Blog Tour: The Cost of Living – Rachel Ward

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After a young woman is brutally attacked on her way home from the local supermarket, checkout girl Bea is determined to find out who’s responsible. She enlists the help of Ant, the seemingly gormless new trainee – but can she really trust him? Customers and colleagues become suspects, secrets are uncovered, and while fear stalks the town, Bea risks losing the people she loves most.

Now read an interview with author Rachel Ward!

1. For those that haven’t read The Cost of Living, can you tell us a bit about it?

The Cost of Living is a detective story with a difference. It is set in and around a fictional supermarket and my ‘detectives’ are Bea, a smart checkout girl, and Ant, a seemingly gormless new trainee. It’s at the cosy end of the crime spectrum, although there is still some darkness in there.

2. What inspired you to write the book?

I started with my main characters. Bea wandered into my head first. I knew what she looked like and where she worked and it occurred to me that all human life passes through a supermarket and it was rich material for a book. I’d wanted to try a detective story for ages and the two things just came together.

3. You’ve written books in several different genres, did you feel in any major differences writing The Cost of Living versus Numbers/The Drowning?

For some reason writing The Cost of Living was much easier than writing all my YA books, except Numbers. I think with both of these books I was writing without any expectations, just telling myself the story. With a crime book there are certain conventions (at the very least you need a crime near the beginning and some sort of resolution at the end), which I enjoyed playing with.

4. What was the writing process like for the book, did it take you long to complete?

This was a new process for me. For the first time I sent it chapter by chapter to my husband’s kindle. He gave me feedback on each chapter and was keen to receive the next instalment. This continued when he had to live in hospital waiting for a heart transplant. It was a rather wonderful thing, actually. The book took just under a year to write, with a few breaks for other writing and domestic upheaval. I’m continuing with the writing in instalments process for my next book. So far his feedback has been positive!

5. When coming up with new characters how do you go about it? Are they based around people in your life or completely creative?

I try not to base characters on people that I know, although occasionally they sneak in. Sometimes I go shopping for characters by deliberately observing people when I am out and about, noting down appearances, clothes, etc. on my phone if I think they might be useful. I also get inspiration from tv programmes, especially reality and talent shows, the news and films.

6. Now that The Cost of Living is about to be released, what are you working on next?

I’m about halfway through a sequel. I’ve got quite a few plots in mind for Ant and Bea and I hope I get the chance to write them.

7. The cover for The Cost of Living is really striking! Did you have any input into the overall cover design?

I love the cover! It really sums up the book for me, both the content and the tone. It was designed by the very talented David Wardle, commissioned by Sandstone Press, my lovely publisher. They did show me an early design and asked for my feedback. All I could really do was gasp and go ‘Wow, I love it!’

8. Finally can you recommend us a good book you’ve read recently?

Oooh, I mostly read crime these days and the series I’ve enjoyed recently is by Jorn Lier Horst, a Norwegian writer and former police investigator. I’ve rattled through all his William Wisting books that have been translated so far and am eagerly waiting for more. Taking a break from crime, I read Ready Player One. I had bought it for my son, who is a gamer, and he loved it and insisted that I read it. I can see why – it’s a cracking story, believable, authentic and exciting.

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Blog Tour: Fire Lines – Cara Thurbourn

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Release Date: September 26th 2017
Publisher: Bewick Press
Pages: 294
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon. 

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?

Review:

Welcome to my stop on the Fire Lines blog tour, run by the lovely A Daydreamer’s Thoughts. Fire Lines is a lush story in a fantastic magical setting, and one of the things I most enjoyed about this book was the excellent world building. The magick and history were all very well laid out, and really helped to centre the reader in the midst of the story.

Emi and the rest of the cast are also really likeable characters, and it wasn’t hard to become completely absorbed by their story. They are well rounded and developed – you root for Emi almost from the get go, and there’s plenty of exciting moments to keep you reading along the way. I also think that cover is fantastic, it’s really eye-catching and I can’t wait to buy a physical copy to have on my shelves.

I did feel some parts of the story were a little slow, particularly in the early chapters of the book, but once everything kicks off towards the latter half of the book, I definitely found the book hard to put down. It was engaging, well written and had plenty of the magic and mystery that YA fantasy fans will love.

I really enjoyed Fire Lines and really enjoyed seeing the different cultures and groups that live outside the wall. It’s a really exciting read and if you’re looking for a new YA fantasy series, this is definitely not going to be one to miss. I for one am now desperately waiting for book two!

