Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Book Spotlight, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Friendship, Political Thriller, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult

Number 10 C.J. Daugherty 5*#Review @CJ_Daugherty @moonflowerbooks @midaspr @agentmilburn #Number10 #BlogTour #BookReview #YAThriller #Conspiracy #ComingofAge #Spy #Political

Number 10 tells the spine tingling story of 16-year-old Gray Langtry, the daughter of the UK’s female prime minister, who is about to get in way over her head.

After a wild night with friends is splashed across the tabloids, Gray is grounded for two weeks at Number 10 Downing Street, no ifs no buts.

Left alone one night, with her mother at an important meeting, Gray discovers a secret network of government tunnels leading from 10 Downing Street to the Houses of Parliament and beyond.  What starts as a bit of fun, suddenly gets serious, when Gray stumbles across a secret late night cabinet meeting and overhears what sounds like a Russian-led plot to kill her mother.

Wasting no time, she rushes back to inform her mother’s security detail, but with no proof of what she heard, no-one will believe a wayward teenager. Now, it’s up to Gray to break out of Number 10 and warn her mother before it’s too late.

With the help of her best friend Chloe and love interest Jake McIntyre – who just happens to be the son of the leader of the opposition – will she make it in time to save her mother?  And what will she have to sacrifice in the process?

Number 10 is a Night School spin off series that sees CJ Daugherty back at her spine tingling best.  Gripping, thrilling, and filled with intrigue, Number 10 explores the nexus of power in the UK from a teenager’s point of view.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is sinister political thrills fused with the courageous, and naive perspective of a sixteen-year-old. Gray’s life as the Prime Minister’s daughter curbs her freedom. Rebellion is her only form of control, putting her on the media radar and in a dangerous spotlight.

Gray is an easy to like character, who draws the reader’s empathy. I understand the reason for the constraints on her life, but it’s hard not to sympathise with her point of view. There is a relatable dynamic between Gray and her mother, which draws the reader into the story. The security team are believable.

The plot is fast-paced and vibrant. The setting’s familiarity adds to the story’s authenticity and conspiracy theme. The sense of danger and the building suspense makes this a hard book to put down. The ending feels like the beginning of something new for Gray, but the undercurrents of menace remain.

C.J. Daugherty

C.J. Daugherty was 22 when she saw her first dead body. Although she’s now left the world of crime reporting she has never lost her fascination with what it is that drives some people to do awful things as well as the kind of people who will try to stop them. While working as a civil servant she visited No. 10 Downing Street and saw people disappearing into a small door with her own eyes – this became the inspiration for the novel Number 10. 

A former crime reporter and accidental civil servant, C.J. Daugherty began writing the Night School series while working as a communications consultant for the Home Office. The young adult series was published by Little Brown and went on to sell over a million and a half copies worldwide. A web series inspired by the books clocked up well over a million views. In 2020, the books were optioned for television. She later wrote The Echo Killing series, published by St Martin’s Press, and co-wrote the fantasy series, The Secret Fire, with French author Carina Rosenfeld.

While working as a civil servant, she had meetings at Number 10 Downing Street, and saw people disappearing through a small door leading to a staircase heading below ground level. This visit became the inspiration for Number 10.  FYI: She still doesn’t know if there are tunnels below Number 10. But she hopes there are. 

Her books have been translated into 25 languages and been bestsellers in multiple countries. She lives with her husband, the BAFTA nominated filmmaker, Jack Jewers.  

One of the UK’s most critically acclaimed teen authors returns with a new novel set in the world of her hugely popular Night School series.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Excerpt, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult

Tree Slayer Harriet Springbett #BookTour @HarriSpringbett @ImpressBooks1 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TreeSlayer

Nine months after the events of Tree Magic, Rainbow is struggling to come to terms with how she’s changed. Her bond with trees has grown, but now they’re under threat from the Tree Slayer.

To save them, she’ll need to leave everything she knows and loves. It will be her greatest adventure yet – but she cannot succeed alone.

She’ll have to enlist the help of Eole, an enigmatic scientist and sceptic.

Does Rainbow have what it takes to face the Tree Slayer? And can she trust Eole, who has powers of his own?

