Friday, 7 April 2017

And Then We Ran blog tour: The Power of Coincidence

Hey guys! I'm so excited today to share this guest post from author Katy Cannon, whose new book And Then We Ran publishes this week! I've read and really enjoyed this book (see previous post for a review!) and I'm sure you guys will too!


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Sometimes it feels like the world runs on coincidence.

There are 365 days in a year, and slightly fewer people in my immediate family, and yet we all seem to end up sharing birthdays. My childhood best friend and maid of honour never actually saw me get married, as she gave birth on the morning of my wedding day. Wherever I travel in the world I always end up bumping into someone from home.

And then there’s my friend James.

James has three gorgeous children with his wonderful, patient and generally awesome partner. They’re very happy. But James has always said - ever since I met him over twenty years ago - that he would never get married. He didn’t need a piece of paper to make him commit, a wedding was a waste of time, and a marriage was unnecessary for him to have a happy family life. All perfectly valid and reasonable views. We all just accepted that there’d never be a wedding in James’ future.

Which is why it came as such a huge surprise when, less than a year ago, he called to tell us he and his partner were getting married – next month. In Gretna Green. Slap bang in the middle of the one week of the year that my husband and I would be away on holiday in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, with the kids, and my whole family.

Actually, that’s not the only reason it was a huge surprise. The biggest reason is because of the power of coincidence.

You see, the day before James called with his big news, I’d just finished writing my latest YA novel, And Then We Ran. It’s the story of two friends who, to escape their small town life and their families’ expectations, elope to Gretna Green for the least romantic wedding ever. Of course, Megan and Elliott's road trip is fraught with difficulties and disaster - as well as new friends, and a new way of looking at each other... Oh, and did I mention that their small town is in Pembrokeshire?

“Obviously we want to go,” my husband said. James had been his best man at our wedding, and had asked my husband to be his in return. “But can we?”

I pulled a face. “As it happens, I do know quite a bit about transport between deepest, darkest Pembrokeshire and Gretna Green,” I told him. “It’s at least six and half hours drive, non stop, as long as you don’t get stuck behind a tractor. Or crash into a sheep. Or break down and end up in the pub instead."

“So that’s five hours from here to Pembrokeshire, a day with your family, then six and a half hours up to Gretna, wedding, stay the night, six and a half hours back, then another five hours back home again two days later.”

“With two kids in the back. Yes.”

“That doesn’t sound like fun. What about if we leave the kids with your parents then get the train up and back?” he asked.

“Four trains,” I replied promptly. “Tenby to Camarthen, Camarthen to Crewe, Crewe to Carlisle then Carlisle to Gretna Green. About ten hours, all told.”

“How do you know all this?”

“Remember when you found all that information about getting married in Scotland on my desk and said you hoped that it was research….?”

As you can imagine, we didn’t make the wedding. But did Megan and Elliott make theirs?

You’ll have to read And Then We Ran to find out...

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If you'd like to buy the book, click here
Follow Katy on Twitter: @KatyJoCannon

Book Review: And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon

And Then We RanTitle: And Then We Ran
Author: Katy Cannon
Series:  standalone
Pages:  352
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Date of Publication: 6th April, 2017
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: A road-trip story about following your dreams and embracing the unexpected.

Megan knows what she wants out of life and she intends to get it, whatever her parents say.

Elliott has given up on all his plans for the future – but then Megan bursts into his life with a proposal that could change it forever.

Together they embark on a road trip to escape their hometown and chase their dreams. But life is a journey and not even Megan can control where theirs will lead…


My Thoughts:
I was a massive fan of Katy's first two books, Love, Lies, and Lemon Pies, and Secrets, Schemes, and Sewing Machines when I read them a few years back, and so I was very excited to read this new release, and it didn't disappoint! I read it quickly and really enjoyed it.

The plot is quite bonkers but as long as I didn't think too hard about it, I enjoyed it.  Elliot wants to go to uni but money stands in his way, and Megan can't wait to get out of town to escape her parents' expectations. So, they decide to get married and move to a flat in London that Megan's inherited. Why Elliot couldn't just get a student loan and why Megan couldn't just talk to her parents about her plan (which was quite good I thought, minus the marriage bit!), I don't know, but then I guess we wouldn't have had quite such a story!

The first half of the book is Megan and Elliot preparing to get married with the help of their friend Becca, and trying to keep it a secret from their friends and families. I really liked this bit - getting to know the secondary characters and their little town was really interesting. Their beach town life is so far from mine and I really enjoyed spending my time in their town in Pembrokeshire. I'd love to visit!

