Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: blog tour

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 […]

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 me to read and review a copy of More Than Us (a review which will be coming at some point in the next couple of weeks!).

More Than Us by Dawn Barker cover

When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?

Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family – sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There’s no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.

When Paul’s career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family’s future. By the time he seeks help, it’s his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.

While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he’ll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.

Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

If you’d like to learn more about More Than Us, you can click on the cover above to check it out on Goodreads. If you’d like to order a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase.


About the author: Dawn Barker

Dawn Barker is a psychiatrist and author. She grew up in Scotland, then in 2001 she moved to Australia, completed her psychiatric training and began writing. Her first novel, Fractured, was selected for the 2010 Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre manuscript development programme, was one of Australia’s bestselling debut fiction titles for 2013, and was shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier’s Book Awards. Her second novel is Let Her Go. Dawn lives in Perth with her husband and three young children.

If you’re looking forward to reading More Than Us, visit Dawn on Twitter and let her know!


Thanks again to Ellie for allowing me to participate in this blog tour. I hope you’ll come back to check out my review of More Than Us, and I hope you enjoyed this spotlight!



Blog tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Blog tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

I’m so pleased to be welcoming debut author Aminah Mae Safi to the blog today, to talk about how she finds inspiration. Before I pass you over, I’m going to share a little bit more about Not the Girls You’re Looking For, just in case you […]

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

‘You see, you can be in love with a thing the way you can be in love with a person. A thing can trigger the same chemical responses as another human can: oxytocin and vasopressin. Fatima taught me this. Her book proved it.’ Hi there, […]

Review: Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

Review: Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Nowhere Else But Here blog tour! First things first, I’d like to say a huge thanks to Ink Road for allowing me to get involved in the tour for this exciting contemporary debut from a very promising young author.

I’m going to share some more information about Nowhere Else But Here before I tell you what I thought of it, so if you haven’t heard of it yet I promise you’re going to be adding it to your TBR very shortly…

Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

“He was reckless. He was exciting. He was Theo. And he was a breath of fresh air in my otherwise extremely dull life.”

What if the missing person is your missing piece?

Rose has always played by the rules – now it’s time to break them.

Life’s easier when you stay away from other people. Rose Valentine knows that. But some people are impossible to ignore. Take Theo Lockhart. He’s handsome, funny and beyond intriguing. He’s a mystery; one that Rose dreams of solving.

Then one night the mystery deepens. Theo turns up on Rose’s doorstep, desperate to hide out at her house. He’s keeping secrets, and Rose has a million questions. Not least – why did he choose to run to her?

If Rose lets him in, she’ll be going against everything she holds true. It’s reckless, risky – and definitely not in the rulebook. But Theo makes Rose long to break the rules. After a whirlwind week of brat-pack movies, midnight snacks and non-stop chat, where do Rose and Theo go from here?

If you’d like to learn more about Nowhere Else But Here, click on the cover above to check out its Goodreads page.

So, what did I think?

Nowhere Else But Here blog tour review header

I was so close to giving Nowhere Else But Here four stars because it’s an absolutely adorable contemporary, but the pace was a little too slow for my liking. While Theo is still hidden at Rose’s house the story moves unbelievably quickly, but when he leaves and their story continues things start to crawl along and I found myself getting a little restless. This might be because I’m entering a bit of a reading slump, though, so don’t take my word for it!

I’ve read a lot of contemporary YA, but this novel is far less angsty than most releases in its genre. If you’re a fan of a slow burning romance which experiences some ups and downs (but mainly ups) you’ll fall head over heels for Nowhere Else But Here.

Theo is swoonworthy, while Rose is extremely easy to relate to (not least because she’s also an avid reader!). They’re very strong characters, and although some of the background characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, Theo and Rose come alive on the page and it’s impossible to resist rooting for them.

Rachel Cotton is talented at writing dialogue, with some of the exchanges causing me to laugh out loud. Dialogue is one of the hardest things to get right, so it’s impressive that an author with so few years under her belt has managed to surpass most other writers in the field. I’d love to get some tips from her!

The best thing about Nowhere Else But Here is that it shows potential. Cotton began writing this novel on Wattpad while she was only thirteen, and that’s absolutely astounding. I can’t think of another contemporary that starts with a missing boy turning up on his chemistry partner’s doorstep asking for help, that’s for sure! It’s going to be exciting to see what Cotton writes next, and I’m going to be first in the queue to purchase a copy of whatever she releases.

