Blog Tour Review: Curse of the Werewolf Boy Chris Preistly

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour for Curse of the Werewolf Boy by Chris Preistly. Thank you to Faye and Bloomsbury for asking me to be part of it!


Onto the review 😊 


In this book, Chris Preistly tells the story of Mildew and Sponge as they set about solving some unusual mysteries at their boarding school Maudlin Towers, the most important of which is the disappearance of the school spoon. 

It was absolutely madcap and worked really well as a spoof on classic boarding school stories. I liked Chris Priestly’s own illustrations throughout as they often
helped me visualise certain parts of the story, and his dry, witty narrative voice. 
I also enjoyed the characters. I loved the banter between Mildew and Sponge especially, and their conversations with the other boys they live with. A lotof the teachers were really fun too. I particularly liked Mr Luckless and Mr Stupendo.

The mysteries were silly, and quite sweet, but I actually didn’t see a couple  of the reveals I predicted, and I think this would be an excellent starter mystery for younger readers. I really loved the time travelling section of the book where Mildew and Sponge venture to the future, and I also liked the ending. 

I did find this a bit slow paced in places and not all of the jokes appealed to my personal sense of humour, but it’s definetely one to look out for next Halloween if you enjoy time travelling adventures. 

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom¬laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?

Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

Website: http://www.chrispriestleybooks.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/crispriestley 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrispriestleywriter/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherpriestley/

Thank you for reading? What did you think of this book? Who were your favourite characters? 

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx 


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Blog Tour: Lari Don’s Favourite Myths

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome Lari Don as part of her blog tour for the phenomenal Spellchasers trilogy. I hope you’ll enjoy reading her post as much as I did!


I love the old stories. I love myths, legends, fairy tales and folktales. I love them so much I want to rub them with my sleeve and make them shiny and new (just like Aladdin’s lamp…) 

I try to make them new in two ways:

I retell them, out loud to audiences and in books. When I retell traditional tales, I quite openly tweak or change or rip them apart (because oral stories have always been changed by storytellers, that’s how they evolve.) 

I also make the old stories new by taking little snippets of magic and monsters and bouncing off them to create fictional adventures of my own. 

As a child, I loved dragon stories. Dragons are the perfect magical monster. The size! The fire! The teeth! The wings! And there are dragon stories from all over the world, so you can travel round the globe from dragon tale to dragon tale. 

Favourite dragon story: The Laidly Wyrm (from North of England, about a girl who is cursed to turn into a dragon) 

The first connected series of stories I discovered were the Greek myths, with all that family drama, and all those wonderful creatures like centaurs and minotaurs, which made me want to create my own mix and match monsters with scissors and glue…

Favourite Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur (how to defeat the monster in the maze)

I also grew up loving shapeshifter stories, because Scottish folklore is filled with shapeshifters, like the kelpie (an underwater monster who can become human or horse to lure children to the water) and the selkie (who can be human or seal, and is often forced to stay on land when an unscrupulous fisherman hides her sealskin) 

Favourite shapeshifter story: The Tale of Tam Linn (from the Scottish Borders, about a boy stolen by the Fairy Queen) 

As I read more widely, I fell in love with the Viking myths. These are the myths that speak to me most clearly, possibly because they’re set in harsh rocky winter, rather than Mediterranean sunlight. I love the stories of Fenrir the wolf, Kara the Swan Warrior, and Ragnar Shaggy-Breeks. 

Favourite Viking myth: The Death of Baldur (the story I tell most often to 11 year olds…) 

I’m always searching for my favourite stories of all: stories with strong female protagonists. My quest for girls who defeat their own monsters has so far led me to Inanna the Sumerian goddess of love and war, to Nana Miriam the Nigerian girl who defeated a fire-breathing hippo, to Chi the Chinese girl who defeated a seven-headed dragon, and to many more… 

Favourite heroine story: Tale of Tam Linn again! (Because the Scottish boy who was stolen by the fairy queen, was saved by a girl called Janet)

All these traditional tales inspire my adventure novels. For example, there are dragons, centaurs and minotaurs in the Fabled Beast Chronicles. 

And my new Spellchasers trilogy is filled with shapeshifters, with characters who relish their power to change into horses and crows, and characters who are trapped as toads and hares. The biggest villain in the trilogy is inspired by a mix of Sumerian and Egyptian mythology, and the curse-lifting workshop at the heart of the book has a sphinx as a pupil.

