Books reviews, book tours, cover reveals and anything else book-related.

Blog Tour: The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island by B. J. Rowling and D. G. Lloyd

on
Tuesday, 30 July 2019
The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island



Today is my stop on the blog tour for the YA novel The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island by B.J. Rowling and D.G. Lloyd. Thanks to Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side, to Olympia Publishers and to the authors for providing me with a copy of the book for review.

Title: The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island
Author(s): B. J. Rowling and D. G. Lloyd
Publication date: 25 October 2018
Publisher: Olympia Publishers

Blurb


Some secrets are best kept hidden... and some are just too magical not to share. Teenagers, who unexpectedly acquire a vast collection of magical, mystical powers and abilities, find an ancient map. This map leads them on a quest for buried treasure to a mysterious island filled with hidden secrets, booby traps and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What could possibly go wrong? A lot!

Review

YA books are not my normal genre and I must admit that when the email arrived offering me the chance to read and review The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island, I did have to think twice. However, on scanning the blurb my attention was piqued. As a child, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton's The Famous Five and this book sounded familiar. 

I've learnt that when reading YA books, you have to put your sense of disbelief to one side. Some artistic licence will be applied to push the story forwards and it is best to accept those elements for what they are and simply enjoy the adventure.

The book follows a group of teenagers who are attending a geocaching weekend to Makinac Island in Michigan with their respective families in the hope of winning a prize. Whilst the weekend begins with a bit of rivalry between the opposing families, the revelation of some family secrets and the discovery of an ancient treasure map forces the teens to join forces in the hope of finding some real-life treasure! Throw in a couple of bad guys, a wannabe rapper, a maze of hidden tunnels and a hint of mystical forces... what more can you ask for?

The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island certainly brings a sense of adventure to the table. It is a classic combination of mystery and adventure with a dash of humour and a smidgen of romance. I note that other reviews liken the book to the classic 80's film, The Goonies, and there certainly are some similarities as the kids venture into underground tunnels in seek of treasure! 

One of the best things about reading is the opportunity to learn something new. As such, one of my favourite things about this book was the historical element at the heart of the story. It gave context to the treasure hunt, whilst providing a bite-sized history lesson for the reader. 

With regards to the cast, the characters are written in an almost caricature-like way - J.J. is a typical boy, Genius is the computer geek and Aaron is the teenage lothario; there was no question that Bruno and Roberts were the bad guys, and hunter (aka Original-One) was at times quite humorous despite (or maybe because of?) his annoying wannabe-rapper pretensions. 

I have to be honest and say there was one aspect of the book which did not sit easily with me and that was the occasional reference to Sandra's boobs. I found it all a bit unnecessary. In particular, there was an early scene between J.J. and Sandra where Sandra trades a glimpse down her shirt to the teenage J.J. in order to manipulate him into providing information. I felt that this issue was a bit too adult for the book and I also felt that it was not resolved in a satisfactory way. I would have preferred that this scene included a moral outcome to show the young readers why this sort of trade off is not a good idea.

Back to the positives, The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island is ultimately a action-packed adventure along the lines of The Famous Five, The Goonies and possibly even a little hint of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. It's fun, it's thrilling and it's certainly entertaining!

Written by a duo of scriptwriters, you won't be surprised to hear that the movie version will apparently be coming to the Big Screen soon....

About the Author(s)

B.J. Rowling and D.G. Lloyd
B. J. Rowling, a native of England, is an author, screenwriter, producer, actress and cousin of Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling.

D.G. Lloyd is an American-Australian author, screenwriter, producer, actor and script coverage analyst.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: /BJRowling




Check out the rest of the blog tour at the blogs listed below:

Blog tour for The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island



BUY LINKS

Book Review: Living My Best Li(f)e by Claire Frost #bookclub

on
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Living my best li(f)e by Claire Frost


Title: Living my best li(f)e
Author: Claire Frost
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 23 July 2019

Contact Links
Twitter: @FabFrosty 

Blurb

This heart-warming and funny novel is the perfect balm for the insta-weary mind – get ready to shatter the illusion that is #LivingMyBestLife 

Bell never thought she’d be facing her 40th birthday single. Recently dumped by her boyfriend of ten years, Bell is struggling to move on with her life – and surrender the fleecy pyjamas she’s been living in since January. Sick of being bombarded by #blessed on social media and feeling like her life doesn’t live up to everyone else’s, she decides it’s time for a change; time to find out who she really is,not who she thinks she should be.

Enter Millie, a successful online influencer posting under the handle @mi_bestlife. But as a single mum trying to make ends meet and stay ahead of the younger generation snapping at her heels, her Instagram feed is far more #BestLie than #BestLife. With the internet trolls continuing to bring her down and an ex who cares more about playing football than seeing their son, Millie begins to wish her life was more like her filters.