If you decide to buy a copy of Nowhere Else But Here, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!


About the author: Rachel Cotton

Rachel Cotton is the author of Nowhere Else But Here, a debut novel out in May 2018. She was born in the summer of 2000, but her writing life began as a thirteen-year-old on the self-publishing forum Wattpad, where she attracted more than 1 million hits and her dreams of becoming an author were truly ignited. Now that dream has come true, Rachel is working on her second novel for Ink Road. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, reading and binge-watching TV box-sets. Rachel also enjoys going on long walks with her dog, Cassie.


I hope you enjoyed my stop on the Nowhere Else But Here blog tour. Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers on the schedule, because there are some really awesome people taking part.



Blog tour: Daughter of War by S.J.A. Turney

Blog tour: Daughter of War by S.J.A. Turney

Today I’m working with Canelo to welcome S.J.A. Turney to The Bumbling Blogger to share some advice on reviving ancient locations in your writing. I’m so excited to be participating in the Daughter of War blog blitz and I’m so grateful to Turney for writing such […]

Review: The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Review: The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Hello there, and welcome to my stop on The Leavers blog tour. First off I’d like to say a huge thank you to Little, Brown for inviting me to read and review a copy of Lisa Ko’s debut novel. It’s a little out of my comfort zone […]

Blog tour: The Goose Road by Rowena House

Blog tour: The Goose Road by Rowena House

Hello, and welcome to my stop on The Goose Road blog tour. I’m so excited to be teaming up with Walker Books to welcome Rowena House to The Bumbling Blogger to share her top tips for budding writers and how to get published – but first, let’s take a closer look at The Goose Road, shall we?


The Goose Road by Rowena House

In 1916, in France, Angélique is making hay on her family’s farm when the postman delivers news – her father is dead. Angélique is not sorry – he was a cruel, drunkard of a man – but she is deeply relieved her brother, Pascal, is still alive.

She makes a promise – then and there – that the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved brother returns home. When all goes awry, Angélique sets off with her treasured flock of Toulouse geese to sell them to make enough money to ave her family home and await her brother’s return.

Angélique is a strong female protagonist and her journey through France is gripping, poignant and exciting.

Want to learn more about The Goose Road? Click on the cover above to check it out on Goodreads.


The Goose Road by Rowena House review header

“War is a terrible thing, Angélique. Soldiers see terrible things. They do terrible things. It changes a man.”

The Goose Road is a mature exploration of life in France during World War I. Although called a children’s book and primarily marketed at a younger audience, this book is bound to have universal appeal. It taught me things that I had no idea happened during WWI – primarily the Requisition – but, because Angélique is such an easy character to empathise with, the educational aspects aren’t bland or boring.

The characterisation is superb. All Angélique really wants to do is help her family, but the war, her age and her gender make things difficult for her. Everyone can relate to wanting to help their loved ones during hard times, so there’s no way you can’t root for Angélique on her quest to save her family’s farm. Some of the situations are farfetched, which makes it hard to get fully absorbed into the story, but the more mundane struggles are charming and highly emotive.

The story at the heart of The Goose Road is one of love and loss. I found it difficult to stop myself from shedding tears at multiple points, so if you’re looking for a happy story this might not be the best place for you to come! However, if you’re looking for a book that will make you feel a wide range of emotions and leave you wholly satisfied, Rowena House’s debut novel certainly delivers on those fronts.


Now that you’ve heard my thoughts on The Goose Road, it’s time for me to pass you over to Rowena…

Terry Pratchett was working as a local reporter on the Bucks Free Press when he sent a novel manuscript off to Colin Smythe, a friend in publishing who later became his agent, got a cheque in return and a request for his next story whenever it was ready.

Telling this story to a conference hall packed with wannabe writers – all gaping at him, agog at how it used to be – Sir Terence Pratchett apologized that it had been so simple for him; he knew we were having a tougher time.

Apparently, though, it hadn’t been easy at all.

In an interview with The Guardian I read later, Pratchett – with 75 million books sold – said he’d had to wait 16 years between the publication of that first novel in 1971 and the six-book deal which allowed him to become a full-time writer in 1987.

