Adventure, Blog Tour, Fantasy, Folk Tales, Teen, YA

The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston by John Tarrow

So today’s blog tour is filled with fantasy, magic and other realms… what more could you ask for?

Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’s land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs?

Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans, The
Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous house and gardens
dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. It is a classic YA tale of
adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.

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A fascinating concept and with an extremely intriguing opening sentence…

THE BOY LIVED ALL ALONE in an abandoned school bus in the middle of a wooded roundabout.

A stunning cover and package holds an adventure filled 364 pages which is said to appeal to a YA readership.  It does almost feel as though it is written for younger readers though so any teen who enjoys fantasy and is not put off by the length may well enjoy it.  It’s fascinating to read about the author’s own connection with the house that inspired the story, showing that, as often is the case, a house can be the most marvellous of muses for writers.

Thank so much to Anne cater for inviting me to be a part of this Random Things Blog Tour.

The Stranger’s Guide To Talliston by John Tarrow is published by Unbound on the 11th of July 2019.

About the author

John Tarrow

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John Tarrow is a novelist, poet, storyteller and award-winning writer. His fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies: his extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonders of the natural world. He spent twenty-five years transforming a three-bedroom, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex into the world-famous Talliston House and Gardens.

 

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11+, 9+, Children's Fiction, Eva Reads Books!, Summer Reads

The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu – Reviewed by Eva

Eva is back with another cracking review.  This time she’s kicking off my Recommended Summer Reads and chatting about The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu.  Over to Eva…

The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu

A spellbinding, timeless and beautifully told adventure about two sisters and their journey to find each other again.

Sisters Tansy and Belle are the stars of the grand finale of a circus show; a dazzling and perfectly timed trapeze act where they soar through the air like shimmering butterflies. One night, desperate to impress her older sister, Tansy attempts a spectacular jump and falls. Now terrified of heights, all Tansy can do is watch from below while Belle shines above. But when Belle mysteriously vanishes and Tansy’s shadow miraculously comes to life, Tansy discovers that the courage she needs to rescue her sister may have been inside her all along.

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The Butterfly Circus is a heart-warming tale about teamwork, friendship and sisterhood.

Tansy – a twelve-year-old girl with amazing talents – is an incredible acrobat. Everyone loved her, until one night she fell. Now all she does is watch her fourteen-year-old sister Belle, who is also an acrobat, get all the credit and fame. On a grand night Belle was about to pull one of her most exiting tricks, but then she disappeared. Tansy sets out to find where her sister has gone.

This book was both exciting and tense. However, I thought at times the pace made it hard to follow the story, and I had to turn back a few pages to know what was happening. This only happened a few times, and not enough to spoil what was an amazing story.

I loved how in the middle of the book the mood changed, and the world went from happy and jolly to dark and creepy. The writer definitely has the talent to be both funny and scary. I would recommend this book to everyone. It has great characters with unique backgrounds. I would love to read another book by this author.

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Thank you so much to the lovely people at Walker Books.  Both Eva and I loved The Butterfly Circus!

The Butterfly Circus by Francesca Armour-Chelu was published on the 6th of June and is available in paperback, eBook AND on Audiobook.

About the author

Francesca Armour-Chelu

91UnVQqAu8L._US230_I was brought up in Suffolk building dens & tree houses & although I loved writing & drawing, it wasn’t until an accident & a long hospital stay that I really got into reading; my Dad gave me ‘Pippi Longstocking’ & I fell in love with her – & books.

After school I lived in an abandoned Edwardian railway carriage & made film props before reading English & Drama at Goldsmiths, University of London. After working with children with disabilities I worked in libraries & museum education. When not writing, I work for public libraries and run creative writing workshops.

