Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 review

2014 has been a funny year for me on the blog. I have really taken my foot off the pedal because work has been crazy this year. That said I've read some awesome books over the course of the year and being on top of my TBR pile has given me the chance to read more of what I have wanted and reread some books I loved ages ago and haven't had the chance to go back to before this year.

As always thank you to all the wonderful publicists who continue to send me all the books, all the authors who indulge my fangirling and all my lovely bookish friends old and new I have made since I started my blog.

Total books read in 2014: 220
British Books Challenge final total: 117
5 Star Reads: 22 (see details of those books here)
Book of the year:  Trouble by Non Pratt

December 2014

December is always fabulous to me reading wise. Time off from school and two weeks where I do nothing but read and watch tv is pure bliss. Here's what I read this month

Books Read
194) Vendetta by Catherine Doyle
195) I'll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson
196) The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss (British Books Challenge)
197) The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
198) Juvie by Steve Watkins
199) The door that led to where by Sally Gardner (British Books Challenge)
200) Jessica's Ghost by Andrew Norriss (British Books Challenge)
201) Environment's envisioned by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter Page to Screen collector's edition)
202) The Creature Shop Compendium by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter Page to Screen collector's edition)
203) Wizard Wear and Muggle Attire by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter Page to Screen collector's edition)
204) Dr Horrible's sing along blog the book
205) Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
206) A guide to the graphic arts department by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter Page to Screen collector's edition)
207) Movie Magic by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter Page to Screen collector's edition)
208) 10 years later by Jody Revenson (Harry Potter Page to Screen collector's edition)
209) Harry Potter Page to screen by Bob McCabe
210) The Beneath by SC Ransom (British Books Challenge) 
211) Finding a voice by Kim Hood
212) Only ever yours by Louise O'Neil
213) The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick (British Books Challenge) 
214) Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (British Books Challenge) 
215) Lie we tell ourselves by Robin Talley
216) Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
217) Trust in me by Sophie McKenzie (British Books Challenge) 
218) Stella by Helen Eve (British Books Challenge) 

Book of the Month

Lies we tell ourselves by Robin Talley
Just a fabulous read. Uncomfortable reading all the way though but such an important book both from a diversity point of view and from a historical point of view.

Events attended
None this month sadly

On the blog
It has been a really quite month on here as I've not had a huge amount to say and needed the break
I hosted the Searise blog tour here
I revealed my five star reads of the year here
I talked about the books I am most excited to read in 2015 here

On January's TBR pile
I really don't have a lot in the house on my TBR pile.
I have The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
I have an adult Second World War series which my friend bought me ages ago (the name of which I can't remember) which I am determined to read before I go back to school.
I am still planning on rereading the Insignia series by SJ Kincaid.
I also want to reread some of my old favourites this year so aiming for at least one this month from this list
I have about 17 books on my kindle which I got as review copies which I am planning to read to clear them then I think I'm giving up the kindle entirely because I'm really not enjoying reading on it and giving up books on it left right and centre.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Books I can't wait to read: 2015 is almost here edition

This month I'm going to do something slightly different with my Can't wait to read post. I've covered some of these books before but I wanted to put into one place all the books I am dying to get my hands on in 2015 and ones I think you should be getting excited for too.

January releases

There will be lies by Nick Lake

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car. Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon. All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Should I admit I've never read a Nick Lake? Definitely something that is going to change soon and this looks like the place to start.

Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy's home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy's glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy's birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn't really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.

Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill - and everything points to poison.

With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem - and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth . . . no matter the consequences.

I am so ruddy excited for this. Bun breaks for everyone 

February releases

Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth

This bold, compelling and topical story about bullying is told from the perspective of the bully and the bullied. You won't be able put it down until you've reached the conclusion. Jess's life is difficult enough without Kez picking on her – it’s turning school from a safe place into a nightmare. Kez has plenty of problems too but she finds comfort in knowing she is better off than Jess - or so she thinks. A hard-hitting and even-handed look at bullying and the issues facing teenagers today

I want this because Non says it is awesome. 