Amazon UK

Excerpt from Tree Slayer – Harriet SpringBett

Rainbow put down the phone and raced upstairs to her bedroom. Christophe had a surprise for her and he sounded excited about it.

She pulled on shorts and a T-shirt, scraped her long brown hair into a ponytail and clattered back downstairs. She paused at the bathroom to brush her teeth. She didn’t want morning breath to interfere with kissing.

Mum was in the kitchen, humming her new song as she made tea for the commune adults.

“Can I borrow the Mini?” Rainbow asked. “I’m going over to Christophe’s.”

Mum yawned. “I thought you were revising all weekend?”

“I’ve got the rest of the day to revise. And tomorrow. I won’t be long.”

Mum nodded, sat down with her tea and started scribbling musical notes on her manuscript. Rainbow dropped a kiss on her cheek, scooped up the keys and dashed outside into the sunny June morning.

She hadn’t seen Christophe all week. He’d been training a new motorbike apprentice at work and persuaded Rainbow to spend the final evenings before her Baccalaureate exams revising instead of hanging out with him. So she had. She’d ignored the call of the woods and sat in her loft, her school books open, gazing out of the windows at the enticing leaves.

Christophe. A smile spread across her face as she drove towards his flat in Cognac. They’d been together for nine months – the nine best months of her life. They’d also been the strangest, but that wasn’t because of Chris. It was because of Mary.

When she and Mary hugged the silver maple tree last September, it had somehow absorbed Mary’s body. Rainbow absorbed Mary’s mind, which supposedly healed the split that should never have happened. All Mary’s memories and emotions, from the moment she and Mary split into two parallels, had lodged themselves inside Rainbow.

Rainbow didn’t feel healed. Mary continued to live on: to think and react to everything in Rainbow’s life, making Rainbow feel overstuffed with bizarre feelings that conflicted with her own. Mary’s negativity and her rebelliousness, her irreverent humour, her courage and her uncertainties all battled with Rainbow’s own, simpler worldview. Mary was so strong, Rainbow could almost hear her voice, and she experienced yearnings for places she’d never seen and people she’d never known.

After nine months, she still felt as if she’d swallowed Mary whole, like a dose of unpleasant medicine, and was unable to digest her. All she could do was to keep the thoughts and feelings that emerged from Mary in a separate part of her mind, a small part that didn’t interfere with her true self. Between her and Mary was a mental wall, a wall of bricks.

The only good part of sharing her mind and body with Mary was the love for Christophe she’d brought with her. There was no keeping that behind the wall. It seeped through the gaps and filled her with a heady scent that made life more joyful than ever before. 

Luckily, Christophe understood her Mary problems. He understood everything about her – except, perhaps, that she didn’t like revising. Or her obsession with Amrita Devi.

She parked Mum’s Mini in front of the motorbike shop in Cognac and jumped out, hoping the surprise wasn’t anything to do with motorbikes. Christophe’s flat was above the shop where he worked, though he didn’t work on Saturdays. She rang the doorbell to his flat and waited.

Amrita Devi was the girl in the Bishnoi legend who had saved a tree and lived – or saved a tree and died, according to Mary. Rainbow firmly believed Amrita had lived.

Although she hadn’t seen Amrita since her vision last September, she’d had incessant dreams about her. At the beginning, the dreams showed her and Amrita as the closest of sisters, running through woodland together, holding hands, sharing secrets and laughing. But the dreams were becoming darker. The last few times they’d been nightmares, with Amrita pleading for help and begging Rainbow to understand something that Rainbow could never grasp. When Rainbow told Christophe about her dreams, his brown eyes would begin to glaze and she’d have to tickle him until he listened properly.

Christophe buzzed open the front door for her and waited at the top of the stairs. She looked at him carefully as she walked up, in case the surprise was something boring like a new haircut. His thick hair was standing up at odd angles, which was normal for the morning, and there were no signs of piercings or tattoos. He did look worried, though. She glided into his bear hug and he held her tight.

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Folk Tales, Magic, Young Adult

Finn and the Wild Goose Sammy Horner 5* #Review @malcolmdown @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Finnwildgoose #SammyHorner

Amazon UK Paperback

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Finn and the Wild Goose is a lovely fantasy story for children.

