Saturday, 27 August 2016

Bookcase Showcase: Author Faye Bird

Books live in various places in my house. They are mainly on the bookshelves downstairs, but also on the landing, in my children’s rooms and next to my bed. There are also usually a couple (at least) kicking around in the bathroom.

The bookshelves downstairs are a mixture of my books and my husband’s. We don’t have a huge amount of space at home so these are the books that we’ve each of us decided to keep for one reason or another. His tend to be non-fiction, although the odd piece of fiction does appear.  Mine are all fiction, plays too. They are the books I’ve loved, studied or been given; the books that mean something to me and that I know I’ll want to come back to again for one reason or another.

But books move around in my house too. My children, who are now 11 and 13, are getting closer to reading lots of the YA books I’ve devoured, so books have started to move from my room to theirs, and sometimes I’ll nab a book they’ve chosen to read after they’ve finished with it. This is a new thing - and rather lovely!

I have claimed one space at home as my own for books - here, on the landing, in an old glass-fronted bookcase with my grandmother’s teapot sat on top. This is the place the rest of the family hilariously call “Mum’s booky corner,” but I really wanted a place of my own for some of my books and so I claimed it! Here are the books I’ve read recently and loved, the books I’ve had signed, the books I’m looking forward to reading next and there is (at the moment) space for the books still to come... 

When love turns to jealousy, when jealousy turns to rage, when rage turns to destruction...

Laura was head over heels in love with Joe. But now Laura lies in a coma and Joe has gone missing. Was he the one who attacked her?

Laura's sister Tessie is selectively mute. She can't talk but she can listen. And as people tell her their secrets, she thinks she's getting close to understanding what happened on that fateful night.

Information about the Book
Title: What I Couldn’t Tell You
Author: Faye Bird
Release Date: May 1st 2016
Genre: YA Thriller
Publisher: Usborne
Format: Paperback

Faye writes fiction for young adults. Before becoming a writer she worked as a literary agent representing screenwriters in film and TV. She studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University, but has otherwise always lived in London, and still does now. Her second novel, What I Couldn’t Tell You, will be published on 1 May 2016.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Raven: Pop Up Book

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is one of the most widely recognized poems in the English language. When it first appeared in the New York Evening Mirror in 1845, the poem made Poe an overnight sensation. Master paper engineer David Pelham amazes us once again with his pop-up design interpreting this haunting love story.

My thoughts
I am not by any stretch of the imagination an Edgar Allan Poe fan but I adore this edition of this book. It is the most intricate and beautiful pop up book I have ever seen, Each page is a work of art in itself and utterly stunning. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves below but essentially if you love books you will adore this.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Girl out of Water by Nat Luurtsema

I am Lou Brown: Social Outcast, Precocious Failure, 5’11” and STILL GROWING.

I should be at Olympics swim-training camp right now but it was my (speedy) best friend Hannah who got in.

Cool! Cool! That’s cool! [*Cries*]

One minute I’m masterminding Operation: Make Friends, barely keeping my head above water, the next I’m training three boys too cool to talk to me in a sport I’d made up. In a fish tank. In an aquarium.

My life has gone weird very quickly.

A thoroughly British teen comedy starring a hilariously flawed heroine with a quip for every occasion – perfect for fans of Holly Smale, Holly Bourne, Caitlin Moran and Sophie Kinsella.

My thoughts
I read this book super fast a few weeks back andreally enjoyed it staying up late to finish it. It's quite funny and I loved all the characters.

Lou is in a really funny place having just missed out on her dream to train for the olympics and is thrown back into the world without being able to carry on doing the thing that has consumed all of her free time. I really felt for her as she tried to find her place in the world without the one thing she loved and without the people she had previously spent all her time with. A particular shout out needs to go to the parents in this book who I loved. All too often parents are absent in YA or horrible and I loved that the parents in this book were both present and lovely.

The story itself has a lovely pace and is funny and quirky and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Hashtag Reads: Your chance to win your height in books

On Thursday Simon and Schuster are launching the first ever newsletter for Hashtag Reads. Hashtag Reads is home to some of the best-loved YA authors including Cassandra Clare, Gayle Forman, Paige Toon, Morgan Matson and Darren Shan. It’s a great place for readers to find out about the latest YA reads, hear more from their favourite authors, read exclusive material and enter the hottest competitions.

If you want to be part of the community  to sign up to the newsletter for a chance to win your height in books! Sign up below.

Also find hashtag reads on social media at the following places
Twitter: @hashtagreads

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Secrets of Billie Bright

Billie Bright's family is pretty big for one that's got somebody missing. There's Billie who is a girl Billie and eleven and about to go to secondary school. Then there are her three big brothers and her Dad, who also runs the cafe under their flat. Life's loud but Billie likes it, even without her mum there any more.

