reading! Are you planning to pick this up, or have you done so already? What’s your favourite spooky story? I’d love to have a chat in the comments!

Amy xx

Blog Tour Review: The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams by Victoria Williamson and illustrated by James Brown

Hello everybody! Today, I have a review of the newest release by Victoria Williamson, an author I’ve always enjoyed in the past. Onto the post!

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Blog Tour Extract: The Thief of Farrowfell by Ravena Guron

Hello everybody! Today, I have another blog tour post for you, and this time it’s an extract from Ravena Guron’s debut middle grade The Thief of Farrowfell. Onto the post!

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Blog Tour Review: Son of the Sea by Richard Pickard

Hello everybody, and welcome to a very busy week of blog posts! To kick off, we have a review of Richard Pickard’s new book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Onto the post!

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Small Bites Back Blog Tour: Why it’s Time to Drop the Term ‘Reluctant Reader’ by Hannah Moffatt

Hello everybody! Today, I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Small Bites Back, a vampiric MG comedy I’m very excited to get to soon. I have a brilliant post from author Hannah Moffat for you, which I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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Away With Words Blog Tour: Guest Post and Review!

Hello everybody! Today, I have a blog tour post for you, with both my review of the book and a guest post from author Sophie Cameron. Onto the post!


A new Sophie Cameron book is always such a treat, and her newest upper middle grade/teen novel is no exception. It follows a girl named Gala, who has had to move from Spain to Scotland because of her dad’s relationship with Ryan, who also happens to be a teacher at the new school, where she’s struggling to settle in. Then she meets a girl named Natalie (who is selectively mute) and things start to look up, until an anonymous bully begins to torment her class, and Gala is accused of being the perpetrator.

Gala is a wonderful character, and I think it’s impossible not to sympathise with how lost and alone she feels starting a new school, in a new country, where she has to speak in a language that isn’t her mother tongue. I studied languages (specifically French and Spanish) at university, so I find it fascinating, and I loved the emphasis placed on the beauty and complexity of words in this story.

On a similar note, I loved the slightly speculative element of words people say being visible in the air, and them all having correlating colours etc. It’s just a phenomenal idea and Sophie wrote about it so beautifully. The inclusion of LGBTQ rep in the form of Gaia’s dad and Ryan also made me really happy, because we need more of this in fiction, to refle the many forms families can take. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and as ever, can’t wait for Sophie’s next book! And now, for the far more exciting part where you get to hear from Sophie!

Kids’ books featuring same-sex parents

My new book Away With Words is about an 11-year-old girl named Gala who moves from Catalonia, Spain to Scotland with her dad, to live with his boyfriend, Ryan, who is also a PE teacher at her new school. While Gala initially resents Ryan for being the reason she has to move away from her friends and family, he’s a great step-dad and she soon comes to accept him as a vital part of their family (along with his dogs, Celine and Dion).

LGBTQ+ representation is really important to me – my first three books have queer main characters, but Away With Words is my first to feature same-sex parents. My wife and I have three-year-old twins, so I’m always on the lookout for books that show a wide variety of families. While it’s still relatively difficult to find stories featuring same-sex parents (and much harder to find books with trans ones), there is a growing number of great titles featuring queer families for readers of all ages.

Here are some of my favourites:

Bedtime, Not Playtime & Early One Morning by Lawrence Schimel, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa.

These sweet and simple picture books feature small kids and their pets in typical family scenes – a reluctant bedtime and a chaotic breakfast. One features a little girl with two dads, another a boy with two mums, though they’re sure to speak to any families with little ones.

The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant

This brilliant picture book is about Billy, a young boy who just wants his pirate-obsessed mums to be normal – until they get into trouble on the high seas. My three-year-olds love this book and it was the first time they recognised a family like ours in a story, which was lovely to see.

The Last Firefox by Lee Newbery

This fun and fast-paced fantasy story stars Charlie, a boy who finds a mythical “firefox” and is tasked with keeping him safe – and hidden from his two dads. It’s lovely to see a middle grade story where a two-dad family is just part of the backdrop to the adventure, and it also touches on adoption too. The sequel, The First Shadowdragon, just came out in April.

Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt

Sarah Hagger-Holt’s excellent second middle grade novel features “almost twins”, a boy and girl who have two mums and the same donor dad. Josh is desperate to find out more about his biological father, while Becky begins to realise she may have a crush on the new girl at school. Donor conception is a topic that’s affecting more and more children, so it’s great to see a book that explores it.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

One of the queens of YA fiction, Becky Albertalli writes great contemporary stories with very likeable, relatable characters. This is her second novel and is about 17-year-old Molly, who has two mums, a twin sister, and a long line of unrequited crushes.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

HIV is rarely touched on in YA fiction, which makes Full Disclosure such an important read. It focuses on an adopted, HIV-positive teenage girl with two dads navigating friendships and relationships while she tries to keep her diagnosis hidden at school.

I hope over the next few years we’ll see more families with same-sex parents cropping up in children’s books, and also more diversity within that dynamic – more same-sex parents of colour and/or who are disabled, for example. I’m glad to have contributed a small piece to the collection with Away With Words and I hope that it reaches some readers with similar families to Gala’s.

Thank you so much for reading! Which books with same sex parents would you recommend? Have you read any of Sophie’s choices, or indeed any of her amazing books? I’d love to have a chat in the comments!

Amy xx

Ten Books on My #AreYouWithUs TBR This Month!

Hello everybody! Today, for the first #AreYouWithUs post, of which I hope there shall be many amongst standard ones this month, I’m bringing you a little TBR post about some of my hopeful reads (again, alongside other things, and there are more disability rep books I hope to pick up as well). Anyway, onto the post!

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