Based on Irish folklore this is an exciting, poignant journey which I loved.

The story immerses the reader in Granda and Finn’s quest to find Evie. The writing style is lyrical and poetic, full of folklore and fantasy creatures, some good, some bad.

Woven seamlessly into the story are life messages. This is not just a children’s book. It made me cry, laugh and think. It has many layers and levels of understanding there’s something for everyone here.

I read the paperback which has lovely illustrations of the characters, and a glossary of Irish terms.

This is a magical tale of good and evil, not judging things by appearance, and the importance of love.

Sammy Horner

Sammy Horner is an Irish Musician, Recording Artist, Pastor, Author who spends all his time traveling around the world trying to make it all a little better. When he isn’t in remote parts of the world teaching life skills (practical trade skills, he is also an electrician and a qualified teacher) he tours with his wife Kylie as half of the Americana / Folk Duo, ‘The Sweet Sorrows’. He has two children and two grandchildren. Sammy lives in Wexford Ireland and occasionally gets to live in his own home for part of the year

Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult

Tree Slayer Harriet Springbett #CoverReveal @HarriSpringbett @ImpressBooks1 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TreeSlayer

Nine months after the events of Tree Magic, Rainbow is struggling to come to terms with how she’s changed. Her bond with trees has grown, but now they’re under threat from the Tree Slayer.

To save them, she’ll need to leave everything she knows and loves. It will be her greatest adventure yet – but she cannot succeed alone.

She’ll have to enlist the help of Eole, an enigmatic scientist and sceptic.

Does Rainbow have what it takes to face the Tree Slayer? And can she trust Eole, who has powers of his own?

Amazon UK

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Posted in Blog Tour, Extract, Friendship, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Even If We Break Marieke Njjkamp #Extract @mariekeyn @SourceBooks @midaspr @amberachoudhary #Mystery #Thriller #YA #EvenIfWeBreak

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp comes a shocking new thriller about a group of friends tied together by a game and the deadly weekend that tears them apart.

For five friends, this was supposed to be one last getaway before going their separate ways—a chance to say goodbye to each other, and to the game they’ve been playing for the past three years. But they’re all dealing with their own demons, and they’re all hiding secrets.

Finn doesn’t trust anyone since he was attacked a few months ago. Popular girl Liva saw it happen and did nothing to stop it. Maddy was in an accident that destroyed her sports career. Carter is drowning under the weight of his family’s expectations. Ever wants to keep the game going for as long as they can, at all costs.

When the lines between game and reality start to blend with deadly consequences, it’s a race against time before it’s game over—forever.

Amazon UK

Extract from – Even If We Break MARIEKE NIJKAMP

 MARIEKE NIJKAMP is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends and Before I Let Go. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globetrotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, has served as an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, and is the founder of DiversifYA. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at mariekenijkamp.com.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

The Adventures of Ellie and Bo Millie Kerr 4* Review @millieckerr @BookGuild @rararesources #conservation #youngadult #nature #blogtour #bookreview #TheAdventuresofEllieandBoo

A nature-loving cat and her conservationist mum team up to save endangered species!
Boo the tabby cat is born on a Lincolnshire farm and seems destined for a simple life. Everything changes when she’s put up for adoption and is taken in by Ellie Caldwell, an adventurous Cambridge graduate student who loves animals and is studying to become a wildlife conservationist.
Between lectures, Ellie heads to the countryside for camping trips, her Instagram-anointed ‘adventure cat’ in tow. On rocky trails, Boo discovers that, like Ellie, she has a passion for the natural world, and because she’s able to communicate with all animals, she can relate their challenges back to Ellie. But there’s a serious problem: whenever Boo tries to tell Ellie something, all Ellie hears is “Meow.”
Can they work out a communication system, and in doing so, save endangered animals from harm while encouraging public support of nature and wildlife? 

Waterstones Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a conservationist book aimed at older children and young adults. The main protagonists in this tale are a young women studying for a post-grad and her cat Boo.

Superficially this is a lovely adventure fantasy story about a cat talking to other animals and then learning to communicate with her human. As an adult you may have to suspend belief to accept this concept, but for children who are more receptive to the extraordinary, this concept should work.

