Tag Archives: Blog tour

The Hive Construct Blog Tour: Guest Post from Alexander Maskill

The Hive Construct is Maskill’s début novel and I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour! Today I’m sharing a guest post from the author, about what influenced him to write the book. Find more about The Hive Construct here!


The Hive Construct’s biggest influence was the year I’d spend prior to writing it studying politics at the University of Leicester. My degree required that I study political systems and social structures and the like, and so it was what was on my mind when I sat down to work out what the story would be. The story is a political story, it’s a story of political strife. The best thing you can do as a creative person is to not just draw on other creative works, but to combine outside interests of yours with your creative inclinations to create something less derivative than it otherwise might be.

18395027Getting more into other creative influences, the book was, in many ways, inspired by The Wire. I was really interested in exploring a society’s systems from multiple points of view, examining how the institutions of that society inexorably draw them into conflict – and The Wire is maybe the best ever telling of that particular story. The original title for The Hive Construct, which was just “The Hive”, is literally two letters away from “The Wire”, that’s how influential it was on me. At the same time, I wasn’t bound by journalistic experiences in the same way David Simon was, which allowed me to extend the themes into the details of the world-building. It made sense to me to parallel the ways people integrate themselves into the systems around them with people literally integrating themselves into information systems, and extending that metaphor wherever I could. Obviously this drew to mind other stories about transhumanism – Ghost In The Shell, Deus Ex and The Matrix being the most obvious ones in my mind.

The Mass Effect series of video games also ended up playing a significant role in a lot of my approach to world-building. My big dirty secret is that I don’t actually read that much science fiction, so the Mass Effect universe is probably the most developed science fiction universe I’ve ever been invested in. This is obvious everywhere from the way I describe the novel’s portable computers to some of the thematic concerns later on in the story.

Something else I realised a little while later was precisely how subconsciously influenced by the show Legend of Korra my Serious, Adult Political Novel ended up being. Talented young woman goes to a huge city in the middle of a major social upheaval, has often-contentious relationship with both sides and things escalate from there. I mean, I spent less time on fictional sports and love triangles, so maybe I missed a trick there.


 

Alexander Maskill grew up in East Sussex. He has just completed a Politics degree at the University of Leicester and hopes to follow this with an MSc in Computer Science. The Hive Construct is his first novel and won the 2013 Terry Pratchett Prize.

 

BLOG TOUR: Jessica Cole, Model Spy #1, Code Red Lipstick review

Today I’m taking part in the review tour for the Jessica Cole, Model Spy books! This is a series I’ve heard a lot about so I was really excited when I was asked if I’d be interested in reviewing book one.

Published 5th June 2014 by Scholastic.

21385579Goodreads Synopsis: Models, spies and lipstick gadgets… When Jessica’s father, a former spy, vanishes mysteriously, Jessica takes matters into her own hands. She’s not just a daddy’s girl who’s good at striking a pose; she’s a trained spook who knows how to take on MI6 and beat them at their own game.

My Review: I wasn’t too sure this would be my ‘thing’ when it first came out – but it received so much love on the internet that when I was asked if I’d liked to join a review tour a little while ago, I accepted straight away!

Jessica Cole is a teenager juggling a school life with her growing modelling career, with an ex-MI6 father. When she comes home to find him missing and her home ransacked, however, she has to find a way to get to the bottom of the mystery. She uses her modelling career as a cover-up for an investigation, and finds herself stuck in the middle of a complex crime.

Code Red Lipstick is a brilliant read that appeals to readers of lots of genres – whether you’re into fashion, contemporary stories or espionage – and, well, if you like all three, it’s perfect! Piecing together the mystery was so fun. Despite the plot seeming quite dark, it felt like a very upbeat story.

I think the main character, Jessica, is going to become a familiar and loved YA character. She’s got the qualities of a great heroine – leading a dangerous double life, putting her life on the line to save others, and having fearless determination – but she feels so different to many leading female YA roles. Maybe I don’t read widely enough… but I’ve found it quite rare to see a female character heading a thriller/mystery/dystopia/fantasy etc., who is hugely feminine-presenting, so this made for a refreshing change. I’m not sure if I worded that right, but I hope it makes some sense!

 

 

My Rating:

I received a copy of Code Red Lipstick from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

COVER REVEAL: Vendetta #2 by Catherine Doyle

I’m very excited to be a part of a cover reveal today!

