Today I’m excited to participate in the Creative Blog Tour for The Secret of Dartwood Manor by N.A. Triptow hosted by MTMC Tours! Enter a world of myth and magic through this contemporary fantasy reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Sense and Sensibility. On sale this week for $0.99!!
Title: The Secret of Dartwood Manor Author: N.A. Triptow Series: The Witchling Trilogy #1 Publisher: Wishing Well Publishing Publication Date: January 18th, 2021 Genres: YA Contemporary Fantasy Purchase a copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Blackwell’s Add on Goodreads!
Today’s blogpost is a review + journal spread for Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. I got super excited when I got the chance to read an Advanced Readers Copy of this book as I’ve been meaning to read Elizabeth Lim’s work for a while now. I have not been disappointed and I can’t wait to pick up more of her work!
Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Publishing Date: July 6, 2021
Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology.
Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That’s why she’s desperate to make it onto her school’s cricket team. She’ll get to play her favorite sport AND make sure her fisherman daddy is too busy attending her matches to date.
But when tryouts go badly, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . . The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, she doesn’t scare easily. Josephine knows there’s something fishy about Mariss–she sings in a strange language, eats weird food, and seems to exert mysterious control over everyone she meets.
Josephine knows that Mariss isn’t what she seems … she might not be human! But who’s going to believe her? Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late?
Enter the world of Caribbean magic and fantasy as Josephine battles against forces bound in superstition, all in an attempt to keep her father safe. The author did a fantastic job of sucking me into the protagonist’s world. But the book kind of lost me when Miss Mo didn’t believe Jo. That rang inauthentic to me that Miss Mo, with all her beliefs in spirits and superstitions, wouldn’t believe Jo about a Sea Mumma? Josephine Against the Sea is rich with Caribbean folklore, and the mystery of Mariss’ true identity will keep kids turning pages until the very end. I simply loved this book, and will shout about it to kids of all ages. Many thanks to the author and to TBR and Beyond for the ARC. A high 4 star read for me!
There are a lot of amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating on this tour. Click here for the full schedule to see all of these amazing posts.
About the Author
Shakirah Bourne is a Barbadian author and filmmaker. Her first feature film, the comedy-drama, PAYDAY, was screened throughout the Caribbean, USA and UK. She has written three films since its debut in 2013: Two Smart (writer/co-director), Next PAYDAY (writer/producer) and A Caribbean Dream (writer/director). A Caribbean Dream is distributed by Verve Pictures and had a cinema release in London in 2017. The film won several awards, including Best Drama at the National Film Awards UK, Best International Feature at the Charlotte Black Film Festival and best UK Feature at the London Independent Film Festival.
Her short stories have been featured in many literary journals (see below). Her self-published collection of short stories, IN TIME OF NEED (2013), won the prestigious Governor General Award for Excellence in Literary Fiction. She was a finalist for the BURT/CODE Award for Caribbean Literature in 2018. The Caribbean edition of her middle grade novel, MY FISHY STEPMOM, was published by Blue Banyan Books (2019) and the North American edition, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA, will be published by Scholastic in 2021.
She was a Part-time Lecturer at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and is a Part-Time Lecturer in Screenwriting at the Barbados Community College. She currently holds Certificates in Screenwriting from the Barbados Community College and the University of Edinburgh, and an MA (Hons) in Arts and Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University.
Today I want to talk about Down With This Ship by Katie Kingman and share my favourite quotes. I’ve also created a digital journal spread that I’d like to share with you all for the release of this book. Keep on reading to find out more!
A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc to read and review!
I’m back with another book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. This week there’s a tour for the Graphic Novel Just Pretend by Tori Sharp and I got to interview the author! So keep on reading to find out more about this book and what questions I asked Tori!
Just Pretend by Tori Sharp Genre: Middle Grade Graphic Novel Publishing Date: May 18, 2021
Fans of Real Friends and Be Prepared will love this energetic, affecting graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce. Tori has never lived in just one world.
Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.
Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.
Author Tori Sharp takes us with her on a journey through the many commonplace but complex issues of fractured families, as well as the beautiful fantasy narrative that helps her cope, gorgeously illustrated and full of magic, fairies, witches and lost and found friendships.
Hi Tori! First of all, thank you so much for doing this interview with me, I’m so honoured! Could you introduce yourself and your book a bit?
Hi Marloes, I’m so happy to be chatting with you today! I’m the author and illustrator of Just Pretend, my debut (and now bestselling!) graphic memoir from Little, Brown. It’s about growing up with divorced parents and using stories (both reading and writing) to cope with change and figure out your emotions. I am also a swing and blues dancer, a board game enthusiast, and best friend to my tiny poodle, Annie.
How did you get the idea for Just Pretend?
I got the idea for Just Pretend because I wanted to write about what it was like to have divorced parents when I was growing up. At first I tried making up a fictional story where the main character had divorced parents, but it all felt so interconnected with my own childhood that I realised it would be much more straightforward (and hopefully more impactful) to write a true story about my own life.
Why did you want to write this story?
Living in multiple homes as a kid has a lot of obvious complexities, but there are layers and layers to it that you might not even think of unless you’ve lived it, so I wanted to write a book with more nuance about that kind of living situation than I’d seen in other stories. I also wanted to write this as a love letter to the young writer’s first manuscript—there is something so magical about discovering a love for a craft that’s so full of possibilities.
What is your favourite scene in the story?
I feel like my answer for this changes every day, but today I’m thinking about the scene in Tori’s fantasy novel where Penny and Amari are talking in the ruins of the hall of statues. A lot of these scenes probably have extra meaning to me as the author that very few readers will fully pick up on! To me that scene has to do with figuring out how to fight for and protect a friendship (or other kind of relationship) after there has been a big shift, like when one person moves away or when they’re going through a really hard time and are being more distant. There’s not always a clear solution about what to do, but I think there are lots and lots of decision points in all of our relationships where we have to decide how to help the other person and also have to ask ourselves what we need, or even come to terms with the idea that it might never be quite the same!
What’s your favourite Graphic Novel series?
I love Svetlana Chmakova’s BERRYBROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL series of graphic novels, starting with AWKWARD and BRAVE. The author seems to really understand kids and what matters to them so well and tackles big topics in such a marvelous way. Those books are super fun and cute, and I love how each book follows a different main character in the school but they’re all so interconnected.
What is something you hope your readers will get from reading Just Pretend?
I hope readers will come away from reading Just Pretend feeling secure and confident in using their imaginations. Sometimes “playing pretend” can seem childish to kids, and they might start feeling insecure about things like watching cartoons, role-playing, or reading fantastical stories, but in my experience using your imagination is a very grown-up thing to do. (It is how I built and sustain my career!)
What is an author dream of yours that you’re hoping will be fulfilled?
I would love to see fan-art of my published characters!! I just love drawing so much and think it would be awesome to see my characters in other people’s art styles. I guess it would be kind of funny to see fan-art of any of my real-life friends and family from Just Pretend (though that would still be pretty cool), but I’d love-love-love to see drawings of Talia or Penny or (someday) characters from my future books!
If you’re curious about what others thought of this book then click here for the full tour schedule. You can see all of the other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers that are participating on this tour!
About the Author
Tori Sharp is a Seattle-based author-illustrator and swing and blues dancer with a BFA in sequential art from SCAD. You can find her online at http://www.noveltori.com and on Twitter @noveltori. Just Pretend is her debut graphic novel.