The underlying messages are valid, and the motivations of Ellie, Boo and their friends positive. It’s an engaging story with relatable characters and teaches whilst it entertains.

Millie Kerr

Millie Kerr is an author, journalist and photographer focused on wildlife conservation. A former lawyer, Millie uses storytelling to help people see splendour and fragility of the natural world. Her creative essays and reported articles—which predominantly involve travel and wildlife—have appeared in dozens of top-tier American and British publications, among them The Economist, National Geographic Traveller, Popular Science, and The Wall Street Journal. Millie has also worked for numerous global conservation NGOs, both as an in-house writer and an external consultant; and her legal career saw her working in private practice and government. She graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Masters of Philosophy in Conservation Leadership and has lived between the UK and USA for fifteen years. Her adopted cat, Baboon, has been her constant companion, although unlike their fictitious counterparts, they only enjoy indoor adventures.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult

Tree Magic Harriet Springbett #excerpt @HarriSpringbett @ImpressBooks1 #YoungAdult #Fiction #Fantasy #Magic @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TreeMagic

A life fractured into parallel worlds. A quiet magic to accept or ignore. A decision to make.

Escape from difficult family dynamics is teenager Rainbow’s desire. When she discovers a strange gift for communicating with trees, she thinks she’s found her salvation. Even better, a mysterious but gentle man living in her Dorset village helps develop her powers.

But when tragedy strikes, Rainbow’s life is torn apart, creating parallel worlds in the process. In one life, the vulnerable Rainbow strives to salvage her family. In the other, her alter-ego, Mary, flees her past. Over the next few years the two versions of Rainbow follow very different lives. The source of their grief, however, is the same – a confession buried deep within their memories.

Could France offer more than a mere escape? As the two worlds draw closer and memories resurface, Rainbow and Mary’s futures must be determined. Can they receive the healing they need? Or will the renewed pain be too much to bear? Only by risking their lives will they know.

Amazon UK

Excerpt from Tree Magic – Harriet Springbett

Rainbow thought she’d died in the accident. She had to be dead because she could see Amrita Devi, and Amrita came from a Bishnoi legend.

Amrita was hugging a silver maple tree on the edge of a wood. A heaven full of trees seemed fitting to Rainbow, though lightning had split this particular maple and one of its two branches was almost dead. It needed some good hugging.

The Bishnoi girl was exactly as Rainbow had imagined: small and sprite-like with long black hair, and wearing a colourful sari in pinks and reds. Rainbow’s mum had told her the legend nine years ago, when Rainbow was four. According to the fable, Amrita had tried to save an ancient tree from woodcutters.

Amrita lifted her head from the trunk and beckoned to her. Rainbow crept through the silence to the silver maple and mirrored Amrita, lacing her arms around its trunk and hugging it. Then she closed her eyes and let herself be drawn into the tree’s reassuring comfort. It was as if she, Amrita and the maple were one, holding and healing each other. This was definitely heaven.

She opened her eyes to tell Amrita how great it all felt. But Amrita raised a finger to her lips and pointed towards a figure that had just arrived. It was another Rainbow.

This Rainbow looked angry. She kicked through decaying leaves, her hands shoved deep into her jean pockets. When she heard Amrita’s low call, she stopped and stared at them both. Her face was shock-white and her lips frozen blue.

Amrita stretched a hand towards her, inviting her to join them at the silver maple. But this strange Rainbow refused to come closer. Amrita pleaded, her voice an ethereal shimmer. “Xylem and phloem, xylem and phloem,” she said. “You’re not cambium. You shouldn’t have divided. Come! Be healed!”

The strange Rainbow ignored Amrita’s peculiar entreaty. She turned her back and stamped away.

Rainbow realised she’d been holding her breath. She let it out in a sigh of relief. She didn’t want to share Amrita and heaven with this imposter. She tried to catch Amrita’s eye and smile at her, but Amrita was no longer as solid as before. The whole of heaven rippled, like a bubble in a breeze. The colours weakened. Each separate entity blurred into a red-gold fuzz of whirling leaves. Then the bubble burst.