Thanks for checking out my stop on the Fire Lines blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops below!

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Blog Tour: Prisoner of Ice and Snow – Ruth Lauren

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Release Date: September 7th 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 288
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads. 
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book for this blog tour.

Synopsis:

 

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.

Review:

This is a beautifully written story about the friendship between two sisters. It’s an engaging, enjoyable story, and one I think a lot of people will really love. The plot is full of twists and turns and has that perfect blend of action and plot that fantasy fans will just love.

The main character Valor is a brave, determined young lady, and she’ll do anything to help her sister – even commit a crime. I admired her strength and courage, she’s a wonderful leading lady and I think she would be a fantastic role model for younger children reading A Prisoner of Ice and Snow. There are a few smaller characters that I would like to get to know as well as Valor, but perhaps that will come along later in the series.

The prison that Valor and her sister end up in is certainly a horrible one, and they depictions of the different settings – most notably the prison – is certainly vivid and well laid out. At only two hundred and eighty eight pages the book is quite a quick read, but there is plenty to keep you guessing and  wanting more. If you’re looking for a fun enjoyable MG fantasy, Prisoner of Ice and Snow is definitely a book to pick up. I for one am particularly looking forward to seeing what’s next in store for the series!

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Blog Tour: House of Spines – Michael J Malone


Release Date: August 16th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Pages: 276
Source: I was kindly sent a copy of this book by the publisher for this blog tour.
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.

Synopsis:

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

Review:

What a wonderful creepy psychological thriller this book is! This book was another one of those sitting in the same spot for hours on end because I just couldn’t seem to put it down. This book is a fantastic Gothic novel that on several occasions definitely had me looking over my shoulder. It was a gripping read from start to finish, and it constantly kept me guessing (and terrified.)

One of the things I loved about this book is the setting. Newton Hall is this vast old mansion, exploring this big empty house that seems to be full to the brim with secrets. I also love that the book is set in Glasgow, as I grew up just outside there and it’s nice to read books set in a familiar place. The book is well paced, and as the story continues on, that tense feeling of unease definitely racks up more and more. The family history is also plotted really carefully and makes the book feel all the more realistic for the preciseness of the history and knowledge of the characters.

It reminded me a lot of the old Gothic novels I studied at University, with Rand as the unreliable narrator. Is it real or is he imagining it? The writing is really superb, and I definitely have plenty of vivid images in my head while I read House of Spines. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I am now very eager to read some of his other works too.

House of Spines really is a fantastic read. It keeps you hooked from the get go, and definitely makes you question what you know is real. The detail in the book is beautiful and I am going to be recommending this book to everyone I know.


Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

32601841Release Date: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 290
Source: I was lucky to pick up an early copy at YALC!
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.

Synopsis:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Review:

This is easily one of my favourite books of 2017. (I know I’ve said that a lot this year, 2017 has been a fabulous year for books after all). But honestly, I can’t reccommend this book highly enough. I’d heard some of the buzz about it on social media, and so when it was announced that people attending this years Young Adult Literature Convention would be able to buy early copies, I jumped at the chance.

This was my first outing into a book by Lauren James, but I’m now eager to read all her other books too. This book is superbly written, enveloping you completely in the claustrophobic confines of space.

I just adored the premise of this book – Romy Silver has never been to Earth, she was born in space, but now she’s completely alone living in a space ship in search of a new Earth for future generations. I loved Romy, the girl who has dealt with so much in her young life, yet never actually set foot on the earth, had a sleepover or been around anyone her own age.

Romy is smart, stubborn and a fantastic protagonist. She might be the youngest Commander of a spaceship, but she also just kind of wants to obsess over her favourite TV series and write fan fiction. She’s relatable in so many ways, she’s a bit awkward and suffers from anxiety – I absolutely adored her.

The plot of this book is tense, and more than a little creepy and on several occasions I definitely felt the urge to gasp out loud. James drew me in hook line and sinker, and I loved every second of it.

I must admit I had sort of expected to read this over a few days, the short chapters being great to read over my lunch break at work. However after getting home from YALC I decided to read the first few chapters and by then I was completely sucked in and finished the book in one sitting.

If you’re looking for a tense, superbly written mystery, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is definitely the book to pick up this month.

