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The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis – Blog Tour Book Review


Publishing tomorrow from Bloomsbury – The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis. Here’s my spot on the blog tour.

About the Book

The Raven Heir book cover


Cordelia and her triplets Rosalind and Giles have lived safely in the castle at the centre of the forest all their lives, protected by the spells their mother has woven. The only time Cordelia feels truly free is when she turns into a dragonfly or a blackbird and can fly beyond the great stone walls. But then one day the outside world comes to them. Two rival dukes and their soldiers have come for the triplets – because whoever is the eldest is the heir to the throne.

But their mother knows that since the Raven Crown was broken, no one has been able to rule the kingdom of Corvenneand live, and she will not give up any of her children to that death sentence. When she refuses to reveal which child is the eldest, she is taken prisoner, and Cordelia and her brother and sister find themselves on the run in a dangerous new world. And as they set out across Corvenne to rescue their mother, Cordelia begins to see that there is a deep magic at work, driving her towards a destiny that could tear her family apart, take away her freedom forever or, just maybe, heal a kingdom devastated by a war that has raged for generations.

About the Author

Author Photo - Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis lives in Wales with her husband, their two sons and their tabby cat, surrounded by mountains and castles. Shewrites fun MG fantasy adventures, most recently the Dragon with a Chocolate Heart trilogy and The Raven Heir.

Website: https://www.stephanieburgis.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephanieburgis

Facebook: http://instagram.com/stephanieburgisinwales


What I Thought


Coming in at under 250 pages this was a speedy read, and it was a joyful one too.


This honestly gave me Disney classics vibes with echos of Brave and Sword in the Stone. It is brimming with magic, royalty and rivalry and is a tale of what truly makes a family.


Cordelia and her triplets Rosalind and Giles take centre stage for much of the book and the battle against one’s destiny is omnipresent.


I loved the animal shifting magic that Cordelia had and the quiz at the back of the book helps you work out what animal you’d be (a cat for me).


The relationship with their mother is very interesting and I like how it is dealt with and the growing up the characters do away from her.
The ending was slightly bittersweet and although I think it’s final I’d love to read more in this world.

Thanks to Blue from Kaleidoscopic Tours and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out the rest of the tour stops (follow #TheRavenHeir on Twitter or Instagram to find out more).

Blog tour spot image

Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble: Magical Poems – Paul Cookson Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Can you hear the distant dragon’s rumble of thunder? And smell the sweet swampy aroma of the ogre? Can you taste the tangy tarantula tarts? And see the girl who’s really a wizard? From magic carpets and wands to unicorns, potions, creams and lotions, Paul Cookson’s brewing a spell of fantastically magic poems. On this tattered magic carpet You can choose your destination For nothings quite as magical As your imagination 

Beautifully illustrated, this enchanting anthology brings together work from a range of classic, established and rising poets including Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard, Valerie Bloom, Matt Goodfellow, Joshua Seigal and A.F. Harrold. Whether you’re in the mood for a haunting or a spell gone wrong, this collection of mesmerising poems will have you bewitched from beginning to end!

Front cover

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54968419-fire-burn-cauldron-bubble

About the Author

Paul Cookson


The poems were chosen and compiled by Paul Cookson who also appears as an author.

Paul Cookson lives in Retford with his wife, two children, a dog and several ukuleles. He has worked as a poet since 1989 and has visited thousands of schools and performed to hundreds of thousands of pupils and staff. Paul is the official Poet in Residence for the National Football Museum, the Poetry Ambassador for United Learning and Poet Laureate for Slade. He worked as the Poet for Everton Collection at Liverpool Library, was Poet in Residence for Literacy Times Plus and, as part of the National Year of Reading, was nominated a National Reading Hero and received his award at 10 Downing Street. Paul has 60 titles to his name and poems that appear in over 200 other books. His work has taken him all over the world from Argentina, Uganda and Malaysia to France, Germany and Switzerland.

About the Illustrator


The illustrations are by Eilidh Muldoon a freelance illustrator based in Scotland who gained her MFA from Edinburgh College of Art where she now teaches.

What I Thought


From the silly to the spooky, to the sinister this collection of poems is perfect for the witching season. As with any collection of poems some speak to you more than others but there is an excellent mix included between classic and new poems.

Endpapers

The book itself is stunningly bought to life by the illustrations from Eilidh Muldoon. From its striking pumpkin orange, with black block print, cover to the endpapers and the whimsical illustrations such as this one to illustrate ‘A Cold Spell’.