March Releases

Under my skin by James Dawson

Meet Molly Sue. Once she's under your skin there's no getting rid of her...

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally's about as shy and retiring as they come - but all that's about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour - and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back - hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head - or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue's. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl - in fact, she's mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue... and before long she's going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody 'under your skin'.

Written by Mr James Dawson. That's all I need to want to read this book.

The Beloved by Alison Rattle
Escape from a bullying mother takes one young woman to an even more dangerous place. Alice Angel has known only a life of rules, restriction and punishments as she strays from the rigid path of Victorian..

Alison writes beautiful historical fiction. I cannot wait for this  

Violet and the Hidden Treasure by Harriet Whitehorn

Meet Violet Remy-Robinson, an amateur Sherlock Holmes in the making...Violet has spent her Easter holiday exploring India with Godmother Celeste, including visiting Celeste's good friend the Maharajah and meeting his very special parrot. And when she returns home, only to get a visit from the Maharajah's butler, asking her to look after the parrot, Violet couldn't be more surprised (and her cat Pudding couldn't be less pleased…). But as Violet discovers, the parrot holds the key to the Maharajah's fortune, and someone is trying to parrot-nap her! Can she discover who the culprit is before they succeed? Violet is on the case…

Another series I adore  

April Releases

Othergirl by Nicole Burstein

Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They're closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers. When Erica isn't doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero's BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can't win every fight by herself.

Another title I am so so so excited for after waiting very impatiently for it

One Small Act of Kindness by Lucy Dillon

Libby helps a stranger, and transforms her life in the process. Libby and her husband Jason have moved back to his hometown to turn the family B&B into a boutique hotel. They have left London behind and all the memories - good and bad - that went with it. The injured woman Libby finds lying in the remote country road has lost her memory. She doesn't know why she came to be there, and no one seems to be looking for her. When Libby offers to take her in, this one small act of kindness sets in motion a chain of events that will change many people's lives . . . 

I discovered Lucy's work early this year and really enjoyed them. Looking forward to more.

May Releases

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

I love Sarah Dessen. Its been ages since I've had a new title from her.

Demolition Dad by Phil Earle

This is the story of Jake Biggs and his dad, George. George spends all week knocking down buildings ... and all weekend knocking down wrestlers. He's the Demolition Man, and Jake couldn't be prouder. But when Jake hears about a pro-wrestling competition in the USA, and persuades his beloved dad to apply, things don't quite turn out the way he expected...

I love Phil Earle's books. This looks particularly ace.

Read me like a book by Liz Kessler

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling - that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It's enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents' marriage troubles. There's just one thing bothering her . . . Shouldn't it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way - not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

This sounds like it could be amazing.

June releases

Because you'll never meet me by Leah Thomas

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

This looks so so so good
July Releases

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

I love this series. I need more of it pronto

September Releases

Tonight the streets are ours by Lelia Sales


Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a YA novel about a teen girl living in the suburbs who becomes obsessed with a blogger in New York City, and sets out to track him down in real life.

I adored Leila's previous book. I need this one now please.

Also excited about but I don't have pictures for yet
Remix by Non Pratt
Th Dark Light by Julia Bell
Lottery Boy by Michael Byrne
The Lost and Found by Cat Clarke
Counting Stars by Keris Stainton
Spotlight on Sunny by Keris Stainton
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My Secret Rockstar boyfriend by Eleanor Wood 
This is not a love story by Keren David
It's all about Love by Steve Camden
For Holly by Tanya Byrne
Darkest Night by Will Hill
All of the Above by James Dawson
Monster by CJ Skuse
Am I normal yet by Holly Bourne
Hello, Goodbye and everything inbetween by Jennifer E Smith
When She came back by Michelle Harrison
The new books from Paige Toon
PS I still love you by Jenny Han
The Fill in Boyfriend by Kasie West
What we left behind by Robin Talley
Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton
Air by Lisa Glass
The Rest of Us just live here by Patrick Ness
Lying out Loud by Kody Keplinger
The Next Together by Lauren James
Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson
In Another Life by Laura Jarratt

2015 looks like it is going to be an epic reading year!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

5 Star reads of 2014

Over the course of the last year I have read some amazing books which I have rated 5 stars

This little post is here just to highlight those books I adored, can't wait to reread and would recommend to any and everyone to buy and read themselves.