‘Fenn Halflin & the Fearzero’ was short-listed for the Mslexia Children’s Novel & the Mal Peet Award. It was also long-listed for the Branford Boase Award, the New Angles Prize, & the Little Rebels Award. My short-story inspired by Japanese folklore; ‘The Starving Ghost’, won the Mslexia Short Story Competition & my novel ‘Lemon Ink Over Flame’ was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize. ‘Fenn Halflin & the Seaborn’ was short-listed for the Mal Peet Award 2017. My next book ‘The Butterfly Circus’, is due out June 2019. – Via Amazon UK

You can follow Francesca on Twitter at @fkarmourchelu

You can follow Walker Books on twitter at WalkerBooksUK

Other books by Francesca…

 

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

Today I am so happy to be taking part in the blog tour for Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow, an unforgettable novel that I thoroughly recommend.

Baxter and Greg are coming together a lifetime apart.  Both have suffered heartbreaking loss. At ninety-four, Baxter knows that time is no longer on his side.  Old wounds begin to resurface and he knows there is one thing he still needs to do.  At just nineteen, Gregory’s time is just beginning but already he is weary with life after the death of his younger brother.  He’s struggling to make sense of his world and has lost hope for the future. Both men need each other to move on and learn to say goodbye. For Baxter this means a trip to France and a final goodbye to the man who never came home. For Greg it’s the opportunity to see what it means to survive heartbreak and that even after the worst has happened, there is still a life out there waiting for him.

This is a stunning novel with a beautiful love story at the heart of it.  Baxter is such an intriguing character.  Matthew writes his story with care and grace.  I found the relationship between Baxter and Thomas touching and for me it portrayed the meeting of two soulmates perfectly.  Thomas’ fate is shown to us gradually through the story and although incredibly sad, Baxter’s love and his need to have Thomas remembered left me feeling hopeful.  Remembrance is important and this novel shows us how vital it is to continue to talk, write and read about the past and the people we have lost.  This is really the only way to keep them alive.

Now, so late in the day, his wounds had reopened.

Names he had not mentioned in over sixty years danced on his tongue, daring to be spoken.  Names of people that he loved.  People that were silenced; their ashes swept clean.

Inside of him were names that deserved to be heard.

Inside of him were names that deserved to be known.

There will always be hatred and evil in this world, history continues to teach us that, but  the memories we hold will give us hope and remind us that there is always something worth living for.  Love is indeed a beautiful thing and the light from it can never be extinguished, no matter how dark the days may be.

The world he had seen that day did not exist in the world he had known before.  The noise was too loud.  The horror was too succinct. How, he thought as they disembarked at camp, could a world so full of love be privy to such vast and unyielding hatred?

Baxter’s Requiem is a book to remind us that cruelty, a lack of acceptance or understanding still continue to cause loss, heartbreak and unimaginable pain even today.       And yet there is empathy, kindness and most of all love to be found in the most unlikely of places.  With Baxter we have learned the peace that can be found in facing our past and also helping others along the way. He and Gregory have also shown that you really are never to old (or young) to make a difference.

There is so much love and kindness in the pages of this book.  From  Suzanne, the hardworking Manager of Melrose Gardens Retirement Home, Baxter’s lifelong friend Winnie (thank you Matthew for writing such an awesome school Librarian :), to Ramila who is tough as nails but hands a lifeline to Gregory without even realising it. I absolutely adored every word of this novel and I look forward to seeking out more from this inspiring young author.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and for bringing wonderful Baxter into my life.

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Synopsis

Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and grudgingly finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home.

Baxter is many things – raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur – but
‘good patient’; he is not. He had every intention of living his twilight years with wine, music
and revelry; not tea, telly and Tramadol. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare –
until he meets Gregory.

At only nineteen years of age, Greg has suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of
giving up on life before he even gets going.

Determined to save the boy, Baxter decides to enlist his help on a mission to pay tribute to
his long-lost love, Thomas: the man with whom he found true happiness; the man he waved
off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned. The best man he ever knew.

With Gregory in tow Baxter sets out on a spirited escape from Melrose, bound for the war
graves of Northern France. As Baxter shares his memories, the boy starts to see that life
need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness
is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live.

Baxter’s Requiem is a glorious celebration of life, love and seizing every last second we
have while we’re here.

