Blog Tour: The Goose Road Review & Giveaway

April 5, 2018 in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Closed Giveaways, Historical Fiction, YA

I’m delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for The Goose Road. The book is out today, so you can now get your hands on a copy! Or, be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post.

The Goose Road is the debut novel by Rowena House and is being published by Walker to coincide with the centenary of the end of the First World War.

I’m delighted to bring to you an extract from The Goose Road. But before that, I thought I’d share a bit of the synopsis and my own thoughts on the book.

Blog Tour: The Goose Road Review & GiveawayThe Goose Road by Rowena House
Published by Walker on 5th April 2018
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars

France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. "I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either." But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears... In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother's flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.

 

 

My Thoughts

Living in the French countryside, Angélique and her mother are working hard to keep their family farm running while Angélique’s father and brother, Pascal, are away, fighting for France.

Upon hearing of her father’s death in combat, Angélique finds that she must raise funds in order to keep their beloved farm afloat for her brother’s much-anticipated return home.

Having lost most of their livestock to the Requisition, all that remains are her brother’s prized Toulouse Geese. With her mother grief-stricken, it falls to Angélique to find the funds to save what is now her brother’s farm.  Fuelled by sibling love and determination, she decides to sell the geese. But in order to attain the kind of money she needs, she is going to have to risk her life and take her geese closer to the front lines.

So, accompanied by her Uncle, she sets off to cross wartorn France with her magnificent geese.

Blending fact with fiction, House has created a beautiful, memorable tale. Through the character of 14-year-old Angélique Lacroix we embark on a journey into the terrifying unknown, driven by the love of a sister for her brother.

It’s a story that, although written for ages 12 and up, can be enjoyed by all. Angélique is a loveable character, a strong heroine who sets out to do what is right. Through her eyes we see the horrors of war, the toll it takes on survivors and the lives of the civilians struggling to survive. Personally, I appreciated the way the facts of the war were conveyed. I felt that it didn’t shy away from any truths but was conveyed through the eyes of an innocent 14-year-old, thus making it perhaps more manageable for the target audience.

Angélique’s love of animals stole my heart. I grew up helping on my father’s croft, so I could absolutely appreciate Angélique’s love for her livestock. I think House successfully portrays the importance of their animals, their livelihood and the impact that the Requisition had on small communities.

All in all, this is a powerful, beautifully written story. It’ll simultaneously hurt and warm your heart, and I challenge you not to fall in love with Napolean Bonaparte the gander!

That’s enough of my thoughts though. Walker Books have kindly provided me with an extract to share with you.

If you missed the first extract on the blog tour, be sure to check out Drinking Books to catch up.

Extract

My mourning dress is stiff and tight, a laced-up hand-me- down. Mother is almost invisible behind her long black veil. As we walk down the lane to the village through the warm, rosy dusk, I half expect a bat to blunder into her or a fox to stop and sniff the air as we pass.

Outside the church, the village widows flock around Mother like crows. There are Madame Villiard and Madame Arnauld, and poor young Madame Besançon, whose husband was just nineteen when both his legs were blown off at Verdun.

Old Madame Malpas draws me aside, wringing her bony hands and crying, “What’s to become of you, Angélique? You’ll very likely starve! La Mordue will go to rack and ruin without Monsieur Lacroix!”

“Pascal will be home soon,” I say. “Maman and I can manage till then.”

“Manage, child? When your corn’s still in the ground in August?”

“The farm men have been promised leave.” “And you expect the generals to keep their promises?” She sniffs loudly, then stumps off, calling to Mother,

“Madame Lacroix! What terrible news! Tell me, did he suffer?”

My best friend, Béatrice Lamy, hurries over to me.

“That woman!” she says, rolling her eyes. Then she kisses me on both cheeks and hugs me tightly. “This is unbearable, Angie. I can’t begin to imagine how you feel.”