Last year, Catherine Doyle’s thrilling debut, VENDETTA, was released. Think Mafia families, in a Romeo and Juliet scenario, in modern day Chicago. The sequel is out in a few months, but today for the first time, the title and cover are released!

Without further ado… here’s INFERNO!

Inferno

 

I quite like the covers for this trilogy so far, and how the objects give hints as to what might happen! What do you think?

Additionally, if you’d like to check out my BLOG TOUR post for Vendetta, book one, you can click here!

 

THE TOUR IN BETWEEN: Guest post – Nancy Tucker’s Recommended Reads

Tour in between (1)

A little while ago on The Bibliomaniac I reviewed The Time in Between – a moving, honest memoir of the author’s teenage years as she developed – and began to recover from – anorexia and bulimia nervosa. I loved the book so much – despite it not being my ‘usual’ genre of book, I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. I’m very excited today to be a part of The Tour in Between – the blog tour to celebrate to celebrate the book.

Read on to hear Nancy Tucker, author, speak about her five recommended reads on eating disorders and mental health.

Nancy with her bookMy Top Five Eating Disorder/Mental Health Memoirs

I am half-proud, half-ashamed of the fact that I have in my possession (read: under my bed) a library of eating disorder-related literature so comprehensive my medical student best friend took to borrowing from it when completing the Psychology modules on her course. Amongst this massive collection a good chunk are memoirs, and amongst the memoirs a decidedly smaller chunk are actually pretty decent reads, and amongst the decent memoirs I think the five below are genuinely meaningful, interesting, well-crafted books.

  1. Wasted – Marya Hornbacher

I wasn’t going to include this one initially, partly because it’s already so widely recognised it feels almost superfluous to mention it again, and partly because it’s so widely acknowledged to be the sort of material eating disorder sufferers use as ‘thinspiration’ (Hornbacher discloses her weight and the number of calories she is consuming at pretty much every opportunity, and her descriptions of her illness are horrifying in their honesty and graphic detail). But then I was flicking through it for the hundredth time, and realised for the hundredth time that it is the sort of book it is all but impossible to flick through, because the writing is so searingly brilliant one is immediately sucked in. The way Hornbacher describes anorexia and bulimia is gruesome, dark and messy, and makes for uncomfortable reading at points, but eating disorders are gruesome, dark and messy, and to write about them in a way that evokes anything other than discomfort would be somehow wrong.

  1. Something Spectacular – Greta Gleissner

This is the book I want to shove in the face of anyone who suggests that bulimia is ‘less serious’ than anorexia. Gleissner’s account of the way in which her compulsion to binge and purge drove her to steal from her loved ones, leave a string of jobs in quick succession and ultimately admit herself to a rehabilitation facility is a terrifying glimpse into the nightmare of bulimia. This book also does a fantastic job of exploring the dichotomy between the face eating disorder sufferers tend to show to the outside world – competent, successful, ‘sorted’ – and the reality of their inner selves – tortured, tormented, broken.

3.Unbearable Lightness – Portia de Rossi

I think it’s possible that part of the reason why I liked this book so much was how pleasantly surprised I was to like it at all, it being a ‘celebrity ED memoir’ – a genre which Nikki Grahame taught me to treat with extreme caution. But, even discarding that bias, I think this is a really well-written, touching and interesting account, not just of eating disorders but of their interplay with both fame and sexuality.

  1. Insatiable – Erica Rivera

This book is both excruciating and achingly admirable in its tackling of what remains something of a taboo: how an active eating disorder sufferer can manage – or fail to manage – the task of parenting. Rivera is touchingly honest in her account of how her anorexia and bulimia took her away, emotionally and physically, from her young daughters, and at times it is painful to read of the neglect these children suffered as a result of their mother’s sickness. But Rivera writes with skill, precision and self-effacing humour, which prevents the narrative from feeling heavy-going.

  1. Get Me Out of Here – Rachel Reiland

Though this book does explore a little of the author’s struggle with anorexia, it is primarily a memoir of borderline personality disorder, and of the intensive psychotherapy Reiland undertook in order to bring her disorder under control. The level of self-disclosure in the book is admirable, offering a comprehensive insight into one of today’s most widely misunderstood mental illnesses, and the writing is masterful. I also really enjoyed the way in which this book explored therapy and the therapeutic relationship in such detail, as I think this is an aspect of mental health which lay people can find difficult to grasp, unable to quite understand the dually intimate and professional nature of the relationship between client and therapist.