About the author

Matthew Crow

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Matthew Crow was born and raised in Newcastle. Having worked as a freelance journalist since his teens he has contributed to a number of publications including the Independent on Sunday and the Observer.

He has written five novels, Ashes and My Dearest Jonah – the second of which was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize for Literature – and two book for young adults, In Bloom which was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the North East Teen Book Award and listed in the Telegraph’s Best YA of 2014 List – and Another Place​.

Baxter’s Requiem was published in September 2018 by Corsair, an imprint of Little Brown.

You can follow Matthew on Twitter at @matthewcrow

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Blog Tour, Children's Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

Today I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the latest spell-binding novel from Michelle Harrison – A Pinch of Magic. I’m also thrilled to share a piece from Michelle herself on the inspiration behind the story. Read on dear reader, read on.

How stunning is this cover? Believe me it’s even more beautiful in the flesh, shimmering with gold foil. The detail is amazing and you’ll catch many glimpses of the story on this eye-catching cover.

I absolutely adored reading A Pinch of Magic, it’s a wonderful story full of adventure, courage and magic. Betty Widdershins is a sparky young lady desperate for travel and adventure but she might just get rather more than she bargained for. This is a story about magic but it’s also a story about family, love, and that nothing good can come from jealousy and hatred. Recommended for age 8+, I think this is a joyous read for anyone. Michelle is a mesmerising writer and I was completely held within her spell from the moment I picked the book up.

Synopsis

It was on Betty Widdershins’ thirteenth birthday that she first learned of the family curse…

Living on the isle of Crowstone, surrounded by eerie marshes and a formidable prison, the Widdershins sisters: Betty, Fliss and Charlie, are desperate for adventure. But when Betty strays too far from home, she learns the awful truth: a deadly curse has haunted her family for generations. If Betty and her sisters leave Crowstone, they will be dead by sunrise.

But the knowledge of the family curse comes with a bit of excitement too! Each sister inherits a magical object, been passed down the family: A scruffy carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls and a gilt-framed mirror – none of them are what they seem.

Will they be enough to help the Widdershins break the curse? Or will the sisters have better luck with a mysterious prisoner who claims he can help them?

And now lets here a little from the author herself…

Author, Michelle Harrison

Widdershins and Witches: the inspiration for A Pinch of Magic – by Michelle Harrison

I came across the wonderful, whimsical word ‘widdershins’ in one of the spell books I often leaf through when researching magic for my stories. It’s a word commonly associated with witchcraft, and means the witches’ path/ the wrong way/ anti-clockwise. In the past, even observing someone walking ‘widdershins’ was enough to warrant an accusation of witchcraft. These days, when it is used by modern wiccans it’s usually for the purposes of banishing or eliminating something. It’s also believed to be unlucky. Naturally, I fell in love with the word immediately, and decided it had to be the name of the family in my next story.

Originally, A Pinch of Magic was based on witches, a subject I find endlessly fascinating. In the first three chapters and synopsis which I sent to my editor, Betty Widdershins discovered she was a witch on her thirteenth birthday and had to master a signature spell linked to an ordinary object of her choosing.


The idea stemmed from a snippet of local folklore linked to the Essex village of Canewdon. According to legend, there will always be six witches in the village, and whenever a stone falls from the church tower walls it signifies that one of them has died and been replaced within the coven.

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While I loved the idea of all this, there was a problem. My publisher already had several other books about witches lined up, so my editor asked if we could rethink the witch element but retain certain parts of the folklore. Following some discussion and brainstorming I came up with the idea of a family curse, which allowed me to keep the ‘fairy tale’ aspect of the falling stones. Of course I then had to give Betty some siblings to ramp up the tension and danger of the curse, so Fliss and Charlie were introduced. As the youngest of three sisters myself, it felt like a good dynamic and the ‘power of three’ fits with my liking of fairy tales.

