Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

Another week another book that I really don't want to review. Not because it is bad but because it is so so good and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. It is exactly what I expected from Lauren Oliver. It was an interesting and completely absorbing read that I couldn't put down. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and seeing the mystery surrounding the accident unfold as the book went on. The ending in particular really was very good indeed.Yes that's all incredibly vague but believe me once you've read it you'll be glad I was.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Oska Pollock Blog Tour: Spotify Playlist

Thrilling, third instalment in the phenomenal Oksa Pollock series, out now in paperback!

The earth is in turmoil. Fleeing a flooded London, Oksa and her family along with the Runaways, head off in search of the entrance portal of Edefia, their magical home. It is the only chance for them to restore the chaos on earth and the mounting troubles in their homeland. To get there Oksa is forced to ally herself with the treacherous felons, mortal enemies who could betray her at any moment. But she has the support of her family and friends – who also posses some invaluable strengths: Pavel her shape-shifting father; Gus and Tudgual, the two love rivals who care for Oksa deeply; and of course
her formidable grandmother, Dragomira, and her menagerie of Edefian creatures. But little does Oksa know that she will have to endure some terrifying dangers in order to reach the portal, and will have to pay a terrible price to enter the hidden world… And what will await her on the other side?

I have been asked to share the link below as part of this blogtour to a Spotify List of songs to go with the book

Spotify Playlist

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Spotlight on Sunny by Keris Stainton

A story about discovering who you are, sorting out friendships and family relationships, also exploring what it is like to grow up as a Muslim in Britain.

After winning a local film competition, Sunny and her best friends Kitty and Hannah are off to do a film-making course - in London! Sunny can't believe her dad has let her come on her own (even if he has asked her to phone every day...) Sunny is loving the film-making classes and hanging out with their new friend - lovely, funny Will. Sunny knows that these things don't fit with the future her parents want for her and she starts to wonder what she really wants. And that's not even the biggest thing on her mind - there's also the big secret she's hiding from her best friends...

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Keris Stainton's work. Her books are my sort of books and I also enjoy them. This series in particular has been one I've had my eye on since the first book was announced and after loving Starring Kitty I was very excited to get my hands on this. I actually agreed to read it electronically which is something because I hate my kindle with a passion.

Happily for me this book was exactly what I was hoping for. It was so cute. I loved the messages it had. It openly challenges stereotypes about how women decide to dress and the way people treat women based on what they decide to wear. The book had a truly diverse cast of characters which was awesome rather than being a purely white, straight and able bodied cast. 

For me the thing this book did more than anything else was give the reader a really eye opening insight into the life of Muslim teens in Britain. For this reason I think it is a really important book for educating teenagers about negative stereotypes our media is rife with particularly at the moment.

All in all this book is really well done and generally just fabulous.  

Saturday, 28 February 2015

February Review

February has been a funny old month for me reading wise. There were bits where I read a lot and then other things got in the way and then I read barely anything for the last week of February.

Books read
This is Shyness by Leanne Hall (3 stars)
Violet and the Hidden Treasure by Harriet Whitehorn (5 stars)
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan (4 stars)
The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson (4 stars)
Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell (4 stars)
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon (4 stars)
Picture Perfect by Holly Smale (4 stars)
Sequins, Stars and Spotlights by Sophia Bennet (4 stars)
Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall (3 stars)
The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt (4 stars)
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (5 stars)
Pea's Book of Birthday by Susie Day (4 stars)
The X Files season 10 volume one (4 stars)
Binny for short by Hilary McKay (3 stars)
Big Game by Dan Smith (2 stars)
One of Us by Jeannie Waudby (2 stars)
Seed by Lisa Heathfield (4 stars)
Spotlight on Sunny by Keris Stainton (5 stars)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (4 stars)
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls (4 stars)
This is not a love story by Keren David (5 stars) 

Book of the Month

I have been waiting for this for ages and loved it as much as I expected I would. It is fabulous. Review to come tomorrow on this one.

Events attended 

picture taken by egmont staff

I was lucky enough to go along to Egmont's blogger event during Half Term. It was brilliant to see all the lovely bloggers who attended. We got to hear about several of Egmont's future releases which all sound brilliant. Highlight of the event for me was the opportunity to meet Elizabeth Wein and to hear about all the research she had done for her next release Black Dove, White Raven. I also got to meet debut author Lisa Heathfield and the goody bag contained signed book goodness in the form of a signed proof of Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls which was very exciting indeed.

