Category Archives: Blog tour

BLOG TOUR: One More Try by Naomi and James Jones

Today is the final stop on the blog tour for a wonderful new picture, One More Try, by Naomi and James Jones, published by Oxford University Press. This delightful story introduces a very determined Circle who will just not give up!

Circle loves the tower that the squares and hexagons have built. But Circle and his friends are much rounder or pointier…and much wobblier so making a tower turns out to be quite tricky. When the shapes are ready to give up, Circle asks them to have one more try. Can he find a way?

A follow up to their 2021 debut picture book, A Perfect Fit, which featured a triangle trying to fit in, this time we meet a very determined Circle in another shape-filled adventure. Circle and his friends try everything to make their tower-building work – from making themselves stronger and smarter to looking at the problem from every angle. Finally, when all the others are ready to stop, Circle asks for one more try. And you guessed it, it works!

A thoroughly enjoyable story about workings out, seeing things from different perspectives and not giving up, One More Try is sure to bring a smile to your face and get little minds thinking. I love the shapes as characters, each with their own personality, and I can imagine if my boys were still young they would be asking for ‘one more’ read of this colourful story!

With thanks to Oxford University Press for sending me this book to review and Liz Scott for inviting me to participate in the blog tour. Find out more on the rest of the tour:

BLOG TOUR: Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things by David C. Flanagan illustrated by Will Hughes

I’m so pleased to be hosting the final day in the blog tour for the second book in this delightful adventure series, Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost Things by David C. Flanagan, illustrated by Will Hughes published by Little Door Books.

Uncle Pete the explorer and his fearless mouse sidekick, TM, have lost their stardust-powered plane. Where should they look for it? The strange and mysterious Forest of Lost Things? That’s crazy! Nobody should EVER go there! With lots of dangerous dilemmas to overcome, Uncle Pete and TM head out on a brand new adventures that’s full of surprises, laughs and a few scares. Along the way they meet some ingenious squirrels, a kindly dolphin, 12 enormous cats and a lost polar bear. Can bravery, kindness and lots of jam sandwiches help Uncle Pete and TM find there plane and get back home safely?

Having been lucky enough to read the first adventure featuring Uncle Pete (read my review here), I did catch a sneak preview of this latest adventure – and have been looking forward to finding out what happens ever since! We join Uncle Pete and TM as they set out to find the wonderful, rickety bi-plane that takes them on their adventures, and see them use all their ingenuity to find it! Readers will not fail to be entertained as Uncle Pete’s delightfully eccentric character comes to life once again, along with his brilliant sidekick TM (Tiny Mouse!) – through both the lively narrative and the quirky illustrations. And readers will love meeting new characters – like Tiddles the giant scary cat (not so scary when he starts licking his bottom at the wrong moment, just like normal sized cats do…!). Full of delightful detail, little bits of magic and as it turns out, more than just a plane rescue, Uncle Pete’s adventures in the Forest of Lost Things will have young readers clamouring for more!

With thanks to Little Door Books for sending me this book to review. Find out more on the rest of the blog tour:

BLOG TOUR: Wolfbane by Michelle Paver

Today I’m hosting the final stop on the blog tour for Michelle Paver’s new novel, Wolfbane published by Zephyr Books, the grand-finale in the legendary Wolf Brother Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. The Stone Age adventures have been read by three million readers worldwide and I’m sure many of them will be waiting with bated breath to find out what happens to Wolf, Torak and Renn.

The end of winter is a perilous time when ice rots and frozen rivers awake. Wolf finds himself adrift at Sea, far from his pack and hunted by an ice demon bent on devouring his souls. While Wolf battles hunger, loneliness and the monsters of the deep, Torak and Renn must find him before the demon can – or lose their beloved pack-brother forever…

Gripping from the first page, Wolfbane is a stunning conclusion to an incredible series that spans eighteen years! Over that time, author Michelle has created an immersive and breath-taking world, bringing to life an ancient time every reader should visit.

