Who knew one little book could have so much power... The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner (Interview, Trailer & #Giveaway)

Check out my interview with the author, my review, and the tour giveaway below...

The Journal of Angela Ashby
By Liana Gardner
MG Urban Fantasy, Magical Realism
Paperback & ebook, 282 Pages
September 25th 2018 by Vesuvian Books


I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.

At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.

She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.

After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.  


"Gardner has created a likable character in Angela, who faces off with the class bully in defense of herself and her best friend. Alternately full of sass and seriousness, Angela quickly learns that writing in her new journal may lead to some unintended consequences, some hilarious and some grave. An enjoyable tween romp about the familiar world of bullies mixed with a bit of magic, this one would be great for a class read or group discussion." ―Seattle Book Review

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is a middle grade fiction by Liana Gardner and is perfectly written for the target audience. A combination of magic, childhood troubles, social messages, and the need to think before acting is prevalent, and a lesson well ingrained into the pages, There is some good tension building, injections of humour, and character development. Angela and Mallory make a great team, perfectly complementing each other in the way close friends do. This is certainly a book I will read with my son when he is older, as I think it instills some important lessons and values,much like the old 80's and 90's cartoons used to do. While the book itself has a clear beginning and end, there are hints that a sequel may follow, and it's certainly something I would consider picking up. If you're looking for a story of friendship, childhood problems, and a healthy sprinkling of magic in everyday life, then look no further." ―K.J. Simmill, Award-Winning British Author

"The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner is a charming story of action and consequence. Gardner presents her characters and their problems with an equal touch of magic and reality. This allows the message of the tale to come through while entertaining instead of preaching. Gardner does a great job of taking what could be a clichéd story and putting a few twists in it to keep it fresh and humorous." ―Kris Moger, Readers' Favorite

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is an engaging and fun coming-of-age story about a twelve-year-old girl who is suddenly the possessor of great power. I loved following as Angela began to appreciate her journal's powers and realized the importance of carefully considering everything she wished for.Throughout the story, Gardner addresses the issue of bullies and bullying, which is something all kids and most adults have to deal with at some point, and she shows how Angela learns to differentiate between solving the problem and descending into bullying behavior herself.Gardner also admirably addresses the stress and confusion felt by kids and tweens when their mom and dad get divorced. The Journal of Angela Ashby is a marvelous fantasy that brings up real-life issues without lowering the magic and fun potential for a moment, and Sam Shearon's illustrations really make it all come alive most brilliantly." ―Jack Magnus, Author  

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Author Interview

1. What inspired you to write THE JOURNAL OF ANGELA ASHBY?

I can’t really say anything inspired me to write The Journal of Angela Ashby aside from Angela herself. I happened to be in the middle of writing another book and words were simply pouring out of me when Angela popped and said, “My name is Angela Ashby, and you’re going to write my story.” I said that there was a long line of stories waiting and she should take her spot at the end. Honestly, I would have said anything to make her go away because I had to get the work in progress down. Angela was persistent. She kept after me until worked with her. But I had no idea what the story would be about until I sat down to write it.

2. Would you tell us a little more about your main character?

Angela is twelve, a little brash, somewhat bossy, but has a good heart when she’s not focused on her problems. She doesn’t like bullies and will defend her friends to the point of being a little bit of a bully herself. She’s unhappy with her current life because her parents are recently divorced and dad has remarried, so she’s struggling with the “new normal” and wants dad to leave his current wife to come home so they can be a family again. Angela is smart, but thinks her best friend is even smarter and respects her for it.

3. What would Angela say is the most important thing she learned from the fortune-teller?

I had to think on this question. But I’d have to say that Angela learned, though it took her awhile, that keeping an open mind is better than following pre-conceived ideas. When Angela walked into the fortune-teller tent, she was certain the fortune-teller was a fraud, by the time she left, she was a little spooked and not so sure, but throughout the book she ends up examining most of her pre-conceived ideas and finding they weren’t as true as she had once thought. Or maybe we can go with the cliché: Never judge a book (or a journal) by its cover.

4. What is your favorite thing about this story?

My favorite thing about the story is that Angela is human … she’s flawed, makes mistakes, some of them big ones, but does her best to make things right again. After I had finished the story and had given it to some early readers one or two commented on the bad decisions Angela makes in the story, and they wanted her to make better decisions. I didn’t. For the simple reason that it isn’t realistic for a twelve-year-old to make the same decisions as a forty-year-old. And even forty-year-olds make mistakes. I wanted Angela to make the same sort of decisions any twelve-year-old might make.

5. If you were to go to a carnival today, what would you choose to do first and why?

I guess it depends on what is at the carnival, but if the carnival had a Ferris Wheel, I’d go up on that first and hope it stopped with me at the very top. Life from a different perspective. From the top, I’d be able to see everything the carnival had to offer and make a plan on what things I wanted to do most.

Of course, if they had a fortune-teller tent, I might sneak in there for a quick fortune before enjoying the rest of the carnival.

6. What are you working on next?

The next project to be published is a Young Adult Contemporary with some supernatural leanings called Speak No Evil (Spring 2019, Vesuvian Books). It’s about a selective mute sixteen-year-old girl who stabbed a classmate and is undergoing court mandated therapy so she can tell her side of the story to the judge.

The work in progress right now is a 5-book Middle Grade fantasy series called The Homeless Myths Series. The series is about five homeless kids who struggle to survive the streets of Los Angeles and unwittingly wind up as key players in a life and death struggle to give humanity a second chance. I’m in the middle of writing the first book which is titled, The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key.

Book Trailer

My Review

THE JOURNAL OF ANGELA ASHBY is a story about a journal that the heroine receives from a fortune teller that turns out to be magical. Readers will enjoy the element of magic and mystical creatures as well as getting to know Angela and her best friend, Mallory. An overall cute story.

I thought the journal was the funnest part of this story. It added plenty of mystery and also created quite a bit of havoc. I also really liked Mallory. Angela has some growing to do. She didn't really think about any of the consequences of her choices, but she was a good friend to Mallory. The ending left thing resolved, but also open for a second book.

I did have a few issues with the story. I didn't always feel the girls acted their age (I have a 12-year-old daughter, so it was pretty easy to compare). Sometimes Angela acted characteristically younger and sometimes older, so she didn't feel completely genuine. She also wasn't a character I loved. I also felt like the bullying was a bit unrealistic at school around teachers and other adults.

In the end, was it what I wished for? An overall intriguing story that middle graders and tweens may enjoy.

Content: Some bullying, name-calling, blunt/crude language.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from through Jean Book Nerd Tours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.

About the Author

Liana Gardner is the award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution and the Misfit McCabeseries. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.

She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.

Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”


Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 1 Winner will receive an Award-winning 2017 MG, 7th Grade Revolution Swag (Mugs, Playing Cards, T-Shirts) by Liana Gardner.
- 1 Winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends December 3, 2018

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