Thursday, 18 August 2016

YA Shot: Q&A with L.A. Weatherly


Hello! And WELCOME. Today is rather special as it's that time of year again where the fantastic #YAShot team are hosting another fun-packed Blog Tour! I've been partnered up with one of my long-term favourite author's - L.A. Weatherly (AKA Lee Weatherly) whose books I've been reading for YEARS. I couldn't be happier and more proud to be paired with such a successful and lovely woman! 

So, Lee and I conjured up a fun zombie-tastic Q&A for our post so without further ado, here we go. Hope you enjoy!


Let's start off a little differently... Tell us something we don't know about you!

OK, I’m actually insanely boring (which is in itself a fact about me that you may not know!), so I’m racking my brains for something vaguely interesting here…how’s this? I love jewellery and do silversmithing. I made a pair of cufflinks for my husband’s last birthday. Here’s a pic of the evidence:


(S: Amazing!! I am very VERY impressed Lee...)

From what age did you begin writing? What was the first piece you had written?

I began writing at a very early age – maybe six or so? The first piece that I can remember was about a horse and a fox who were best friends. I think the horse got sent to the glue factory. Clearly I was a morbid child. 



There's a Zombie Apocalypse and you get to choose your dream team! Which 5 of your OWN characters would you pick? Any particular reasons why?

Ooh, I LOVE this question! Well, obviously Alex from the Angel series needs to come; he’s an amazing shot and a great leader and just an all-around ideal person to have on your side in a zombie situation. I think Willlow from Angel also needs to be there – she can hotwire cars and her half-angel abilities would come in very handy. But we need more good shots. Let’s bring in Sam from Angel, as well; he took over the Angel Killer team when Alex was gone and is extremely competent. Amity from Broken Sky is a pilot, which could be really useful, plus she’s very kick-ass in her own right, so she should come along too. Much as I love the boys from Broken, Collie and Ingo, they’re both pilots and neither of them are really fighters in terms of wasting zombies…so I think, sadly, we’ll leave them behind and instead bring Kay Pierce, the devious astrologer. She’s completely ruthless and would do anything to survive. 


On the subject of Zombie Apocalypse... Who would most likely be the first to be eaten by a Zombie?

If I’m there with my dream team, then without question it would be me! Otherwise…hmm. Possibly Willow. She’s just too nice and might hesitate at a crucial moment. 


Moving on from Zombies... How about music playlists? Do you listen to music as you write? If so, do you have set playlists for each series?

I don’t often listen to music as I write (too distracting; writing is HARD), but yes, I love to create playlists for my books. It’s a great way to stay in the world of the story even when you’re not writing. For the Broken series, which takes place in a sort of distorted 1940s, this was especially fun – a mix of music from the era and more modern stuff. If you’re curious, you can check out my playlists for both Angel and Broken here (the Broken playlist is divided in three parts):

ANGEL series Playlists:



Research! Is it something you do when you write? Do/Would you ever travel for research purposes?

Oh, absolutely! I tend to write about things that I have little real-life knowledge of – shooting guns, fixing cars and flying Spitfires immediately spring to mind – so research is essential. Even though I’m writing fiction, it needs to feel true. In the pursuit of research, I’ve travelled across the US, gone to Mexico City, flown in a Spitfire (amazing!), and spoken to numerous experts. But research can be dangerously involving. The temptation is always to include more than your story actually needs. I think the key is to keep the story in mind and use research to flesh it out, rather than drive it.


Where is your ideal writing location?

I have a home office, which is my refuge. But sometimes it’s nice to sneak off to a cafĂ© and write there instead. 


Quite interested to see your answer for this one - Are you a plotter, or a pantser? Do you have to outline every single plot line, scene etc. or do you just go with the flow?