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Feature: August Book Haul

How can it possibly be the end of August already? This month really has flown in. Even though I feel like it has been and gone in the blink of an eye, I still managed to buy more than a few books. Here they are:

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1. Perfect Ruin – Lauren De Stefano

I absolutely adore Lauren De Stefano’s series Wither. I’ve read it more than once and I still recommend it to people all the time. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that an author I loved had a whole other series that I hadn’t read. It sounds fantastic and so this was my first purchase for the month. I must say the copy I bought does not have a cover as eye catching as this one, but I’m still very excited to read it.

On the floating city, you can be anything you dream – a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker… Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There’s only one rule: you don’t approach THE EDGE. If you do, it’s already over.

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her at home: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or whom she will lose.

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2. The Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh

This is a book I’ve been hearing loads about amongst the book blogging community. I’ve seen loads of people post absolutely glowing reviews of it, and so when I saw it in the bookshop, I decided I definitely had to go and find out what all the fuss was about!

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
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3. The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game has been on my wishlist forever. I’ve been continually meaning to buy it because it sounds fantastic. I was given an Amazon Giftcard as a present recently, and so one of my purchases was this beauty!

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
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4. Dividing Even – Joelle Charbonneau

This was another Amazon purchase (I know) because my local Waterstones didn’t have it in stock. It sounds similar to Three Dark Crowns, and I’m hoping it will be a really gripping read!

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

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5. Spindle Fire/Winter Glass – Lexa Hillyer

Last month the horrific news event was the fire at Grenfell Tower. As I’m sure most of you know, many authors and publishers  attempted to do their bit to help the victims of this awful event by doing online auctions. I tried to bid as much as possible, and the auction that I won was for Lexa Hillyer’s book Spindle Fire and a proof of the sequel to Spindle Fire – Winter Glass. I was obsessed with Sleeping Beauty as a child and Spindle Fire has been on my wishlist since it came out in march, so I was really pleased to win the auction, and to contribute to the victims, even if only in a small way. 

A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.

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6. Proof of Forever – Lexa Hillyer

As part of the auction lot there was also a copy of Proof of Forever, Lexa’s first published novel. This sounds like a really fun and enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to get stuck in. She also kindly signed and personalised all three books, and they currently have pride of place on my bookshelf.

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

So those are the books I bought in August. What books did you buy? Have you read any of these, and if you have what did you think? Let me know!


Book Review: Done Dirt Cheap – Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Release Date: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads
Source: Abrams and Chronicle kindly sent me a copy of this to review

Synopsis:

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

Review:

Done Dirt Cheap was a book that really surprised me. I kind of expected a wild Son’s of Anarchy type of book full of biker gangs and crime, and while that was part of it, it was really so much more. The story of Tourmaline and Virginia and fascinating, two women sticking together despite the odds and defying the odds.

I thought the characters were really striking and they’re what kept me hooked the whole way though the story. Tourmaline dealing with her mother’s imprisonment and her father’s secretive nature, as well as the fact that he’s the president of a biker gang. Then there’s Virginia, who has no real family and has to work for the local drug dealer in order to get by. I loved that these two characters didn’t really have anything in common, but they formed a friendship and they stuck together, no matter how tough things got.

The book was fairly well paced, though I did feel it slowed down a little in the middle as Virginia and Tourmaline were trying to lie low. The ending did definitely have me on the edge of my seat, rooting for the two girls to succeed. The book has a very feminist style feel to it, with the two main protagonists taking action and going where they need to – they definitely don’t rely on the male characters to do their dirty work or save them.

I also really loved the setting, with the beautiful American summer and the gleaming motorbikes. It really came alive, and I got completely sucked into the setting from my dreary Edinburgh surroundings. It features really strong and fierce women and it has everything from crime and trickery to romance. If you’re looking for a fun fast summer read about the friendship between two fantastic female characters, Done Dirt Cheap is exactly what you’re looking for.


Feature: Liebster Award

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The lovely Katie at KatieJudgesBooks nominated me to do the Liebster Award Tag. I’ve never done this before so thank you so much Katie!

The rules

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Nominate 11 blogs.
4. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Katie’s Questions

1) Why and how did you start blogging?

I started blogging after attending my first ever WorldCon in London. I met lots of lovely publishers and they gave me proof copies of some of my favourite authors and suggested I try reviewing them, especially if I wanted to work in the publishing industry. I figured I would give it a go and I got hooked. After taking a year or two out of doing it, I’m back to blogging as much as possible.

2) Does it ever feel like work and how do you juggle all the other responsibilities?
I think if you have a lot on it really can be difficult. When I was studying I definitely found it difficult to juggle blogging, working and studying. If you’re passionate about it though you should stick with it!

