Author Interview: Shakirah Bourne

A little while ago I had the pleasure to read and review an arc of Josephine Against the Sea (previously published as My Fishy Stepmom) and absolutely adored this book! When I got the chance to interview the author, I couldn’t pass this opportunity and today I will share the interview with you all!

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Book Tour | Josephine Against the Sea – Shakirah Bourne

Today I want to talk about Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne. Keep on reading to find out more!
A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc to read and review!

Book Info:

Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: July 6, 2021

Synopsis:

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?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndigoIndieBound

Review

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!

Tour Schedule

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.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.shakirahbourne.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shakirahwrites 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8104466.Shakirah_Bourne 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shakirahwrites/ 

I can’t wait for more people to read this book! Let me know if you will be reading Josephine Against the Sea in the comments!

XoXo,
Marloes

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Author Q&A: Tori Sharp – Just Pretend

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!

Book Info:

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.

Book Links

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo

Interview

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!

Tour Schedule

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.

Author Links

Website: https://noveltori.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NovelTori 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/noveltori/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17015823.Tori_Sharp 

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Author Q&A: Gabrielle K. Byrne – The Edge of Strange Hollow

Today I’m back with another book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. This week there’s a tour for The Edge of Strange Hollow by Gabrielle K. Byrne and I got to interview the author! So keep on reading to find out more about this book and what questions I asked Gabrielle!

The Edge of Strange Hollow by Gabrielle K. Byrne
Genre:
Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: May 18, 2021

Synopsis:

Welcome to Strange Hollow. Beware the Grimwood.

Poppy Sunshine isn’t like everyone else in Strange Hollow. She’s not afraid of the Grimwood, home to magical creatures like shape-shifters, fairies, witches, and even a three-headed dog. 

Banned from the wood by her parents, Poppy longs to learn everything about it and imagines joining her mother and father as they hunt the forest’s cursed magical objects. So when her only family disappears on a routine expedition, she and her friends must break every rule to save them. But Poppy soon discovers that things in the Grimwood are rarely what they seem.

And the monsters who took her parents may not be monsters at all…

Book Links

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Indigo

Interview

Hi Gabrielle! 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! Thanks so much for having me. THE EDGE OF STRANGE HOLLOW is about Poppy Sunshine (a girl
who’s not very sunny) and her adventures in the Grimwood. Poppy Sunshine isn’t like everyone else
in Strange Hollow. She’s not afraid of the Grimwood, home to magical creatures like shape-shifters,
fairies, witches, and even her three-headed dog. Banned from the wood by her parents, Poppy longs
to learn everything about it and imagines joining her mother and father as they hunt the forest’s
cursed magical objects. When they disappear on a routine expedition, she and her friends must
break every rule to save them. But Poppy soon discovers that things in the Grimwood are rarely
what they seem…and the monsters who took her parents may not be monsters at all.

How did you get the idea for The Edge of Strange Hollow? 

This book is really an homage to my love of fairy tales, folktales and mythology. I spent hours and
hours immersed in the Grimm brothers’ stories, and in Anderson’s fairy tales from the time I was
very young until now! I’ve also always loved Greek, Norse and British/Gaelic mythology. I wanted to
write about a girl who had a deep love of learning and exploration, and put her in a forest full of all
the beings of my girlhood, along with a few that I made up out of whole cloth – where I could play
with the reader’s expectations, along with Poppy’s.

Why did you want to write this story?

This is the life I wanted to live as a kid–a life of fairy tale adventure. Poppy is headstrong and a bit
reckless (my favorite kind of character) and has to come to terms with her expectations, of herself,
of others, and of her world.

What is your favourite scene in the story?

This book was SO much fun to write. It’s really hard to pick just one scene! I loved writing the Kelpie
attack. I adore when Jute the hob contacts Mack’s parents via penny whistle. And there’s a scene
toward the end with Eta-Two-Brutus (Poppy’s three-headed cerberus) that made my heart
pound…but no spoilers!

What’s your favourite fairy tale?

Another tough question! I think I’d have to choose either Rumpelstiltskin or The Robber Bridegroom
(Bluebeard). I just love a clever heroine and tricksy magic! There are so many good ones though…
and also so many spin offs. I love Undine, the 1811 Little Mermaid inspired book by Fouque. In
mythology, I love the stories that involve the Fates, and of course, Chiron from Greek myth inspired
my boatman who makes his rounds in the Grimwood.

What is something you hope your readers will get from reading The Edge of Strange Hollow? 

I want my readers to feel empowered! I want them to feel it’s okay to want and pursue anything. I
also want them to see that even though our expectations (of the world, of ourselves, of others) are
sometimes wrong, that we can reassess, learn, and keep moving forward toward our goals.

What is an author dream of yours that you’re hoping will be fulfilled? 

I’m so grateful for the support of all my readers. Of course, I want to keep writing more stories! I’m
also a very visual person, so I love seeing fan art! It would be really fun to see one of my books
become a webtoon or a movie. Seeing images of my work, in any form, is a total thrill!

Tour Schedule

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

Gabrielle Kirouac Byrne lives in the rainy wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where she writes fantasy for kids of all ages. Gabby studied opera in Philadelphia, medieval studies in New York, literature in Scotland, and marine biology in Washington. Stories are the common thread that tie all her interests together. When she’s not writing, you can find her fishing spineless zooplankton out of the Salish sea with her family. In Gabby’s debut MG fantasy, RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON, the princess of a frozen Queendom fights to free her mother from the clutches of treacherous dragons. Gorgeous world building, and lush prose will immerse readers in this coming-of-age adventure in which a fierce girl tackles insurmountable odds with wit, strength, and heart. 

Author Links

Website: https://www.gkbyrnebooks.com/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GKByrne 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gkbyrnebooks/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3201893.Gabrielle_K_Byrne 

Giveaway (US Only):

One winner will receive a finished copy of The Edge of Strange Hollow. The giveaway starts on May 17th and ends on May 24th. Click here to enter!

So that’s my stop on the tour for The Edge of Strange Hollow. The author’s description of the story definitely has me interested even more. I’ll have to read this one really soon!

XoXo,
Marloes

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Blogmas Day 14: A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Blogmas Day 14: A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

This is the perfect book to start Christmas reading with! It is Absolutely Delightful! A Father Christmas origin story with a wealth of humour, depth and adventure.
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