Triggering aside – because I think, to a certain extent, one has to take responsibility for knowing oneself well enough to know whether material of this nature is likely to cause one problems or not, and making the decision as to whether or not one reads books of this nature based on that self-knowledge – I would wholeheartedly recommend all of these books to eating disorder sufferers, but also to those with no personal experience of mental illness, as I think the snapshot each one offers into being at war with one’s own mind is valuable, and sharp and important.

Thank you to Nancy for the guest post and for the amazing Stevie @ Icon Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour! The Time in Between is in bookshops now – and you can enter a Goodreads Giveaway for the book here! Do check out the other stops on the book tour – either by searching the blog names on the tour banner above or using #thetourinbetween.

Blog Tour: The Darkest Part of the Forest #BookishWishes

I’m a really big fan of Holly Black, and have been ever since I read the Spiderwick Chronicles when I was younger – so I’m really excited for the release of The Darkest Part of the Forest this month!

This post is part of the #BookishWishes blog tour, where lots of bloggers are sharing their book-related dreams. You can find lots more blog posts from great bloggers by stalking the hashtag on Twitter! 🙂

My Bookish Wishes:

I wish two of my favourite fantasy authors would team up for an ultimate fairy tale retelling – Holly Black and Neil Gaiman. Because how cool would that be?! I’ve recently really enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s retellings of The Sleeper and the Spindle and Hansel & Gretel – I would love to see him collaborate with Holly. Preferably about fairies. Because faaaaaaairies.

And, as fairy godmother (and thanks to Indigo/Orion for being so awesome), I wish to bestow a copy of The Darkest Part of the Forest upon my school’s library – I’m sure our lovely librarian and all of the kids who use the library would love to read the new Holly Black book.

About The Darkest Part of the Forest:

IMG_3262Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does… As the world turns upside down and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

About Holly Black:

Holly Black is the bestselling author of YA and children’s books including being co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, a NEW YORK TIMES No.1 bestselling phenomenon and hugely successful film. She has been a finalist for the MYTHOPOEIC AWARD, the EISNER AWARD and a recipient of the ANDRE NORTON AWARD and a NEWBERY HONOR. She currently lives in New England in a house with a secret door.

VENDETTA Blog Tour: Catherine Doyle on films that inspired Vendetta

I’m really delighted to be hosting a spot on the Vendetta blog tour! Vendetta is a UKYA début novel from a talented, young new voice in YA literature. You can read my review of Vendetta by clicking here. Here’s a guest post from the author, talking about films that inspired her début…

Catherine Doyle: Films that Inspired Vendetta

Cat Doyle BioColour-2As a small child, there was nothing quite as exciting to me as watching Cinderella or Pocahontas or Aladdin, and as I grew up, my love of movies grew with me, expanding to include more than just the old Disney favourites. I fell in love with The Princess Bride, saw Pirates of the Caribbean five times in the cinema, and spent hours imagining myself as an elf living in Middle Earth. While I was studying for my undergraduate degree I got a part-time job in a movie rental shop, where I worked for four years. I got to encourage my passion for cinema and forge friendships with a bunch of awesome, like-minded movie junkies at the same time.

Of course, books have always held a special place in my heart, but together, novels and films have inspired my creative side and set me on the path I’m on now.

For me, writing is a very visual endeavor. I take my cues from images in every day life or ones that randomly pop into my head. From there, I build the scenes and the characters, and see where the story takes me.

Vendetta was inspired by an image that popped into my head one night as I was falling asleep. There was a crumbling white mansion, and in front, five boys were standing side-by-side, doused in shadow. The story began from here, but as the characters took shape I suddenly discovered where they were leading me and what I wanted to do – I wanted to bring the Mafia to YA in a way that was fresh and exciting, while also providing a throwback to some of the greatest films of that genre. I hope I have managed to do just that! The finished result is a teenage romantic thriller reminiscent of The Godfather, Goodfellas and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.

The Godfather finds its place in the family structures and power-plays that drive the story of Vendetta. The theme of loyalty is a powerful one, while corruption and deception are equally rife, threatening the stability of Nic and Sophie’s world just as betrayal and dissension affected the powerful Corleone family in Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s iconic works.

