#Blogtour Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag by Jeremy Elson

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour and also Publication Day for Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag by Jeremy Elson.

About the Author

Jeremy Elson found that most of his education went on outside the classroom. Learning things that he was interested in, away from normal lessons, was far more valuable. Now he and his wife home educate their son; Frank Penny was borne out of a desire to bring life to a home-educated child, as well as tell a compelling adventure story.

Jeremy lives in Guildford, UK. Apart from writing, his passions includes the outdoors, The Smiths, Chelsea Football Club and Star Wars Battlefront (apart from when he’s being comprehensively beaten by his son!).

Follow Jeremy @ElsonAuthor and @FrankPennyBooks on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreadson Facebook, Visit frankpennybooks.com, Buy Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag

About the book

Power is not for the weak or faint-hearted. If Frank, Cas, Gabby and Anya want to find the next two guardians of the Simbrian and keep them safe, they need to journey across the dangerous borderlands and into the dark and shadowy world of Kzarlac, sworn enemy of Byeland.

Ruled by the fearsome Etamin Dahke, Kzarlac is no place for four naïve teenagers. Keen wits and a large helping of luck are no guarantee they will succeed and return safely.

Driven by their desire to protect the delicate peace that has existed since the time of Kester, their quest is about to take a deadly turn, and the exposure of an inconceivable secret may make Frank regret ever having started.

Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag is the third book in the Frank Penny series.Book 1: Frank Penny and the Mystery of Ludlow HumsBook 2: Frank Penny and the Kzarlac Spy


This is the third book in the Frank Penny series. This can be read as a standalone novel, however I would recommend reading the others in the series, not necessarily for the backstory – the author adds enough to get the gist, but for the read itself.

On their quest to find the guardians of Simbrian the group of teens must venture beyond their own safe borders and into the dangerous area of Kzarlac. Discovery could mean death or worse for themselves or anyone who decides to aid them.It’s hard to determine who to trust and when, but Frank seems to have an instinct for the when to do the right thing, as opposed what others think is right. I think it solidifies the way he makes decisions and his confidence going forward.

It will be interesting to see whether the young woman Frank has set his sights on will create a rift between the team, betray his trust eventually or become part of the bigger picture. Not everyone is enamoured by the pretty young thing and the budding relationship.

Elson does an excellent job of balancing the genre, the readership he is writing for and hooking the audience. The result is a read that will engage multiple age groups and readers eager to discover the secrets along with this intrepid team.

It’s a Young Adult/Teen fantasy series. An adventure which gets a little more complex as the story goes on. One filled with secrets, betrayal and danger in every corner. Now that Frank has finally had his eyes opened what will he do with the knowledge he has acquired. I guess we will have to wait until the fourth book to find out.

Buy Frank Penny and the Last Black Stag at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Eyrie Press pub date 30 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon comAt HiveAt Eyriepress.co.uk

#BlogTour Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins.

About the Author

 In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.

Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.

Follow Hannah Hopkins on Facebookon Instagram, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit hannahhopkinsauthor.co.ukBuy Space Academy

About the book

It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers.

Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait.


Will has plenty of questions about is father and his death. He throws a mention in here and there to get his mother to finally fill him in on the details. What is worth staying so tight lipped about? What is his mother hiding?

I thought the historical parallels were interesting – naming the ship The Mayflower and having only the chosen be part of the saved race. Humankind is on its way to reboot, rebuild and live in space. The handpicked crop of people, which is quite elitist and also no different from life before the catastrophic changes. So much for save the world and its inhabitants.

The Mayflower has echoes of the Titanic on her maiden voyage, whereby the worth of human is dictated by which floor they live on. First floor is the elite and the further down you get the less money your parents have in their pocket.

It’s a YA sci-fi dystopian read with a space mystery vibe. Will and his teenage gang of friends are navigating the space boarding school experience, which includes the same kind of opportunistic bullies, hierarchies and distinctions of class remaining firmly in place, despite the end of the world. You would think the human race would change just a bit to suit the new circumstances instead of carrying on with the same destructive patterns and habits.

Where did the alien animals come from and how do they know they are animals, as opposed to the actual species of alien. Seems a wee bit colonialist to presume humans are the only species out there in the great open space. There are plenty of unanswered questions and a lot of ideas left with a bare frame and lack of substance. Just minor hiccups in an otherwise pacy read.