I’m a mix, I guess, though I come down much more firmly on the planning side. I do a LOT of preliminary thinking about the world, the storyline and the characters. I write loads of notes and do outlines; I block out scenes before I write them. I need to know my characters and have a rough story ‘shape’ before I can start writing. But at the same time, I tend to write big, epic books…and you just can’t plan everything. Inevitably, I learn a lot about the world and its characters as I go along. So I need the initial plan in order to ever have the confidence to get going, but quite often I also need to ditch elements of the plan to accommodate all the things I find out along the way. It’s frustrating, actually, given that I’m a bit of a control freak. But often I just have to listen to my intuition and my characters, and go where they lead me. 


(S: I think we've all had this particular Sheldon moment at some point during our writing process...)


Which of your series was your most favourite to write? Which was the most fun?

Thinking about this question, I find it interesting how ‘most fun’ and ‘favourite’ are very different things! I loved the Angel series, but I have to confess that the Broken series is my hands-down favourite so far. I adore the characters and the weird, distorted 1940s world. I’ve found it very challenging at times, but also extremely fulfilling. 

Most fun? Well, that would have to be a series I wrote under the pseudonym Titania Woods: Glitterwings Academy, for younger readers, about a school for fairies. Oh my gosh, SO much fun! During my events I wore fairy wings and a tiara and wafted a magic wand around. Life doesn’t get much better. 


Do you ever read back your own work after publication?

Not usually, until a fair amount of time has passed. Once something goes to print, the author has gone over it so many times that you’re not only sick of it, you genuinely have no idea whether it’s good or not. Reading my stuff when it’s just been published inevitably brings about, “Argh! I knew I should have changed that word!” Having said that, I recently reread the Angel series and was surprised at how much I still liked it. It was very cool to come across a line I’d forgotten about that I found absolutely hilarious. It’s sort of a surreal feeling to be laughing out loud at your own work. 


How about some writing tips? What advice would you give someone new to writing?

Follow your passion. Write your greatest truth. Write what you’d most like to read. And if you really want it, don’t give up. You have something of value to say.


Those were some AMAZING answers Lee! Thank you so much for being on my blog today and for being a great YA Shot partner! I hope the readers enjoyed this Q&A as much as we did. (I had lot's of fun hunting out suitable GIFs for certain parts...)

Also, a huge thank you to the INCREDIBLE YA Shot team who were happy to have me on board and included on this amazing project once again! You guys are superstars. Seriously.

Make sure to keep up to date with all the previous and upcoming posts by checking their Twitter! And if you haven't already, then buy tickets to the amazing #YAShot event taking place on October 22nd 2016! You can purchase tickets through their website. Hopefully I'll see you there!

All links below.

Until next time, my fellow minions.


LINKS:


Twitter:



ABOUT YA SHOT:

YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. We believe in equal access to books and opportunities for all – YA Shot brings UKYA and UKMG authors together to pursue that goal, supporting libraries and young people across the country. At present, we’re a not-for-profit organisation but we’re seeking to become a charity.

YA Shot is a one-day annual festival based in the centre of Uxbridge (London). The 2016 festival will take place on Saturday 22nd October 2016. Around 70 authors are involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre, Waterstone’s Uxbridge and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops. YA Shot is run in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge.

YA Shot is incredibly grateful to have been awarded an Arts Council Grant for our inaugural year. YA Shot and its Libraries-Schools Programme is supported using public money and National Lottery funding by Arts Council England. Thanks to this grant the 2015 Libraries-Schools Programme will comprise a minimum of 35 events that will be free to host Libraries in the London Borough of Hillingdon and the local schools that will be invited in for these events. We will also provide a free copy of the relevant author’s book to both the host library and the school library for each event.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

BLOG TOUR: Infernal by Mark De Jager



Welcome to my stop in the fantastic #Infernal blog tour! I jumped at the chance to read and review Mark's book and take part in promoting his debut - now that day has finally arrived and I have my review to share and a great giveaway to host! 

Enjoy!


I received an ARC of the book from the publisher for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: Mark de Jager
Published by: Ebury Press/Del Rey on 11th August 2016
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Anti-Hero
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle

Summary:

Stratus wakes in an unfamiliar place, with nothing but the knowledge that he is not human, with no memories of his past but possessing great strength, a powerful sorcery and the burning instinct to survive at any cost.

