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The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge -#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Spotlight and a TikTok

About the Book

Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.

Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether…

About the Author

Tom Beckerlegge grew up in the northwest of England in a house filled with books. Writing as Tom Becker, he won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize with his debut novel; The Carnival of Ash is his first adult book. He lives in Enfield with his wife and young son.

The Poet, The Gravedigger and the TikTok

At just under 600 pages, this tome described as Alternative Literary History is described as a sumptuously written tale of political intrigue.

I’ve only managed to read the beginning of the book so far – it’s split into twelve cantos (verses – though it is in prose form) and in the first we meet Carlo lying in a grave feeling unheard. He tells the gravedigger to bury him and his dark deeds, but when the old man actually goes to Chuck soil on him he seems affronted and climbs out.

I made a TikTok video reading out the next section (I was reading from an ARC and had to leave out a few lines for timings so the finished version may be different). in the video I share my head cannon of Carlo’s character, seeing this melancholic poet as a cross between Romeo when he is pining over Rosaline and Spike from Buffy in his William the Bloody Awful Poet stage. I hope you enjoy it.

This scene has made me chuckle (find it on TikTok here). I will share a review when I have had the chance to immerse myself in the world and writing but for now…

Welcome to Cadenza

Where libraries tower and ink maids roam!

You can find the Goodreads Link here and order now from your favourite Indie bookshop.

Thank you to The Write Reads and Rebellion Publishing for the gifted ARC copy. Do check out the other spots from the tour by using the hashtag #TheCarnivalOfAsh.

Dread Wood by Jennifers Killick – The Write Read Ultimate Blog Tour – Book Review

About the Book

Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!

The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute…? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge…

About the Author

Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.

Twitter: @JenniferKillick

What I Thought

This book was so much fun. It’s a Middle Grade horror that crosses The Breakfast Club and One of Us is Lying with Tremors and Arachnophobia. There’s even faint echoes of IT! – Club Loser is the first chapter title.

I really liked the cast of child characters and the creepy adults and their motives were not something I would have guessed. There were some cute piglets at risk too and I love the idea of having farm animals at school. I was not as keen on the Spiders – but they definitely are scary to me so – horrifying monsters brief achieved.

The teacher overseeing the detention calls it a Back on Track session (Teamwork, Respect, Attitude, Curiosity, Kindness) and it is interesting to see all these qualities at play.

Naira, Gus, Hallie and our narrator Angelo all seem likeable though, so what was it that got them all a detention? And most importantly will they all get out of it in one piece?

It’s spooky when what is being sacrificing is chickens… but are children next on the menu?

The story wrapped up and the ending gave us the promise of a sequel. Reading this has reminded me how much I enjoyed Point Horror books when younger. I’m off to catch up with Jennifer’s other horror series Crater Lake now.

Thanks to The Write Reads Tours and the publisher for a gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Do check out what everyone else on the tour thought too.

May Day (Seekers Book 1) by Josie Jaffrey – BBNYA Winner – The WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour – Book Review

I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups are now open for BBNYA 2022 for authors and panelists. Click here to enter:

About the Book

If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.

It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.

To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.

Body bags on standby.

May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.

About the Author

Josie is the author of multiple novels and short stories. Most of those are set in the Silverse, a pre- and post-apocalyptic world filled with vampires and zombies.

She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA). Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.

After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life.

She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK-based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time.

Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.

What I Thought

This is the first Josie Jaffrey book I have read, and it won’t be my last. Oddly enough crime is one of the genres I gravitate toward the least which is odd because I do usually enjoy them when I read them, and this was no different.

To be fair add vampires into a book and you’ll probably have me reading a book about football! It’s also refreshing to see a good urban fantasy set in the U.K. – namely in Oxford.

The story starts with a pretty literal bang as a body plummets to the ground, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest he didn’t jump of his own accord and that Silvers ‘Jaffrey’s name for Vampires’ are involved.

The characters that inhabit the world were fully realised and spoke in the type of snarky, witty banter I enjoy. Just look at how Jack’s existing enemy and initial Prime Suspect and is first described to us:

“KILLIAN DRAKE IS an unmitigated bastard. He’s rich and powerful, which is a bad place for any man to start, but he’s also arrogant and elitist, which makes him a particularly wanky breed of wanker.”

This gives you both a sense of Killian’s character but also Jack’s. The writing was pacy and engaging and Jack slots nicely into the ‘detectives with unresolved pain driving them’ category.

The book reminded me of Sarah J Maas Crescent City crossed with the tv shows Moonlight and True Blood. I saw another reviewer mention Veronica Mars and that vibe fits too so if you like any of the above then do pick this series or this author up. Like I said at the beginning I will be looking to read the rest of this series – book 2 Judgement Day is already out too – and will peruse her back catalogue too.

Do check out some of the Goodreads reviews for content warnings – of which there are a few – as is common in both urban fantasy and crime.

I haven’t read the other books in the running for the prize but I can definitely see why this one won.

Check out the reviewers sharing what they thought about Book 2 on the tour too.

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