Buy Space Academy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: The Conrad Press; pub date 4 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#SpotlightTour The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

Today it’s my pleasure to host the Spotlight Tour for The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé. Enjoy this subtle psychological venture into the pyche of a teenager, all under the guise of a ghostly story. Enter the Giveaway below to win 2 Copies of Dark Beneath the Ice (US & CANADA ONLY).

About the Author

Amelinda Bérubé has been a writer and editor with a small department in the Canadian public service. She holds a bachelor of humanities from Carleton University and a master of arts from McGill. Amelinda is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Follow @metuiteme @SourcebooksFire on Twitter or on Instagram

Visit metuiteme.com

About the book

Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity in this compelling ghost story about a former dancer whose grip on reality slips when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her.

Something is wrong with Marianne.

It’s not just that her parents have finally split up. Or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.

She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close. Something is after her. And the only one who seems to believe her is the daughter of a local psychic.

But their first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. Whatever is haunting her, it wants everything she has—everything it’s convinced she stole. Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it thinks it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.


Although this is a YA with a flair of the paranormal, I do think how a reader experiences the read depends on the perspective you have on the story. If you completely eliminate the paranormal and ghostly element of the story ask yourself what you’re left with. You are left with the internal emotional turmoil of a teenager, which manifests itself in physical reactions, blackouts and auditory hallucinations.

The stress of feeling inadequate and not being able to live up to expectations in regards to her dancing. The fear of being rejected for her sexuality and not feeling as if she can be true to her inner desires, and the distress of being a pawn in the middle of a battle between her mother and father. All of those things throw Marianne into a tailspin and threaten to completely destroy her sanity.

Bérubé takes all of those elements and covers them with thin dark veil of a dangerous paranormal presence. Something waiting to consume Marianne when she lets her guard down. To drag her under the icy water and take the life she knows away from her.

Marianne and her new friend Ron set out to discover who or what is threatening both of them, and unfortunately they underestimate the power behind the mysterious presence. The truth is something neither of them can really comprehend.

It’s a tale of teenage distress, pain and fear. When you take the simple paranormal structure away – what remains is a heartbreaking story of a breakdown and a cry for help, albeit a subconscious one. The author writes it in a very lyrical and haunting way. The dark presence haunts, taunts and scares the girl, and ultimately tries to destroy her. It’s a fascinating combination of a psychological premise combined with a paranormal flair. It’s understated and yet extremely powerful at the same time.

Buy Dark Beneath the Ice at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy at Amazon com Barnes & Noble BooksAMillion Indigo Indiebound

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire Release Date: August 7, 2018

Enter the Giveaway below to win 2 Copies of Dark Beneath the Ice (US & CANADA ONLY) Runs August 7th -31st

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

thirteenDespite what people may have heard or read this book doesn’t encourage teenage suicide nor does it romanticise the idea of suicide. I can’t speak for the popular Netflix series inspired by this book, simply because I haven’t watched it.

It’s important to bear in mind that teenage brains aren’t fully developed until they reach a certain age in adulthood. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain, which isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. This is why a teen is more likely to make rash, illogical, dangerous and impulsive decisions. Everything is overly dramatic and every slight is the end of the world as we know it.

In the mind of  teenager every insult, imagined or real, is a reason to make a decision you can’t just undo.

The reader meets Hannah after she has made the decision to end her life. After she has convinced herself that there is no other way out of her situation other than killing herself.

Ultimately in the midst of all the drama and overhyped teenage interactions Asher is trying to deliver an important message. When someone reaches the end of their tether, and leans towards jumping off the nearest cliff, they will send out subconscious signals. The signals are there for us to see, hear and read, we just need to acknowledge them. Instead of ignoring the changes in behaviour, appearance or the almost indiscernible cries for help, we need to open our eyes and try to help.

The story starts with Clay Jensen receiving a box full of tapes, a spoken testimonial from a dead girl. A girl he knew, a girl he kissed, and a young girl who somehow thinks he belongs on a list of people who pushed her towards suicide. He has to deal with the emotional upheaval caused by this unexpected accusation and the experiences Hannah has been through. Clay also has to deal with the fact he will eventually come face to face with the other people on the list. The people who ignored her, turned her away, ridiculed and assaulted her.

Suicide brings an element of desperation with it, but also one of selfishness. Suicidal thoughts are all encompassing, especially when depression is part and parcel of the equation. There is no room for thoughts of what those left behind will have to deal with. The why, the who and the fact they didn’t see it coming and couldn’t stop it. Even when there is light at the end of the tunnel Hannah is already so enveloped by her own darkness that she chooses self destructive behaviour instead of choosing a path other than death.