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, he sets out across a landscape torn apart by the ten year war between the Kingdoms of Krandin and Penullin, now reaching new levels of savagery as a dark magic drives the world to the brink of destruction.

As his personality grows with each step he slowly uncovers the truth of what he has become and the unquenchable thirst for vengeance that has led him there.




If you thought I would miss out on the chance to read Mark de Jager's debut novel - then you thought wrong. Ever since I first heard about him conjuring up his own Fantasy novel, I placed it on my list of 'books I absolutely must read'. I'm a huge fan of his wife's - Liz de Jager - work as she writes YA Fantasy about sassy characters and mindblowing plots, so you could say I was incredibly curious as to see how differently both husband and wife write whilst living under the same roof. Surely their ideas would merge somewhere along the line?


Mark brings forth a new kind of anti-heroic Fantasy story, a new voice and style of writing that I'm always on the look out for. I was ecstatic and over the moon to see that the main character, Stratus, was a character of colour. YES. Diversity is always very much needed in Fantasy because it's the genre where I believe it lacks most. It was so refreshing to read an epic Fantasy tale that highlights elements such as diversity, friendship and self-discovery. The world is rich, highly imaginative and built up very nicely. I say we need a map to seal the deal.



Can we talk about characters? Because I believe it to be one of Mark's strongest points. Tatyana and Stratus are my favourite duo. They are your Kell & Lila from Victoria Schwab's Shades of Magic series. They're your Kit & Aiden from Liz de Jager's Blackhart Legacy series. They form such a great bond despite being from two very different backgrounds. Tatyana is the witty, sardonic and bold female companion and matched together with the dark, yet equally sarcastic Stratus, the narrative was a delight to read! It worked so well, a mixture of entertainment and a intense storyline. I loved seeing these two together in action and when an author succeeds in making the reader attached to their characters - then you know it's a damn good story.

I won't lie. This book probably is not for the faint-hearted or those who are quite sqeuamish. There's a lot of gore. And violence. And limbs. Ah yes. Lot's of those. But I lapped it all up. Call me psycho but dark fantasy's where the main character is some demon spawn without a memory kind of wins me over.


The plot flows at a steady pace, but it works. It may take a few pages to really get into it but you'll soon find yourself immersed and seeking to find out what happened to Stratus. And as you join him on his adventures, slowly discovering pieces and fragments of the answers he so desperately seeks, you'll be blown away by the ending. It. Was. SO. GREAT.

I eagerly anticipate the next book. Political conflict and bloody wars are my thing.

Did I mention how much I love Lucien? *clutches heart*

I'm so impressed by Mark's debut. Lovers of Fantasy need to read this. It really did exceed my expectations and took me by surprise! I can't wait to see what else he has up his sleeve...



Rating:
Silver Wreath


GIVEAWAY


The lovely team at Ebury Press have granted me 3 beautiful shiny hardbacks of Infernal to give away to THREE LUCKY WINNERS! So if you wish to enter, follow my Twitter and RT my pinned tweet!

Giveaway is open until 21st August 2016 and open to residents of UK & IRE. Winners will be announced on Twitter! Good luck!


Sunday, 10 July 2016

BLOG TOUR: Q & A with Louise Gornall


It's here! Under Rose Tainted Skies has finally graced the beautiful shelves in bookstores in the UK and I couldn't be more excited! Rose is perhaps my favourite book surrounding mental health - it's definitely the best I have read so far! I fell in love with the story, with Luke and Norah and most importantly - Louise Gornall's writing!

Not to mention, Louise is pretty much one of my favourite people EVER. She's just a beautiful person - inside and out! Her tweets just bring me so much joy.


Naturally, I was all fired up about the URTS blog tour and knew I wanted to feature Louise on my blog! And what better way to get to know a new master writer in the making than a fun-filled Q&A? So I rounded up some questions for Louise to answer - including a few quick fire ones!

