Tuesday, 28 June 2016
This was meant to be the perfect trip.
The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.
A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.
Except things don’t go as planned.
Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.
Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness...
This story is well creepy. It kept me guessing from the first page until the last.
There are several things about this book that I enjoyed. Firstly the tension throughout is incredible. It is very much edge of your seat reading which I just couldn't put down. I liked the main character and following her story both in seeing her determination to find out the truth but also how she was quite vulnerable and real too. The setting made for a really intense read that kept me guessing. The limited cast and limits to the geography with the boat meant it was easy to suspect everyone and trust no one. All of those things made it a really intense and creepy read.
All in all a book I really enjoyed which I was entirely drawn into. Very much recommended.
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.
Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.
Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.
I was really excited when I received this book for review.
The first three quarters or so is awesome. I found myself fascinated and needing to read more and more because I didn't want to put it down. I was desperate to know what happened to the kids and all the whys and wherefores of what had happened to them. In the end I had too put it down because it was a school night and then when I did pick it up again I just didn't care as much. I don't know if it's because the outcome wasn't as clever as I'd hoped or what it was but I ended up feeling a little disappointed and kicking myself for not powering through the night before sleep be damned.
Tuesday, 14 June 2016
How influential was music to you as a child?
Very, my dad was in a band that did pretty well and he had a huge record collection (back in the days of vinyl). I remember this one record as a very young boy that was pink. It fascinated me. It was Elvis Presley and it was amazing. My dad had all the classics. The Beatles, Stones, Who, Dylan. It was a treasure trove.
How impactful do you think reading is on music and songwriting?
I think it’s extremely impactful. Reading helps you collect the words you need to be a good songwriter. I still look up words I read in books I don’t understand and learn their meaning.
What inspired you to write a book, and why did you decide to write a book about a band?
I was inspired by boredom. I was on the road with my band, Officer Kicks, and I didn’t want to drink all day or watch TV so I started writing. I wrote it about a band because it’s what I know.
Are there any events in the books that are based on real life, and can you tell us which ones?
Oh yes, loads! Many I can’t tell you about. In book 1 when one of the band gets their hair stuck in a guitar - that happened to the Funky Love Children when we were seventeen.
Which book or author would you say influenced you the most as an author?
J. R. R. Tolkien without a doubt. Of course our material and styles are worlds apart (he’s on a different level in terms of his genius!) but I have read his books several times and they never fail to inspire.
Which musician or song would you say has influenced you the most as a musician and songwriter?
The Beatles. Their range surpassed all in my opinion. They are undisputed.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of writing a book for the first time?
Write it from the heart and work on it very, very hard. Complete it and (this is the hard part) keep doing it until you get good. Practice never makes perfect but you do get better.
What advice would you give to budding musicians and songwriters?
The same as above. Just write, always. Be obsessed by it.
Which band or artist, living or dead, would you most like to meet and why?
I’d like to host a dead rockstar tea party. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.
Who's your favorite RockAteer and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I think Burt because he has been such a joy to bring to life. I really think he’s misunderstood and writing about bad guys is more fun.
Friday, 10 June 2016
Twelve hours, two boys, one girl . . . and a whole lot of hairspray.
Seventeen-year-old Sunny's always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London - starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.
Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she'd have anything in common with - least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French 'twins' (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone - from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers - is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.
A fast-paced, darkly funny love letter to London, boys with big hair and the joys of staying up all night.
Fabulous stuff. I am an unashamed Sarra Manning Fan Girl. I have adored her work since her J17 days and I am so pleased that I got the opportunity to read this book.
I really loved loads of things about this book
I loved how diverse the characters were. The main character Sunny is mixed race and it was really interesting to see the impact that has on the way in which she is treated by some of the secondary characters in a world that should be well past making racist assumptions about others.
Special shout out has to go to Sunny's roller derby team. I love that there is a UKYA book out there with a roller derby team featured.
I enjoyed that the book plays out almost in realtime making it a really intense adventure which you live along with the character as each event plays out. I also really enjoyed The Tour of London you get across the evening as each part of the book takes part in different parts of the city. The story captured those differences well and showcases the real diversity that can be found in one city. The real geeky part of me really loved the facts about the different areas that prefaced each section.
All in all a really exciting adventure which I really enjoyed.
Wednesday, 8 June 2016
Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?
Solomon is the answer.
Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.
A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and All The Bright Places, Highly Illogical Behavior showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world—and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.
Oh this book. Meeting Solomon made my heart ache as you get to know what he goes through because of his anxieties and how much of a toll that has on his daily existence.
High Illogical behaviour is an interesting story. It focuses on three teen characters. Solomon, Clarke and Lisa. Solomon hasn't left the house in years because of his anxieties and Lisa decides to make make friends with him in order to cure him and get him out of the house dragging boyfriend Clarke into the plan too.
The story really made me feel for Solomon as you see the real toll his anxieties have on his day to day and how much it limits him, especially when he is such as awesome character with so much to give to the world. Lisa actually grew on me too. I initially thought she was bit heartless but actually I think she's actually a bit naive and you can see this come through over the course of the book. My favourite character had to be Clarke purely because he is so cool but also really sweet, particularly so with Solomon and I kind loved him for that.
A really interesting read which gave me a lot to think about
Friday, 3 June 2016
June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.
But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom . . . But at what price?
This book made my heart ache. It's dark and chilling and one that will stay with you long after reading it. There were a lot of scenes which felt like a car crash in that I didn't want to look but needed to in equal measure as I needed to know what was happening but also sat and squirmed at the awfulness that June suffered. It said a lot about how no one really knows what goes on in other people's houses and the extent to which some young people suffer at the hands of those who should be protecting them. A really well done and thoughtful novel which will stick with you for a long time to come
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
We are now almost half way through the British Books Challenge for 2016. How did that happen?
Firstly the winner of a copy of Paige Toon's The One we fell in love with is Tine from Novel Meals. Please email me Tina with your address and I'll get it sent out.
This Month I will be giving away a copy of a book published in June which I thought was awesome. That book is London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning. I'll get it sent from Book Depo or Amazon or Waterstones depending on which one is cheapest on the day