I could go on and on about this book. It isn’t just a straightforward ‘everyone was mean to Hannah and that’s why she is dead’ scenario. Hannah isn’t exempt from criticism. She makes mistakes and some dodgy choices, especially in regards to Jessica and Bryce.

Hopefully this read will make someone reconsider their actions and behaviour towards their fellow humans. Teens really need to take on board that actions have consequences, rumours ruin lives, bullying is destructive and suicide is a one-way ticket with no return.

Buy Thirteen Reasons Why at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @jayasherguy @PenguinRHUK

Flawed by Cecilia Ahern

flawedThis really is quite spectacular. Subtle in its approach and with a lot of intricate layers, Flawed certainly deserves to be right up there with best reads of the year.

Ahern draws many a  historical, political and anthropological comparison, although they may not be the first things people or readers think of, especially because due to the confines of the sub-genre.

Let’s start with this particular society creating two layers of wrong-doing. You have the criminal or ‘normal’ crimes, which are dealt with by the police and then you have the moral and ethical crimes. Those are policed by a higher tier of Judges, laws or rules.

Any action, statement, behaviour judged to be flawed, ergo ethically or morally corrupt is punished. Depending on the crime the person receives a brand on a specific part of their body.

If accused and convicted you become part of the Flawed community. Not allowed to eat what they want, say or do as they wish and live by curfews and restrictive rules.

It is also a crime to help the Flawed in any way, which also incurs the punishment of becoming flawed. Including showing them compassion, understanding or any kind of humanity. When Celestine gets in trouble it’s because she reacts instinctively, despite knowing her actions will get her in trouble.

Suddenly she becomes the voice of the oppressed and the face of the uprising. By telling the truth she has shown the world the flaws in the actual system. Oh, the irony.

Ahern’s first venture into YA is an innovative one. The ethical layers  are intriguing, it has a lot of potential, and it will be interesting to see where she takes the series next.

Buy Flawed from Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Sneak Peek: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Books-Richelle Mead

I’m not quite sure what to think about the fact that a seasoned Urban Fantasy and YA author has decided to pen a series in the style of The Selection by Cass.

Surely her sales can’t be that bad that she and or her publishers thought it would be necessary to write a book or series similar to an already popular plot and series? A newbie doing it I would completely understand, but not someone like Mead.

An author, who has proven her talent and creativity with the Dark Swan series, Vampire Academy, Bloodlines and Age of X. What gives? Running out of ideas perhaps? Even if that were the case it just doesn’t explain the mediocre plot and storyline.

This review is based on the sneak peek of The Glittering Court, and it was quite a long sneak peek, so I am hoping the second half is more of Mead read, as opposed to the watered down débutante like version I would associate with a new kid on the block.

I am also surprised by the fact this is being described as a YA fantasy. It is definitely YA, most certainly not a fantasy. It wanders from a victorianesque setting into a supposedly utopian like new world setting. Add a little romance, tedious debates about dresses and teenage like fights between young women, and you have the typical YA recipe.

The Countess of Rothford tries to escape her fate and place in society by reinventing herself. In an attempt to become independent and to be able to control her own life, even if it means becoming one of the lower classes in society.

The girls are promised a new life of riches and glory, depending on how they are placed in the competition to become the perfect young lady. Then they will be sold to the highest bidder for a generous commission.

Unfortunately there is a big emphasis on beauty equals worth, women being less worthy than men and the etiquette being the norm to achieve for everyone.

I am really hoping the second half or the rest of the book will be able to turn it all around, and until then I can only base my opinion on this sneak preview.

Pre-order or buy The Glittering Court at Amazon UK  or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijamp

this is where.jpgI think it would have put things into a clearer perspective if some of the info from the last page had been at the beginning, then again perhaps that was intentional. I am talking specifically about the duration of the event.

Time seems to wander by in drip drop moments throughout the story, so much so that I started to wonder why no-one was rushing to their aid.

Surely the world outside isn’t ignoring the tragedy unfolding in the high school?

Then in the information about the book and promotion of said book it states a specific time-frame, 54 minutes, and it all made much more sense. So I wondered why the time-frame wasn’t mentioned as part of the foreword.

Perhaps the author wants the reader to comprehend how time stands still during such an event. Each second and minute seems like an eternity. It also puts the emphasis on how quickly such a tragedy can occur. Lives are lost within mere seconds. Time cannot be stopped nor can it be wound back.

The beginning was a little confusing. Hopping from one person to the other seemed a little arbitrary, until the doors closed on the auditorium.

