Monday, 24 April 2017

Black Knight Blog Tour - Review and Extract

Publisher: Scholastic (6th April 2017)

Maximum security! The world’s deadliest weapons tech needs some seriously beefy guards. So who put Dev and his mates in charge? By now, it’s not exactly news that letting the planet’s scariest weapons get stolen isn’t really the best idea. But how do you go about guarding them from utterly ruthless criminals whose tactics are impossible to predict? The answer is… a new squad of crack agents trained up by Dev and his buddies (yes, really). Their mission: to defend what’s left of the Inventory, and get back the stuff that’s been lost. At least Dev, Lottie and Mase know what not to do. But will they be ready for Shadow Helix’s next strike? (Publishers' blurb)

I've participated in the blog tours for Iron Fist and Gravity, so I was really happy to join the latest tour for the brilliant Black Knight. This is one of my favourite middle grade series, perfect for fans of Alex Ryder and the Cherub books. 

I'll share my thoughts, then below you can find a link to the very intriguing extract from the book. 

This book starts with some new members joining the team, which I thought was a great way to keep the series feeling fresh. The new team members added humour, conflict and new dimensions to the plot. A special mention goes to Riya: the smart, tough new girl that I really would have loved when I was a kid. 

One of my favourite aspects of this series is the villain, Lee. I'm a huge fan of complex, believable villains and it's great that this book delves more into Lee's perspective. 

Another thing I really liked is how much the plot progressed. The stakes were higher, new players were introduced and there was plenty of new and creative tech. I feel like each book in this series provides plenty of action and twists, but at the same time there are definitely mysteries left to be explored in future books. 

If you haven't already, I'd definitely recommend starting this series from the beginning and treating yourself to a fast-paced adventure. 

Now for the main event - the extract. This chapter focuses on Lee, the villain and one of my favourite characters. Click here and enjoy!


Andy has extensive experience working on multinational co-productions and has worked in comics, books, TV, film and trans-media projects.

Andy wrote and Executive Produced Legendary, currently the most successful independent UK/Chinese co-production. Released in China and grossing $5 million in the first week, with a theatric US release in 2014. With his brother he worked on Hollywood features such as Judge Dredd and Freddy vs. Jason and TV shows for the SyFy Channel and Netflix.

He wrote and co-created Secret Agents, a trans-media interactive spy experience for children, currently on at the Discover Centre, Stratford. He has 16 books and graphic novels published in the UK and around the world.

He has written 20 books and graphic novels published in the UK and around the world. In 2016 his latest feature, Crowhurst, will be released.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak - review

Publisher: Faber and Faber (6th April 2017)

​Three young friends are desperate to get a copy of the latest Playboy featuring Wheel of
​Fortune hostess Vanna White on the cover. The trouble is, no shopkeeper is going to sell
​something so scandalous to three fourteen year-old gaming nerds. The only thing for it is a full ​scale heist. As they set out on their mission to steal the most wanted images in America, they​ ​have no idea of the danger that lies ahead. Or that a girl named Mary Zelinsky, ​and a competition to design a Commodore 64 video game, might change one of their world's forever. (Publishers' blurb)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is technically an adult book but it has definite crossover appeal.

I’m a big fan of 80s movies and this blurb got me very excited. I’ve read other books set in the 80s and this was the first one that accurately captured what it felt like to be an 80s kid. Although I didn't grow up in 1980s America, the small town setting felt very authentic and the 80s references were well selected (and really fun to look out for!) There's a cinematic quality that made me feel like I was watching a really great 80s movie.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the video game references. I found the programming fascinating, and not too complex to follow! I enjoyed following Will and Mary designing their game and you can even play it here.

The plot of this book was really strong. There were familiar, extremely heartwarming coming of age elements but the plan to steal the Playboy added another layer of urgency and action. It was also a realistic portrayal of being a teenager: glorious one minute and awkward the next.

I also got very attached to the characters. They were fleshed out well, with interesting back stories, but they had unique qualities that made them feel real.

This is my favourite debut of the year so far and I strongly recommend it for anyone who wants fun, humour and an abundance of feels.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dream Magic by Joshua Khan - blog tour

Publisher: Scholastic (6th April 2017)

In a world ruled by six ancient Houses of Magic, a girl and a boy begin an epic and dangerous journey of discovery . . . Lileth Shadow, princess of darkness, is struggling with her growing powers. Castle Gloom is filling with ghosts, zombies roam the country and people throughout Gehenna are disappearing. Then Lily is attacked in her own castle by a mysterious sorcerer known as Dreamweaver and his army of jewel-spiders whose bites send victims to sleep. Thorn, and his giant bat Hades, must save Lily from the realm of sleep and help her overcome the evil Dreamweaver in order for her to reclaim her kingdom. (Publisher's blurb)

I wish this series had been around when I was a child. It has all the horror, humour and fantasy that I ever could have wanted. I loved Shadow Magic, the first book in the series, and if anything I enjoyed this one more. 

Sometimes, I have a problem with sequels. I like being introduced to new worlds and am disappointed if there are no new ideas or conflicts. This book explores the world's mythology in more depth and creates new elements. The Gothic feel of the first book really hooked me into this series and I enjoyed how this book was even more inventive with the horror. I found it genuinely scary and disturbing in places, but no so much that I'd worry about a child reading it.

The characters are another part of this series that I really enjoy. Lily is an excellent hero, who revels in the darkness that she has inherited and isn't always virtuous in how she handles it. Her friendship with Thorn is great and I find the chemistry between them really entertaining. The secondary characters are also very strong. In what other series would my favourite character be a troll called Dott?

If I had to say one thing I wasn't keen on, it's the idea that women are forbidden to use magic. I understand that this was included to provide additional conflict, which it did successfully, but this is a fantasy trope I'm not a big fan of. I think it was Samantha Shannon who said that if you're creating your own fantasy world, there's no reason why men and women can't be equals.

A real strength of this book was the plotting. The compelling mystery and unexpected events kept my interest in a way that will appeal to adults and children. There was something very fresh and original about the plot that made it very hard to predict!

This has become one of my favourite middle grade series and I can't wait for the next instalment. Dream Magic comes out today, so if you like what you've read you can buy it now!