Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: blog tour

Blog tour: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Blog tour: The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Hello, and welcome to my stop on The Lost Man blog tour. I’ve taken part in the blog tours for both The Dry and Force of Nature, so I jumped at the chance to read and review another of Jane Harper’s novels. My excitement grew when I learnt that this […]

Blog tour: Where The Truth Lies by M.J. Lee

Blog tour: Where The Truth Lies by M.J. Lee

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Where The Truth Lies blog tour. I’ve teamed up with Canelo quite a few times this year, and I’m glad I was invited to participate in the blog tour for this book, because it’s a corker. It’s the first […]

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Blogtober Day 10: Blog tour: Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Hi there! Welcome to my stop on the Jackson Saves an Owl blog tour. I’d like to say a big thank you to Faye Rogers, for allowing me to get involved in the blog tour for this charming picture book. Zophia loves owls, so as soon as I saw the title I knew that this was going to be a book which she would really enjoy, and I had a huge amount of fun reading it.

As always, I’m going to share a bit of information about Jackson Saves an Owl for the folks who haven’t heard of it before, then my thoughts on the book will be found further down the page.

Jackson Save an Owl by Darren Garwood

Jackson Superhero might not be a real name, but it is a story about a real boy, and as the name suggests, Jackson is far from ordinary. By day, a rare disease limits his ability to move freely, but at night he is far from grounded. When the sleeping hours come around, and weightlessness takes over, Jackson takes to the skies. He knows what it means to need the support of others, which is why when he hears a call for help, he is quickly there to lend a hand.

If you want to learn more about Jackson Saves an Owl, click on its cover to check it out on Goodreads. If you’re ready to order your copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll get a few pennies from your purchase that way.

So what did I think?

Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Jackson Saves an Owl is a charming story with quaint illustrations pulled straight from a child’s imagination. The drawings are simplistic yet captivating, with Jackson exploring his local area, flying past parks and fairgrounds (there’s even a cameo from a grizzly bear!).

You can understand the story perfectly by just focusing on the images, as they convey all of the events that are happening in a clear manner, making it a great story to read to young children. They won’t need to understand the words to understand the moral of the story.

That doesn’t mean that the words aren’t just as good, though! The rhymes are well-written, with tight pacing moving the story forward quickly. My only complaint is that it isn’t long enough, but that will be solved by picking up future releases in the Jackson Superhero series.

With the story of the real Jackson told on the final page, readers are aware of just how important this book is. I think it’s highly commendable that Jackson’s father has written this story, as it will help other children in a similar situation to Jackson to feel less alone. As a parent, I found this book very emotional: it’s true that children are able to do more in their dreams than they often can in reality, but it’s important to help them live their lives as fully as possible.

I was torn between 4 and 5 stars for Jackson Saves an Owl, but I really appreciated the importance of the message, which was combined with cute artwork and writing of a very high standard. I’ve read a lot of picture books which have had clunky rhyme schemes, but Jackson Saves an Owl flows smoothly and is extremely enjoyable – both for parents and for children.


About the author: 

Darren Garwood is the father of Jackson, a real boy living with a rare and terminal illness called Krabbe disease. Darren came up with the Jackson Superhero series because as Jackson can’t move during the day, Darren wanted to help him dream at night, when he was free to be anything he wanted to be. Jackson Saves an Owl is written in lively, fantastic rhyme, and is the first in the Jackson Superhero series.

If you’d like to learn more about the real Jackson, visit Darren Garwood’s Twitter and Facebook pages.


Once again, a huge thanks to Faye Rogers for allowing me to get involved with the promotion of such an important story. Make sure to follow the rest of the blog tour, and send your love and support to Darren and Jackson.



Blogtober Day 4: Blog tour: Beardies’ World by Joyce Ives

Blogtober Day 4: Blog tour: Beardies’ World by Joyce Ives

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Beardies’ World blog tour. First off I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faye, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and to Joyce Ives, author of Beardies’ World, who has written a lovely guest […]

Blog tour: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Blog tour: The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon. A debut novel widely agreed to be one of the most anticipated novels of 2018, it’s an honour to have been invited to participate – a huge thank you to Grace […]

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

Blog tour: The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

I’m ridiculously excited to welcome you to my stop on The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game blog tour. I’ve never been a huge Top Gear fan but the enigma of The Stig has always fascinated me, and this novelisation seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about his back story.