There is a scene in Goodfellas where the protagonist, Henry, has to comfort his girlfriend after her neighbour harasses her. After dropping Karen home and attending to her with great tenderness, Henry tracks down her abusive neighbour and what follows is a take-down. This sequence expertly juxtaposes heart-thudding romance with violence, and brings about a sense of uneasiness in the viewer. There’s discomfort having to witness something so dark, and yet a sliver of appreciation for someone being so impassioned by the mistreatment of a loved one that their defence far outweighs the initial crime. The co-existence of dark and light is something I wanted to instill in Vendetta, where questions of morality compete against the ideas of love and devotion, and the lines between right and wrong are blurred.

Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is an intimate portrayal of all-consuming teenage love, and the obstacles that can threaten the purity of something experienced at such a young ago. Rival family politics play a similarly large role in Vendetta, and as an ode to the star-crossed lovers theme, the cover of the book is reminiscent of Luhrmann’s 1996 movie posters.

I can really see what parts of the book each movie has inspired, which is awesome! Also, Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet has to be one of my favourite films – I love how Vendetta has developed from aspects of it 🙂

Check out the rest of the blog tour stops!

IMG_3263

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House). Find out more about the author at http://catherine-doyle.tumblr.com and http://www.catherinedoylebooks.com.

The Maze Runner Blog Tour: SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY

Martyn Pig stg2One day to go! It’s the 9th of October – Which means that tomorrow The Maze Runner is officially released in the UK! Today’s blog post is an exciting blog tour one, celebrating the movie’s release.

I read The Maze Runner at the beginning of 2013, and I loved every fast-paced, thrilling second of it. It was such a great book! I loved the mysterious world of the Glade – it interested and terrified me (as did the rest of the trilogy later on in the year…). The main thing I loved about the book, though, was all of the characters. Thomas was such a great protagonist, and I loved reading about the Lord of the Flies-esque community of Gladers too. You can read my review from last year by clicking here.

I can’t wait to see the book brought to life on the big screen. I’m a little nervous because so many YA novels are being adapted – but I’m a big Teen Wolf fan and love Dylan O’Brien’s acting in that… I think he’ll make a brilliant Thomas!:D View the trailer for the movie by clicking here, if you haven’t seen it yet! It looks awesome and the Glade is exactly the way I imagined it when I read it.

 

Giveaway time!!

The Bibliomaniac Book Blog is teaming up with Chicken House books for this giveaway –  and it’s a pretty exciting one! You can win a classic copy of The Maze Runner, SIGNED by James Dashner, the author. Enter using as many methods as you like from the rafflecopter menu below & good luck! AS I can’t get the widget working on my blog, click on the hyperlink below to go to the giveaway page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms / Conditions / etc etc

-This giveaway closes at midnight on the 19th of October: You have ten days to enter as many times as you like!:)

-I will tweet or facebook the winner of the giveaway a few days after the competition ends.

-I, the blogger, will NOT be sending out the book. I will pass postage details from the winner onto the publisher, Chicken House Books, who will post the prize.

-I’ll have to privately message the winner for their address (obvs:P) but as soon as I’ve passed the details onto the publisher I’ll delete them.

Good luck, and enjoy the book and movie!:)

Daughters of Time: blog tour!

Today on the blog I have an author’s guest post; one of the writers contributing to the Daughters of Time anthology! It’s a really great book written by the History Girls (http://www.the-history-girls.blogspot.com). I’m currently reading it and enjoying it. I did want to read it in time to put a review up with this post… But I wasn’t able to 😦 Review should be up next week! Here’s Dianne Hofmeyr on why she chose her historical figure in the anthology:

Why I Chose Elizabeth Stuart

20409955I grew up in a country without a king or queen, so the life of Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of a king, who was to become a queen herself, seemed like something out of a fairy tale.
I was fascinated by Elizabeth’s lack of pretence – that she refused to dress formally for her portrait for Frederick, and left her hair wild and untamed. For her wedding she adopted the same fresh approach and despite the custom of the time and her mother’s rigid adherence to formal dress, she wore her hair long and dishevelled down her back.
I like her playfulness and boldness – she was prepared to dress as a boy to be allowed access into her brother’s rooms when he was ill. And I like her determination. It was unusual for a young princess to marry someone she truly loved.
Elizabeth almost followed the true fairytale princess format story in that, after her marriage, she went to live in a beautiful castle in Heidelberg, where Frederick built her a monkey house, an aviary, a menagerie and an Italian Renaissance garden. I visited Heidelberg Castle some years ago and wandered around those same gardens without knowing that one day I would write the story of a young girl who lived there nearly four hundred years earlier.
-Dianne Hofmeyr