Then the story moves on to the road/train trip up to Scotland, to Gretna Green, where they can legally elope without their parents' consent. They encounter loads of problems on the way which only makes it more exciting and tense to read, as you try and work out whether they're gonna make it on time or not. It's a romp through the UK and it's a lot of fun! The characters they meet along the way are great too, and I flew through the last half of the book in just two sittings (which, considering I was on holiday at the time, is quite remarkable!).

The ending then wraps the novel up nicely. I loved the journey, both physically and emotionally, that the characters went on and the ending is just too cute, even if it was rocky to get there. I was rooting for Megan and Elliot's relationship throughout, in its various forms, and I'm really happy with the way it ended, which honestly I wasn't expecting. If you're in the mood for something fun to wind down and relax with, then this is the one for you! Katy's writing style is so easy to read and get lost in, and so you really won't be disappointed. Go pick it up!


*I received this from the publisher in exchange for a review and a blog tour post. In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel, these are my genuine opinions. 


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Mini Reviews: Heartless, Unconventional, and The Mystery of the Painted Dragon

Hello! Here are three mini reviews of some February releases!

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HeartlessHEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
Published 9th February, 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.


In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Cath longs to open a bakery, but her family and the king have other ideas. Set in the world of the Looking Glass, it promises to be weird and wonderful and deliver a heartwarming story of forbidden love... But it didn't really, to be honest.

After fifty pages, I found myself wondering where the book was going and when it was going to get started. Then fifty pages later, I was still wondering that. I wasn't excited about reading the novel, and I decided to DNF after 150 pages when I realised I just didn't care for the characters or what happened to them.  There's a big fat stench of instalove as well - Cath doesn't know Jest at all but suddenly she thinks she's in love with him? No thanks.

It does however do well at being as weird as Alice In Wonderland, which I really did enjoy - it has lots of strange animal characters, court playing cards characters, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, but with a slight twist for Meyer's prequel world.  I also really liked reading about Cath's baking, as cake will always be a winner for me! However she didn't live up to her full potential here either, and so with the other problems I had with the book, it just wasn't for me.

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UnconventionalUNCONVENTIONAL by Maggie Harcourt
Published 1st February, 2017 by Usborne Children's Books
Everyone's a fan of someone...

I got this book from book club, not really knowing anything about it but thinking it sounded fun. After reading only a few pages, I knew that I was right! This book is SO much fun. Lexi's dad is a convention organiser, and so she's spent her whole life at these events. So when Aidan Green turns up and diverts the usual course of action, she's understandably a little bit miffed.

I loved the characters most in this book. Lexi is a great protagonist, and I feel like we could be good friends, if she were real. I could sympathise with her frustration at Aidan at first (people who mess up my usual order are the worst) but then as we got to know him more I fell for him too. The supporting characters are also really great, especially Sam, Lexi's best friend. The best books are ones that celebrate friendship just as much as romance, and Unconventional does this so well.

The conventional aspect was so great. Having been to LFCC a few times now I could imagine the setting so well, and I loved seeing it from the perspective of organisation as well. I loved reading about the cosplay (especially Sam's!) and the completely unashamed excitement that everyone had about them was so great to see (loads of my real life friends are like "eurghhhh con is weird... boo to them!"). Finally there were so many references to YA authors that I've read and loved and that was super exciting! Such a perfect ode to UKYA fiction and fandoms and I loved it. I would 100% recommend!

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The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (The Sinclair’s Mysteries #3)THE MYSTERY OF THE PAINTED DRAGON by Katherine Woodfine
Published 9th February, 2017 by Egmont Books
It's their most perilous adventure yet! 

This is the third book in one of my favourite series! The Sinclair's Mysteries are just so much fun and a delight to read and I always look forward to the new release, and this one didn't disappoint. Also isn't the cover just gorgeous?! :D

In this story, Sophie and Lil find themselves on the hunt for a missing dragon painting from an exhibition in Sinclair's. The mystery itself took a little while to get started, but I didn't mind so much since it meant I could spend the first 100 pages or so getting to know Leo and Jack and the whole cast of new characters from the Spencer Art Institute, which plays a large role in the book. Also feminists! Yay!

As I've come to expect from these books, the mystery was very exciting and gripping, and the last 50 pages or so were the usual romp through Edwardian London that is so hard to put down. Although I worked out who the thief was really early on, I enjoyed finding out how they did it and was still surprised by some aspects. There was also the return of a notorious criminal from previous books, and so the continuation of that story through the three books so far is still going strong and only makes me even more excited for the next one. I can't wait! Get on reading this series if you haven't already! It won't be a mistake ;)

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Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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