Saturday, 30 January 2016

INTERVIEW: Linda Bloodworth

Hey there, book lovers. Today I'm excited to share with you an interview with Linda Bloodworth, author of YA fantasy story A Raven's Touch. Enjoy!

Hi Linda! What was it that inspired you to write the story?
I actually had a dream and then when I woke up I scrambled to write everything down. Mind you, I had this dream when I was 14, so things have changed now that I’m in my 30’s. Originally, I wrote A Raven’s Touch from the ages of 14 - 18, and let the manuscript sit in my drawer for a very long time. Three and a half years ago I started fresh and completely re-invented the story only keeping the title and my main character’s name. 

What made you want to write for a YA audience?
I never really think of myself as a particular genre writer, I just write the story that’s in me, and this is how people have categorized my work. When I’m finished writing about Justice and her friends I may may dabble in the contemporary area, I’m not really sure. I had a line come to me and it was so very different than what I currently write. I’d like to explore it and not be bogged down by genres. 

Tell us a little bit about the research you had to do in order to write A Raven’s Touch?
The first time I wrote A Raven’s Touch I spent four months in the library (before the internet was really big), and read everything I could about vampires. I read the vampire bible, yes, there is one, and learned a great deal about the many different folk lore stories around the world. I also read everything I could get my hands on about nephilim. Did you know there’s a particular powder that kills them? Neither did I, but I do now!

Which character from your story was the most fun to write about?
I loved writing Justice and Moira. They have such a strong friendship, and their scenes together always made me happy. I based Moira on my best friend and it really almost wrote itself as I pictured what she’d say to each situation. 

This is your debut novel, what were the best and worst parts of the process for you?
The best part was writing the first draft. It all came rushing out and some nights I felt like I was on fire! The scenes played out in my head so quickly, I barely had time to type, I let it flow like a river. The worst part was the editing. When I received feedback from beta readers and I realized I had to change scenes. I did three major re-writes to the point of almost re-writing half of the book. Considering it was 120,000 characters, I really had a lot of scenes that I cut out, and I’ve kept those for my newsletter fans as special features.

Finally, what authors and stories have inspired you in your writing?
For sure Stephen King because he scares me. I admire his ability to find the crevices of my childhood and sneak past into the heart of my fears. Sailor Moon has been a huge inspiration, and fans will recognize a few similarities between Justice’s powers and Sailor Mars. When I was writing, I saw natural place where the things I love could fit. For example, I love X-Men, X-Files, and Doctor Who. I managed to sneak all three into the story line. It just rather happened. Along with those stories, I also wove in multiple song lyrics as every day conversation. If someone can spot all the songs I will personally send them a bookmark.  

Thank you to Linda for stopping by! A Raven's Touch is available to purchase now:
Google Play:

Thursday, 28 January 2016

BLOG TOUR: A Raven's Touch by Linda Bloodworth

Today I am happy to tell you all about an exciting new YA Paranormal Fantasy novel, A Raven's Touch by Linda Bloodworth. So, without further ado read on below for more info on the book, see a totally awesome trailer and more!

A Raven's Touch cover

Bullied through high school, seventeen-year-old Justice St. Michaels is grateful for the help of her best friend Moira O’Fhey. Their only wish is to graduate high school, leave the sleepy town of Fallingbrook and all that happened behind them. The Heavens have other plans. Between growths on her back and being involved in explosive school fights, nothing seems to make sense. When an unexpected encounter with Darien Raventhorn causes worlds to collide it exposes the truth about Justice's real identity.
To avenge a family death, Justice must embrace her birthright, and slay a demon before all Hell breaks loose.

About the Author:

Linda Bloodworth loves chips, like really, ketchup to be exact. Ketchup chips are only found in Canada. Lucky for Linda she lives in Toronto with her husband and three fur babies. In between writing, debating for hours about the Oxford comma, and the misunderstood semi colon; Linda enjoys camping and getting away from the city on day trips.
Want to stay in touch? Visit Linda on her website here, or Facebook, Twitter,  Instagram, and Google+! Feel free to subscribe to her newsletter here.

