Tag: blog tour

Blog tour: Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Blog tour: Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Hey everyone, and welcome to my stop on the Mayhem blog tour! First things first I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sarah from Wednesday Books for getting me involved in this blog tour. I really enjoyed Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light when 

Blog tour: What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

Blog tour: What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like. First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Meghan from Wednesday Books for reaching out and inviting me to take part in this blog 

Blog tour: Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race

Blog tour: Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race

Hey everyone, and welcome to my stop on the Midnight’s Twins blog tour! A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for organising this tour and letting me take part.

If you’ve been to one of my blog tour posts in the past you’ll know I always tell you a little bit more about the book before I share my thoughts and feelings, so buckle up and let’s get into it.

Fern King is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?

But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.

But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts…

Before I review the story itself, can we just take a moment to appreciate that cover?! If possible it’s even more gorgeous in real life. The illustrator, Gavin Reece, deserves mad amounts of praise.

When the book begins we find ourselves back in 2005 following Una King, Fern and Ollie’s mother, as she races across Annwn in the attempt to avoid a dangerous monster called a treitre and get home to her babies. Unfortunately the treitre catches Una, and the next morning back in Ithr she is found dead in bed, believed to have passed away in her sleep.

The prologue made my heart pound and was a very startling introduction to the world of Midnight’s Twins. In fact, it made it impossible to put Midnight’s Twins down, because it gave me so many questions which I just couldn’t wait to get answered, and it certainly gets the award for the most memorable start to a book that I’ve read this year so far.

Fifteen years later, Fern starts receiving mysterious texts from someone who claims that they murdered her mother. Having always accepted the fact that their mother died in her sleep, Fern is determined to find out more about Una and the world of Dreamers which ended up being the death of her.

One of the first things that struck me about Midnight’s Twins was how simple yet effective the contrast between Fern and Una’s viewpoint is. Una’s viewpoint is told in third person, whereas Fern’s is told in first, and it so easy to read. The two viewpoints are impossible to mix up because of how differently they are written, and it makes it a pleasure to dip back into the past and learn more about Una’s time with the Knights. I can’t think of another book which switches from third to first person without it feeling awkward or distracting you from the story, so it really makes this book stand out from the crowd.

It’s pretty impossible to briefly sum up the events of Midnight’s Twins, because so much happens throughout this book. Not only do Fern and Ollie have to undergo training to prove their worthiness as Knights of Annwn, they also have to undergo some serious soul-searching to attempt to repair their relationship. Meanwhile, there’s the big bad Sebastian Medraut: a rising politician in Ithr, and one of the most dangerous figures Annwn has ever seen.

I did find the character of Medraut and his One Voice party to be scarily relevant. With so many politicians across the globe acting as though a vote for them means unquestioning agreement with all of their policies it feels as though people are being silenced, so the concept of a politician whose whole shtick is to get people to be silent is both realistic and terrifying. He’s so charismatic that people can’t see the negative side of him, and it makes him so much easier to hate: I just wanted him to experience his comeuppance, but with this being the first book in a trilogy it wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it would be for Fern and Ollie to triumph.

There’s so much that I highly recommend about this book, but I’m trying my hardest not to give any spoilers because I want you to discover the story for yourself! I will say that you might want to keep some tissues close by, because there are some seriously heartbreaking named character deaths. This might be marketed as YA and feature teenage characters, but there’s more death in this than you find in most fantasy novels! My jaw dropped a couple of times, because I couldn’t believe that some of these characters were being defeated so early in the series.

The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because there were a few scenes which were written a little clunkily. I found myself being thrown out of the story because I had to pause and reread a couple of times to get my head around what was going on, but it didn’t take too long to get back on the horse so it wasn’t a massive issue. That might be because this is a debut or because it’s a series starter, as there is a lot of exposition and world building to craft the world of Annwn properly, but I’m hoping this will become less of an issue as the series continues.




Holly Race works as a development executive in the film and TV industry, most recently with Aardman Animations. Holly is a Faber Academy graduate, and Midnight’s Twins is her debut novel and the first in a trilogy. After spending several happy years in East London, a few streets away from where Fern lives, she now resides in Cambridge with her husband, their daughter and a large black poodle called Nymeria.

If you’d like news on the sequel to Midnight’s Twins as soon as it is announced, you can follow Holly on Twitter and Instagram.




If you need me at any point in the next year you’ll be able to find me here, eagerly anticipating the release of the next book in this series.

Once again, a huge thank you to Faye for letting me get involved in this blog tour. I loved Midnight’s Twins much more than I thought I was going to, and if the rest of the trilogy is as strong as this book Holly Race will easily become a new favourite author of mine.