As Torak and Renn race against time to find Wolf, not only must they battle the demon, they must face rival clans and the immense and terrifying power of nature itself, before it’s too late. The thrilling narrative sweeps you straight back into the story, with edge-of-your-seat action alongside heartfelt moments between the characters, that shine a light on the themes of friendship and loyalty. A fitting end to a fantastic series, Michelle Paver has crafted another brilliant story in this middle-grade series that generations of readers to come are sure to enjoy!

Share your memories of the Wolf Brother series on the author’s website here and follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Read my review of another title in the series, Viper’s Daughter here.

With thanks to Zephyr Books for sending me this book to read and review. Find out more on the rest of the blog tour:

BLOG TOUR: Circus Maximus: Rivals on the Track by Annelise Gray

It’s my stop on the blog tour for the new title in Circus Maximus series set in Ancient Rome, that has all the right ingredients to create a thrilling adventure! Written by Annelise Gray, published by Zephyr, Circus Maximus: Rivals on the Track can be read as a standalone but picks up where the first book, Race to the Death, left the action. In addition to sharing my thoughts about the book, I’m delighted to host a guest post from the author focused on her five favourite women in Roman history.

Circus Maximus: Rivals on the Track by Annelise Gray

Dido is the only girl ever to have raced to victory at the Circus Maximus, Rome’s greatest sporting arena. Now she and her beloved horse, Porcellus, are in hiding, and the Emperor Caligula has put a price on their heads. Can she outwit the Emperor and his bounty hunters?  And will a shocking family secret stop her in her tracks or spur her on to make a daring return to the track, helped by a one-eyed mare with a heart as brave as her own?

Get ready for a heart-stopping adventure that will draw you in to the streets of Ancient Rome and have you cheering for Dido’s victory throughout. Drawing an utterly believable picture of the time period, you can hear the cheers of the crowds, feel the heat of the racetrack and almost see the horses, as Dido enters the stadium once more. Each character is wonderfully portrayed and with adventure and heart on every page, Dido’s story of bravery and determination as she pursues the impossible will keep you hooked. More than this, the weaving narrative builds a plot centred on family, friendship and healing past hurts, with a climatic ending that will have you on the edge of your seat.

I’m really pleased to share a guest post from author Annelise Gray. Welcome to the blog Annelise!

My 5 Favourite Women in Roman History

When I had the idea for a novel about a female charioteer set in ancient Rome, I knew that I would be imagining into existence a character who never existed in history, even though I would love to believe she could have done. Ancient Rome was a man’s world, no two ways about it, and women were expected to play their part in it by being seen a little, and heard not at all. That said, there were women who emerged from the shadows and made their mark on Roman history. Here are five of my favourites.

Cloelia

For the Romans, courage (‘virtus’) was a manly quality. The legendary figure of Cloelia proved an exception to that rule. The story goes that during the sixth century BCE, when the Romans were at war with their Etruscan neighbours, Cloelia was taken hostage but escaped and led her fellow female captives to freedom by swimming across the river Tiber. She was later returned to her captors but their king was so impressed with her bravery that he set her and some other hostages free. In tribute to Cloelia’s courage, the Romans are said to have set up a statue of her on horseback – an honour usually reserved for men. Leila Rasheed has a retelling of Cloelia’s story for children coming out this year – The Bravest Roman Of All  – which I’m really looking forward to as I loved her novel Empire’s End: A Roman Story.

Hortensia

In a world where speaking was a man’s job, Hortensia is remarkable as one of the few women from ancient Rome known and celebrated for her eloquence. She was born in the first century BCE, the daughter of Cicero’s great courtroom rival Quintus Hortensius Hortalus, and she lived through one of the most politically tumultuous periods in Roman history. Two years after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BCE, at the height of the campaign against Caesar’s assassins, Hortensia made a speech in the Roman forum in which she argued that women should not be taxed for wars of men’s making.