Illustration by Eilidh Muldoon


A few of my favourite poems were:

The silly – I once asked a wizard to make me a sandwich by Graham Denton

The sinister – Ooshus Magooshus by Jason Seigal which warns of Stranger danger

The artistic – Magic Love Potion by Liz Brownlee Shaped like a potion bottle

The cute – The Cool Dragon by Jo Mularczyk reminds me of that John Lewis ad

The classic and the pastiche – Song of the Witches by Shakespeare, and the homage which adds the subtitle (when the internet wasn’t working) by Stan Cullimore

The rhyme and atmosphere made by Witchy Magic by Mary Serenc

If you are at all squeamish you might not like Oh How I Love a Unicorn by Paul Cookson!! So follow it up with How to Cast a Spell if you are Vegetarian by Roger Stevens

The Magic Kitchen Carpet by Paul Cookson that speaks of the immense joy and adventure that our imagination brings.

But I think my top two are This is my Library by Angela Topping and Somewhere in the Library by Stewart Henderson which espouse the magic of books and the cast the librarian as a bewitching creature who is ‘a gatherer of magic and a confidante of elves’.
Thank you to Bloomsbury and Blue at Kaleidoscopic Tours for the copy for the purposes of this honest review. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.

Blog Tour Banner

Fierce, Fearless and Free by Lari Don (Illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon) – International Women’s Day Blog Tour Book Review


Happy International Women’s Day everyone.


Today I have a review of Lari Don’s collection of fierce, fearless and free girls from myths and legends around the world.


About the Book


A brilliant, inclusive collection of traditional tales from around the world featuring amazing women and girls. Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who – no, that’s not right! Once upon a time, there were strong, fierce women who plotted, schemed, took action, showed kindness, used magic and trickery, and made their own destiny. From the long-haired Petrosinella who escaped the tower and broke the spell that the ogress had cast over her and Nana Miriam who beat a hippo using politeness and magic, to Kate Crackernuts who tried to save her stepsister from her mother’s curse, these are stories of girls doing it for themselves! With stories drawn from all over the world, including China, Scotland, Armenia, Italy and Nigeria, Lari Don presents heroine stories that don’t leave girls sitting around waiting to be saved by the handsome prince.

About the Author


Lari Don is an award-winning writer for young people of all ages. She loved Scottish traditional tales as a child, and now loves gathering myths, legends and folktales from all over the world to inspire her novels. Since becoming a full-time author, she has written more than 30 children’s books, from picture books and early readers to middle-grade adventure novels and a teen thriller. Lari is passionate about visiting schools and libraries to share the traditional tales she loves, to show how those old stories can be used to inspire new stories, and to encourage young people to create their own adventures. Fierce, Fearless and Free is her fifth collection of traditional tales for Bloomsbury, returning to the theme of her first, the bestselling Girls, Goddesses and Giants. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two fierce, fearless and free daughters.

Website: www.laridon.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LariDonWriter

About the Illustrator


When Eilidh Muldoon isn’t drawing she’s thinking about drawing and she loves nothing in no more than to immerse herself in the world of traditional stories. Her sketch books are packed with detailed drawings and plots and plans. An illustrator and designer, she loves the variety of working one day on one of her popular colouring books or city-scape prints, and the next on one of Lari’s extraordinary heroines. This is her first book for Bloomsbury.

What I Thought


I really enjoyed the fact that there were tales inspired by local and international myths and seeing how fairytales such as Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood have a different spin in different areas.


Each story opens with a beautiful black and white illustration, with title and locality of the stories inspiration. Then comes Lari’s version of the tale. They are perfectly bite sized for a bedtime story or for readers to read independently.
At the back of the book Lari also briefly looks at the tale’s origins and I love how she highlights how and if she has adapted the stories. Each one has always been about the girls taking things into their own hands though – and the only thing Lari has usually changed is removing the trite “and she married a prince and lived happily ever after” endings. They aren’t needed – the resourcefulness and determination shown by the girls is the end goal.


My favourites were Neringa and the Sea Dragon (Lithuania – where you can visit the peninsula inspired by the tale), Bridget and the Witches (don’t leave your feet water out!), The Lace Dragon (even lace dragons breathe fire) and Medea and the Metal Man and now I’m just wondering how to slip that latter tale into my own Medea retelling.


I have one criticism and that is we needed a gorgeous hardback edition with full colour illustrations by Eilidh. After all girls deserve the best.


Fierce, Fearless and Free also has the well deserved title of hive’s Children’s Book of The Month – https://twitter.com/hivestores/status/1235572450647146496?s=21


Thanks to @fayerogerspr and @bloomsburyed for the #gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review and to @laridonwriter and @EilidhMuldoon for giving us some fabulous #FierceFearlessAndFree tales for #IWD. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.

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