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Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

'This time around, I'm going to be so much better. I'm going to prove to them that it was worth waiting on me.'

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She's back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they're about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you're the one left behind?

Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning sequel to international bestseller Beautiful Broken Things.

I adored Beautiful Broken Things and was so excited to get my hands on this book. It is such a wonderful YA novel. It picks up two years after the previous book and returns to Suzanne as she begins again starting a new life in Brighton.

Suzanne's story was really heart wrenching as her story develops. I was particularly struck by her loneliness as she adapts to living by herself for the firs…
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Cover reveal: Poppy's recipe for life by Heidi Swain

I am very excited to be able to be part of today's cover reveal for Heidi Swain's newet book. I love Heidi's books and get particularly geeky about the fact that they are all set in and around where I live. This cover is also very exciting because I was lucky enough to be involved in a blogger brunch at Simon and Schuster last September where we all sat around discussing ideas about how this cover might look and therefore I've been looking forward to seeing what was finally decided about the cover.

So with no further ado here it is


My five star reads of 2018

I've managed to read a fair few books this year. At the time of writing this I am part way through book 175. Looking back over the books I've read this year is really interesting for me as a reader. I've read more broadly in one sense in that I no longer read just YA books and have read a real mix of books from picture books to adult books. I've also found myself reading and loving a bit of non fiction which isn't something I've done in years and years. However in lots of ways I feel like my reading habits have become narrower. I tend to only read what I like with a focus on contemporary and historical fiction or non fiction focused on history books on parts of history I get really geeky over. I am also a serial DNFer. If I'm not enjoying a book even after the first page I tend to ditch it. This does mean that out of the 174 books I've finished so far only seven haven't been rated three star or above as I do tend to really enjoy what I read.

Out of …

A year at Castle Court by Holly Hepburn

Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester's bustling streets.

They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn't think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there's support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb's co…

Paper Avalanche by Lisa Williamson

'Bonnie. Never Mum or Mummy or Mother. Just Bonnie.'

When it comes to flying under the radar, Ro Snow is an expert.

No friends.

No boys.

No parties.

And strictly NO VISITORS.

It may be lonely, but at least this way the truth remains where it should – hidden.

Then Tanvi Shah, the girl who almost died, comes tumbling back into her life, and Ro finds herself losing control of her carefully constructed lies.

But if Ro’s walls come crumbling down, who’s going to take care of Bonnie…


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I loved paper avalanche. I've been excited about this novel for ages because I love Lisa's novels and  was not left disappointed because this was excellent.

What I found to be particularly excellent about this novel is the character voice. The main character Ro lives with her mother who hoards everything. The relationship they have is unconventional with Ro often trying to fulfill the adult role in the household while still in school. She worries about money and is desperately embarrassed about h…

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more...?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore, and he's sort of got a boyfriend, even if he's kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are…

Armistice Runner by Tom Palmer

Lily has lots of worries. She's struggling to compete in her fell-running races and, worse, she's losing her gran to Alzheimer's. But then she discovers her great-great-grandfather's diaries from the First World War. Could his incredible story of bravery help her reconnect with her gran and even give her the inspiration she needs to push through and win

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Such an interesting novel which was poignant and thoughtful. I also enjoyed how it taught me about another facet of World War One that I didn't know much about at all namely the runners used at the front line to send messages and share information across the front. 
I also love how brilliantly accessible Barrington Stoke novels are whilst being cracking novels giving children who find reading more of a challenge stories that will engage and excite without patronising them. I have already put my copy in the school library and will be recommending it regularly to my students