On the blog

I reviewed Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth. I enjoyed it but found the writing style wasn't exactly to my taste but would be very keen to read more from the author in the future.
I posted a review of Sarah Benwell's Last Leaves Falling which I adored.
I did mini reviews of Katy Cannon's books which are super cute.
I reviewed Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson  which featured one of the hottest YA boys I've read in a long time.
I also did mini reviews of Leanne Hall's This is Shyness and Queen of the Night
I also reviewed Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan which was also really cute.

Blog Tour
I was lucky enough to take part in a few blog tours this month.
Firstly was a guest post from author Catherine Doyle as part of the Vendetta Blog tour
Next up AJ Grainger dropped by to do a Bookcase Showcase guest post
I had another guest post as part of the Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines blog tour
Sarah Crossan also dropped by to do a Bookcase Showcase guest post as part of her Apple and Rain tour.
I interviewed Keris Stainton as part of the UKYA extravaganza Blog Tour
I took part in the Rebecca Newton Blog tour and offered a Kindle for a giveaway (it is still open FYI)
Finally Curtis Jobling dropped in to do guest post as part of the Haunt Blog Tour

Other stuff
I wrote a post for Tombola Times about my most anticipated release of 2015 
I wrote a post about the books I am most looking forward

On March's TBR pile
I have a lovely pile of books I am looking forward to reading.
The Magnificient Maggie Brown by Vicki Lockwood
Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow
If you were me by Sam Hepburn
Hook's Daughter by Heidi Schulz
Gypsy Girl by Kathryn James
Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne

Haunt Dead Wrong Blog Tour: Guest Post from Curtis Jobling


When I'm on author visits to schools, I often get asked what the best thing is about my job. My answer's simple: I'm a professional daydreamer. I get to think up stories for a living, and sometimes I get paid for it and they get turned into books. Even better those books occasionally get bought! How did I end up doing this? I can trace it, via a circuitous route, back to my childhood.

I was never happier than when doodling or playing with toys, and that's not just when I was a toddler but throughout my primary years. My mum was to thank for this, always ensuring I had a crayon in each hand like some ambidextrous Jedi child prodigy. I drew everywhere and on everything. I watched cartoons, I devoured movies, especially Star Wars and the works of stop motion animation giant Ray Harryhausen. I was that kid at the bottom of the garden making a tree house in his mum's cherry blossom tree. Not a tree house for me, I should add. Oh no, that'd make far too much sense. The tree house was in miniature and was for my Action Man figures. Dollies, for want of a better word. That's right, I played with dolls. Wanna make something of it?

The tree house consisted of floorboards, walkways, lifts, rope ladders, winches, hammocks and huts. I kid you not, if I hadn't gone into a career as a puppetmaker or writer, a future in structural engineering awaited. And there I'd spend my time, creating scenarios and adventures for my Action Man, acting them out and generally getting lost in my old little world. I know I'm not alone, other authors did this too, including my good chum Adam Gidwitz, only you can switch Action Man for GI Joe and you're on the money. This was where my storytelling began.

The earliest book I recall getting my grubby mitts on was Where the Wild Things Are. I distinctly recall being transported away to the lands of the Wild Things along with Max in his little boat. At Junior School there was my obsession with The Fighting Fantasy series of Choose Your Own Adventure titles - this is where my love or roleplaying games began. Then The Hobbit entered my life, and I was bitten by the fantasy bug for life. 

Roll on secondary school, where I happened upon Dungeons & Dragons. My friends and I would get together once or twice a week and play the game, only my mates couldn't be bothered learning the rules. Therefore I learned the rules therefore I ran the game, and that's where I learned to tell a tale and spin a yarn, playing that great escapist game with my friends.

I've got my love of all these things to thank for the fabulous careers I've enjoyed as an adult. If I hadn't doodled incessantly as a child, I may not have pursued illustration into art college and gone on to design and create shows like Bob the Builder and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion. If I hadn't fallen in love with picture books perhaps I'd never written and illustrated those picture books, like Frankenstein's Cat. If I hadn't obsessed over stop motion animation, I may never have got the chance to work on Wallace & Gromit and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! And if I'd never got lost in my own imagination, creating my own adventures, I probably wouldn't have gone on to become a novelist. 