The witch became a sorceress, the church a tower, and the stones falling from it a warning of imminent death for the cursed girls. Finally, the ‘signature spell’ became a set of three magical objects handed down the family – after all, gifts and curses go hand in hand. The name of ‘Widdershins’ still worked perfectly with the idea of being cursed; being both unlucky and symbolic of the girls trying to ‘banish’ the curse from their lives. But I have to admit that it’s such a favourite word of mine that I was intent on using it – and I’m thrilled that it continues to be part of my working life, because I’m already working on the Widdershins’ next adventure . . .

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So there we have it, the synopsis and the inspiration. There is already so much buzz surrounding this book. It is also a Waterstones book of the month (with some absolutely gorgeous special purple edged copies). This is a story to entrance young readers and add fuel to reading for pleasure, a story that will be treasured. I am so happy to hear there are more Widdershins’ adventures coming our way, these characters have found their way into my heart and I can’t wait to see where their story takes them next.

If you’d like to discover more about Michelle and her writing then take a look at her website here.

Thank you to Michelle for sharing Widdershins and Witches and her stunning photographs for me to feature on my blog.

Thanks also to Olivia Horrox at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

 

Bookish Post, Children's Fiction, Debut, Middle Grade Fiction

The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth by Cerrie Burnell

The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth is a story that shows us that courage, friendship and goodness comes in all kinds of packages.

Minnow is different to the other girls in her town and there’s plenty to set her apart: the blossom of pale scars which lie beneath her delicate ears, her affinity with the water which leaves people speechless, and the time when, in deep, deep water, her body began to glow like a sunken star.

When her mum gets into trouble and is taken from their boat in the dead of night, Minnow is alone with one instruction: “sail to Reykjavik to find your grandmother, she will keep you safe’.  Minnow has never sailed on her own before, but the call of the deep is one she’s been waiting to answer her whole young life.

Perhaps a girl who is lost on land can be found in the Wild Deep.

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I first came across Cerrie Burnell when she joined the children’s channel ‘CBeebies’ over eight years ago.  It was a channel I watched regularly with my son when he was very young and one that we were both very fond of.  I remember Cerrie  because she was a great presenter but I also remember being pleased that this channel who assisted me with teaching my child at such an early age, were brave enough to chose a presenter who looked slightly different to what is considered the ‘norm’;  a presenter that may arouse some curiosity amongst it’s young viewers and offer the opportunity to explore the differences amongst us all.

Any child should be able to find a character they can relate to in books but children should also be able to read strong characters that are different to them too.  To immerse your child in diversity from an early age, I believe, is vital.  To teach them that each and EVERY individual is unique, important and has so much to offer the world.  I’ve noticed over the years, both as a parent and working with young children, that they are curious when they encounter something different but they do not judge; it is the influence of the reactions around them that will then, I believe, cause the judgement to kick in.

Cerrie has moved on from presenting CBeebies and is writing fiction for children.  Inspired by her own dual heritage daughter she wanted to expand on the young heroines out there for our young readers. When it comes to her writing Cerrie herself says “Families like mine are so rarely represented in children’s literature in a positive magical context, so I wanted to create characters who reflect us but are bound up in adventure.

I was intrigued to read The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth.  As always, I try not to consider what I know about the author and let the story speak for itself…and this one certainly does.  Cerrie is a natural storyteller.  Her empathy, kindness and sense of adventure comes through in her characters.  Young readers will love the adventure and magic within the pages.  I loved the illustrations throughout, they weaved in amongst the story perfectly, framing the beautifully depicted world that Cerrie has created.  The leading characters are strong, fearsome and memorable.  Young Minnow is feisty and courageous; the love and bond she shares with her mother driving her forward to face whatever danger is thrown at her. Minnow has been raised on stories and song and it is these that she turns to when life becomes confused and her path feels uncertain. The story itself is exciting, filled with wonder and peril.  This will be a wonderful book for all middle grade readers but also as a book to be shared and enjoyed together with younger readers.

Thank you to Oxford University Press for sending me the review copy.  It has been an absolute joy to read and I certainly hope we will be seeing more from Cerrie Burnell.