Guilt prickles me because, just then, I’d been think- ing how much I hate wearing black and having to pretend to be sad. I wish I’d told her the truth before, but Mother always said the beatings would get worse if Father suspected we talked about him behind his back. And now it’s too late. I can’t speak ill of the dead, condemn a brave soldier Mort pour la France. What would

Madame Malpas say? “I’m fine, Bee,” I say. “Really, I am.” She cups my cheek in her hand. “You’re so brave,

Angie. I’d be in pieces if I’d lost Papa. How did you hear the news?”

I lean forward, hiding a smile, and whisper, “Pascal wrote.”

“Pascal!”

“Shhh, Bee. Not so loud.” I glance around, but the village women are too busy comforting Mother to take any notice of us. “Come on. Let’s talk inside.”

The cold stone church is empty. We sit in the front pew, the one allotted to the newly bereaved. Béatrice takes both my hands.

“Is Pascal safe?” she asks. “Is he hurt?” “I don’t know. Mother wouldn’t let me see his letter.” “Why not?” “Oh, you know. She’s upset.” “Of course. Silly question. I’m sorry.” Her eyes brim again with sympathy. Quickly I say, “Do you want to hear the good news?” “Good news?” Her eyes widen. I smile conspiratorially. “The farm belongs to Pascal now – the house, the land. Everything! It’s his.” “Oh.”

“Bee! Don’t you see what this means?” She shakes her head. “He can get married whenever he wants!” “Oh!” Her eyes widen further. “But … Papa won’t let me. I’m too young.” “Pascal will wait, I know he will. And when you’re both ready you’ll live with us, and we’ll be sisters, a real family. Won’t that be wonderful?”

Her eyes shine, then she blushes. “I do love him so much.”

We start to hug, but just then the door opens and the village widows seep inside like shadows, a horde of veiled and silent wraiths.

“I should go,” Béatrice says. “No. Please stay.” “But your mother…”

“She won’t mind.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely.”

I slip my arm through hers while we wait, each looking up at the brightly painted statue of Saint Joan of Arc, high on her pedestal. She’s wearing a full suit of armour, and spearing the devil through his blackened heart.

“I hate that statue,” Béatrice whispers.

“I don’t know,” I reply. “I rather like it.”

 

Giveaway

Thanks to Walker Books, I have two copies of this wonderful debut to give away to Strupag readers. To be in with a chance of winning simply enter via the rafflecopter entry form below. This giveaway is open to the UK only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
three-half-stars

Giveaway: Win a Copy of Scythe

February 23, 2018 in Bookish Posts, Closed Giveaways

It’s been a while since we’ve had a giveaway on the blog, and since I have a spare copy of Scythe by Neal Shusterman (I’m reading my copy right now – it’s so good) I thought it was about time!

I’m afraid that due to postage costs this is a UK only giveaway – sorry international friends. I do hope to do another international giveaway in the near future though!

Scythe

Scythe has been available in the US for a while and I’ve been hearing great things about it. So naturally, when it was published here by Walker Books earlier this month, I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. Such was my desperation I ended up with two copies! So I just want to say thank you to Walker Books for sending me one.

Ok, the giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning just use the rafflecopter entry form below. You can do as many or as few of the entries as you wish.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

I’m off to continue reading my copy now 😀

 

Spring Wishlist Giveaway

April 26, 2017 in Bookish Posts, Closed Giveaways

It’s been a while since we ran a giveaway on the blog so I think a wee Spring wishlist giveaway is in order. There have been so many fantastic releases lately with many, many more to come, I thought I’d give you the chance to win a book from your wishlist. Whether it’s a new release this Spring or a book you’ve been meaning to pick up for a while, you could get your hands on a copy.

win a book from your wishlist

Simply enter via the rafflecopter entry form below. There are no mandatory entries, so just do as many or as few as you wish!

The giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository ships to your location (check here). The winner will receive a book of their choice up to the value of £10.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Book Club: Spotlight on Macmillan Children’s Books

November 17, 2016 in Book Club, Bookish Posts, Closed Giveaways, Publisher Spotlight

Welcome to the first in my publisher spotlight series! So many publishers were incredibly generous in helping us set up our Book Club for the young people of the island, and so I want to say thank you by shining a spotlight on the publishers, some of their recent and future releases!

macmillan-childrens

Today we turn the spotlight to the wonderful people over at Macmillan Children’s Books. Macmillan are the publishers of Julia Donaldson’s books. Julia has been so supportive and vocal on the issue of the loss of our school librarians. She’s helped to bring the matter onto the national stage, and I know as a community we are so grateful to her. So Macmillan Children’s Books seems a great place to start!

First of all, I HAVE to draw your attention to Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

heartless-mcb

I’m a huge fan of her Lunar Chronicles series so I was so excited when I heard that Macmillan would be publishing this in the UK next year. Marissa Meyer is known for her exquisite fairytale retellings and in Heartless she ventures into Wonderland to look at the Queen of Hearts. More specifically, Marissa tells us the story of Catherine Pinkerton, a sweet girl who loves to bake, who will ultimately become the terrifying Queen of Hearts! I’ve been lucky enough to read an Advance Reader Copy of this book and I can tell you that it’s fantastic. In fact, I will be reviewing it on the blog soon. Heartless is out in the UK on the 9th February 2017 and it’s definitely a book to add to your 2017 Wish List!

Continuing with the retelling theme, Macmillan will be publishing E. K. Johnston’s next book Kingdom of Sleep next month.

kingdom-of-sleep-mcb

You may be familiar with E. K. Johnston for her book A Thousand Nights which was a retelling of Arabian Nights. This time, Johnston has drawn inspiration from Sleeping Beauty to tell the tale of a princess who must break a curse to save her people. Mark the 15th December 2016 in your diaries for this one.

Another book currently on my TBR which I hope to review soon is Welcome to Nowhere by multi-award-winning author Elizabeth Laird.

welcome-to-nowhere-mcb

It is the story of 12 year old Omar and his family who are forced to flee their home in Syria in search of safety. I don’t know much more, but I suspect this will be a very important and timely read. It’s out on 12th January 2017.

What about some books you can get your hands on right now?

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin hit the shelves in September and with a 4.02 star average on Goodreads it’s safe to say this another book that I want to read soon!

the-thing-about-jellyfish-mcb

It’s one of the book in our Book Club collection and I’m really looking forward to hearing what the group think about it. Suzy’s best friend Franny drowns one summer at the beach, and Suzy struggles to comes to terms with it. She becomes convinced that her strong swimmer best friend actually died of a rare jellyfish sting and crafts a plan to prove her theory.

Finally, if fantasy is more of your thing, Macmillan have published the first book in a new series from Kendare Blake, Three Dark Crowns.

three-dark-crowns-mcb

One of the Book Club girls is reading this right now and I cannot wait to find out her thoughts on it! The synopsis sounds brilliant!

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomach-ache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of beasts.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose . . . it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

So there we have it, 5 new and upcoming releases from Macmillan Children’s Books to keep you busy over the next few months! Once again, we’d like to thank Macmillan Children’s Books for their generosity and support – it means the world to us!

giveaway

BUT WAIT! Before you go, I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of one of these books. I’ll be purchasing / pre-ordering a paperback copy of the winner’s choice myself, however on this occasion the giveaway is open to UK only (sorry international friends, there will be an international giveaway later this week).

To enter, simply use the rafflecopter entry form below

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I’d love to hear your recommendations from Macmillan!

Have you read any of these books? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Giveaway: Win A Book From Your Wishlist

November 3, 2016 in Bookish Posts, Closed Giveaways

I’ve been a little quiet lately. I have lots to blog about but getting body & brain to cooperate is proving a challenge. I’m working on it though! In the meantime, there have been some fantastic book releases lately (with many more soon to come), so I thought I’d give you the chance to win a book from your wishlist.

win-a-book-from-your-wishlist

The winner will get to select a book of their choice (up to the value of £10), including pre-orders. What will you choose? To enter, simply use the rafflecopter form below.

The giveaway is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository ships to your location for free (check here).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!