Blog Tour, Books that adults should read, Fiction, YA, Young Adult Fiction

All We Could Have Been by T.E.Carter

Today I’m thrilled to be talking All We Could Have Been by T.E.Carter as part of the #BlogTour.  T.E.Carter will also be sharing her Top Five Books too… so read on dear reader, read on.

“I have one goal: Survive a full school year – 180 days – hiding behind a new name, new home and new persona.”

Every year, Lexi starts somewhere new and every year she has to leave. All she wants is to disappear, to go somewhere where no one knows about her brother.

But this time things are different. She is making friends and she might even be falling in love. But none of it is real. When they find out who she really is, she will lose everything. She can never run away from the truth and what her brother did.

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Lexi is running from her past.  She craves anonymity, unable to deal with sharing the real her and where she comes from.  With memories of an horrific event that left her both physically and mentally scared, Lexie finds it hard to cope and suffers extreme anxiety.  Starting yet another new school, she knows she is never safe and that once they find out about her they’ll all turn on her and she’ll end up running again.  Yet for the first time in five years she actually feels like she belongs and she begins to trust again.

It’s impossible to run away from a past that won’t stay buried but perhaps this time Lexie is tired of running.  Perhaps this time she has something worth fighting for. What comes next is a story of courage and a fight for survival and acceptance.  Beautiful, compelling and utterly heartbreaking, this is another amazing novel from T.E.Carter.  All We Could Have Been shows that we can’t always control what happens to us but we can learn to accept and cope with it and that I think is an important message.  This is a wonderfully thought-provoking YA novel that covers themes of trauma, self harm, anxiety and OCD.  But more importantly it speaks of survival and learning to live again.

‘But then I think about the good stuff…And it’s all reason to fight for myself, but then…then my brain does what it does, and the world becomes chaos and confusion, and I can’t do it anymore.  I just wish I was doing it right.’

Thank you so much to wonderful Eve at S&S for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for sharing this amazing book with me.

About the author

T.E. Carter

Top Five Books –

A caveat here: This list could change on any given day, but here are five books I
enjoyed that are on my mind right now!
1. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin: With Game of Thrones wrapping
up, this series is clearly on my mind. The reason I really love this book is
because it captures everything that the show lacks, and that’s the quiet in-
between moments. I love the show (although I’m saying this with no idea how
Season 8 will play out and I’m a bit wary of how I’ll feel when it’s done), but as
with any adaptation, there are those little character moments that get left off
the screen. There’s an intimacy to the narrative that would be impossible to
translate to screen lest the show be 30 episodes per season, and this book
seems to be the place where the road really split for the characters.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: I know. It’s about as generic and
cliché as you can get, and Holden’s a pretty divisive character. But when I
was growing up, there wasn’t much out there in terms of YA. You could keep
reading children’s books; you could move to adult writers like Stephen King;
or you could read teen horror like RL Stine and Christopher Pike. While I
actually loved those books, there was nothing in them that reflected back my
own experiences, but when I first read The Catcher in the Rye, I felt like the
world made a bit more sense. My small town felt just a bit bigger; my
experiences and perspectives felt just a bit more “normal;” and my fears felt
just a bit less scary.

3. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: I’m not sure why this book is on my mind, but
maybe it’s just the changes of the seasons in New England. What I love about
this story, though, is the absolute commitment Wharton has to truth. It’s a
short read, but it’s one of the most devastating stories I’ve ever read. I’m a
really big fan of novels that don’t try to stick a pretty bow on life, and this novel
does the opposite. It’s brutal.

4. Man-Eaters by Chelsea Cain: This comic series isn’t that far along right now,
but it’s amazing. It’s fearless, in-your-face, feminist satire, and I highly
recommend it if that’s your thing!

5. Life is Strange and Before the Storm: Not a book, but I’m cheating. Not only is
the narrative incredible across both games, but Chloe Price is one of my
favorite characters of all time from any medium. I also think it was genius to
put out Life is Strange first; all your actions come to a close only for you to get
Chloe’s story after the fact, and if you saved Arcadia Bay, playing through
Before the Storm is haunting.

T.E. Carter was born and raised in New England. Throughout her career, she has done a lot of things, she has always loved to read and still loves stories in any medium (books, movies, video games, etc.). When she’s not writing, she can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (100% Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions. She continues to live in New England with her husband and two cats. All We Could Have Been is her second novel for young adults.

@hashtagereads #AllWeCouldHaveBeen

All We Could Have Been by T.E. Carter is out 2nd May (£7.99 Paperback, Simon & Schuster UK)

Author Letter:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for sharing in Lexi’s journey. ALL WE COULD HAVE BEEN stems from several personal experiences and outside influences, but I mostly wanted to think about how much control we have (or should have) over our own narratives. I also thought about how this is even more significant when processing trauma or grief, and Lexi was created from that.