About the Author

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Cerrie Burnell is an actor and writer best known for her work on CBeebies, a role that has earned her critical acclaim and a devoted fan base.  In 2011 Cerrie was named in the Observer’s top ten children’s presenters and the Guardian’s  100 most inspirational women.  She has been an author in residence for Great Ormond Street and is a patron of Polka Theatre for children.  She trained at Manchester Metropolitan and her credits prior to CBeebies include Eastenders, The Bill, Holby City and Grange Hill.

Cerrie’s one woman show The Magical Playroom opened at Edinburgh in 2013 and her Harper series, published by Scholastic, has been translated into twelve languages and was a World Book Day title in 2016.  She is the author of several picture books including Snowflakes, which Cerrie adapted for the stage for the Oxford Playhouse in 2016.  Cerrie left CBeebies in April 2017 with a commitment to push diversity in other directions.  Since departing, Cerrie has played the role of Penny in the BBC’s Doctors, presented a documentary about the NHS, and written her debut middle grade book The Girl with the Shark’s Teethwhich she is very excited about.

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Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

This year has been a wonderful year for books and there are so many I could recommend. This next title is definitely one of my books of the year. Abi is a master storyteller. Her writing is beautiful and filled with adventure, courage and magic. Sky Song was published back In January but this wintery tale will make the perfect Christmas read.

Once an adventure digs its claws in, there is not an awful lot you can do about it. Especially when magic is involved . . .’
 
In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find – because Erkenwald is ruled by an evil Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden or risk becoming her prisoners at Winterfang Palace.

Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey to the Never Cliffs and beyond in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
 
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .

Children's Fiction

A new tale from The Badlands series by J.R.Wallis

I love a good series.  It’s the waiting for the next book that’s the hardest.  I’m not the most patient person but then again I love the sense of anticipation as the date of publication comes closer and closer.  Last year I reviewed The Boy With One Name by J.R.Wallis and boy, did I love it.  Book one from the Badlands series, I hoped that the next instalment wouldn’t be too long coming. Well The Black Amulet has now been published and I happy to say that it’s every bit as exciting as The Boy With One Name.   So without further ado, here’s a little more about both books.  If you haven’t yet come across the series then do start with The Boy With One Name.

The Boy With One Name by J.R.Wallis

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I absolutely adore a little magic and mystery. Throw in some mortal danger, monsters and things that go bump in the night and I’m in heaven.

Last summer the rather lovely people over at Simon & Schuster kids sent me a copy of The Boy With One Name. The cover alone grabbed my interest as soon as it slipped out from it’s Jiffy bag.

WELCOME TO THE BADLANDS … a hidden part of our world populated by creatures which most people think exist only in fairytales and nightmares.

Twelve-year-old Jones is an orphan, training as an apprentice hunter alongside his mentor, Maitland, tackling ogres, trolls and all manner of creatures that live in the Badlands – a hidden part of our own world, and which most people think exist only in fairytales and nightmares. But all Jones secretly wants to be is an ordinary boy and to leave the magical world forever…

When an ogre hunt goes wrong and Maitland is killed, Jones finally has a chance to find out where he came from. But the truth he uncovers isn’t what he’s expecting and it seems that if Jones is going to make his dream come true he’ll have to defeat a creature not even Maitland had dared take on and he won’t be able to do it alone…

He’s going to need help from Ruby, the first girl he’s ever met. She’s outspoken, fearless and determined to prove she’s as good as any boy, and unlike Jones, being ordinary is the last thing on her mind. Ruby’s desperate to find her place in the world and thinks the Badlands could be it. So, working together isn’t going to be straightforward. In fact, it could be downright dangerous.

But who said getting what you want is supposed to easy, even if it is just wanting to be ordinary?

The story features two young protagonists – Jones desperately wants to be a normal boy, yet since before he can remember fate has had other plans because Jones is an apprentice Badlander. Badlanders hunt witches, ogres, shapeshifters and other monsters that ordinary people only see in their nightmares.