Make sure to check out all the other past and upcoming blog posts during the tour! If you haven't picked up a copy yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


Did you know there are THREE gorgeous pink editions to choose from?! Fall in love with Norah and Luke's story three times over! And if you need an accurate and honest representation of mental health in YA - look no further. URTS is your go-to.

Louise had asked me to take a selfie when I found one of her finished copies in store and pull my best happy face. So I did. My love for this book summed up in one picture guys.


Summary:

Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.

For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …

Links to buy the book all below!

#everybodyURTS

Without further ado, let's welcome Louise Gornall!

#1 - Let's dive straight in! What made you decide to write about mental health? And why agoraphobia?

*backflips* It wasn't really a conscious decision. It happened because I was going through some things and started to write down my feelings and MH behaviours. See, I’m agoraphobic, and I was having a really hard time locating my self worth. Rose only became a book once I realised how all these small things that I’d written down, the little battles that I was having daily, unfolded like an epic war. It helped to see that, to see how hard I’d been working to get myself better. I didn't feel so useless anymore.


#2 - Do you read a lot of books about mental health? Which are your favourites?

Brutal honesty? I don't, not a lot. Reading is my escape from all the things that are wrong with me, a chance to live in worlds beyond the confines of my own. The literal confines. That said, there are, of course, some titles that just sound too amazing not to read. Holly Bourne’s, Am I Normal Yet? is fantastic. Jennifer Niven’s, All The Bright Places. Laurie Halse Anderson’s, Speak, is an amazing novel, but all of Laurie’s books tend to tap into mental health/mental well being, and they handle themselves so perfectly. I’m also a huge fan of It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. 


#3 - A general question, but have you always wanted to be a writer?

I haven't! When I was really young, I wanted to be an RAF pilot. I spent my teens wanting to be an actress, even went to college to get my BA (hons) in performing arts. Alas, before I could give that a real go, I got sick and had to readjust. 


#4 - What was the first book you had ever written? (Bet it was something pretty cool...)

Gah! You! Erm...it was an MG fantasy, about a crime-fighting group of superheroes at a “gifted school”. NOT AT ALL LIKE X-MEN!! *whispers* it was exactly like X-Men. 


#5 - Let's talk about your upcoming debut! Norah & Luke. Two characters who I absolutely love! Are they based off on anyone you know in real life? When did they first invade your mind?

Thank you, lovely. Well, I am Norah. Surprise!! No, really. That chick is my carbon copy. Remember how I said that Rose was a product of me writing stuff down because I was having trouble with my self worth? Well, all I really changed was her name. She does have an ending that wasn't my own, but it does serve as a metaphor for something I went through. Luke, too, is based on the kindest, most compassionate, patient and understanding guy I have ever had the privilege to meet. He helped me in the same way Luke helps Norah. 


#6 - Under Rose Tainted Skies is one of my favourite titles! How did you come up with it?

In the book, Norah talks about rose-tinted skies, and because her view is obscured by various “tragedies”, she makes this comment about her skies being less tinted and more tainted. It just seemed to encompass everything. A bit of trivia: the book was originally called Under Rose-Tainted Skies and Other Lies.


#7 - What research did you do for Under Rose Tainted Skies? Was it a difficult book to write?

I’m lucky enough to have a mum who has worked for 25+ years in the mental health sector. And I have a sister with 10 years experience under her belt. I’m unlucky enough to have a close, personal relationship with the mental health spectrum. It is an enormous part of my life, and while I’m mostly used to it sharing my head space, it is still painful to talk about. It was killer to write about. Not an experience I enjoyed at all, but hopefully Rose contributes to the mental health conversation in a positive way, making it all worth it.


#8 - Finally, can you tell us what you'll be working on next after URTS? Maybe even a little hint??

No! It’s all, top-security-clearance type stuff, an even bigger secret than the reasoning behind the shape of a McFlurry spoon….. I kid. I kid. I’m trying to get to grips with an angry disabled chick who is learning how to love her broken body. She is another me, that is, she is who I was at 16.


How about some fun quick fire questions?

Heck yes!

A fluffy romance or a spine tingling thriller?