Thank you for visiting!

Alyce

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Blog tour: Again Again by E. Lockhart

Blog tour: Again Again by E. Lockhart

Hey everyone! I am so excited to be welcoming you to the blog today for my stop on the Again Again blog tour. This is actually the first E. Lockhart book I’ve ever finished – I know, why have I been sleeping on her?! – 

Blog tour: The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Blog tour: The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Hey everyone! I’m here today with my stop on The Enigma Game‘s blog tour, and I’m thrilled to be welcoming Elizabeth to share a wonderful guest post with you all. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well in these trying times, and that this 

Blog tour: The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

Blog tour: The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

Hey everyone, and welcome to my stop on The Lizard blog tour! I’m honoured to be teaming up with Muswell Press once again to celebrate the release of a truly gripping crime debut.

As always, I’m going to tell you a little more about The Lizard before I share my thoughts on it – trust me when I tell you this is not a book you’re going to want to sleep on.

About the book:

St Andrews University undergraduate, Alistair Haston, heartbroken by his breakup with his girlfriend Ellie, heads off to where she summers in the hope of ‘accidentally’ running into her. On a ferry from Athens he meets Ricky, a magnetic Australian, who promises him a cushy job on the Greek island on Paros. Ricky introduces him to Heinrich, a charismatic German artist living in an exquisite mansion, who uses his talent and considerable wealth to lure susceptible tourists to his home. Soon swept away in a cocktail of hedonistic pursuits, Haston sheds his conservative skin and is immersed in a sun-drenched world of sex, fine food and drugs. When the body of a missing tourist is found, however, the finger of blame points at Haston and he is forced on a desperate life or death run.

The Lizard was inspired by a solo trip which Dugald Bruce-Lockheart took in 1988, during which he slept rough on beaches and rooftops and ended up getting chased by a local gang – at knifepoint! – around the island of Paros.

As soon as I was told it was loosely based on a real experience I couldn’t resist giving it a go, even though this is not the type of book I normally pick up.

The best word to describe the first quarter of the novel is hedonistic, and it’s definitely on the racier end of the spectrum. Alistair’s ferry trip on the way to Paros is debauched, and the parties at Heinrich’s mansion spiral further out of control as Alistair films the sexual antics of the attendants. If you’re someone who is opposed to reading books which include a lot of casual sex then I would recommend staying away from this one, as it is a huge part of the novel: Alistair works recruiting models for Heinrich to paint and gets a bonus if the models sleep with Heinrich – who also pays them for the pleasure of sleeping with them – so the sexual aspects of the story are not easily avoidable.

However, things quickly go from wild to absolutely WACKY. Alistair is arrested and discovers that Heinrich hasn’t just been painting the models. They have been turning up dead, and Alistair has been set up to take the fall for their crime. He manages to escape from prison and intends on heading to the British Embassy in Athens, until he receives a picture of Ricky with Ellie. Can he save her before she becomes their next victim, without losing his own life in the process?

This novel has so many twists and turns that you feel as though you’re on a rollercoaster, and every time you think the ride is nearly over you discover a whole new stretch of track filled with loop-the-loops and plummeting drops. Your stomach will be in your throat, your heart will be racing, and it will be impossible for you to put this book down.

Meanwhile, the location is described beautifully, the vibrant nature of the Greek islands thrumming through the pages. Considering there aren’t going to be any summer holidays happening this year, this is the perfect way to get a taste of warmer climes and escape from the ceaseless rain of another British summer.

If you’re longing for an escape to the sun but have a taste for a gritty crime novel, The Lizard is the perfect combination for you. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel, and it’s certainly put Dugald Bruce-Lockhart on my radar as one to watch out for in the future. As far as I’m aware this is a standalone, but it has a cheekily open ending so there is the possibility that he could revisit some of the characters in the future. I for one would be completely up for that!

About the author:

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart was born in Fiji and went to school at Sedbergh in Cumbria while his parents worked abroad. After St Andrews University he trained as an actor at RADA. He has worked extensively on stage and on TV and received many accolades including a Best Actor nomination from The Stage.

He recently directed a new production of The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson by Jonathan Maitland. He appeared as Michael Gove in the original production at the Park Theatre, London. He lives in South East London.

Thanks again to Muswell Press for getting me involved in this blog tour, and to you for coming to check out my stop.

With all physical book launches and events being cancelled it’s more important than ever to support the book blogging community and to celebrate debut authors, and by reading this post you’ve done both. Well done you!