Our world moves so quickly, and while that has a lot of benefits, it also means we have been conditioned to think and react almost immediately. As a result, our personal narratives are often shaped outside of ourselves, crafted from one piece here and there, until a series of stories are united into a cohesive whole. Rarely, though, does that whole reflect the truth of the people we are, instead illustrating the perceptions of the circle of people around us.

Through this novel, I tried to talk about taking back your own narrative. While our pasts do define and shape us to some degree, we are also so much more than external factors that we can’t control. Traumatic experiences can change how we think, and they often limit our ability to believe in our own agency. We all deserve to find and reclaim our own truth, though.

Thank you for reading and for giving Lexi (and readers like Lexi) the power to regain her story.

Regards,

TE Carter

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5+, 7+, Children's Fiction, Stories to Share

The Royal Rabbits of London: The Great Diamond Chase by Santa Montefiore & Simon Sebag Montefiore – Illustrated by Kate Hindley

 The biggest, most beautiful diamond in the world has been stolen from Buckingham Palace! Shylo and the brave Royal Rabbits of London will do whatever it takes to crack the case and return the jewel to its rightful place.

Then they discover that Russia’s elite sharp-toothed secret-agent minks are in London. Could they have anything to do with the theft? But nothing is quite what it seems, and the Royal rabbits soon realise they might need a bit of help from an old friend to solve this mystery.

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This is the third in The Royal Rabbits of London series and if you are still yet to discover these brave, regal rabbits then boy are you in for a treat. They will hop their way into your hearts and you now have three fantastic tales to catch up on.

Now, you may think that the Royal family is under the protection of the Secret Service and the Royal Guard. But what you may not be aware of is that there is also a team of brave rabbits watching over them. The Royal Rabbits of London are a ‘secret society devoted to protecting the Royal Family and evil across the world.’

These books are fun and full of adventure, with characters you and your young readers will fall in love with. These little rabbits teach us about courage, loyalty, doing what you feel is right, and the importance of believing in yourself – even when you do make mistakes.

Beautifully illustrated throughout and just perfect to share or for confident young readers to read alone.

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Shylo and Horatio crept outside to sit beneath the Weeping Willow.

 

About the authors

Santa Montefiore

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Photo taken by Elaine Fattal and sourced from the Simon and Schuster website.

Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and have sold more than six million copies in England and Europe. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London. Visit her at SantaMontefiore.co.uk. You can also follow Santa on Twitter at @SantaMontefiore.

 

Simon Sebag Montefiore

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Photo taken by Ian Jones and sourced from the Simon and Schuster website.

Simon Sebag Montefiore’s bestselling and prize-winning books are now published in over forty-five languages. His new book The Romanovs: 1613–1918 has been universally acclaimed and is already a bestseller in the UK, Australia, and the USA where it was on the New York Times bestseller list for eight weeks. Montefiore has won literary prizes for both fiction and nonfiction. His latest novel, One Night in Winter won the Best Political Novel of the Year Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize. He is now writing the third novel in this trilogy.

Follow Simon on Twitter at @SimonMontefiore. For more information visit SimonSebagMontefiore.com .

About the Illustrator

Kate Hindley

Kate Hindley is an illustrator who graduated from Falmouth School of Art in 2008. Kate lives in Worcestershire.You can follow Kate on Twitter at @hindleyillos.  For more information visit KateHindley.com

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The Royal Rabbits series is published by Simon and Schuster AND there is a 4th adventure coming this Autumn!  I am very excited about that. You can follow Simon and Schuster on Twitter at @simonkids_uk

 

 

Picture Books, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

Pencil Dog by Leigh Hodgkinson

Pencil Dog written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson

Now to share something for our younger book lovers. Pencil Dog is a stunningly illustrated picture book about ‘memory, remembrance, and how those who live on in us.’

With Pencil Dog ANYTHING is possible.

We have adventures together.

But I’ve noticed he’s getting smaller.

What if,

one day,

he disappears…?

A moving and inventive celebration of friendship and imagination from author-illustrator and co-creator of acclaimed TV series Olobob Top.

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Oh but this is SUCH a beautifully illustrated and charming story.  Full of bright colours, the warm and friendly art work make this an absolute delight to share with young book lovers.  The story is a gentle tale showing us that although loss can make us sad, there is still always something left behind of the people or things we miss.   Pencil dog fills this little girls life with fun, adventure and friendship and it’s hard when he disappears.  However she soon discovers that he is still there with her in other ways.  I love the way Leigh has used something relatable in Pencil Dog without causing too much distress or worry for our young readers.  A lovely, tender story filled with friendship, adventure and memories.