I hope you enjoyed the guest post! Daughters of Time is out this month from Templar Books; make sure to get a copy- it’s brilliant! (:

Anti-Bullying Blog Week: Bloggers on Bullying

Hello, people! The lovely Sophie from A DAY DREAMER’S WORLD is hosting a really special blogging week, to go with a special themed week that’s happening too: Anti-Bullying Week. She’s been posting some brilliant author guests posts, that are both emotional and supportive. Sophie’s so amazing for hosting this blog week, and supporting bullying victims in general.
As a part of her blog week, I and a lot of other bloggers were asked if they would like to help, by posting today. The title is Bloggers on Bullying: and it’s all about sharing experiences and being supportive and things 🙂 So, below, I’ve decided to not write a thing about my experiences. Yes, I have been bullied a lot of times before, and it’s awful. I’ve had name calling, and even physical bullying. But I’d rather post some book recommendations, to read if you’re a victim! All of these books, I’ve absolutely loved, and a lot of them I read whilst I was being picked on, and they really, really helped me. So, hopefully, this post might help somebody, which would make me so glad!

My Recommendations:

Bullying is a subject that’s tackled in so many YA books, especially nowadays. It’s amazing to see so many authors, like Siobhan Curham, supporting bullying victims and helping campaign against bullying. Below, are books that I’ve read that cover bullying. I’ve decided to only pick ten, or this post would be a mile long. There are so many great books about brave victims out there- I wish I could list them all!

Finding Cherokee Brown#1: Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham

 I read this in one school day, which was a really awful school day. It cheered me up so much, because Cherokee’s ending was happy. She’s an amazing character.

#2: The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Though not entirely about bullying, Curious Incident features a boy who is picked on a lot because he’s autistic and attending a specialist school.

Wonder#3: Wonder by R J Palacio

It’s heart warming, and heart-breaking too. The bullying themes in his are really powerful. It’s also a beautiful story about hope and friendship!

#4: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling:

Before Hogwarts, Harry’s bullied by his aunt, uncle, and cousin. That beginning is a really sad one, before he wreaks a hilarious revenge involving a snake!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #1)#5: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney:

Okay, you might not see this as bullying- I don’t, particularly. However, Greg Heffley is socially excluded and you can tell he does have a pretty hard time, if you read between the lines and ignore the humour!

#6: Matilda by Roald Dahl:

Realistic and uplifting, it’s a childhood classic I read and re-read whenever I want to smile, because Matilda overcomes the awful people.Paper Aeroplanes

#7: Geek Girl by Holly Smale:

This is an obvious one! Harriet matches my personality exactly, minus the modelling. She’s a social outcast, picked on by an awful girl called Alexa. Holly Smale captured school bullying so well in this book, as well as its sequel.

Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)#8: Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter:

The themes in this are more of teenage-romance: however, it definitely does touch on bullying and peer pressure. Dawn’s writing is gritty and realistic, and there’s also a short spin-off Dawn wrote for world book day from the POV of the bully- which gives a really emotional insight into a bully’s life.

#9: Teardrop by Lauren Kate:

I only just finished this book! I wanted to include it here, because the protagonist, Eureka, is left out because of things she’s done in the past. The bullying isn’t the biggest focus of the book, but I really felt it and it was really sad, and I’m sure things all get resolved in the sequel.

#10: Furnace- Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith:

In the first parts of the book, before the protagonist is sent to prison, he’s experiencing serious peer pressure; the need to follow in his friend’s footsteps and bully others. It’s a really heart-rendering story; full of bullying’s consequences as well as horror. This took my mind off of my own bullying problems, a lot!

Thank you, Sophie, for inviting me to do a post! I know this wasn’t exactly the topic every other blogger has been doing. However, I thought it might be a good way to help anybody who is a victim of bullying still; maybe if you’re reading this, you’ll pick up one of the books, and it’ll help you, like a lot of these did for me. If you want to know more about the Anti Bullying Blog Week, check out Sophie’s blog or use the hashtag #AntiBullyingBW on twitter!