Before I share my review, here’s a little bit more about the book to get your mouth watering:

The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game by Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

An enigmatic racing driver.

A bunch of kids.

One hell of a ride.

Sam Wheeler is the new boy in town. And it’s a pretty weird sort of place. No one seems bothered that a kid recently went missing. Everyone is glued to a mysterious computer game. And the town appears to be in thrall to a dastardly billionaire living in a mansion on the hill.

Things look up when Sam meets friends Buster Mustang, Ford Harrison and Minnie Cooper – but danger has a habit of showing up wherever they do. Soon all that stands between the gang and disaster is a silent man in a white suit. Otherwise known as… The Stig.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!


So, what did I think?

The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game review header

The first thing that hit me while reading this book is that it’s perfect for reading with your child. There are a lot of puns which are likely to go right over the heads of the target audience, but I found myself giggling like I was back in primary school at most of them. They’re silly, but very cleverly written: these aren’t the kind of jokes that make you roll your eyes, but ones which provoke genuine laughs. I’ll be honest, it even took me a few seconds to register some of them!

The pace of the book also makes it great for reading aloud. There are a lot of quick, witty exchanges between Sam Wheeler and the antagonist, Cabriola Cruiser, while the banter between Sam, Minnie and Ford is also very funny. Anyone reading this story will want to be a part of Sam’s crew (and I think it’s great that there’s a girl who’s as obsessed with cars as the lads, because Top Gear has always appealed to a wide audience).

The language is accessible, so children are likely to be able to tackle the book by themselves (even if they might need your help on some of the difficult pronunciations of car names). With illustrations scattered throughout the text is broken up into digestible chunks – I couldn’t read it in one sitting because I’ve been quite busy with work, but being able to pick up the book with a brief sketch showing me where I’d gotten to made it easy to slide straight back into the world.

It’s impossible to forget that this is a Top Gear book because the specific car references are constant, but they fit smoothly into the story and don’t feel shoehorned in unnecessarily. This means that it’ll appeal to Top Gear fans of any age – probably another reason that Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler made sure to pop in some jokes that will appeal to an older audience.

This is a very strong start to the series, and I’m looking forward to picking up The Stig Drives Again, which is actually released tomorrow. I’ve already pre-ordered a copy for my Kindle, and I’m planning on driving – sorry, diving! – straight into it as soon as it downloads. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this book, only hoping that it would be a fun read to break up some of the more serious titles I’ve been picking up recently, but it’s so well-written that I’d happily recommend it to anyone.


About the authors: 

Jon Claydon wrote sell-out shows at Edinburgh while at university before plumping for a career in advertising and technology investment that has seen him because a fixture on the Sunday Times ‘Britain’s 500 Most Influential People’ list. One day, while attending to one of many sidelines – as a columnist for Top Gear magazine – Jon had a moment. Alone in a lift, he met The Stig, who non-verbally communicated that it was high time someone wrote a book for his many younger fans. Jon called Tim, they fired up their flux capacitor and returned, sliding-doors-style, to the career they’d always thought they should have had in the first place.

Tim Lawler wrote sell-out Edinburgh shows at university before spending many years in ventures such as building and filling a fringe theatre, performing stand-up poetry, living in various parts of the globe and working as an advertising brand planner.

I hope you enjoyed my stop on The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game blog tour. Huge thanks to Faye Rogers for inviting me to take part – I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of book two!



Blog tour: In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

Blog tour: In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on the In Bloom blog tour. This post contains spoilers for Sweetpea, so please look away if you haven’t read it yet! I only reviewed Sweetpea a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t resist taking part in this tour and getting to […]

Blog tour: Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

Blog tour: Love the Stationery in Your Classroom by Rebecca Palliser

Welcome to the first of two blog tours which I’m taking part in today. The two titles couldn’t be much further apart – this is a book aimed at young school children, while I’m also on the blog tour for C.J. Skuse’s second adult crime […]

Blitz: Alpha by Jus Accardo

Blitz: Alpha by Jus Accardo

Hello and welcome to the Alpha blitz, organised by Xpresso Blog Tours! I participated in the cover reveal for Alpha back in February, and I’m pleased to be able to tell you a little more about Alpha today (as well as to show you a sneaky excerpt and give my American and Canadian readers the opportunity to enter a giveaway).