Fluffy Romance.

White or Brown bread?

White.

Favourite colour? 

Green.

Favourite food? 

Anything chocolate. 

Favourite book?! 

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

Summer or Winter? 

Winter because CHRISTMAS! 

Spring or Autumn?

Autumn because HALLOWEEN!

Your dream superpower? 

I want to be the Scarlet Witch.

And lastly, tell us something we don't know about you! 

I’m an identical twin ❤ And she is my best bud.


Thank you Louise for such fantastic answers! (I totally forgot you had a twin and I had a jaw-drop moment...) It was an honour to have you on the blog!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, and she is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. A YA aficionado, film nerd, identical twin, and junk food enthusiast, she's also an avid collector of book boyfriends. Her debut novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies, will be published in July 2016.

LINKS:

Saturday, 9 July 2016

GUEST POST: Top 5 Summer Holiday Locations by Aimee Friedman


Hello, and welcome to my stop in the Two Summer's Blog Tour!

Now, perhaps most of you already know that I favor the chilling ice cold months of Winter - opposed to the radiant sun and blistering heat we get during Summer. I've just never been a fan. But that is slowly changing my friends! And since hearing about Two Summer's, I've grown even more excited about spending my summer days reading fun summery and fluffy books (mainly contemporaries)!

Two Summers is the perfect summer contemporary for a reader to invest themselves in - which also gave me an idea! When people think summer - they think holidays. And it's true. What better time to take that well deserved break?

So today, I have the lovely Aimee Friedman on the blog to share her top 5 summer holiday locations!

Fun, non?

Let's go!



#1 - FRANCE


France, of course! The dream trip would be to start in Provence (where Summer spends one of her summers in TWO SUMMERS). Stay in a cabin overlooking a vineyard. Soak up the glorious light, the sunflowers, the delicious food….and then hop a train north to Paris. City of Light! Go shopping, visit the Louvre, go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower…and just relish in all the romance. Perfection.


#2 -  NEW YORK CITY


Although I live in New York City, I love to play tourist in my own hometown. And it is a great holiday destination. There’s so much to see and do: have dim-sum in Chinatown or pizza in Little Italy, take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, tour the museums, explore Central Park, catch a Broadway show (maybe you’ll even get lucky and win the Hamilton lottery!). 


#3 - CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS


Nothing beats a classic American beach setting like Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Atlantic Ocean sparkles, the air smells of salt, the seafood is fresh, you can walk around all day in swimsuits and flip-flops, eating ice cream and feeling gloriously lazy.  To me, Cape Cod IS summer.


#4 - EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND


As a massive Harry Potter fan, I’ve been wanting to go Edinburgh, Scotland forever. I’ve heard it’s absolutely beautiful and enchanting, a city full of rich history and charm. Maybe next summer!


#5 - THAILAND


Another bucket-list trip? Thailand! It would be thrilling to sample all the cuisine, experience Bangkok, and of course see the world-class beaches. Definitely an adventure! 

TWO SUMMERS is available now for purchase from all bookstores. Grab your copy now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Aimee Friedman was born and raised in Queens, New York, in an apartment filled with books and different languages. She wrote her first story at the age of five, and was off and running from there. Aimee wrote all through her years as a student at the Bronx High School of Science and then Vassar College. After graduating from college in 2001, she became a children's book editor, a job she still does, and loves, to this day! Aimee published her first novel, the New York Times bestseller, South Beach, in 2005, and is now the author of several novels for young adults, the latest being Two Summers. Aimee lives in New York City, where she can usually be found writing in cafes, window-shopping, or searching for the perfect iced latte.

LINKS:


Saturday, 25 June 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Crown's Game Dream Cast!



Hey all! Welcome to my stop in The Crown's Game Blog Tour! I'm super excited to share my post with you guys as it's the first time I'm featuring something like this!

I really enjoyed Evelyn Skye's debut YA Historical Fantasy and if you haven't picked it up yet, then what are you waiting for?! It's the perfect read for those who are lovers of great Fantasy with a magical setting. In this case - Russia!

