Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend – Release Day Book Review

In case you missed my review of Nevermoor, which was one of my favourite reads of last year you can see it here.

Just as magic under the dust jacket

In this follow up to the magical Nevermoor, Jessica Townsend’s heroine Morrigan Crow, now twelve, has passed the entry trials to the Wundrous Society and is looking forward to beginning an array of exciting classes. However due to her ‘very special talent’ which no one can know about, her teachers, Scholar Mistresses Dearborn and Murgatroyd have other plans for Morrigan and they are mostly boring.

It’s only the conductor of Unit 919’s hometrain, the aptly named Miss Cheery and new teacher Mildmay, who makes exploring the streets of Nevermoor exciting, that save Morrigan from having a completely terrible time. Jupiter is always away searching for missing people, half her unit don’t trust her and then there’s the school bully to contend with.

Her loyal friend Hawthorne and Cadence are both back too, along with the madcap residents of the Hotel Deucalion including my favourite the sarcastic Fenestra.

Halloween returns with a spooky seance, as does the evil Wundersmith Ezra Squall. Will Morrigan escape his clutches this time?

I love this series. If you like Harry Potter definitely pick this up. It’s just as magical, Morrigan faces her own daily battles but is part of a wider battle within her world. Much more of the location of Nevermoor is explored and Morrigan and her friends stumble on some nasty places.

The characters are simply brilliant. So vivid and fun. The only problem with this series is that kids will want to keep reading well past bedtime and adults will want to borrow this whilst younger readers are asleep.

Wundersmith is released today – 30th October making it the perfect Halloween read.

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Forsaken Genesis by M. J. Marinescu – Blog Tour Guest Post (Favourite Things About Being an Author)

For the first of my two stops on the blog tour for Forsaken Genesis I’d like to welcome author M. J. Marinescu with a guest post on the best things about being an author.

Hi everyone, today I’m going to go over some of my favourite things about being an author. This is by no means a be all end all list, but it’s just some of the things that I love most about my job.

Being your own boss: As an author, you get to be your own boss (for the most part). Some traditionally published authors do have a boss in a sense, they have a publisher who gives them a deadline or an agent that schedules events and meetings etc., but for the most part, even they are in control of their own day to day activities.

Self-published and Indie-published authors are in even more control of their day to day routines. This can be good or bad for people. It takes a highly motivated and driven person to succeed as a self-published or Indie author. You do not have an agent or publishing house marketing your work, so you need to get out there and do it all yourself. Being able to set your own schedule and pace can be very rewarding.

For me, this isn’t so bad because I love interacting with people, especially fans, not even necessarily my own fans but fans of sci-fi and fantasy in general. I, like many other writers, do have deep running anxiety about “being out in the world” but you need to learn to deal with the butterflies and get out there and spread the word.

Working at something you love: This should probably go without saying, but I love telling stories and sharing them with people. Shortly after I learned to read and write I started creating stories. My first story ever written was about a spacefaring penguin. I remember being so happy and proud of it and bringing it in to my kindergarten teacher. She was even impressed, and we used to read them out to the class. Ever since that day I was hooked.

I know it’s totally cliché to say but if you’re doing something you love you never have to work a day in your life.

Interacting with readers: The best part about writing to me is seeing peoples’ reactions to my stories. Having them fall in love with and/or hate certain characters. Reading fan theories or forums discussing little details most people may overlook. These are the best things about being a writer. There’s nothing better than knowing people love your work, the world and characters you’ve created. If I can make someone’s day a little better through my writing, then I’ve done my job, and without the wonderful fans, I could not do what I do.

Creation! A God am I: I love being able to create worlds and people. Something that I have really noticed lately, in Hollywood especially (sorry to call you out Hollywood) is the lack of original ideas or willingness to take risks on new ideas. We’re seeing this more and more with all the reboots from 80’s and 90’s movies and cartoons and generally predictable movies.

One thing that I enjoy doing is taking ideas and putting my own spin on them. You can see this in my novel Forsaken Genesis. While it’s an “Urban Fantasy” I have taken things and thrown them all together. It’s why I struggle to give my book a genre because it combines so many elements of different ones. Is it Cyberpunk? New Adult? Young Adult? Urban Fantasy? LGBTQ+ Fiction etc. etc.

Being able to let your imagination run wild to create fantastical worlds and places is a wonderful feeling. One word of warning, however, is that to always make sure you have a solid foundation for your worlds and abide by the rules you have created. One of my pet peeves as a fan (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this) is when a writer sets up a world and tells us the rules only to have something come along later and change things on us. Gravity will always be gravity, I don’t expect to wake up one morning, take a step outside and float off into space so don’t do that in your writing either. This may be a bit of an extreme example, but the notion holds true. Your readers deserve better than that so think twice before you do something “against your rules”.

The other thing I love about being free to create the stories I want to tell is that I can do just that. I can tell the story that I want to tell. If you want to see more diversity and representation in movies, art and literature sometimes you need to get out there and do it yourself. I pride myself on having diversity in my stories that doesn’t feel forced. My characters are who they are, period. They aren’t held back by their identity or used as a “token” they are fleshed out beings and I hope people can smile and feel proud and even relate to them.

There’s nothing in the world I would rather do than tell a good story.

So those are some of the things that I love most about being an author. What do you all think? What are some of your favourite things about writing? Let me know in the comments below or if you have any other questions or even if you just want to talk hit me up on Twitter @MJMarinescu. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this, hope you all have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.

Come back on Halloween to find out more about Forsaken Genesis.

Jackson Saves an Owl by Darren Garwood & Carl Osborne – Blog Tour Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42141736-jackson-saves-an-owl

Synopsis

Jackson Superhero might not be a real name, but it is a story about a real boy, and as the name suggests, Jackson is far from ordinary. By day, a rare disease limits his ability to move freely, but at night he is far from grounded. When the sleeping hours come around, and weightlessness takes over, Jackson takes to the skies. He knows what it means to need the support of others, which is why when he hears a call for help, he is quickly there to lend a hand.

Author

Darren Garwood is the father of Jackson, a real boy living with a rare and terminal illness called Krabbe disease. Darren came up with the Jackson Superhero series because as Jackson can’t move during the day, Darren wanted to help him dream at night, when he was free to be anything he wanted to be. Jackson Saves an owl is written in lively, fantastic rhyme, and is the first in the Jackson Superhero series.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacksons_smile

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

Illustrator

Carl Osborne

What I Thought

This is an adorable picture book about helping others simply because you can. It is A4, around 20 pages and is set out in rhyme.

Of course I was touched by the story behind this. See more about Darren and Jackson’s story on YouTube – https://youtu.be/xiZ65fP0u3U.

But, what kid doesn’t want to be a superhero though? Your littlest readers will love listening to this, exploring the pictures, making sounds, and when they are ready, reading it for themselves.

The illustrations are stunning and I love that they look so drawn and coloured in. The pencil shading is a retro touch in this age of computerised drawing. I also love the subtlety of the initial drawing of Jackson sat in his beanbag chair with a stomach tube, a slight prompt for children to talk about but not essential to the story.

The heroics are also something very simple, no laser eye beams, showing children that it may be easier to help others than they think.

All in all this is such a cute picture book, created for one special boy but with much wider appeal.

Do check out the other stops on the blog tour. Thanks to Faye and the publisher for my copy for the purposes of this honest review.

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