It isn’t until Millie and Bell’s paths cross that the two women begin to realise what they’re missing. Will Bell finally learn to live life for herself? And will Millie see that she needs to start living for the moment and not for the likes?

Review

After a few weeks of non-stop crime thrillers, Living my best li(f)e was a breath of fresh air and a much-needed dose of light-hearted humour!

How many of us have opened up Facebook/Instagram, usually out of either boredom or habit, and been left with a feeling of inadequacy or envy after seeing posts about an amazing experience, a fabulous holiday or the most perfect of relationships?  How many times do we find ourselves sitting on the sofa holding our mobile phones and counting the ‘likes’ and comments to our new photo/post rather than being out having new experiences or making new memories?  How many times have we missed seeing something happen right in front of us because we’re too busy trying to record/photograph the moment to share on social media?  It is possible (or maybe probable?) that we’ve all got a bit too used to viewing life through social media, rather than experiencing it for ourselves. This makes Living my best li(f)e very relevant today. It explores society’s obsession with social media and demonstrates how it can be used to distort reality - what we see is not necessarily what is real and true. It is very relatable and very real.

The writing style is uncomplicated and easy-to-read, with the chapters being split between the two main characters, Bell and Millie. This allows us to experience the tale from two different angles – from the person advertising the perfect life and from the person who is looking in on that perfection. There is an easy flow to the book that kept my attention and helped the story move along at a good pace.

I enjoyed getting to know each of the main characters. They are both likeable and genuine, and within a similar age range to myself, which always makes me identify more with a character. Both women are strong, single and in need of something more in their lives. The supporting cast are an eclectic and interesting mix, although I felt that I didn’t really get to know them that well. Millie’s interactions with her ex, Louis, were sadly quite believable. Here is a man who does love his son and who is happy to contribute to his upbringing, and yet he fails to realise that the responsibility is a regular and continuous one. Turning up once a month to see his son, cancelling plans to fit in with his work/social events, and ‘flashing the cash’ for treats but failing to pay regular boring maintenance – these are simply not the hallmarks of a responsible parent. And yet, he doesn’t do this out of spite nor a deliberate intention to avoid his responsibilities. He’s not a horrible person. He simply doesn’t realise how much his actions impact everyone involved.

The story is centred around a local community centre. This is where the different characters meet and where friendships are born, as the community comes together to try to save the centre.  It is a somewhat predictable plotline, however the strength of the story lies in the characters and their interactions. The entire book has a wonderfully warm feeling to it – it is absolutely a feel-good tale!

This is a fun and heart-warming tale about community, friendship and the importance of 'keeping it real' (a great moral to the tale) rather than filtering and staging our lives to maximise the ‘likes’. 

A great debut novel from Claire Frost and a big thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for providing me with a proof copy of the book for review.

About the Author

Claire Frost
Claire Frost grew up in Manchester, the middle of three sisters. She always wanted to do a job that involved writing, so after studying Classics at Bristol University she started working in magazines. For the last 10 years she's been at The Sun on Sunday's Fabulous magazine, where she is Assistant Editor and also responsible for the title's book reviews. She can mostly be found at her desk buried under a teetering TBR pile.



Quote by the Curious Ginger Cat






Buy Links

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  Goodreads  |  GooglePlay  |  Kobo 

Blog Blitz: The White Scorpion (James Ryker Book 5) by Rob Sinclair

on
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
The White Scorpion by Rob Sinclair


Title: The White Scorpion (James Ryker Book 5)
Author: Rob Sinclair
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication date: 16 July 2019

Contact Links
Website: www.robsinclairauthor.com
Twitter: @RSinclairAuthor
Facebook: RobSinclairAuthor

Blurb

Rule number one for an agent of the secretive JIA is to follow orders, no matter what.

But James Ryker has never cared much for rules. He only wants to do what is right.

Assigned to join of crew of elite security personnel in Chabon, Africa, Ryker’s mission objective is clouded by politics and obfuscation, and he knows only that to protect British interests in the region, he is to infiltrate the close protection team of the government of Chabon, a country with a dark and violent past.

Arriving in Chabon’s crumbling capital, Kilpassa, Ryker finds a country on the brink of civil war. A growing civilian rebellion threatens peace, with claims of atrocities committed by both sides, including the frail government run by enigmatic President Benyu - a former military general who took control of the country in a violent coup.

Drawn into Benyu’s inner circle, it soon becomes clear to Ryker that in Chabon, the lines between good and bad, and right and wrong, are nearly impossible to identify.

With a crisis of epic proportions unfolding before his eyes, Ryker knows one thing for sure: with or without the backing of his superiors, he must take drastic action, and quickly, or risk putting millions of innocent lives in danger.