Caenis

Born a slave and later given her freedom, Caenis’s story – as the novelist Lindsey Davis puts it – is the archetypal ‘secretary to boardroom’ plot. During the 30sCE, she was a loyal attendant of Antonia, the mother of Emperor Claudius. After her mistress’s death, Caenis became a lover of Vespasian, a rising political star who would go on to become emperor in 70CE. Roman law forbade Vespasian to marry a freedwoman and so he chose another bride. But after his wife’s death, and in what some have seen as evidence of an enduring love, Vespasian invited Caenis to live with him and she was said to have been his empress in all but name. Davis’ novel, The Course of Honour, is about the relationship between Vespasian and Caenis.

Boudicca

Better known to some as Boadicea, this British queen of the Roman era is one of history’s great rebels. Her husband, Prasutagus, was a king of the Iceni tribe who co-operated with the Romans after they invaded Britain in 43CE. But when Prasutagus died and Boudicca protested that the Romans had ignored his will, which stipulated that his wife and daughters should inherit half of his possessions, she was publicly flogged and her daughters raped. In response, Boudicca led a coalition of forces against the occupying army, razing several towns to the ground, including Camulodunum (Colchester) which was then the Roman capital of Britain. Although she was eventually defeated, Boudicca’s warrior-queen spirit has never been forgotten and she is commemorated with a famous statue near the Palace of Westminster.

Julia Domna

Born in Syria and dubbed ‘the philosopher empress’ in recognition of her patronage of some of the leading literary, philosophical and scientific figures of her age, Julia Domna is one of the most interesting women in Roman imperial history. Her husband Septimius Severus, who ruled Rome from 193 to 211, was the empire’s first African-born emperor and Julia Domna was said by ancient historians to have a powerful (and generally positive) political influence over him. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for her relationship with her son Caracalla – a cruel and bloodthirsty emperor very much in the mould of his first century predecessor Caligula (who plays a key role as Dido’s antagonist in my Circus Maximus books.)

Find out more about Circus Maximus and the author at https://www.annelisegray.co.uk/. With thanks to Fritha Lindqvist and Zephyr for sending me this book to review and inviting me to participate in this blog tour. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour:

BLOG TOUR: Mayor Bunny’s Chocolate Town by Elys Dolan

Spring is in the air – just – so it’s a good time to join the campaign trail with Elys Dolan’s new book, Mayor Bunny’s Chocolate Town, published by Oxford Children’s Books. It’s my stop on the blog tour for this delightful picture book which is sure to put a spring in your step!!

Mayor Bunny’s Chocolate Town by Elys Dolan

Mr Bunny is back . . . and this time he’s running for mayor. Coop Town needs some urgent repairs-and Mr Bunny is promising to make it great again. At first, the chicken electorate is wowed by Mr Bunny’s promises of new chocolate houses, new chocolate parks, new chocolate swimming pools-as well as his bold claim that chocolate will repel hungry foxes. But what will happen when the truth comes home to roost?

Award-winning author illustrator Elys Dolan is back with the sequel to the Lollies prize-winning Mr Bunny’ s Chocolate Factory, in what is sure to be another hit! Get ready for chocolate-fuelled fun and games, as Mr Bunny does everything he can to win the chicken’s vote.

Unfortunately, instead of thinking what he can really do to help the town, Mr Bunny just wants to be in charge, and that means resorting to ‘dirty’ tricks to win the vote. His rival, the much-more-sensible chicken, Debbie, is very disapproving and so are lots of others including the rather wonderful, quality-control unicorn, Edgar. Mr Bunny finally gets what he wants, but when his problem-solving solution of a massive delivery of chocolate for the town fails spectacularly, it’s up to Debbie to clean up the rather waspy mess. Whilst we’re probably a little disappointed chocolate really isn’t the answer to everything, we can see that Debbie is the best chicken for the job!

Mayor Bunny’s Chocolate Town is a tale of being careful what you wish for, as Mr Bunny learns some important lessons about what it means to really be in charge and care for your home town. Wonderfully illustrated with a lively and entertaining narrative, and some equally lively and entertaining characters, children will fall in love with Mr Bunny all over again, even if he is a bit naughty!

Find out more at Oxford Children’s Books and follow Elys Dolan on Twitter. With thanks to the publisher for inviting me to participate in this blog tour – don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour running all this week: