September 19, 2022

BLOG TOUR Ghostcloud by Michael Mann

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the GHOSTCLOUD by Michael Mann Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:

Title: GHOSTCLOUD

Author: Michael Mann

Pub. Date: September 27, 2022

Publisher: Peachtree

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 320

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, Audible, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD, Bookshop.org

A riveting, magical escapade about finding friendship and the courage to set yourself free against all odds.

Kidnapped and forced to shovel coal underground, in a half-bombed power station, 12-year-old Luke Smith-Sharma keeps his head down and hopes he can earn his freedom from the evil Tabitha Margate. Then one day he discovers he can see things that others can’t. Ghostly things. A ghostly girl named Alma, who can bend the shape of clouds to her will and rides them through the night sky. With Alma’s help, Luke discovers his own innate powers and uncovers the terrible truth of why Tabatha is kidnapping children and forcing them to shovel coal. Desperate to escape, Luke teams up with Alma, his best friend Ravi, and new girl Jess. Can Luke and his friends get away before they each become victims to a cruel and sinister scheme?
 
Debut author Michael Mann delivers a wildly imaginative middle grade fantasy set in a smoke-stained world that’s sure to entertain readers who are eager for an adventure with paranormal superpowers.


REVIEW of Ghostcloud by Michael Mann
Rating: 4 Stars
Format: ARC (Courtesy of Publisher and Rockstar Book Tours)

Michael Mann’s debut novel Ghostcloud is an action-packed new science fiction fantasy read for middle-grade audiences. Set in a far-off dystopian version of London unlike the one we know now, children are kidnapped off the streets and forced to shovel coal. Luke Smith-Sharma is one such child, kidnapped two years ago (and unable to see the sun since). When the cruel overseer punishes him, he is sent to the sewers (a fate few return from) and encounters a ghost girl named Alma. Together, they must fight to free the other children and save the day before it’s too late.


The action starts from the very first page. Readers are brought into a scene with hundreds of children shoveling coal, not knowing why or exactly what’s happening. We are also introduced to the villainous Tabatha Margate - not much else is known about her character except that she hates children and runs the operation. Still, everyone fears her and dreads her visits. In particular, she reminded me of Mrs. Trunchbull’s character from Roald Dahl’s Matilda


I loved the worldbuilding for Ghostcloud. Mr. Mann blends the past and the present well, describing how Luke and Alma’s world has been devastated by climate change. More modern landmarks like the London Olympic Stadium are referenced, and seemingly in ruins. Gas masks are the norm, buildings are sealed against smog, they preach the “coexistence” of people and pollution, and a point of pride for the government was the lack of smog-related deaths for the last hundred years. It sounds like an awful place to live, and I don’t envy anyone there. While this is undoubtedly a dystopian world (with some science fiction hints here and there), there is also an element of fantasy and paranormal blended in. 


As the name of the book might suggest, Ghostcloud features a ghost at the center of the story. Luke meets Alma in the power plant, and she reveals some hidden secrets about his history. I can’t say much more without risking spoilers, but I loved all the ghostly aspects of the story (and it makes the book a perfect read for the autumn season as we head toward Halloween).  


While the plot is undoubtedly action-packed and exciting, the author touches on a notably less fun topic in the book. Child exploitation and trafficking is a real thing, and it deserves more attention. A lot of the story revolves around the kidnapping and forced imprisonment of children, and how Luke is fighting for his freedom (and a chance to see the sun and his family again). There was a lot of care put into this aspect of the book - it educates without lecturing the readers. I imagine that comes from the author’s position as a primary school teacher. As a reader myself, it was horrifying to envision the conditions the children were working in, and I was rooting for Luke, Ravi, Jess, and the other children to break free from the start.


Ghostcloud had a fantastic ending, and I’m excited to read what comes next in the series. If you like lighthearted fantasy stories with elements of science fiction, dystopia, and the paranormal, then this would be a great choice to add to your to-be-read (TBR) list. 


Thank you to the author Michael Mann, the publisher Peachtree, Jaime at Rockstar Book Tours, and Edelweiss for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book as part of my participation in this tour. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Ghostcloud immensely! Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way.




About Michael Mann:

Michael’s first writing success was for a poem about potatoes - in a competition run by a Yorkshire school catering company. As a ‘reward’, he had to shake hands with a giant potato mascot in front of his entire school. It would be many years before he dared write again.

These days, Michael is a teacher by day, dad by night, and mostly writes when he should be sleeping. He owes the idea for his middle grade novel, Ghostcloud, to his coal-mining grandad and a lifelong love of cloudspotting. He’s half-Indian and passionate about diversity in children’s literature, and loves books that keeps kids turning the page.

He has a first-class degree in anthropology, lives in East London with his (very patient) partner and their (less patient) toddler, and can be found playing board games when he’s not busy losing his wallet. Michael was an Undiscovered Voices 2020 finalist, and his debut middle grade novel Ghostcloud will publish with Hachette in October 2021.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

 

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of GHOSTCLOUD, US Only.

Ends October 4th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

9/19/2022

Eye-Rolling Demigod's Book Blog

Review/IG Post

9/19/2022

laura's bookish corner

Review/IG Post

9/20/2022

Nerdophiles

Review

9/20/2022

Beers Books Boos

Review/IG Post

9/21/2022

More Books Please blog

Review/IG Post

9/21/2022

@jael_and_jenessa_reads

Review/IG Post

9/22/2022

Two Points of Interest

Review

9/22/2022

Lisa-Queen of Random

Excerpt/IG Post

9/23/2022

@ablueboxfullofbooks

IG Review

9/23/2022

onemused

IG Spotlight

Week Two:

9/26/2022

Eli to the nth

Review/IG Post

9/26/2022

GryffindorBookishNerd

IG Review

9/27/2022

The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post

9/27/2022

Ya Books Central

Excerpt

9/28/2022

PopTheButterfly Reads

Review/IG Post

9/28/2022

@jacleomik33

IG Review

9/29/2022

The Bookwyrm's Den

Review

9/29/2022

Laurenreads._

IG Review

9/30/2022

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Review/IG Post

9/30/2022

One More Exclamation

Review/IG Post


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