Wednesday 29 June 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #164 - Fate Of Flames

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Fate of Flames (Effigies #1) - Sarah Raughley
ISBN - 9781481466776
Publisher - Simon Pulse
Release date - November 22 2016

Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.

When Phantoms - massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness - suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.

But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?

I quite enjoyed Sarah Raughley's first book, Feather Bound, so I'm intrigued to read her second effort. Plus being able to control the elements and monsters made from nightmares and darkness sound pretty cool! 

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #163 - Crossroads Of Canopy

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Crossroads Of Canopy (Titan's Forest #1) - Thoraiya Dyer
ISBN - 9780765385925
Publisher - Tor
Release date - January 31 2017

At the highest level of a giant forest, thirteen kingdoms fit seamlessly together to form the great city of Canopy. Thirteen goddesses and gods rule this realm and are continuously reincarnated into human bodies. Canopy’s position in the sun, however, is not without its dark side. The nation’s opulence comes from the labor of slaves, and below its fruitful boughs are two other realms: Understorey and Floor, whose deprived citizens yearn for Canopy’s splendor.

Unar, a determined but destitute young woman, escapes her parents’ plot to sell her into slavery by being selected to serve in the Garden under the goddess Audblayin, ruler of growth and fertility. As a Gardener, she yearns to become Audblayin’s next Bodyguard while also growing sympathetic towards Canopy's slaves.

When Audblayin dies, Unar sees her opportunity for glory – at the risk of descending into the unknown dangers of Understorey to look for a newborn god. In its depths, she discovers new forms of magic, lost family connections, and murmurs of a revolution that could cost Unar her chance…or grant it by destroying the home she loves.

Tree kingdoms, Understorey and bodyguards for a goddess all sound like this could be an amazing read. I love that cover too, not sure I'd want to live at the top of them though... Out just in time for me to justify it as a birthday present!


Tuesday 21 June 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #113 - Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous girls cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -
Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

Well, I made this a lot harder on myself than it should have been... I haven't updated Goodreads properly in nearly 3 months so I've kind of lost track of what I've read anyway, especially what of what I've read that has been published this year. The other thing conspiring against me is that I've either been reading library books or trying to clear books from my TBR pile for the TBR Challenge. Library books especially have not been published this year apart from a handful and only three were absolute favorites.

Monday 20 June 2016

Bookmarked... #20

The return of the (mostly) weekly post letting you all know what I'm reading and have lined up for the week! It's my own version of Sheila at Book Journey's It's Monday What Are You Reading (now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date) and I have her permission to rename it for my own nefarious reasons...

I am ever hopeful that I will get these Bookmarked... posts out on a slightly more regular basis. Life however has a habit of getting in the way of both reading and blogging. I thought I had a whole 10 days to catch up on reading, writing some reviews(!) and catching up on comments and blogs but instead I've got tomorrow at home and then I'm off again! Anyway, this is what I've finished recently and what I've got bookmarks stuck in currently.


Continuing to love Fables! The fact that they count towards my Fairy Tale challenge is nothing to do with it!

In fact, I'm kicking myself for taking so long to start reading them. Thankfully the library seem to have most of the series so I shall only have to beg/borrow/steal the last 2!!!

Rat Queens! Let me count the ways! I adored Rat Queens and was extremely peeved to discover the library didn't have any more...

A decent thriller about a woman in prison for killing her husband but is he really dead? A quick read, finished this in about 3 hours and enjoyed it.

I'd heard lots of good things about Sarah Mlynowski so thought it was about time I checked her out. To be honest I wasn't hugely impressed but I will get the sequel, Think Twice, because I want to know what happens.

The Girl Of Ink And Stars was fantastic, and the illustrations only made it better! Great YA fantasy from a debut author...

Currently Reading

Absolutely loving this, borrowed from the library but definitely buying a copy!

Another one where I'm so annoyed that I took so long to get round to reading it...

Rereading before I read In Ashes Lie again and loving the stunning new covers from Titan!

Friday 17 June 2016

Tommy V Cancer - Review: Wail Of The Banshee

Today is my stop on the Tommy v Cancer blog tour! The aim of this blog tour is to spread awareness of Tommy Donbavand’s current battle with the big C and to help raise some donations for him as he can no longer do the full time work of an author that he was doing before so he needs as much as help as he can get. I'm taking part because I obviously want to help people beat this horrible, horrible disease after losing my beloved mama to pancreatic cancer 3 years ago. To find out more about Tommy's fight, you can check out his brilliant blog here:

And if you wanted to donate anything, you can do so two ways:


You can also purchase any of his collection of brilliant books!