Friday, 22 January 2016

REVIEW: Harry Potter The Character Vault by Jody Revenson

Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Non Fiction
Released: September 28th 2015
Buy The Book: Titan Books - Amazon UK

Unlock new information about your favourite characters from the Harry Potter movies with this definitive coffeetable book profiling the good, the bad, and everything in between within the Harry Potter universe. Dive into the personal journeys of beloved Harry Potter heroes, and an insightful look at the motivations and actions of the films’ most notorious and complicated villains.

Concept art, behind-the-scenes imagery, and film stills track everyone from Harry, Hermione, and Ron to Dobby, Mad-Eye Moody, and Dolores Umbridge, telling their complete stories as they evolve throughout the film series. A comprehensive collection of the movies’ beloved characters, this beautifully designed book is the ultimate Harry Potter character overview.

My Thoughts:
Perfect for any Harry Potter fan, The Character Vault takes a magnifying glass in order to closely inspect the individual look and style of each character in the movie series. With behind-the-scenes images and stunning artwork throughout, this book is a real treat to read.

The Character Vault not only delivers all of the details about taking the character from the page to showing them visually onscreen, it also gives us an insight into the actors behind some our favourite characters and their journey to being part of the films. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn little facts that I hadn’t previously known, and it was interesting to discover the reasons behind certain design choices. So much thought was put into every little thing you see onscreen.

My personal highlights from this book were the beautiful pieces of concept art and costume sketches. It’s so easy to forget how much preparation goes into even the smallest details of a scene. It also showed how scenes were eventually changed from the initial artwork, sometimes dramatically, and what led to that decision. 

What was particularly special about The Character Vault was that it included certain details that the Harry Potter films never did. A lot of minor characters from the book series were cut from the final edit, including Peeves the ghost, which I was disappointed about. So I was thrilled to see that the book included the development art for his character, giving us a small glimpse into how he may have looked onscreen! 

This book also contains two gorgeous posters at the very back, one with images of Death Eaters, and the other with members of the Order of the Phoenix. They made for a lovely surprise once I reached the end. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Characters Vault and I’d highly recommend it to all you Harry Potter fans out there.

Royal Rating:


Monday, 18 January 2016

REVIEW: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 383
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Buy The Book: Amazon - Amazon UK

This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart . . .

My Thoughts:
There was no escaping the hype that surrounded this book. Red Queen follows Mare as her world changes forever when she discovers that she’s very different to anything her world has seen before, and nobody has any answers as to what she might be. 

I’ll admit this was a little bit of a slow starter for me, and I was worried that it would be one of those reads that doesn’t live up to the buzz, but then Mare ended up in the palace with the royal family, and other Silver ‘nobles’ who are responsible for the suffering of her fellows Reds. That was when the story really took off for me. 

Mare is a feisty character who isn’t afraid to take a stand, so I was instantly drawn to her fighting attitude. I loved seeing her reactions to suddenly being placed right in the heart of the world she resents. Her need to protect the people she cares for is touching and shows what measures she would go to in order to keep them safe. 

Cal, the prince who is destined to take the throne, is a character I had mixed feeling about. He and Mare share a connection throughout the story, but I didn’t quite feel their spark. That could be down to the fact that there is a lot of action going on all the time, so we’re not really given many intimate scenes in which the pair have much of a chance to talk. I’m interested to see how they progress in the next book. 

There are so many interesting minor characters, too, such as Julian, the kind-hearted Silver, or Mare’s family, who we don’t know too much about just yet. Each one of them adds a new dynamic to the story. And then there’s Kilorn. He was one of the small issues I had with Red Queen, probably because from the moment he was introduced, my mind screamed GALE, GALE, GALE. Because, basically, he is the Gale Hawthorne of this story. Whilst there’s not a huge amount of evidence to prove it yet, I’m almost certain he has feelings for Mare, and there will probably be some love-triangle tension in the future. I really don’t want that to happen. It’s something I’ve read so many times before, and I’m over it now. I’d rather Kilorn simply be a great friend and a strong ally.  

