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Blog Tour Review - Looking for Lucie by Amanda Addison

 Blog Tour Review - Looking for Lucie by Amanda Addison "Where are you really from?" It's a question every brown girl in a white-washed town is familiar with, and one that Lucie has never been able to answer. All she knows is that her mother is white, she's never met her father, and she looks nothing like the rest of her family. She can't even talk about it because everyone says it shouldn't matter! Well, it matters to Lucie and-with her new friend Nav, who knows exactly who he is-she's determined to find some answers. What do you do when your entire existence is a question with no answer? You do a DNA test. Looking for Lucie is a fascinating look at what it is like growing up mixed race in contemporary Britain. It's a story about family and culture, and what they can mean for different people, as Lucie tries to figure out where she fits into the world. She doesn't look like any of the rest of her family, and her ethnicity is impossible to figure o

Blog Tour Review - Toby and the Silver Blood Witches by Sally Doherty

 Blog Tour Review - Toby and the Silver Blood Witches 

by Sally Doherty

A sinister plot. A hidden city in the sky. A boy with an impossible choice.

Twelve year old Toby has little time for friends or football since his mum fell ill. All he wants is to stay at home and keep an eye on her.

But mysterious things are happening beyond his garden hedge. Who is the figure at the window behind the barbed wire fence? And why is there a strange woman in his attic with a broken broom and bothersome pet bat?

Toby becomes entangled in an adventure of flying dogs, sparking hiccups and dangerous escapes. An innocent, young witch has been captured by a secretive organisation which will stop at nothing to find out how magic works. Toby must rescue her and time is running out

What a delightful book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Toby and the Silver Blood Witches.

There are two key elements to this story, one very real and grounded and serious, and one very whimsical and magical. The two elements are combined so very well, the whimsy lightening the mood while the more serious elements give the story a real sense of heart and emotion.

Toby lives alone with his mother, who has very serious M.E. As such, she is completely bedbound, leaving Toby to look after her as well as himself. At twelve years old, that's an enormous burden for the poor child but he manages it as well as he can without ever complaining. It's clear to see that it is taking a toll on him though, from the subtle little references to the household jobs he just never gets around to, to the way he's withdrawing from his friends and social activities. This story about a young carer is one too many children will be familiar with, and the strength and perseverance he shows is heart breaking for its necessity. No one should have that much responsibility at such a young age, and it's particularly hard to watch him conceal the situation for fear that he'll be taken away from his mother. There's a subplot about bullying too, because some kids can be cruel and that's reflected here.

The second part of the story is the witches. It's not all whimsy, there's definitely a darkness here too, as young witches have been captured and face a very nasty fate. But despite this, the presence of the witches adds a fantastical and generally fairly humorous aspect. I particularly loved Witch Bumble, and the chaos that followed in her wake. There's a glimpse into a whole new world of witches, hints about wizards that I'm sure will be explored more in the second book, and it's all quite literally magical. From Bumble's patchwork dress to the morph munches, the world of the witches is brilliant and funny and incredibly inventive. There are familiar elements like wands and broomsticks, but the whole approach feels fresh and new. 

The plot is exciting and mysterious and keeps the reader guessing what is going on. There's a secretive institute and missing witches, and the other witches need Toby's help to save the day, but doing so could cost him a lot. The moral dilemmas feel real and serious, and there's definite peril as he attempts to help them, it all feels very dangerous. There are also hints at secrets that will hopefully play a part in future stories. 

My only minor quibble would be that the magic of the witches seems for much of the book to be based on rhymes and spells, but then at the end one of them wields very powerful magics with just flicks of her wand. It could be that we haven't seen enough of how the magic system works to understand it properly, but this felt a little jarring. 

For all the seriousness of many of the issues it deals with, Toby and the Silver Blood Witches has a lot of positivity in it, and hope for better times. I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.


Toby and the Silver Blood Witches by Sally Doherty is out now, published by Soaring Skies Publishing.

I was given an ebook review copy in return for an honest review and participation in this The Write Reads blog tour.


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