Excerpt from Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett
Harriet Speingbett

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Posted in Cover Reveal, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult

Tree Magic Harriet Springbett @HarriSpringbett @ImpressBooks1 @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TreeMagic

Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.

But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever. Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother? From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.

To find the truth, she must also find herself.

Amazon UK

Harriet Springbett’s childhood on a small farm in West Dorset gave her an early exposure to nature, which continues to inspire her writing.

She qualified as an engineer but, during a Raleigh International expedition in Chile, she realised she preferred words to numbers. She abandoned her profession, moved to France, studied French and then worked as a project manager, feature writer, translator and TEFL teacher. She now lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and their teenage children.

Since her first literary success, aged 10, her short stories and poetry have been published in literary journals and placed in writing competitions, including a shortlisting in the 2017 Bath Short Story Award.

Harriet leads writing workshops, has judged the Segora international short story competition and blogs at https://harrietspringbett.wordpress.com

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Young Adult

Kissing Daisy Parker Michael Milton #BlogBlitz @mikemiltonbooks @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #YoungAdults #ComingofAge

First loves. Last chances. Street Fighter II.

Daisy is a Sylvia Plath reading, Robert Smith devotee, planning on a summer of Australian beaches with or without her two favourite boys. Obsessed gamer and jealous boyfriend Greg needs the prize money from the Scottish Street Fighter II championships to join Daisy in Oz. She wouldn’t really go without him. Would she?

Scottish-born, English-accented Junaid is the couple’s best friend. Haunted by that school dance and terrified of the future, he finds himself falling for his best friend’s girl. When a disastrous event at the video game tournament brings Daisy and J closer together, Greg attempts the ultimate redemption.

Each makes decisions which alter the course of their friendship, and their lives, forever. But do the answers to life’s biggest questions truly lie in kissing Daisy Parker?

Amazon UK

Michael Milton spent the first 25 years of his life pretending to be other people. After switching drama school for university, he travelled the world as an English teacher and returned home to complete his MA in Creative Writing.

His stories have been long and shortlisted for the Fish Prize, the Bath Short Story Award, the Mogford Prize and the Emerge Impact Creative Writing Prize. Kissing Daisy Parker is his first novel, and yes, he can beat you at Street Fighter.

Posted in Book Review, Young Adult

Ride A Bright Horse Jennifer Dovey 4*#Review @matadorbooks #JenniferDovey #YAFiction #Teen #Horses #motivational #retro #selfdiscovery #comingofage #AnimalFriends

Relatable, fun story about a growing bond between a novice rider and her horse
Based on a real horse and the author’s memories of her
Ideal for young riders 12+ – and everyone! – who is interested in horse riding or animals

Jenny has always wanted to ride but has always been very nervous about doing so. However, today’s the day and she approaches the horse chosen for her with a stomach full of butterflies –and finds, to her delight, a kindred spirit in Daisy.

Daisy is a mischievous horse, full of quirky charm and ready to teach Jenny that the bond between a girl and her horse is unlike anything she could imagine.

Without ideas about what horses should do, Jenny allows Daisy to be a freer spirit, and as Jenny encourages Daisy to learn new skills, Daisy becomes both pupil and teacher and Jenny’s confidence and ability to ride improve.

With only their instincts and deepening bond to guide them, this pair are about to embark upon the friendship of a lifetime.

Ride a Bright Horse portrays the fun and affection, laughter and tears and harmony of spirit between a rider and a horse, as they share a most unusual journey.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely story based on real memories for anyone who loves horses. Jenny loves animals and wants to ride, but she’s nervous. Daisy is a horse at the riding school with a good heart. Together they have adventures, as only a young person and an animal can.

This is full of happiness, sadness, learning and having fun. It has a retro quality to it, but the sentiments are relevant today. Written with emotion, it engages the reader from the first page.

It bought back memories of my time with horses as a girl and young adult. An enjoyable read perfect for preteens and young adults. Or anyone who loves horses.

Jennifer Dovey was raised in a sleepy village in Wiltshire. She has now retired and lives on a hilltop in deeply rural South West France with her husband. Her love of the countryside and fond memories of the irresistible charm of her mischievous horse Daisy have inspired her first novel