Since this book has been out for almost a year now, I’m going to go ahead and discuss a spoilery part. If you haven’t read this book yet, please scroll past the spoiler banner – shield your eyes!


I need to talk about Maven and my crushing disappointment. I loved Maven. Like, A LOT. And I was desperate for him to not be evil, to not become the villain, and despite a few warnings, I was in-denial that he was anything other than the brave and good rebel that he pretended to be. I loved the fact that he was a prince opening his eyes to the horrors around him and determined to do something about it, but of course, it was too good to be true. Credit to Aveyard for her fantastic writing of that particular plot twist, but I AM SO GUTTED. 

Also, whilst we’re in the spoiler section, that Shade-shaped plot-twist at the very end? Amazing. I’d been so interested in Shade throughout the story and was disappointed that we weren’t given the chance to meet him, so I was thrilled with the ending. 


You’re safe to look again now! Red Queen had me hooked for the days I was reading it. Despite the fact that some of the elements in this story are ones I’ve seen written several times over in other popular YA series, it still managed to feel new and exciting. The world and the wars within it were compelling, and I was utterly sucked in. I’m definitely eager to see the battle continue in the next book.

Royal Rating:


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

REVIEW: Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Pages: 268
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: January 7th 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Buy The Book: Amazon - Waterstones
Kicked out of ballet academy and straight into a school ski trip, Mouse knows certain classmates can't wait to see her fall flat on her face. Meanwhile, Jack looks forward to danger and girls, but hasn't a clue about either. That's until French teen sensation Roland arrives in the resort - who Jack's a dead ringer for. When Roland persuades Jack to be his stand-in for a day, Jack, in disguise, declares his feelings for Mouse. But what happens when he's no longer a pop star - will it be music and magic on the slopes?

My Thoughts:
We follow the story from the POV of both Jack and Mouse, two high school pupils on a school trip to the Alps. Mouse is having a rather rough time of it. She’s been forced out of her ballet school and now has to return to her old school after the trip, with her former best friend Lauren. Mouse meets up with two girls she could remember from her time at her previous school, Connie and Keira, and they warmly welcome her, the three of them fast becoming friends.

Jack is on the trip with his two best friends, Max and Toddy, from their all-boys school. Max has one clear goal for their time in the Alps: get off with girls. He no longer wants them to be on zero whilst other guys in their class parade around having kissed plenty of girls before. 

Let me start by saying that this book is SO. MUCH. FUN. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much during a story. I loved the typical British humour of these teens, something I often miss and forget about when reading a lot of US high school-based stories. This book is just another reminder as to why everyone should be delving into some glorious UKYA. 

The friendship that formed between Mouse, Connie and Keira was heart-warming, and their scenes together were so adorable. Connie is wild and I loved every bit of her dialogue. I like that Mouse was able to find such friends and have fun whilst she was in a personal turmoil over the ballet school and her sudden chance of plans. 

Jack’s scenes were totally different, but I loved reading things from his point of view just as much. Again, he had a strong bond with his two friends, despite their endless banter and bickering. Max made this story that extra bit special for me. Everything he said was pure gold. I found myself laughing over many of the scenes he was in because I remembered boys like him back in my own high school. I can imagine that a lot of the characters in this book are utterly relatable for readers of their age, and that makes them so very believable to read about.

The romance between Jack and Mouse was sweet and also filled with humour. Everything kept going wrong for the two of them, despite them both being crazy about each other. The addition of Roland into the story was fun, and it added extra drama for all of the characters. 

I fell in love with this story not just because of the fantastic characters within it, but also because it reminded me of how much I miss this genre of early teen contemporaries. I lived through my teenager years reading stories like this one and I still very much adore them to this day, but I do often forget to pick them up. Never Evers has definitely encouraged me to reintroduce myself to these type of stories, because their innocence and their humour and how everything seems like the end of the world at that age is timeless to read.  

Royal Rating:

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