And all my adventure books contain strong girls (as well as strong boys, and intermittently useful magical animals…) 

I love the old stories. I love writing new stories inspired by the magic of the old tales. And when the new stories are written, I settle back down and lose myself in the old stories again. I wonder what story I will rub with my ragged sleeve next… 

About the Author


Lari Don is a full-time children’s writer and storyteller. She grew up in the North East of Scotland and now lives in Edinburgh. She writes in her garden shed, helped by purring cats and hindered by lurking spiders. Lari has written more than 20 books, including adventure novels, picture books and retellings of traditional tales.  She can be found on Twitter @LariDonWriter or at http://www.laridon.co.uk

The Spellchasers trilogy is available and out now.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite myths? Do you love retellings of them? What are your favourites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Amy xxx

BLOG TOUR: Firelines by Cara Thurlbourn Spotlight

Hello everybody!

Today I’m part of the blog tour for Firelines by Cara Thurlbourn, and I’m going to be giving you some information about the book and Cara herself.

Let’s get started!

SYNOPSIS
WHEN YOUR BLOOD LINE AWAKENS, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN FAMILY AND FREEDOM?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.

But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
 
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. ‘Fire Lines’ is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old.

Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University. 

She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.

Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.

You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: http://www.firelines.co.uk

BOOK INFO

Release Date: 26th September 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Bewick Press

Format: Paperback

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35581157-fire-lines 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fire-Lines-Cara-Thurlbourn-ebook/dp/B075FTR12K

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear what you thought of this book in the comments!

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Blog Tour Review: Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren 

Hello everybody! 

Today, I’m incredibly excited to be part of the blog tour for Ruth Lauren’s Prisoner of Ice and Snow. I read this back in July, and I’ve been super excited for today ever since, as I really couldn’t have loved it very much more! Huge, HUGE thanks to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for allowing me to be part of this tour!

Let’s get onto the review!

*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

In her debut novel, Ruth Lauren transports us to the wintry kingdom of Demidova, where we meet heroine Valor, who has got herself put into prison so she can break her sister out.
Valor is a fantastic character as I really rooted for her, and I also love the supporting cast of the other prisoners who joined the escape attempt as they all felt well rounded and fairly unique, which isn’t always the case with ensemble casts. The book also featured some absolutely chilling villains.

This is super fast paced (and quite a short book), and there was almost constant action that made me want to keep turning the pages. There were some major twists and turns, and they’ll leave you not quite sure of which characters you can trust. 

As well as excellent characters and plotting, the worldbuilding is exceptional. Demidova felt multi faceted and I loved it as a fantasy world.

Finally, I thought the actual writing was brilliant. It struck the perfect balance for me of good prose/exciting imagery and keeping the plot advancing.

I’m unbelievably excited for the sequel to this next year, as it’s by far one of my favourite books this year. 

5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Summary:

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.
No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …
An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable
About the author

Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you planning to read it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Blog Tour Guest Post- Mark Powers, Author of Spy Toys’s Top 5 Villians

Hello everyone!

Today I’m hugely excited to be hosting a guest post as part of Mark Powers’s blog tour for his 2nd book, Spy Toys: Out of Control. Huge thanks to Faye Rogers for inviting me to be part of this tour and also to Mark for this amazing guest post all about villains, several of whom terrify me too!

Over to Mark!

Top 5 Villains

Why do we love villains so much? Is it because they allow us safely to indulge the nastier impulses in our own nature? – the part of us that enjoys seeing hipster waiters trip and fall beard-first into their plates of pulled pork, or the part that makes our hearts sing at the sight of a small child being drenched in puddle water by a passing van. I had great fun inventing villains for my Spy Toys books – including an evil human/elephant hybrid and a megalomaniacal unicorn – and to celebrate our BFFs (Best Fiends Forever), I now present my top 5 list of fictional villains.

5) Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

I do like a good double-act of blundering baddies and this duo of despicable damsels is a prime example. Vain, cruel, violent and blustering, they make young James’s life an absolute misery. PG Wodehouse once famously observed that “aunts aren’t gentlemen” and no truer word was spoken of this pair of revolting relatives.

4) The Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss

If there’s one thing that villains hate, it’s the sound of good people enjoying themselves and Dr Seuss’s grumpy Grinch (whose heart is “two sizes too small”) is driven potty by the seasonal festivities of his neighbours down in Whoville – so much so that he sets out to ruin Christmas for everyone. We all know a killjoy a bit like the Grinch. If you don’t know who it is in your circle of friends, it’s you.

3) Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

JKR has given us several memorable villains but supply-teacher-from-hell Dolores Umbridge is for me one of the cruellest, slimiest, most vindictive characters ever committed to paper. And that ghastly, little-girly fondness for kittens. Ugh.