I have all those childhood interests to thank for becoming the daydreamy adult you (virtually) see before you today. I'm forever thankful to my mum for encouraging me with those games and hobbies as a child. I was never told to put those toys down or get my head out of my sketchbooks. She actively encouraged me to pursue my hobbies to their fullest, and I think there's a lesson for every parent there. Put a toy in your child's hand, or a crayon, or a book. See where they take it. At the very least, they'll have a terrific hobby throughout their childhood and perhaps into adulthood. At the most, they may be able to make a living out of the thing that they love. There aren't many people who get to do that. I count myself very fortunate.

Will and Dougie are still adjusting to the slight change in their friendship dynamic in this funny and supernatural tale. Will’s dead but Dougie can still see him. Weird, admittedly, but there are some positives: solving a murder mystery (with the help of former living best friend), becoming a local hero and getting the girl of your dreams are pretty big perks. But what happens when the girl is Will’s crush too? The first (and last!) girl he ever kissed? And why has Dougie’s dad been acting all weird
ever since Will died? Just as things are beginning to go right for Will, it seems he couldn’t have been more wrong. . .

Visit Curtis Jobling at:
Twitter: @CurtisJobling

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

When Apple's mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.

A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.

I don't actually want to review this book mostly because whatever I say about it I think I am going to spoil it for someone else and that'd be a real shame because there are things in this book I would have been cross had they been spoiled for me.

I will say that I really enjoyed it. It was one of those books I ended up staying up much later than I had intended to finish because I needed to know how things would turn out. What I took away from it was the message that family is really important in whatever form it comes in and how it shouldn't be taken for granted.

Just go and buy a copy. It is fabulous.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Can't wait to read

So I've caught up on my TBR pile again. This means unless I start rereading stuff I have nothing to read and will end up spending my time looking online at all the books I want but can't yet have. Here are a selection of the ones I want the most this month.

Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel! Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go. Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with -- secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross. Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand -- a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed. But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?

There aren't many America authors I actively get excited about. Kody is an exception. I've loved every single one of her books I have read and cannot wait for this. 

Spotlight on Sunny by Keris Stainton

A story about discovering who you are, sorting out friendships and family relationships, also exploring what it is like to grow up as a Muslim in Britain.

After winning a local film competition, Sunny and her best friends Kitty and Hannah are off to do a film-making course - in London! Sunny can't believe her dad has let her come on her own (even if he has asked her to phone every day...) Sunny is loving the film-making classes and hanging out with their new friend - lovely, funny Will. Sunny knows that these things don't fit with the future her parents want for her and she starts to wonder what she really wants. And that's not even the biggest thing on her mind - there's also the big secret she's hiding from her best friends...

It is no secret that I adore Keris's books. I am so incredibly excited to get my hands on this.

All that Glitters by Holly Smale

Harriet Manners has high hopes for the new school year: she's a Sixth Former now, and things are going to be different. But with Nat busy falling in love at college and Toby preoccupied with a Top Secret project, Harriet soon discovers that's not necessarily a good thing...

I love this series and I am so cross that I won't be able to read it this month because I refuse to buy a hardback copy when I could only buy book one and two in paperback. I've literally only just caught up on the 3rd book for precisely that reason. Don't they understand how important it is that books match? 

House of Windows by Alexis Casale

Nick hates it when people call him a genius. Sure, he's going to Cambridge University aged 15, but he says that's just because he works hard. And, secretly, he only works hard to get some kind of attention from his workaholic father. Not that his strategy is working. When he arrives at Cambridge, he finds the work hard and socialising even harder. Until, that is, he starts to cox for the college rowing crew and all hell breaks loose..

Alexis is an author I have only recently discovered and I can't wait to read this now. Also I love Cambridge so very excited to read this for that too. 

The Lost and Found by Cat Clarke



When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith’s childhood was dominated by Laurel’s disappearance – from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister.


Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans’ old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home at last, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that’s lost can be found again…

I honestly couldn't care what this book is about. I want it because Cat wrote it and I am very much certain I will adore it.

PS I still love you by Jenny Han

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

I loved the first book. I fully expect to adore this too.

This is not a love story by Keren David

Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that's impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father's unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn't take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect?

In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But will love be everything she expected? And will anyone's heart survive?

Another author whose books I adore. Looking forward to this one a lot