3) Do you ever connect with authors/chat with them?
Sometimes, I’ve started to try and participate in the Twitter Chats hosted online, these are really fun and there’s usually plenty of authors taking part.

4) Do you like writing reviews and what do you do when you have to write a bad review?
I always find it difficult to write a bad review. I think you have to be really careful and make sure that your review is constructive, no matter if you loved or hated the book. Writing reviews that just slate a book are no use to anybody. I love writing reviews for books I absolutely adored, although they quickly become a two page rant on how awesome it was.

5) Do you do tags and all these things or do you just post reviews?
I try to do book hauls and discussion type posts every now and then, as well as guest post and author reviews. I haven’t really done any tags, but I definitely want to do more.

6) Do you schedule your posts in advance or just go with it and try to post as regularly as possible?
I schedule posts if I have an agreed date i.e a blog tour or a particular date a review needs to go up, otherwise I just try and post a few times every week.

7) Do all your friends read or are you friends with people who do not read?
Actually most of my friends aren’t big readers, I have one or two who are crazy bookworms which is great, but it’s nice to have friends with other interests too.

8) What do you feel like when watching the movie/series not following the book?
I used to get quite upset about this., I was always the sort of person that would be like “but that’s not in the book!” but then I did a module at university on books and adaptation, and my lecturer talked a lot about how the two mediums are completely different things, there are plenty of reasons that things from books get changed – it might not translate, it doesn’t go with the flow of the film, budget reasons etc. She suggested that if you take them as two completely separate things, you’ll enjoy it a lot more in the long run.

9) Your favourite book at any point of life?
Oh goodness. I have so many books that I love. My favourite book is still probably The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read it when I was younger and adored it, and I’ve read it countless times since. I also hold a special place for George R. R. Martin’s books, particularly Fevre Dream and the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I also pretty much adore anything by Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas.

10) Do you stick to one genre or do you read diverse books?
I do try and read diversely but I don’t think I’m very good at that. I love fantasy and science fiction books, so I tend to gravitate towards them, whether they’re adult or young adult doesn’t really bother me. I am also a big fan of historical fiction, crime thrillers and literary fiction, but I tend not to read them as often as I do fantasy books.

11) Did you like the books you had to read in school or not?
It’s funny because my English teacher at school estimated that I would probably fail at Higher (GCSE) level. I loved books, but not particularly the ones we studied in school. I loved Macbeth, but was never a fan books like To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies. Now as a grown up I love both of those books, and I got an A in English, so what did he know!

My 11 questions are:

1. What is your favourite thing about being a blogger?
2. Is there anything in particular that got you into blogging?
3. Do you attend author events? If so which authors have you met?
4. You’re stranded on a desert island with only three books. What do you take?
5. How do you keep track of your review books, do you have a schedule or just pick them up as you see them?
6. Who are your favourite book bloggers to read reviews from?
7. You’re having a dinner party, which authors do you invite?
8. What’s the best book (or books) you’ve read so far in 2017?
9. Do you take part in the Goodreads Challenge? How many books have you set yourself and are you on track?
10. What’s one book everyone seems to love but you just didn’t like?
11. What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation?

So I’d like to nominate these lovely bloggers, (I totally apologise if you’ve done this tag already!)

Grace @ City of Novels
Faye @ A Day Dreamers Thoughts
Abby @ Anne Bonny Reviews
Jo @ Over the Rainbow
Tiffani @ The Book Venom
Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek
The Maniacal Book Unicorn
Vanessa @ Postcards for Ariel
Nicola @ Fantastic Book Dragon
Chloe @ Chloe’s Cosy Corner
Rae @ A New Look On Books


Guest Post: Claire McFall

What Inspires Me

I talk a lot about finding inspiration for stories when I go out to schools and libraries and Ferryman_RGBtalk to you readers. The key thing I tell them is that inspiration can come from anywhere. Ferryman was inspired by a strange dream and the landscape I had to drive through on my long commute to school every day. Bombmaker was sparked by a Clive Owen film I saw called Children of Men. And Black Cairn Point was inspired by a camping trip my husband took me on. (What about Trespassers? Well… it was inspired by Ferryman! ) My point is, you can get that jolt of inspiration from anywhere and anything and anyone.

Other stories and other writers are definitely a source of inspiration.