2) That Space Bat Angel Dragon thing from The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

I don’t know what this thing is but it scares the heck out of me.

1) The Big Bad Wolf from various fairytales

I’ll come straight out and say I admire this guy. He’s the hardest working baddie in all of literature. And his villainy always proves some instructive point. One minute he’s a brave whistleblower drawing attention to woeful standards in the pig housing construction industry. The next he’s chasing teenage hoodies out of our National Forests. And still he has time to warn snotnose kids about the dangers of prank false alarms. Someone should give this wolf a medal. Seriously.

The second book in Mark Powers’s SPY TOYS series, SPY TOYS: OUT OF CONTROL is out now and available at all good bookshops and online. Find him on Twitter: @mpowerswriter

I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did! I’d love to hear about a few of your favourite villains in the comments 😊

Amy xxx 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Toy Story meets James Bond in the second book of this incredible action-packed series!

Fresh from the success of their first mission, our heroes the Spy Toys – Dan the Snugaliffic Cuddlestar bear, Arabella the Loadsasmiles Sunshine Doll and Flax the custom-made police robot rabbit – are ready for their next task. This time, the secret code that controls every Snaztacular Ultrafun toy has been stolen and all over the world toys are revolting and turning against the children who own them. 

Can Arabella disguise herself as a super-sweet little doll in order to find out more from the daughter of Snaztacular’s top scientist? Can Dan and Flax chase down Jade the Jigsaw, the puzzling prime suspect for the robbery? And can they save the day before the mind-controlled toys forget what it means to play nice?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Mark Powers has been making up ridiculous stories since primary school and is slightly shocked to find that people now pay him to do it. As a child he always daydreamed that his teddy bear went off on top secret missions when he was at school, so a team of toys recruited as spies seemed a great idea for a story. He grew up in north Wales and now lives in Manchester. His favourite animals are the binturong, the aye-aye and the dodo. http://www.spytoysbooks.com

Blog Tour: Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington

Hello everybody!

Today I’m really excited to share a guest post from Laurel Remington, author of The Secret Cooking Club and Confetti and Cake. Thank you so much to Jazz at Chicken House for allowing me to be part of the blog tour for the book. If you’d like to chdck out the other posts, here’s where to find them 😊

Over to Laurel!

I’m delighted that my second book with Chicken House, The Secret Cooking Club: Confetti & Cake, was published last week. The book is a sequel to The Secret Cooking Club, my debut children’s novel, and winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2015.

Confetti & Cake is a standalone book, but for those who read the first book, it follows the further adventures of Scarlett, her mum, and her friends who are members of The Secret Cooking Club. In this book, Scarlett now has her own blog and runs The Secret Cooking Club Online, and her mum’s ‘tell-all’ blog that used to embarrass Scarlett has been turned into an inspirational blog for parents.

It was interesting to explore how Scarlett’s life has been transformed on the outside – to the world, she is a confident young girl with a vibrant personality and a bold online presence – whereas in reality, she is still a little shy and has a lot of self doubts. In other words, no matter what her social media presence says about her, in real life she is a normal girl.

In a way, I lived a little bit of what Scarlett experienced over the last year since The Secret Cooking Club was published. I had the privilege of getting to meet a lot of young readers during school visits. They made me feel very welcome, and almost like a celebrity sometimes! But giving a talk in front of so many young people was a bit daunting, especially at first. I suppose it’s because children are generally a lot more honest than adults, and haven’t had all the years of experience learning to hide their feelings. That’s what makes it so exciting to write for young readers. They definitely keep you on your toes!

I hope that Scarlett’s situation may help other young people to see that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, not what someone may broadcast to the world on social media. It’s easy to look on Facebook and Twitter and imagine that everyone else is living the perfect life – and maybe feel a little bit bad about ourselves as a result. Scarlett has a bit of the opposite dilemma – after building herself up as The Little Cook and inspiring others, she secretly wants them to know that she still has problems too, and is just like them. In today’s world, sometimes we can feel like we have a split personality – online and real life. Scarlett learns that at the end of the day, it’s a luxury to be able to tell the truth and be herself.

Laurel Remingtons new book, Confetti & Cake, is out now. Laurels first childrens book, The Secret Cooking Club, was the winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2015, and has inspired many young readers to try their hand at cooking and baking. She lives in Surrey, UK with her partner and three daughters.

Thank you all so much for reading everyone! I’d love to hear what you think of Laurel’s books if you’ve read them, and also just for fun, your favourite cake/biscuits! Personally I don’t like cake, but I’m partial to a choc chip cookie or a Bourbon 😊. Let me know yours in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

Amy xxx