One thing these events always have in common in hindsight is the why. Why did he or they do it? Why my child, son, daughter or spouse and not someone else? Were there any signs? Could someone have stopped it?

Unfortunately none of us possess the power of being able to see into the future. All we can do is be vigilante and try to pick up on the subtle and not so subtle signs. It is hard to comprehend the kind of anger that festers deep inside and takes over someone, who ends up killing innocent, men, women and children.

Tyler isn’t the nice boy next door. He is a troubled young man, with violent tendencies and a penchant for abusing others. Perhaps not such a surprise that he is capable of killing.

It is a powerful story, a frightening one and a nightmare for every parent. There isn’t really a moral to the story, but rather a shock of reality for readers. It is more a story about loyalty, love and compassion for others. In times of great fear and need we humans can do the one thing nobody would ever expect us to do. To protect and save others. A selfless and yet such a brave act.

Nijkamp is definitely an author to watch out for.

Buy This is Where it Ends at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

nirvanaThis dystopian novel has elements of sci-fi, speculative fiction and a bit of true love thrown in for free.

It has some really good ideas and plenty of potential. Unfortunately it didn’t tick all the boxes for me, because it needs more direction.

The world-building is often incomplete and full of great sub-plots leading nowhere.

Larissa spends the entire time obsessing about the death of Andrew. Somewhere deep inside she just feels it isn’t true. On top of that the powers that be are pushing her really hard to sign off on his death.

The story takes the reader on a really fast ride from normality to the complete destruction of earth. Technology evolves at warp speed and Larissa goes from being in a rock band to wandering around in pseudo realities.

I was left with plenty of questions, so enough material for a sequel. Where the heck is Andrew? Dead, a bit dead, a hologram, alive and on a different planet perhaps? What happens in the Red Door programme? Are they eliminated or re-programmed?

With a little more structure and if Stewart sees through some of these creative ideas it could be a very good read.

Buy Nirvana at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

dark heart

I am really warming to this new series of Estep’s, Black Blade. The first part, Cold Burn of Magic, started with a bang and ended with tentacled terror, and now the second part is making an even firmer mark in the world of YA Urban Fantasy.

Once again Jennifer Estep has created a strong female main character. albeit a younger one this time. Lila is streetwise, grounded and willing to do anything to get revenge.

Lila spends a lot of her time hiding her magic from everyone or at least from the ones who would like to do her harm. Not everyone needs to know just how strong she really is.

Not such an easy feat when the Sinclair family enters Lila into the Tournament of Blades. She has to make a choice between winning and showing her talents or losing and staying under the radar.

On top of all that Lila and Co. are trying to find the monster, who is viciously murdering tree trolls. The search for the killer leads Lila to secrets she might regret discovering. In fact it changes everything.

The Black Blade series offers plenty of magic, strong characters, a world full of conflict and monsters.

Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of Dark Heart of Magic.

Buy Dark Heart of Magic at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Cold Burn of Magic and Bright Blaze of Magic.

More of the Estep’s Elemental Assassin series here: Spider’s Trap, Poison PromiseThe SpiderThe Black Widow and Heart of Venom.

It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

its a wonderfulPoor RJ is in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up in the middle of a Grim Reaper and gypsy, who isn’t ready to depart from this world. Oops you’re dead.

Instead of being shocked, dismayed or upset RJ is angry and indignant. How dare the Reaper make a mistake and interrupt her busy teenage schedule.

She insists on being sent back pronto.

Essentially this story is about having the chance to rectify mistakes, to take the right path instead of the wrong one and being given a second chance.

Each interaction we have with another human being moves a cog in life. Depending on which direction it moves it sets different things in motion. So it goes without saying that changing one movement or direction in one cog can change a life.

The powers that be, and there are quite a few in the Heaven/Hell/In-between station, finally decide RJ at least deserves a try at being a better person. So she gets placed back into certain situations in the hope that she will make better choices for herself and for her fellow human beings.

Schmitt lays at lot of emphasis on bullying, peer pressure and taking responsibility for your actions. The underlying message being; how each of us and our decisions can impact others.

If our interactions with others are negative then perhaps we are leaving a trail of destruction behind us. Instead of ignoring the bullied kid in the corner maybe you should talk to them. If being with the popular kids means you have to be mean to others then maybe you need to find new friends. Do you ignore it when others are being picked on? Stand up and speak out.

A strong message to young people, but wrapped within a story, which is both witty and serious at the same time.

Thank you to Edelweiss for my copy of It’s a Wonderful Death.
Buy It’s a Wonderful Death at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.