So don’t despair. You, too, may only need a couple of decades to succeed.

For me, it’s been 11 years to the month since I decided that come-what-may, I would definitely, absolutely, incontrovertibly, become a published novelist one day.

I was on holiday with my family in Croatia at the time, on the blazing white foothills that border Bosnia, when we came across a wooden sign warning us about landmines. They were left over from the 1990s conflicts that tore apart the old Yugoslavia.

Un-cleared landmine in Europe! How?

The story I write in response to that question took four years to complete, got four rejections – three very helpful and one deservedly cursory: the manuscript hadn’t been anywhere near ready for that first submission – and now resides on the hard drive of a PC I no longer use. I have no desire to revisit it, but that apprenticeship manuscript was a vital part of the journey.

For me, the turning point came in 2012 when I was accepted onto the Bath Spa University MA in writing for young people, and started to discover how I, personally, might be able to write convincing fiction.

That may sound daft. You might have excellent storytelling instincts. Mine are rubbish. I’ve had to consciously learn about the sort of writing style I can sustain, and what sort of fiction my style suits.

Next I needed to learn what I can write.

I’ve tried contemporary romance and failed at it twice. I like TV detective dramas, but crime doesn’t appeal as a genre to write. Having discarded my Balkan war story, it didn’t occur to me that I’d chosen the wrong war, rather than the wrong subject, thus I had to wait until a short story competition for MA students brought World War One within view at the end of the first year on the course.

I took another six months to commit to turning this WW1 short story into my MA manuscript, with great support from my tutor, Marie-Louise Jensen. Fifteen months later I signed with my wonderful agent, Jane Willis of United Agents. Six months after that fab Walker editor Mara Bergman got me a development contract, which became a full contract in 2016 after I’d completed full structural edit.

So what advice can I offer aspiring writers that’s not been said a thousand times before? Nothing blindingly original, I’m afraid.

Keep the faith if a traditional publishing deal is what you really, really want. But don’t beat yourself up if you decide to walk away. There are other things in life, and you can always come back.

Write from the heart: edit with your head. With hindsight I’m convinced it was passion for the subject of The Goose Road that kept me going, but crafting it into a publishable shape required objectivity and editorial training.

Research agents. Some are fantastic people; others won’t even bother to acknowledge your submission. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ agents’ party is a good place to start. Conference 1-2-1s are even better.

If and when you get a book deal, listen to your editor very carefully, think deeply about what they’re saying, then work out for yourself how to achieve what they want. Every bit of advice I received from Mara Bergman has made The Goose Road a much better book. But I had to rewrite it my way. Now we’re both proud of it.

Last, but perhaps most important, find your writing tribe.

I know everyone says it but I agree: writing communities keep us going like nothing else. I’ve had massive support from MA friends and tutors, from the Book Bound Retreat and Golden Egg Academy editors’ course teams, and fellow members of the SCBWI. I can’t thank them enough.

So very, very best of luck fulfilling your writing dreams. And if in the meantime anyone tells you that writing for young people is an easy option, please, laugh in their face.


About the author: Rowena House


Rowena House studied journalism at LSE and spent several years on Fleet Street, reporting for various news agencies. In 2013, Rowena won a competition run by Andersen Press, which published her winning entry, ‘The Marshalling of Angélique’s Geese’ in War GirlsThe Goose Road is her novelization of that story.


You can follow Rowena on Twitter, or check out her Facebook page.


Once again, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Walker Books for inviting me to get involved in this blog tour, and to Rowena House for writing a brilliant novel and an inspirational guest post. I think I’m going to spend the rest of the day scribbling away in my notebook and finally fleshing out a complete first draft of my novel!


I’m giving away two copies of The Goose Road over on Twitter (to UK readers only, I’m afraid!). All you have to do is retweet this tweet and follow me to be in with the chance of winning – I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

If you aren’t lucky enough to win a copy, you can order The Goose Road using my Amazon affiliate link, which will give me a few pennies of commission from your purchase.


Thank you for stopping by!



Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Welcome to my stop on the Strange the Dreamer blog tour! To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of Strange the Dreamer, I’m sharing my review of the first book in Laini Taylor’s duology (the sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, is being released on October 2nd). “You’re a […]