About the Author

Leigh Hodgkinson graduated from the University of Hull in 1998 with a first in graphic design. She went on to study Animation Direction at the National Film and Television School where she made two short animated films, Excess Baggage and Novelty. Novelty toured the world at festivals bringing home numerous awards. She is passionate about writing, making things and daydreaming.

Her picture books include Colin and the Snoozebox, Limelight Larry and Scrummy! She also co-created the hit CBeebie’s children’s television programme Olobob Top. Leigh lives and works in Lewis with her husband, animator Steve Smith, and their two young children,

Pencil Dog was published by Simon and Schuster in hardback on 7th February 2019 with the paperback edition following soon on the 13th June 2019.

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 . . .

Blog Tour, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

And the winner is…

On Monday I kicked off the blog tour for The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller. This included a giveaway for a finished copy of the book. Thank you to everybody who shared, liked and commented on either the blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

I have now put all your names in a hat…

and the winner is….

Congratulations Cat! I’ll be in touch. 🙂

Hope you love it as much as I did.

Blog Tour, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

Christmas is coming…#FatherChristmasBeliever

When I was small, one of my friends said something really silly. He said that Father Christmas didn’t exist.’

December is here and it’s time to get Christmassy. The tree has gone up, mulled wine has been consumed and I’m now sitting in a delicious Christmas haze reading The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller. I first read it back in the summer and I loved it then. The second time around is even more delicious, especially now that Christmas is creeping ever closer.

So this is the first in three days of posts about this festive story which will culminate with a special giveaway when I kick off the blog tour on Monday.

Tomorrow I shall be posting a short Q&A with Ben and illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini plus a little more info on this very special Christmas story.

Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

Book Launch – The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

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It was a damp and mild November evening when the Fallows family headed up to London.  Nature is giving a wonderful display of autumnal colour; golden brown, fiery reds and burnt orange underfoot with sticky, mushy leaves wet from the rain earlier in the day. This last week we’ve gained an hour and darker evenings for sparkly lights and magical time to curl up with a good book.  Winter is well and truly on its way… and with it comes Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Never shy of taking an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit as early as possible, I was delighted to have been invited to join in celebrating the launch of a bright and sparkling new, Christmas story.

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Flash back to summer.  The days were long, the sun was shining and people were already beginning to panic about ever seeing rain again. I however,  was settling down to read my first Christmas book of the year.  The Night I met Father Christmas by Ben Miller.

There are so many wonderful children’s authors bringing books to our young readers that will inspire and encourage a life-long love of reading.  So when someone we admire for their other work gives us a novel, I always feel a little apprehensive.  I expect it to be good enough to share a place on the shelves of those whose main body of work is children’s fiction.  Children’s books are important, they matter.  As Meg Ryan said in You Got Mail “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” With so many other distractions it’s important that we can grab their attention with stories that will fill them with wonder and let them love books rather than see them as a chore and bore.

I very much enjoy watching Ben on the screen.  We’re big fans of Death in Paradise in our household and grew to love his grumpy, yet brilliant Inspector Richard Poole and even more recently his role as Angus Bough, the ever patient side-kick to Rowen Atkinson’s, Johnny English. So I was excited to hear that he had written a Christmas story and keen for him to have done it well. It’s encouraging to know that Ben is not new to the written word, he has already published two non-fiction titles, It’s Not Rocket Science and The Aliens Are Coming!: The Exciting Science Behind Our Search For Life in the Universe.   The Night I Met Father Christmas is his first fictional title and trust me when I say, it is wonderful and very much deserves its place on any child’s (or adult’s) bookshelf.

It was an absolute treat to attend his launch party and Ben Miller is as funny and warm in the flesh as he comes across on the screen.  With a room full of people vying for his attention he took the time to sign copies of his book and my own young Ben was thrilled to meet him (as was I).  We also chatted and mingled with some lovely people and was finally able to say hello to some familiar faces including children’s author, Philip Ardagh.

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When Ben met Ben

The team at Simon and Schuster did Ben proud and the event was lovely.   We had the opportunity to meet the wonderfully talented illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, whose stunning illustrations bring the story to life.  Simon and Schuster’s design team have produced a stunning book complementing both story and illustrations. It truly is beautiful and will make a wonderful early Christmas present or perhaps be the perfect book to share with your little ones in the run up to the big event itself.

 

The Night I Met Father Christmas is available to buy now.  It is already generating wonderful reviews and much excitement.  At the beginning of December I’ll be running a series of festive posts about this delightful book that will culminate with a giveaway on Monday the 3rd as I kick off the blog tour.  Do come back and take a look or even better, why not hit the follow button. 🙂

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