The idea behind this tour is that we all chose a book to review from Tommy's vast catalogue and I decided to focus on one of his series, Scream Street. Imagine a street just for werewolves, mummies, vampires and assorted other monsters and you find yourself living there literally overnight. Well, that's Scream Street for you... Here’s a review of one of the latest Scream Street books, Scream Street: Wail Of The Banshee!
“AAAYYYOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW!” Stunned awake by piercing screeches from next door, Jamie, newly arrived in the neighborhood, is certainly experiencing the scream in Scream Street. Favel has an infected tooth and Dr Skully fears the worst – the young banshee needs medicine, and fast! With the help of Luke, Resus and Cleo, Jamie must track down the ingredients for a life-saving remedy. But the four friends are dicing with death: if they’re not careful, Favel won’t be the only one biting the dust…

Wail Of The Banshee carries on where the last book, Flame Of The Dragon, left off except this time we have a new narrator. Jamie is freshly arrived in Scream Street having been moved by the Movers only the night before. He's come to the attention of G.H.O.U.L. Government Housing Of Unusual Life-forms) with his Walker talents, the ability to travel outside of his body whenever he feels like it. 

Woken by what can only be described as hideous wails of pain Jamie spots some rather unusual children outside the bedroom window and meets Luke (werewolf), Cleo (mummy) and Resus (vampire). Together they discover that Favel the Banshee has toothache and unless some magical ingredients can be found to make an anaesthetic she'll become very poorly indeed.

What follows is a grand adventure as Jamie gets to know his new friends, meets more residents of Scream Street and helps to find things such as anti-honey and griffin sweat! Between skeleton doctors, six foot tall fairies and the Gran Reaper life is definitely not dull in Scream Street...

Perfect for children age 7+ Wail Of The Banshee is another great instalment in the series. I should know, I bought and devoured all 14 of them over the last two weeks! The books are short enough for those readers who are either aren't confident about reading anything longer yet or for those reluctant readers whose attention span might not be as long as others. With plenty of action and thrilling story-lines they're great for both girls and boys, no gender stereotypes here thank you very much. What's even better is that if they like (love) the books there's a new animated television series to tide them over!

Scream Street: Wail Of The Banshee - Tommy Donbavand
Publisher - Walker
Release date - October 4 2012

About The Author

Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum). 

In theater, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films).

As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister.
Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.

Twitter Chat!

To end this tour, Vivienne and Chelley will be hosting a twitter chat that you do not want to miss!

This will be on 30th June 2016, 8 – 9pm BST

The hashtag for the chat is #tommyvcancer

There will also be a GIVEAWAY!

See you there!


Wednesday 15 June 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #162 - Six Wakes

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty
ISBN - 9780316389686
Publisher - Orbit
Release date - December 20 2016
Find - Goodreads

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the murdered crew are resurrected through cloning to discover who their killer was - and the secret to their mission.

It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.

At least, Marie Shea iv had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died, from illness once and from injury once...

Maria's vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Pituitary, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. Apparently Maria wasn't the only one to die recently.

Having loved the first book in the Shambling series, The Shambling Guide To New York City, Mur Lafferty has been on my watchlist so I was intrigued and excited by the synopsis of Six Wakes. It sounds completely different to the Shambling books but at the same time it sounds vaguely familiar. Was there a television show that did this? Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Six Wakes even though it's another six months until release date!  


Tuesday 14 June 2016

June New Release Giveaway!

Welcome to the June (how on earth have we got to June already!) 2016 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on June 30 2016. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here

All you have to do is choose any new release published in June and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Top Ten Tuesday #112 - New Releases For The Rest Of 2016...

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous girls cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year

I haven't been very good at keeping up with what's coming out when this year so this threw me into a bit of a spin. Having sifted through Goodreads I think these are my most anticipated titles for the rest of the year... I'm almost 100% certain that I will think of a dozen or more titles immediately after I hit publish!

Sunday 12 June 2016

Whispers Of Wilderwood Hall - Karen McCombie

Ellis is losing track of time…

After leaving her friends to move to a crumbling Scottish mansion, Ellis is overcome by anxiety and loneliness. Then she hears whispers in the walls…and finds herself whisked back in time to 1912.

At first, she feels like she's finally home. But the past may not be as perfect as it seems – and is there more to hope for in the present than she first thought?

Warning, this review is likely to be one long gush... I absolutely adored Whispers Of Wilderwood Hall, this is my sort of book! Starting briefly in London the bulk of the story takes place in the wilds of Scotland where Ellis and her mother, Sadie, are newly arrived at Wilderwood Hall. Recently married to a rock star this is their new home but for Ellis it could turn out to be so much more.

Suffering from severe anxiety and wondering exactly how she is going to fit into her mother's new life the situation isn't improved when her newly acquired step-sister Weezy suddenly shows up. What might tip her over the edge though are the voices she's hearing and why does it seem as though she's in two places at once...

Ellis is a great character, I can completely empathise with her - anxiety is not a fun thing and not everyone understands exactly how it affects you. Luckily her family (both old and new) seem to know that how badly she is affected and rather than smothering her or worse, they know that she needs help in order to learn to live with and manage it. 