Russia is perhaps the most exciting setting in my opinion - I am obsessed with it! Especially Tsarist Russia. So naturally, I'd dive at the chance to devour this book! It's such a rich and vivid setting as we get to explore the beautiful Russian lands and revisit it's history!

Anyway, we're here to talk about the characters. Character's I've grown fond of and cannot wait to see again in the sequel! When I asked Evelyn about her dream cast and adapting The Crown's Game into a movie/TV show, this was her response:

'I would love to see a film or TV adaptation of The Crown's Game! I don't have an opinion, though, on actors. I tend to think of film/TV as separate art forms from books, and I would enjoy just sitting back and watching how the producers and creative team interpret my story for a new medium. 

Readers, however, certainly have their opinions. More than one has contacted me with their dream casts, and it's always a treat to see!'

So, why not share my own dream cast?! I began hunting for pictures of how I envisioned the characters to look for the main characters and thought I'd share them! Most of the pictures aren't actual actors/actresses per se, but it's just how I pictured the characters to be. Of course, it's extremely difficult to find a true likeness that matches the pictures in your head as you read the book - but I did my best and here are the results!


VIKA ANDREYEVA



NIKOLAI KARIMOV



PASHA

(I honestly couldn't see Pasha as anyone but Toby Regbo in Reign. PERFECTION.)


SERGEI ANDREYEVA

(Sergei was more difficult to find!)


GALINA



RENATA

(This pretty much nailed my vision of Renata from the book. Her eyes should be brown but you get the picture...)


YULIANA



What do you think?

Any of these match to how you pictured the characters?

I really hope we get some kind of movie in the near future! I would love to see this richly imagined world be brought to life! IMAGINE IT. *heart eyes*

Who would be your dream cast?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Evelyn Skye is the New York Times bestselling author of THE CROWN’S GAME (out now!) and its sequel (2017). She was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When Evelyn isn’t writing, she can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies.

LINKS:

Sunday, 12 June 2016

GUEST POST: How I Wrote The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries by Jamie Scallion


Hello everyone! And welcome to my stop in the Rock 'N' Roll Diaries Blog Tour! We're celebrating the release of Losing It - the 3rd book in his musical series. So if you're a fan of #boybandlit then make sure to pick these up! 


Today, I'm honoured to be having the legendary songwriter/author Jamie Scallion on the blog. He will be telling us about how The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries came to be!

Take it away Jamie!


How I Wrote The Rock ‘N’ Roll Diaries 
by Jamie Scallion


I met The Script in Spring 2007 when my band at the time, Officer Kicks, and The Script were both supporting acts for another big band. We got on very well and, as they got bigger and bigger, they invited us to tour with them. We were very different stylistically but it really worked.

Whilst on tour I had written a rough draft of a book about a fictitious four-piece band called The RockAteers. Danny and Mark asked to read it so I sent them each the draft of the book. About a week after we came off tour they rang me and said “why don’t we bring the band to life and write a bunch of songs for them?” So that’s what we did. We wrote songs together as if we were the band in the book; bringing the world and characters I had created to life, and adding an extra dimension to the book. 

I love writing books because I get to be all of the characters. In The Rock ‘N’ Roll Diaries that includes the lovable drummer, the shy guitarist, the straight talking bass player and the egotistical singer.  Told through each band member’s diary entries and a binding narrative, we see them start the band, The RockAteers, and become massive. The authenticity of this is key and my experience of being in a band for ten years and going on tour with The Script has allowed me to see first-hand how a massive band is treated and reacts to the pressures and pleasures of fame.

Every volume of The Rock ‘N’ Roll Diaries comes with its own EP of songs I have written with The Script and we did a deal with Amazon to release all four books and the music this year. We have over 30,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter, and over 800,000 plays on Spotify. 99% of people have given the books and music a five-star rating - it’s a bit of a dream start!