First things first, let me refresh your memory about what to expect in the third novel in the Infinity Division series.

Alpha by Jus Accardo

“A fun YA sci-fi story with a compelling cast of characters.” – Kirkus Reviews on Infinity

Sera is the obsession of a killer chasing a ghost. G is a solider with too much blood on his hands. Dylan lost the only person he ever loved – and will stop at nothing to get her back.

In a whirlwind chase that takes them back to where it all started, Sera, G, and Dylan will have to confront their demons – both physical and mental – and each other, in order to win their freedom.

Click on the book cover to check out Alpha on Goodreads.

If you’re still not convinced, read this excerpt of Alpha. Jus Accardo’s voice is sure to grab you and refuse to let you go:

The rain stopped, and the wind outside had settled, leaving an uncomfortable silence in its wake. I didn’t have a problem with the quiet. I liked it, in fact. But this was something a little different. This was uncomfortable. The kind of stillness that came from forced proximity to someone or something that made your skin itch and your stomach roil. The kind of hush that usually set in right before a devastating storm or a natural disaster.

He did this sometimes. Just sat across from me and stared. He usually wouldn’t even say anything. I didn’t think he expected me to say anything, either. He just looked. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, just long enough to send that chill skittering up and down my spine. Other times it would go on for hours. He’d blink and breathe and fidget, but his eyes… those remained locked on me, his unhealthy mix of sadness and lust and greed and anger crushing me to the point of breathlessness.

We were at it again, and I was just about out of patience. It was one thing to have been ripped away from my home, from my life, by that madwoman, Cora Anderson. It was another to have her poke and prod and use me as a science experiment. She’d altered my mind. Made me forget most of my life before the day I woke up a prisoner on the floor of her cold, dank cell. Those things were all bad, but having been “rescued” by this bastard and forced to stay by his side at all times? That was an entirely new level of torture.

“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?” His tone was acidic and his jaw tight. He had a temper, this guy. I’d seen it multiple times. He’d never done anything more than scream at me, but it was only a matter of time with people like this. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I felt it in my bones. Maybe I’d known someone like him at home. Maybe it was just intuition.

“Yes,” was all I replied. I found that simple, one-word responses went over the best. Or, more accurately, the worst. When I said too little, he grew agitated. He wanted me to talk to him, yet the things that came out of my mouth weren’t ever what he wanted to hear. I didn’t act like he’d hoped I would, didn’t say the things he longed to hear. Some days he was determined to change me. Others, he was rabid, blaming me for not behaving like myself and demanding that I wake up.

Forget that I had no idea who I was.

“While it’s not okay, I understand.” He offered me a smile – a small, tentative twitch of his lips and a gentle shrug of his shoulders. He was making an effort to be kinder today, going out of his way to speak softer and move slower.

That made me even angrier.

“You understand? Then my life is complete. All I’ve ever wanted was the understanding of a serial killer.” Even if I hadn’t been thinking about… someone else, I would have lied. The fact that I wasn’t focused on him, and him alone, drove Dylan – my savior, my captor – crazy. But the truth was, I was thinking of him. That other him. How could I not? Even if I didn’t find myself missing him every moment of every day in an almost physical way, I wouldn’t be able to put him out of my mind because he was technically sitting here across from me.

If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will. If you’d like to purchase a copy of Alpha, please consider ordering it via my Amazon affiliate link (which won’t cost you any extra, but will reward me with a few pennies).

Giveaway time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author: Jus Accardo

Jus Accardo spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.

Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

If you’d like to find out more about Jus Accardo, you can visit her website, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

A huge thank you to Xpresso Blog Tours for organising this book blitz. I hope you enjoy Alpha when you have the chance to pick up a copy!



Spotlight: More Than Us by Dawn Barker

Spotlight: More Than Us by Dawn Barker

It’s been a little while since I hosted a spotlight post, but I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the More Than Us blog tour. A huge thank you to Ellie at Canelo, for inviting me to take part in this tour and for allowing […]