The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston – Blog Tour

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Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’s land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs? 
Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans, The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous house and gardens dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. It is a classic YA tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.

Book Information:
PRICE: £14.99
ISBN: 978-1-78352-724-3
FORMAT: Hardback
BINDING: Royal HB
EXTENT: 384 pages
SIZE: 240 × 159 mm
CATEGORY BIC: FM

 

My Review

Starting this novel, I wasn’t sure what I was in for, and I’m glad of that. This book had so much to offer and I was really pleased with Tarrow’s take on this YA fantasy.

In Joe we find a young boy who is alone and struggling to follow the rules his parents made to keep him safe. With his parents not around and the hiding place no longer safe, Joe finds himself starting an adventure that he never imagined could even exist as he tries to locate his parents and get ‘home.’ Wherever home is.

There’s so much depth and research put into this and the creativity was fun to watch unravel if not a bit anxiety fueled as I kept wondering what’s in store, when is it, and where in the labyrinth is he in regards to Joe and his journey.

This is a classic Fantasy in a lot of ways, we have a child who has had greatness thrust upon him in a sense. Joe must travel through Talliston to get home, but as he ventures to each new room and time, there’s the sinking realization of just how much is at stake. There’s betrayal, young love [though not too much and it’s not the focus], kinship, family found, family lost, and magic, and of course the battle between those both good and evil [and in between]. It’s a recipe for a tale that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.

The guardians of Talliston’s rooms that Joe encounters are some of my favorite parts of the book not to mention getting to go through so many different times, future, current, and past! You can go from 1950s New Orleans to futuristic Japan!

Where Joe starts off afraid and just wanting to go home, he has great character growth thanks to the people he meets along the way both good and bad, he becomes stronger and realizes that he must make his own decisions in regards to Talliston. The question at the end of the day for him isn’t how can get he get home, but, how can I help -where Talliston is concerned- and he finds his answer. Joe also learns that though rules are in place to protect, some rules, are meant to restrict and are made to be broken.

I adored every side character both good and bad and Tarrow does a great job fleshing them out and I think the way Joe progressed through the story was one my favorite aspects to the book.

I actually look forward to my daughter reading this in a couple of years when her reading level is more advanced. I good 4/5 cups of coffee read for me.

It also doesn’t hurt that this book is absolutely drop dead gorgeous/stunning. Honestly, it’s like holding a magical tome in your hands.

A few other neat notes:

The house and gardens featured in the story are real. The author spent twenty-five years transforming an ordinary house in an ordinary street into what the Sunday Times called ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’. The project is internationally famous. 
Talliston House is featured in the Netflix-commissioned programme Amazing Interiors, which will reach an audience close to 100 million in 120 countries. 
The ‘Stranger’s Guide’ journal mentioned in the novel is a real entity; a leather-bound, hand- calligraphed volume that could appear as a companion publication (like The Spiderwick Field Guide).

Thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the tour and thank you to John Tarrow and Unbound for sending me a copy and allowing me to honestly review this!

 

About the Author

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John Tarrow is a novelist, poet, storyteller and award-winning writer. His fascination with folk and faerie tales has taken him around the world, gathering threads of story and legend to weave into his own mythologies: his extensive studies in Lakota Sioux and Druidic traditions offer readers stories resonant with magic, folklore and the wonders of the natural world. He spent twenty-five years transforming a three-bedroom, semi-detached, ex- council house in Essex into the world-famous Talliston House and Gardens. 

Author Links

Website [Includes Purchase Links]

 

The Rest of the Tour Schedule

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The Wise and the Wicked Blog Tour

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Synopsis:
Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.

BOOK INFORMATION
The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 28th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT, Magical Realism
GoodReads Link

Where to Buy the Book

Amazon  Barnes&Noble  iTunes  Google Books

 

My Review

Podos starts this book with a leap into a world that I want to just never leave. She gives us a YA fantasy with a darker spin but leaving throughout the story glimpses of hope and goodness. Honestly, the little intro/prologue was so tantalizing that I knew I was going to love this book if it kept up that kind of dark fairytale feel, and it did. She weaves in Russian fairytales and folklore with a modern twist, and she doesn’t lean on them so heavily that her own story doesn’t stand out because it does, it truly does.

Ruby is dealing with being part of a large family of women who have been gifted with a power that was nearly the whole family’s undoing. Because of that, their powers are diminished but one remains, they are able to see their Time.

Knowing her time, Ruby much like everyone else was a prisoner to her fate. She acts out with skipping classes like most normal teenagers and stealing things just for the thrill of feeling power in herself, where she knows she’s powerless to her fate. She’s not a one-dimensional character, she is full of her own fears and even hopes when the death of someone close reveals a possible glimmer of hope.