On several occasions people have told me they hadn’t read a book for years until they read mine. Reading for pleasure is so important and I think this is why writing The Rock ‘N’ Roll Diaries makes me prouder than anything else I have ever done. Reading for pleasure is proven to help children and young adults do better in later life.  I don’t find reading easy but I love it, and reading other people’s work has helped me succeed both as a songwriter and author. I have a studio in London and I write with loads of artists. If I didn’t read for pleasure I wouldn’t be able to do my job. Words are what make me tick. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jamie Scallion

Jamie Scallion grew up in South London. He started a rock band at school and as lead singer of a cult London band for twelve years he toured the world, playing with some of the biggest names in the music industry. He wrote The Rock 'n' Roll Diaries whilst on the road.

LINKS:


BUY THE BOOK

You can now purchase the first 3 books in Jamie's series (available in Paperback and eBook) here:


Saturday, 11 June 2016

REVIEW: The Inquisition by Taran Matharu


I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.



Author: Taran Matharu
Published by: Hodder Children's Books on 5th May 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Demons
Pages: 400
Format: Hardback
Series: Summoner #2
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle

Summary:

On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future - the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher's tragic origins.

But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.

With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there's a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.

With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.




(Warning: There may or may not be a large volume of Supernatural gifs being used in this review...)

Goddamn these cliffhangers. Who thought they would be a good idea for books? I will end your life.


So, a year later, we finally get the long awaited second installment in the Summoner series. After that wretched cliffhanger (there's that word again) ending from The Novice, I was pretty much fired up for the continuation and finally getting to satisfy my angry needs, my eagerness to uncover how things would play out. There is always the worry that a sequel may not live up to its predecessor - but in Taran's case, I think he pretty much nailed it with creating a stupendous sequel that more or less blew my mind!


Where to begin? Well, I'm going to attempt to keep this as non-spoilery as possible but keep in mind, this is the sequel after all.

Demons. I've mentioned before that I am obsessed with demons. Mainly due to my favourite show, Supernatural. This was one of my favourite aspects about this series since the get go - specifically Ignatius and Lysander. I have a thing for Salamander's and Griffins I guess. If you thought you've seen it all after The Novice, just you wait til you discover a whole new range of marvelous creatures that you will long to be your partners in crime! The detail and descriptions Taran has included of these magical creatures doesn't clog up your brain, in fact, it just makes the pictures in your head that much more vivid! And I loved that.


Taran's writing is absolutely fantastic, so gripping and easy to love. His books are written in a way that allows my imagination to run wild! It's so easy to get hooked into this fantasy world he has crafted with a carefully thought out plot that is both exhilarating and heart stopping. Filled with even more exciting adventures, betrayals and deceit, friendship and love - we continue to follow Fletcher and his league of allies through a journey that will send your pulse racing. It definitely got my blood pumping!

Fletcher just continues to develop and grow - he has quickly become one of my most favourite protagonist's of all time! Which brings me another topic - CHARACTERS. Even if you aren't fond of Fantasy, or a fan of demons and the sort - the cast of characters in this series are absolutely phenomenal. From humans to dwarfs, elves to gremlins, every single character is utter perfection in every possible way. They have flaws, traits that we can easily relate to and they're all impossible to forget even by the end! I had grown so attached to these characters and loved the friendships between them - something which Taran shines at. Writing about friendships. These characters can so easily win your hearts over ten fold.


I can't even fault this book. It was such a pleasure to read, so much fun, so rapturous and engaging. AND ADDICTIVE AS HELL. After finishing, I couldn't bear the thought of having to leave this world and it's wonderfully crafted characters and demons! The story itself had me trapped, glued to the pages and we see plot twists unfold, ploys that leave you gasping - it's incredible! I long for the next book, to read more of Taran's magical work and explore more of this amazing fantastical world that I have grown to love so much.


That cliffhanger will be the death of me. Taran has mastered the art of leaving readers speechless.

Believe you me, you want to read this series. You need it in your life.


Thank me later.

Also, can I just add - I AM SO ON BOARD THE LOVARC SHIP.


Rating:
Gold Wreath

Because it deserves it.