The historical and time-jump sections of the book were great, as soon as the time period was mentioned I absolutely knew what was going to happen and I was right! Befriending a maid back in 1912 Ellis starts to find the friendship she is looking for but unfortunately for her not everything is as it seems and she's going to have to make some tough choices that not everyone will like or appreciate.

If you like middle grade fiction that covers anxiety, step families, history with a twist of fantasy and an excellent story-line then Whispers of Wilderwood Hall is definitely the book for you. I started reading it when I had a free hour and ended up not putting it down until I was finished. Beautifully written, in a magical setting, an authentic portrayal of anxiety and realistic characters all combine to make one of my favorite reads of the year!

Whispers Of Wilderwood Hall - Karen McCombie
ISBN - 9781407164090
Publisher - Scholastic
Release date - June 2 2016

Karen McCombie is from Aberdeen but now lives in North London with her husband, daughter and one big ginger cat. 

Before Karen became a full-time writer she worked for several teen magazines such as Just Seventeen, Bliss and Sugar in a variety roles - everything from Fashion Editor to Features Editor – all very exciting and glam!

Karen has sold over one million books in the UK alone and has been translated into 15 languages. 

Sunday 5 June 2016

Guest Post: Bookish Inspirations - Gabrielle Kent

I'd like to welcome Gabrielle Kent to the Outsider today! Gabrielle is the author of the fantastic middle grade Alfie Bloom series, published by Scholastic and available now. Over to Gabrielle now, to talk about her bookish inspirations.

Bookish Inspirations - Gabrielle Kent

To list all of my fictional inspirations for the Alfie Bloom series would be a Herculean task. Growing up I immersed myself in books. I went on adventures with the Famous Five, ventured to a world beneath the floorboards with Arrietty Clock, and solved mysteries with the Three Investigators, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Every term I went to Malory Towers with Darrell Rivers, and Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches with Mildred Hubble. During school holidays I travelled to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings, followed Bilbo Baggin’s into Smaug’s lair, and snuck through the gates of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory behind Charlie Bucket.

I never stopped reading children’s books and no-one should. You are NEVER too old for an adventure! My favourites are mysteries and adventure stories, but I love magical realism most of all. Those books filled me with ideas and excitement as a child, and still do. I love to imagine that not all is as it seems, that all we have to do is open a mysterious letter, or climb through a wardrobe and our lives will change forever.

I love authors who know that just because someone is an adult, it doesn’t mean they’re a sensible grown up. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s books feel as though they are for adults who never gave up testing wooden panels for secret passages, and who are still looking out for doors into magical worlds that they just KNOW border on our own.

I was thirty years old when I first read Harry Potter and immediately wished I could go back in time to give the book to my 10 year old self. It was the kind of book I had always wanted to write. When I saw how much children still loved this sort of story, it inspired me to finally share a magical adventure that had been trapped in my head since visiting Castell Coch in Wales. That’s when I fstarted to write about Alfie Bloom, the boy who inherited a castle.

As I was writing I channelled my love of magic, mystery and adventure into my work. I wanted to capture so many things that the books I love had shown me; the thrill of a life changing event, magic within our own world, solving mysteries, delicious feasts, going on adventures with friends and family, and the exaltation of defeating a terrifying foe against all odds.
Without realizing it, every book I ever read had become and important part of my author’s toolkit. The writers I love expanded my mind as well as my vocabulary and taught me that there really is magic everywhere. With all of their voices inside my head, like my very own Obi Wan, I work hard to create worlds and characters that might just be able to instill the same sense of wonder in children (and very big children) who know in their hearts that magic is all around us.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #161 - The Transference Engine

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

The Transference Engine - Julia Verne-St. John
ISBN - 9780756409531
Publisher - DAW
Release date - July 6 2016 

A fantastical steampunk novel of magic and machines set in an alternate 1830s London.

Madame Magdala has settled comfortably into her new life in London, as the proprietress of the Book View Café, a coffee shop and extensive library. Her silent partner is Ada Lovelace, who will one day become the world’s first computer programmer - but who now is simply the young woman for whom Madame Magdala was a nursery maid.

Ten years ago, Ada’s father, Lord Bryon, was known as a great writer. But few knew of his powers as a necromancer. Upon his death, his devoted followers tried to repair the Transference Engine - a device that would allow Byron’s soul to claim the body of its choice. Magdala, along with Mary Godwin - a.k.a. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley - had to stop them.

While the original Transference Engine was destroyed, they were unsure whether they truly stopped Bryon and his followers. Together, they fled to safety in London, and built new futures for themselves.

Now, Magdala and Mary care for the Book View Café’s community, leading fashion, following gossip, and reading the latest periodicals. But when members of the café’s community mysteriously disappear, and rumors of a threat of royal assassination grow, Magdala finds herself with new mysteries to solve. The more she learns, the clearer it becomes that this is the same mystery returned - the Transference Engine is back with a vengeance.

Umm, yes please! Steampunk, a coffee shop that is also a library, Byron, Shelley... What more could you ask for?!

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