Review

The story is set against a background of political unrest in the fictional African country of Chabon. Ryker and his team of ex-special ops soldiers are in the country to help further British interests. Their mission is to protect the current Chabonese leader, Benyu, from threats made by local rebel leader, Chima Muampa, and therefore maintain stability within the country. Unfortunately, the power play between an allegedly corrupt government and the rebel militia ensure that things don’t go quite to plan for Ryker and his team.

As Ryker digs deeper into the matter, he quickly realises that he is only being told half-truths by his bosses. How can he do his job effectively when he doesn’t know who he can trust…?

As always, Ryker is a great character. Intelligent, tough and intuitive. If ever I was in trouble, there’s no one I would want on my side more than Ryker!  Peter Winter is a returning character who adds a bit of shadiness and intrigue to the story. Whilst he is one of the good guys, he’s always slightly evasive and a little bit too slippery to fully trust. The book also adds new character, Sam Moreno, a tough cookie with a sense of humour. I enjoyed the dynamics between Ryker and Moreno and felt that added a personal dimension to the tale.

The story itself is well-plotted and well-written. All loose ends were nicely tied up by the end, except for those which could potentially appear once book 6 is published (I’m assuming there is a book 6 on the horizon – there better be!!).

Tense, fast-paced and action-packed, The White Scorpion is yet another great addition to the James Ryker series. If you like a good action thriller, this is definitely a book not to be missed! And if you’ve not yet read anything by Rob Sinclair, I recommend that you do so. His books are all suspenseful, twisty and
thoroughly entertaining!

The book can be read as a standalone, however I would recommend starting from the beginning in order to get the most out of the series. It’s worth doing because after reading The White Scorpion I’m pretty sure you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the series, if you haven’t already done so!

Thanks to Heather from Bloodhound Books and to author Rob Sinclair for inviting me to be a part of today’s Blog Blitz.

About the Author

Rob Sinclair

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy, James Ryker and Sleeper series of thrillers. His books have sold over 900,000 copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob's work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn. 

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

BUY LINKS



Why not check out the other stops on today's blog blitz, details are listed below....

The White Scorpion by Rob Sinclair

Book Review: The Holiday by TM Logan

on
Thursday, 11 July 2019
The Holiday by TM Logan


Title: The Holiday
Author: TM Logan
Publisher: Zaffre Books
Publication Date: 25 July 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Contact Links:
Website: www.tmlogan.com
Twitter: @TMLoganAuthor
Instagram: @tmloganauthor
Facebook: @TMLoganAuthor

Blurb

Seven days. Three families. One killer.
 
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Languedoc-Roussillon.
 
But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair and that the other woman is one of her best friends. One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one?

As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

Review

The central theme to The Holiday is deception - it is a tale of secrets and lies.  Whilst I'm not a religious person, I think there is something to be said in the biblical quote "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). 

Of the three couples in the story - Kate and Sean, Jen and Alistair, Rowan and Russ - all of them have secrets, not just from the other couples but from their partners also. There is a distinct lack of communication and honesty amongst them, which appeared to be a repeating theme throughout the book. I was disappointed at how quickly Kate jumped to conclusions about her husband's activities and yet steadfastly refused to confront him about her suspicions. Surely this indicates an underlying lack of trust in their relationship? I also fail to understand why certain characters would put their own relationships at risk in order to keep someone else's secret.

The plot is complex and whilst the reveal is a bit of a slow-burner, the story does have a good pace to it. Every time I thought I had figured out what was happening, another twist or red-herring appeared!  It is obvious from the start that something bad is going to occur and the author then keeps the reader on tenterhooks as to when the event will occur and who would be involved. This really ramps up the suspense. It is not until well into the final quarter of the book that the action really takes place.  The tale is not action-packed and instead relies on this underlying tension and suspicion to drive the story towards its conclusion.

The setting for the tale is well thought-out. There is nothing like muggy summer heat, rising temperatures, a large family group and a bit too much wine to fray tempers and set moods slightly on edge  On a lighter note, my parents have a house not too far from Beziers, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region and it has made me want to explore the area a bit more when I next visit.

With a gripping plot and past-paced writing, The Holiday is certainly a page turner. This book will undoubtedly be a summer hit - perfect holiday reading!  

Thank you to Zaffre Books for providing me with a review copy of the book.

About the Author
TM Logan AuthorBestselling author TM Logan was a national newspaper journalist before turning to novel-writing full time. His debut thriller Lies was one of Amazon UK's biggest ebooks of 2017 - selling 350,000 copies, gathering more than 1,400 5-star reviews and winning a Silver Award at the Nielsen Bestseller Awards.

Together with his second standalone thriller, 29 Seconds (2018), his books are now published in a dozen countries around the world including the USA, South Koream Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and the Netherlands. His new thriller The Holiday is due to be published in the UK by Zaffre Books on 13 June 2019.

Tim lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children, and writes in a cabin at the bottom of his garden.


BUY LINKS