Blog Tour: Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley

Blog Tour: Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley

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Release Date:
1st March 2019
Publisher: Uclan Publishing
Pages: 424
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors into different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world . . . and only he can save it.

The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out . . .

Review

hjMonsters in the Mirror is a fun and fast paced adventure full of charming characters and exciting action. The story follows Darwen Arkwright, a young boy forced to move from England to Atlanta. As he struggles to find his place and understand his new life he discovers he has the ability to step through mirrors into completely different worlds. As he makes friends in this new world, he learns that a dark power is threatening to destroy it. Monsters in the Mirror is the first in an all new series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next instalment!

I really enjoyed my time reading Monsters in the Mirror. Darwen is the perfect protagonist – he’s dealing with his world being turned upside down as well as attempting to balance his normal life with his new found abilities. I liked seeing things from his perspective, particularly as he dealt with missing things from his life in England and made new friends and experiences in Atlanta. Darwen is surrounded by a whole host of interesting secondary characters that felt well fleshed out. There are some really interesting baddies in the story too which I adored.

I loved A. J. Hartley’s writing style and it was really easy to fall into this magical world that was full to the brim with excitement and adventure. The story is well plotted and touches on a variety of themes like friendship, finding your place and good overcoming evil.

Monsters in the Mirror is an exciting, well told story with memorable characters and a gorgeous cover. This is the perfect middle grade read and if you’re a fan of books like Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, this should definitely be your next read!
4 stars
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Waiting on Wednesday: Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

Waiting on Wednesday: Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

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Synopsis

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.

Thoughts

tunnelWelcome to another Waiting on Wednesday! This week I wanted to talk about Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab which is the second instalment in her Cassidy Blake series. Victoria Schwab is like a new found favourite author for me – I read a few of her books last year and loved them and I have the rest of them on my 2019 TBR. Middle grade is not something that I read very often but when I heard about Victoria Schwab’s ghost story set in Edinburgh I just had to pick up a copy – and I’m so glad I did because I enjoyed it so much and read it in one sitting. If you want to read my full review for the book you can check it out here. I ended up giving it five stars and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in the series. This time Cassidy is in Paris in the famous catacombs and I’m so excited because I loved the film As Above So Below – a horror film set in the same place. The first book was so creepy and fun and I’m sure Tunnel of Bones will be just as brilliant. The second instalment in the Cassidy Blake series is publishing September 5th from Scholastic Books.

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2018

BOOK REVIEW (83).pngToday for Top 10 Tuesday I’m talking about the authors that I read that were new to me in 2018. There were actually quite a few that I read and have become some of my favourite new authors and I’m so pleased that I have a back list of their books to read.

1. Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
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My number one has definitely got to be Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I read and devoured Illuminae and Gemina in 2018 and I also read Lifelik3 by Jay Kristoff and adored that too. I loved their high action space adventures and I’m honestly dying to read Aurora Rising already.

2. V. E. Schwabbook cover (54)
Despite owning a few of her books I’d never read any of them until 2018. I read Vicious and City of Ghosts and they were both five star reads. I thought they were expertly written and I couldn’t put them down and I’m so excited to jump into more of her work.

3. Holly Blackbook cover (13) 
This one is kind of cheating because I did read The Spiderwick Chronicles when I was little, but I honestly don’t remember much about them and couldn’t have told you who the author was at the time. In 2018 I read The Cruel Prince and like everyone else I absolutely fell in love. The Wicked King came out a week or so ago and I can confirm it will definitely be in my favourite books of 2019.

book cover (26)4. Jenny Han
I don’t read much in the way of contemporary so I had never heard the name Jenny Han until the release of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix adaptation. Fast forward a few weeks and I’d read the entire trilogy. Burn for Burn is on my January TBR so I think it’s safe to say she’s definitely a new favourite.

5. Kiersten WhiteUntitled design (18)
Kiersten White is an author I was quite familiar with though I’d never picked up any of her books. I read The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and it was one of my favourites of last year. I’m definitely looking forward to diving into more of her work and I have an e-ARC of Slayer waiting for me too!
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6. Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is another name I knew in the bookish community and I had bought a few of her books but they were somewhere in my mammoth TBR. I was kindly sent her Valkyrie duology and I could not put it down. She’s definitely become an author I want to read more from.

7. Sally GreenUntitled design (37)
The Half Bad series is something that sounds right up my alley but for some reason I’ve never picked it up, but when I got sent a copy of The Smoke Thieves I read it in a few sittings and I was really excited to meet Sally at YALC. I’m really hoping to get to the Half Bad books in 2019.
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8. Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel with the Sands is a series that so many people in the bookish community adore and I had never given it a go. I read the first book in the series in 2018 and it completely stole my heart. I can definitely see why Alwyn Hamilton is so beloved and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

9. Kiran Milwood Hargrave book cover (25)
I don’t read an awful lot of middle grade but The Girl of Ink and Stars caught my eye because of it’s beautiful cover and eye-catching title. I adored this story and I was even more excited when I got to read an ARC of The Way Past Winter. If anything I loved this even more and Kiran has definitely become my favourite middle grade author.

book cover (94)10.  Jen Williams
Right at the start of 2018 I was asked to be on the blog tour for The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams. I hadn’t read the first book in the series but it sounded like something I might enjoy so I said yes and ended up reading The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twins back to back because they were such brilliant reads.

So those are my top ten new to me authors in 2018! If you’ve read any of their books let me know what you thought or if you’ve a favourite you think I should read and if there were any favourites that were new to you last year. 

Book Review: City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

Book Review: City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

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Series:
Cassidy Blake #1
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Pages: 285
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local Waterstones.

Synopsis

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

Review

This is my first time reading a book by Victoria Schwab, but it certainly won’t be the last. Dark, sinister and a whole lot of fun, this is everything you could want in a paranormal middle grade book.

book cover (21)Middle grade normally isn’t the kind of book that I read but this sounded like such a fascinating read that I couldn’t resist. After racing through it in a single sitting I am now desperate for more of Cassidy and her best friend Jacob.

Everything about this book was well done. The characters were wonderful and well developed, the pacing quick but not to the point where there was no chance to get to know the world and the magical elements.

One of my most favourite things about this book was the creepy/ horror myth element to it. Our main villain is definitely that kind of scary creature you hear about as a child to ward you away from going somewhere you’re not supposed to. Schwab handles it in a really skilled way and I definitely felt unsettled at times. City of Ghosts is an absolutely perfect read for the autumn and is a wonderful Halloween ghost story.

The other thing that drew me to City of Ghosts is the setting. I live in Scotland and went to University in Edinburgh so it’s always amazing to see somewhere you know described in a book. I loved the dark and spooky way that Edinburgh was portrayed, and it definitely made me fall in love with the book and the city even more.

If you love dark and spooky tales this is definitely a book to pick up. It’s fun, engrossing and an excellent introduction to the writing of Victoria Schwab.
5 stars