Friday, 12 February 2021

Blog Tour- Space Detectives

 



 

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Space Detectives by Mark Powers. This is a brilliant middle-grade novel that follows best friends Ethan and Connor, who are trying to stop the space station they are on from crashing into the moon! For my stop, I thought I’d share my opinions on the book.


 Something I loved about this book was how easy it was to read. I’m usually pretty easily distracted, so I was surprised I managed to read the whole book in one sitting. The font and spacing made it super easy to read and I loved how the font changed to indicate sound effects or signs. I loved the illustrations and thought they really helped to tell the story and give a visual for all the different weird and wonderful aliens. I particularly adored when the pages became black when the boys got thrown out into space, as it really helped with the visualization of floating through space. 


The plot was fast paced and interesting, but it was also simple and easy to follow, which I thought was perfect for the age range it’s aimed at. Despite seeming like a Sci-Fi story, there was also a mystery element when the boys discover that the space station hurtling towards the moon is no accident, and someone had actually sent it on this course on purpose. I loved how we had a list of suspects that were slowly narrowed down. It wasn’t obvious who was behind it all at first, so I loved how we went on an adventure with the boys to learn who the real culprit was. I honestly had no idea who was behind it all until right before everything was revealed!

 The characters in the book were interesting and I especially loved all the different aliens! The tufted grotsnobbler was probably my favourite, a huge purple creature wearing a cowboy hat. I also loved the snarltoothed grizloid, an enormous furry dragon-like creature who could breathe fire. I adored the silly names of these creatures and they reminded me a little of what you would find in a Roald Dahl book. 


 I did feel as if the book could have been a little more educational, as although I loved the sillyness, I felt that it could have thrown in some facts about space instead of having everything completely fictional. The book seemed to be aimed at the younger age range of middle grade, so I thought it was a missed opportunity to have a few fun facts thrown in.


 Overall this was a fun and quick read that I really enjoyed! As this seems to be the first book in a series I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures Connor and Ethan have in the future. I think this is the perfect story for children who are just starting to read chapter books.






Space Detectives is now available to purchase! 


Saturday, 16 January 2021

Blog Tour- Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age

 

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age by Amy Bond! The book is about a young witch named Morgana who after visiting the city with her father discovers a fantastic new world full of technology and robots. The book perfectly combines magic and robots, something that I've honestly never seen done before. I'll be posting a full review on the book in a few days but today I have a guest post from Amy herself!


Story behind the Photo



  There is moment in my book, Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age, when Morgana finally gets to visit the city she has been gazing down on from her woodland home. She is excited to be in this place she has been dreaming of for so long, but is also overwhelmed by the people, the strangeness, and the chaos of the city. I think I probably drew on my experiences of visiting London when writing these scenes.

 I live in the centre of Dublin city but, while technically a city, Dublin feels like a town. This is always most obvious when you find yourself in another metropolis. For me it is usually packed into the crowded Tube, trying not to take up too much space with your carry-on from the plane, and internally screaming the whole time, “I AM ON A TRAIN UNDER THE GROUND!” Morgana’s friend Jonathan tells her of the importance of not taking technology for granted. I know I would probably feel differently if I had to use it for my daily commute, but the Underground seems astounding to me.

 The trip where this photo was taken was an even more exciting one, even beyond the use of public transport. Not only was I in the big city, but like many before me I was here to follow my dream. I had made the shortlist of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. This could mean that I might really get my book published. I tried to keep the nerves at bay the day before by exploring some of the sights, but as I wandered the British Library and British Museum, even the wonders they held couldn’t quite distract from the bubbling anticipation in my brain. It flowed over completely when it was announced that Chris Riddell was part of the judging panel. 

 I gave myself about an hour and a half more than necessary to get to the announcement the next day, so had to wander around trying to kill time that just refused to die. Eventually it was a reasonable hour to arrive. The minute I stepped in, time seemed to speed up again and everything becomes a bit of a blur. Of course, some stupid bits of conversation from myself will never be forgotten, but also some very kind words from people I hugely admire. Seeing the same nervous excitement reflected back from the other finalists was a great comfort. 

 Then came the announcement, and I didn’t win. That honour went to the wonderful Trudi Tweedie (looking fab in blue) and her gorgeous book The Pure Heart. I thought I would feel more disappointed, I was worried about how I would arrange my face, but how can you feel anything but pure joy when Chris Riddell is sketching out a cover for your book, which I am clutching very proudly in the photo. 

 I think why I am really beaming so broadly in that picture though, is because while I might not have left with the publishing deal I had been hoping for, I did have a new confidence in what I was capable of as a writer, and knew I was going to keep chasing that dream.


Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age is now available to purchase! 

Follow Amy on twitter! @amylouisebond





Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Top 5 Books of 2020

 


So I used to do this as a YouTube video, but seeing as I have yet to revive my YouTube channel (I do have a plan for that!) I thought I would do it as a blog post instead. I only read 27 books last year, but it was still enough to find some all-time favourites! I honestly wish I could give a paragraph to every book I read last year, but I will have to be content with 5.


5: Frozen Charlotte




I read this book around Halloween and it was super creepy! I’ve always found dolls to be creepy, so this book was perfect to read at Halloween. As I don’t usually enjoy horror stories I didn’t think I’d like it much, but it was interesting and fast-paced so I got through it pretty quickly! I won’t go into details on what it’s about as I have yet to post my full review, but I’m definitely glad I decided tor read something outside my comfort zone as I really enjoyed it!


 4: Rick



Rick follows a boy who is confused about his sexuality and ends up identifying as asexual. This book had so many important messages and helped explain different sexualities and genders in an easy to understand way. I think this would be a great book for kids to read when they’re just coming to understand sexuality and gender. 

3: Who Let the God's Out?



This one is a bit of a cheat as Who Let the God’s Out? Is the first book in a series! I started the series at the start of 2020, so I think it must have been pretty special for me to still remember it by the end of the year! I adore Greek Mythology, and this middle grade series is packed with Greek God’s. adventures and friendship. I loved how funny it was and how despite the silly plot, it was able to cover some important themes such as broken families and grief. Really I wish I had started it a little later in the year as it was a great form of escapism.


2: Life of Riley: Beginner's Luck
 


This one is a middle grade book by one of my all time favourite authors, Simon James Green. Simon’s books never fail to make me laugh and this one was no exception! This is Simon’s first middle grade book and follows Riley, a ten year old who is convinced he is cursed. This was such a funny and light hearted read. As we’re all going through a tough time right now, it’s perfect for escaping our problems for a little while. I loved the themes of friendship and the uplifting message of having better days ahead of us. As it’s so easy to assume the worst and think we have nothing to look forward to right now, I think it’s a message that we all need to hear!  



1: Howl's Moving Castle



 
This one probably comes as no surprise for those who know me. I’m a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, so it’s no surprise that I adored this book! I have a whole post scheduled for Howl that will be up soon so I won’t talk about this book too much here, but I loved it just as much as the movie. I adored book Howl, and particularly loved that he was originally from Wales. He was so dramatic along with being extremely charismatic and charming. Really though can Howl please be my boyfriend? As the book was sitting on my shelf gathering dust for years I’m so glad that I finally picked it up!

 Even though they didn’t quite make it into my top five, I just want to mention An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann and Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race. These were all fantastic books that I definitely recommend. Let me know what some of your favourite books were in 2020 and who knows, maybe they’ll end up in favourites for this year. Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2021 full of books!