Ruby is also desperate for a different life. Running away from her latest foster carer and a difficult home life, Ruby  is searching for a world she can fit into. A world where she has some purpose and meaning.

Things go terribly wrong one night whilst Jones, as part of his commencement, is making his first kill.  Suddenly he is left without his master, Maitland, the one man who taught him everything he knows and who’s been there for him since he was a baby. Now he is alone with only a talking gun (which he can’t touch) for guidance.

Looking for a safe place to hide, runaway Ruby, finds herself caught up in Jones’ life along with the monsters that she thought only belonged in fairytales and nightmares. Before long circumstances force them to work together as each tries to not only stay alive but to find the lives they’ve both dreamed of.

What follows is an adventure story that grips from the very first page as you tumble, head-first, into the Badlands. Adrenaline filled and full of danger, Wallis will have you cheering for more.

This is a great book about friendship, self discovery, learning who you are and finding courage in even the most desparate of situations. I absolutely loved Jones and fiesty Ruby. They each had their own problems but discovered that working together they could achieve anything.

An exciting start to what I hope will become a series. This will make a fantastic, fun and exciting read.

The Boy With One Name was published in August 2017 by Simon and Schuster\

Here’s a small taster that I’ve taken from the opening page.

     Jones stopped. He’d felt safe enough creeping down the path in front of the cottage, in the dark.  But now the moon had reappeared from behind the clouds, the world was relit with a softer silver light meaning he was much more likely to be seen.

He kept trying to focus on what Maitland had promised, that he wouldn’t come to any harm. But that was less easy to believe now they were actually here. Scared to go on, Jones looked behind him, to where his Master was hiding, hoping to be beckoned back.

Maitland stepped out from the granite porch concealing the front door of the cottage and stood on the path, big as a bolder in his greatcoat. He said nothing. His craggy face remained hidden below the peak of his baseball cap. And Jones knew right away Maitland wanted him to go on, however bright the moon, because this was his big night. This was his big test.

The Black Amulet by J.R.Wallis

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Reunited with his parents, Jones is finally living the ‘normal’ life he’s always wanted.  But, despite leaving the Badlands behind, there’s still magic inside him…

His two friends, Ruby and Thomas Gabriel, are struggling with their new lives too; Thomas Gabriel’s magical abilities are fading away and Ruby is railing she might never be accepted as a ‘proper’ Badlands in a world of monster-hunting run by men.

One thing could help all of them – the Black Amulet, a magical artefact hidden for centuries by the most powerful Badlands that ever lived.  But finding it won’t be easy, and using it even harder, because things are never simple when magic’s involved…

This is a fantastic second Tales From the Badlands.  All three friends are working together to find the Black Amulet but all for very different reasons.

The Black Amulet gives us more insight into both Ruby and Thomas Gabriel.  Both are desperate for their magical difficulties to be resolved and the Amulet offers the solution to those problems.  Yet it has a dark side to it. It is a powerful artefact and can take possession of those who wear it with sometimes deadly consequences.  There are ways to stay remain immune from its effects, however,  the Amulet is constantly working to break down those protections.  Perhaps together, Ruby, Thomas and Jones, can find the way to use it safely to take away all their problems.   Yet how much can you trust your friends?

I love the way the novel highlights how important it is to be true to yourself and that being ‘different’ is good.  This is a great series and The Black Amulet finishes perfectly to continue on in a third book.  I have another wait ahead of me but I have no doubt it will most definitely be worth it.

Another taster…

    ‘But Ruby, I want to be an ordinary boy too and I can’t be that with magic inside me.  It’s not meant to be in the regular world…’

     Ruby leant forward and took his hands in hers.  ‘You can still be both if you want t0.’  Ed looked at her, unsure what she was getting at.  ‘You don’t have to be a regular Badlands.  I won’t be, even if Drewman fixes our Commencement.  I’ll always be a girl.  I’ll be different to other Badlands.  So why can’t you be a different type of Badlands too?’

Review copies supplied by the lovely people at Simon and Schuster (thanks so much:)

Find out more about author J.R.Wallis by visiting his website: here.