But with the new school comes having to make new friends and all kinds of other grown-up things to deal with. And at home it feels like all her brothers are keeping secrets from her. So when she decides to do a project on her mum, she has to do all the research herself and ends up finding out all kinds of things she doesn't expect to . . .

My thoughts
I love this book. I'm always excited about the prospect of a new Susie Day book this book was no exception and I'm so pleased to report it far surpassed every hope and expectation I had for it. It's set in the same world as Susie's Pea series and the spin off The Secrets of Sam and Sam and much like those books it is wonderful in the diversity of characters featuring characters who are LGBT and PoC without it being a plot point or issue. These different types of people are just there without it being pointed out which is exactly how it should be. I hate it when diversity is used as a plot device or seen as something trendy and Susie Day shows exactly how diversity can be celebrated in a book without making it a big deal or cliché.

The story itself is really sweet and I loved getting to know Billie and her family. The relationships between them were really lovely and I really enjoyed getting to uncover all of Billie's secrets. I also have to mention the cameos from previous characters. I love a good cameo and was very excited about these.

All in all this is the book equivalent of hugs with a cup of tea and rich tea biscuits with your best friend. Just wonderful.  

Friday, 19 August 2016

All About the Hype by Paige Toon

The third super hot, super fun Jessie Jefferson novel from internationally bestselling author, Paige Toon.

Is the life of a famous rockstar's daughter all it's cracked up to be? And what about dating your fellow band-member just as you hit the bigtime?
Jessie is still getting used to being a celebrity, and the daughter of one of the world’s biggest rock stars. With her own music career on the rise, a gorgeous love interest and a fun group of friends, it seems Jessie’s glamorous LA life couldn’t get any better . . . but things are about to get really complicated.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed it the final instalment of the Jessie Jefferson series. I want more Jessie books. Can we have an NA spin off set in a year or two's time please?

I loved getting back into the world of the Jefferson's and seeing Jessie adapt to her new lifestyle as she's gone from English School Girl to LA royalty virtually overnight. I love her spirit and seeing how despite all the advantages she now has that actually she wants to make it without the help and still be her own person and have genuine friends who like her for the person she is rather than because of her new surname. The story itself is full of heart and really has some thoughtful things to say about the value of family both biological and not.

I don't want to say much so not to spoil the book or the series but definitely worth a read. If you love Paige's books you'll love this conclusion to a fabulous series.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The YA Originals

Last month I was contacted to review a few titles from a new collection put together by Penguin called the YA Originals.

The collection is a selection of books which could now be considered YA which were published before YA was a thing and paved the way for those YA titles we now love and adore. I was immediately drawn to them because of the gorgeous new covers and was intrigued to try some older titles I've heard about over the years but not made time to pick up.

The Originals are a celebration of the first and the best in the Young Adult genre, with writing that still feels as fresh, illuminating and sometimes even shocking as it did when it was first published. The collection shows off the breadth of the best of YA publishing, from Dodie Smith’s coming-of-age romance, I Capture the Castle, to the gritty gang violence of The Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton when she was just 17. The list of 17 books spans seven decades, with the earliest novel from 1937 (John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony) and the most recent from 1999 (Aidan Chambers’ Postcards from No Man’s Land).

The books tackle everything from first love, teenage pregnancy and political awakening to addiction, loss and death. Robert Swindells’ Stone Cold tells the story of teens living homeless in London, while Beverley Naidoo’s No Turning Back explores the experiences of street children growing up in South Africa. The two titles from Joan Lingard’s ‘Kevin and Sadie’ collection are set against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, while Morton Rhue’s The Wave examines the consequences of an experiment to teach pupils at a Californian school how the Nazis rose to power.

The Originals Editor Alex Antscherl said: “Many of the books we’ve chosen were written before the term ‘Young Adult’ was coined, or even conceived of as a separate genre, which goes to show what genuine trailblazers these authors were and continue to be. Without I Capture The Castle we might not have had How I Live Now or Geek Girl. Without The Outsiders we might not have had Junk or Noughts and Crosses.”

I was lucky enough to be sent copies of the Joan Lingard series which I devoured and enjoyed. I'm currently working my way through I capture the castle and have the outsiders waiting to try soon. While I do think these titles are a product of their time in some cases, for example the pacing being slower, you can see elements in these books which are timeless in their appeal for a YA audience. I can certainly see me treating myself to a few more titles from the collection to dip into over the coming months which the adding collectability appeal with the new covers.