See you next time,

Alyce

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Blog tour: The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud

Blog tour: The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on The Codes of Love blog tour. It means an awful lot to me that you’re checking out this post – considering the state of the world at the moment I’m sure you have far more important things to 

Blog tour: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Blog tour: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Foul is Fair blog tour. It has been a whopping six months since I last took part in a blog tour – I know, where has the time gone?! – but when Meghan from Wednesday Books reached 

Blog tour: I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Blog tour: I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Hello everyone! This is the most exciting blog tour I’ve been involved in all year, and I’ve been dying to share my thoughts on I Hold Your Heart – Karen Gregory’s third novel – with you all.

I absolutely loved Countless and Skylarks left me speechless (quite literally: I still haven’t been able to put my thoughts into enough words to review it…) so it’s not a surprise that I enjoyed I Hold Your Heart just as much as its predecessors, but there are so many reasons why.

Before I dive into my review, here’s a bit more information about I Hold Your Heart – if you’re not already interested, the blurb alone makes this one unmissable.

“You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,” Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. “I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.”

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

I Hold Your Heart is an utter masterpiece.

Gemma first sees Aaron as she’s leaving one of her brother’s football matches, their eyes meeting across the pitch – sparks flying, a soaring orchestral soundtrack playing in the background – and she’s instantly attracted to him. Heading straight to her shift at the cafe with her best friend Esi, she can’t stop wondering whether she should have given him her number when – lo and behold – in he walks.

A huge fan of country songs, Gemma has always believed in true love and soulmates, the love stories that all of the greats sing about. She just hadn’t expected her first love to be it, but Aaron undeniably is. He’s perfect.

Karen Gregory approaches the topic of abusive relationships very intelligently.

At the beginning, I Hold Your Heart feels like it’s the worst kind of contemporary, filled with cringey instalove and soppy moments that have you rolling your eyes and trying not to be sick. It’s a genius decision, though: the reader feels exactly like Gemma, so swept off of her feet by Aaron that when he starts to show his darker side it’s almost impossible to believe.

As the book hasn’t been out very long I’m not going to go into some of the worst aspects of Aaron’s behaviour, but the slow and steady escalation makes I Hold Your Heart one of the most realistic depictions of abusive relationships that I’ve read. I’ve seen it touched upon a few times in YA, but normally the change in personality occurs at such a breakneck speed that it feels highly unbelievable. Instead, Gregory gets her readers care deeply for these characters – to even care for their relationship, at its more tender moments – only to see it come crashing down very dramatically.

You really feel yourself rooting for Gemma and Aaron at points. It’s hard not to agree when she pushes away Esi, who is getting overly involved in her relationship, because she should be allowed to be happy! But that’s the most dangerous thing about abusive relationships: if people think you’re happy, it’s even harder to tell people – or even yourself – that you’re not, and before you know it there’s no one left for you to talk to because you’ve pushed everyone away.

The inclusion of Aaron’s perspective really is the icing on the cake. As Gemma starts to realise that she isn’t happy, the story jumps across to Aaron more and more regularly, showing us how he justifies all of his actions – even the most horrible ones. It’s pretty scary stuff, because things that would be inexcusable to most people seem like common sense to him.

I think I Hold Your Heart could have a huge positive impact, as it showcases the warning signs so eloquently that it’s bound to have readers reaching out to close friends just to make sure that they’re doing okay.

This book is perfect for fans of Eve Ainsworth and Louise O’Neill – both authors who aren’t afraid to tackle emotional and controversial subjects in YA – and for fans of Holly Bourne, as some of Aaron’s behaviour later in the novel reminds me so much of It Only Happens in the Movies (one scene in particular, but you’ll know which one after you’ve read it!).

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of I Hold Your Heart, it’s available on Amazon.

About the author:
Karen Gregory

Karen Gregory has been a confirmed bookworm since early childhood. She wrote her first story about Bantra the mouse aged twelve, then put away the word processor until her first child was born, when she was overtaken by the urge to write. Her first novel, Countless, published in 2017, was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award and longlisted for the Branford Boase. Her second novel, Skylarks, was published in 2018. Karen lives in Wiltshire with her family.

If you’d like to reach out to Karen and tell her how excited you are about I Hold Your Heart, you can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Before I go I’d like to say a huge thank you to Faye Rogers for organising this blog tour. It’s been a dream to review this book: with every new release Karen Gregory is further cementing herself as my favourite author!

Alyce

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Blog tour: The Partisan Heart by Gordon Kerr

Blog tour: The Partisan Heart by Gordon Kerr

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on The Partisan Heart‘s blog tour. It’s a huge honour to have been invited to take part in this tour, and I’m so excited to be sharing a brilliant extract from Gordon Kerr’s newest release with you. As