There is diversity as well, we have [bisexual, though this is only mentioned so far] lesbian, and transgender representation and they’re not background or side characters, they all have their own voices and are wonderful to get to know. I especially love the twist that the magic knew the true gender of the transgender character, it was nice to see that the magic recognized what was within them.

There is romance, but it’s not the real focus of the story and it’s done really well so that though it’s not at the forefront, you’re left feeling pretty satisfied with where it’s going. I would say the message of love is that of family and not just by blood but perhaps what you make of who you have (though in this case, it is mostly blood, just a matter of maybe a cousin is more important than say another more immediate family member).

I really loved how Podos handled all the women in the family, they’re all so different and strong in their own ways and you couldn’t help but want to get to know them all better. Not to mention, CeeCee and Ruby are like two sides of a coin and that’s also another great part, their bond as best friends and not just family.

Definitely a 5/5 Cups of Coffee read for me and I really want to thank Harper Collins/Balzer + Bray, Rebecca Podos, and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the opportunity to read this book which I read voluntarily in exchange for my honest review on this tour.

My Favorite Quotes

_Each night, she passed along what diminished wisdom their ancestors had brought with them to their new home, this foremost_ that the world has never been very kind to powerful women._.png

 

_Family is everything. The Most important power we Chernyavskys have. Your Mother will find this out for herself, I think. I hope. If not, she will never come back._.png

 

_That didn't make much sense to Ruby, but the world didn't make much sense anymore. Maybe if she could decode the too-big words and ideas in her Carl Sagan book, it would again._.png

 

_Somebody's waiting for me. I'm singing along to this song, even though it's not my favorite, but I'm really excited to get where I'm going._.png

 

__We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads._ Ruby quoted Sagan to her cousin._.png

 

_It hadn't been True Love that kept steely Polina going past the Time allotted to her. Which mean that Dov, however good his face, could not grant her a life._.png

 

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_Chernyvasky magic...it all has a cost. And somebody else always has to pay it._.png

 

 

About the Author

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Rebecca Podos’ debut novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a B&N Best YA Book of 2016. Her second book, LIKE WATER, won the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Children’s and Young Adult. THE WISE AND THE WICKED, her third novel, is forthcoming in May 2019.
A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College and the Creative Writing Program at College of Santa Fe, Rebecca’s fiction has been published in journals like Glimmer Train, Paper Darts, and Smokelong Quarterly. By day, she works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.

Website  Goodreads  Twitter  Instagram

 

Tour Schedule

[Please click on the picture to be redirected to the full schedule post!]

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GIVEAWAY

 Win a copy of THE WISE AND THE WICKED by Rebecca Podos (INT)

Start Date: 22nd May 2019

End Date: 5th June 2019

Click Below on Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d9681b86369/?

 

Dark Shores eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb:
High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 
A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 
A DANGEROUS QUEST
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

At first, I wanted to give it four stars as I felt like I’d been loving everything too much then decided, screw it, I loved it and I wanted to give it 5 stars.

I did receive this book as an eARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book really delivered!

I adored Jensen’s blend of the Roman-inspired Celendor Empire and the amazing Maarin traders.

Teriana is more than just a Maarin Sailor, she is an heir to the Maarin Triumvirate and best friend to the daughter of a Cel Senator.

In an attempt to save her friend, Teriana jeopardizes her people, their way of life, and the fate of multiple countries.

Forced to enter a bargain, Teriana’s fate, and the fate of the Maarin are now tied with Cel Legionnaire and Legatus, Marcus.

He is the reason she’s alive, and she’s the reason he’s escaped the eyes of the Senate but their voyage is a dangerous one and despite have their fates intertwined, it does nothing to give them a shared cause other than survival.

Jensen’s world building is great and if this weren’t a trilogy I’d be screaming for more in this novel but I’m rest assured there’ll be more to come and temporarily appeased though I’m still just as impatient for book two.

Teriana and Marcus seem quite tangible in their feelings and not just in romance but I mean their regard of one another and what is occurring around them. Not to mention they’re both faced with limited choices.

One could easily judge them but they have done what they have to protect those that matter to them. And really in the same situation what wouldn’t most do to protect those they care about. I love books that live in a grayscale world, it’s so much more believable when they make their choices, even if you might disagree with them.

Teriana is for appearances fearless but she runs deeper than that, she’s as complex as anyone would be in her situation and I love her all the more for it. She is a strong female character and not just because she’s brave or doesn’t cry, because she does, and she does show fear, it’s because she’s got such a good heart and makes choices out of love and I think that’s admirable.

Marcus definitely has you realizing not everything is quite so black and white but I think Teriana really steals the show for me. Her and the other Cel soldiers and her Maarin crew.

There’s so much to look forward to with regards to the Dark Shores and more lands to find out about. It’s like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and that makes me so incredibly happy!

I loved this adventure of the high seas and uncharted lands (well uncharted to the Cel!) and hope the wait isn’t too long for book 2!