One of the writers I admire the most is Malorie Blackman. I’ve talked before about how much I love Noughts & Crosses (Oh Callum, sigh), but that book is actually the start of a four-book series. Across the four books, Malorie Blackman manages to weave in a seamless development in the society the book is set in – where white people are the underclass and black people hold all the wealth and power – until, by the end of the fourth book, you can see real progress towards equality. This theme runs beautifully under four really exciting stories. It’s so clever.

A question I’m asked quite frequently whenever I do writer interviews is what book do you wish you’d written? The answer to that is Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip. It was a finalist in the Scottish Children’s Book Awards in 2010/2011 and I read it when I was taking part in the awards with one of my classes. It didn’t win in the end, but I loved it. The main character is a boy called Nick Geddes and he’s a bit of a bad lad. Not underneath, but no one really gets to see that. Male leads in YA fiction are much less Trespassers_RGBcommon, but what struck me was just how real the main character was – I could see echoes of lots of the boys I taught in his supposed hard-man manner. He was a thug with a heart and I loved him. I wish I’d created him.

Lastly, writers I really admire are those who can create a whole new world for me to enter. I read a lot of fantasy because I like escaping somewhere completely different. The best writers create not just people and places, but rich cultures that make the story seems so believable, I can imagine this world really does exist. The most famous example is J. R. R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, but more recently George R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has come to the fore. I also love The Iron Seas books by Meljean Brooks (adult content alert!) which are steampunk and so cool. Graceling by Kristin Cashore is another good (much more YA!) example. I’d love to have a go at high fantasy – creating my own world – someday, but I worry that I’ll struggle to think outside the box, that our world will be too ingrained in my head. I’m waiting for a really cool idea to strike, then I’m going to have a bash. Because you should always attempt something that scares you – otherwise how would you grow?

ClaireMcFallClaire McFall is a writer and a teacher who lives and works in the Scottish Borders. She is the author of paranormal thriller Black Cairn Point, winner of the inaugural Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2017. Her debut novel Ferryman won a Scottish Children’s Book Award, and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Branford Boase award. Her other books include dystopian thriller Bombmaker. Trespassers, the much-anticipated sequel to Ferryman, will be published on 14th September 2017.

 

Thanks so much to Claire for her fabulous guest post, and check back next week for a review of the stunning Ferryman!


Blog Tour: The Final Correction – Alec Birri

 

Release Date: July 28th 2017
Publisher: Troubadour Publishing
Pages: 273
Find it On: Amazon. Goodreads
Source: I was kindly sent a copy of this book by Bookollective for this blog tour.

Synopsis:

What if all brain disorders were treatable? No one would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex-offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be ‘corrected’?

So, Professor Savage has been unmasked as the monster Alex Salib always knew he was. But what was their agreement and why is she still determined to see it through? The war on terror appears to be back on track but why does President Kalten seem hell bent on ramping it up – are the Americans seriously intent on starting World War Three?

And what of the treatment itself? Despite Savage’s arrest, the ‘corrections’ go on but to what end? The laws of unintended consequences are about to cause a seismic shift in the very nature of our existence. But then our new masters know that and won’t let it happen until we’re ready…
…Ready to accept the unacceptable.

Review:

Welcome to my stop on The Final Correction blog tour, run by the lovely folks over at Bookollective! The Final Correction is the third book in the Condition series, ending a trilogy of mysterious medical thrillers. I really loved the premise, the idea that brain disorders were treatable. But it’s so much more than just treating brain disorders, those with thoughts that are not what society wants them to be – murderers, those with extreme views, their ‘brain disorders’ can also be treated. I think with the advancement of technology and how rapidly medicine is advancing this is quite a realistic premise, and as a result that made the book even more enjoyable because it felt infinitely possible.

As stated this is the third book in the series. I haven’t personally read the other two books, and this one can be read as a stand alone. After having read the book I do feel like I’d like to go back and read books one and two, because although I enjoyed the story I felt there were some things I had missed out on in the first parts of the series.

The one thing about this book is that it constantly surprised me. Just when I thought I knew where things were headed, they twisted off in another direction. It’s a really enjoyable story, and the more you read the more intrigued you get – as the reader you definitely want to know more. The book is well written and paced excellently, giving the reader time to comprehend the multi-layered plot that is going on. Although there aren’t too many characters, they are very well portrayed, showing plenty of depth and emotion.

After finishing the book I went to do a little research before I wrote my blog post and was stunned to find that this series is actually based on the authors own experience in command of a top secret government organisation. For me this made the book all the more frightening and realistic. If that doesn’t give you food for thought, I don’t know what will!

Thanks for checking out my stop on The Final Correction blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops listed on the banner above!