Read in January

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson

Why I loved it:
It is a spin off from Paige's Johnny Be Good series which I adored and just an awesome read in its own right. Just fab.

Read in February

The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning

Why I loved it:
I adore Sarra Manning. I adore her books. This one was just as awesome as her previous.

Girl with a white dog by Anne Booth

Why I loved it:
It is so inclusive and had such a diverse range of characters who were so well done. I loved the moral of the story and how it was done and just want to buy it for everyone.

Hi so much by Laura Dockrill

 Why I loved it:
More Darcy being wonderful. I love this series entirely.

The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle

Why I loved it:
The main character is just so so well done. I loved following his story and I loved the emotional punch this book packs whilst still being funny and clever.

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Why I loved it
Another author I adore. I find she writes teenagers really well and I love how she just gets them. Probably because she is very young herself. Yay for young authors.

Read in March

A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke

Why I loved it
This book really spoke to me in the way it deals with sexuality and the idea of not labelling relationships and people just falling in love with individuals regardless of sex. It was heartbreaking and so cleverly done.

Trouble by Non Pratt

Why I loved it:
There is no secret that I adore Non Pratt entirely and therefore I always was going to adore her book. Trouble is wonderful and I loved every page.

Say her name by James Dawson

Why I loved it
I love James Dawson's books. I probably wouldn't have picked this title up had his name not been on the front but because it was him I did. It is so so so creepy and so well done.

Read in April 

Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton

Why I loved it
It is just a beautiful coming of age story and just a perfect read for me. I adored every page.

Weirdos vs Bumskulls

Why I loved it
It is just so so so funny. It is a sequel and I'd highly recommend both

Read in May

Murder most unladylike by Robin Stevens

Why I loved it
My inner Enid Blyton reading child was thoroughly overjoyed by this book. It is wonderful.

 Blue by Lisa Glass

Why I loved it
Hot surfer boys. Cornwall. Enough said.

Read in June

This Book is Gay by James Dawson

Why I loved it
So needed title in schools everywhere. It is so informative and nonjudgmental.

Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

 Why I loved it
This book is just so much fun and took me completely by surprise

Unstoppable by Liz Bankes

Why I loved it
Another title in a series I adore. Clever, funny and sexy with real heart.

Read in July

Sorry about me by Laura Dockrill

Why I loved it
Another Darcy Burdock instalment and we all know I love Darcy

Read in August

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Why I loved it
Another example of a young author getting it so right. Just awesome

Isla and the happily ever after
Why I loved it
I felt like I waited an age for this title. It was worth it because it was perfect in every way.

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient

Why I loved it.
Again it appealed to Enid Blyton reading inner child. Loved it.

Read in September

The Art of being normal by Lisa Williamson

Why I loved it
As you can see from the blank space below this book has ruined me reading wise for the rest of the year. Everything I have read since hasn't come close and it is possibly why I am in a bit of a reading slump because it is just so good. I won't say much because it isn't out until January but it is just perfect.

Read in October

Nothing 5 star

Read in November

Nothing 5 star

Read in December

Nothing 5 star

Here is a little video of my getting far too excited in my PJs about these titles what you can watch if you feel so inclined (I promise I am more excited than the thumbnail suggests)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

SeaRISE Blog Tour: Time Travel

Time travel: putting the spanner in the works in SeaRISE

Everyone dreams of time travel, and fantasizes about when they would travel to if they had the chance to step through a time portal, don’t they? It’s the kind of escapist trope that crops up again and again in science fiction, and makes for some hugely compelling plotlines. Growing up, I for one was a big fan of stories like Tom’s Midnight Garden and Charlotte Sometimes, where the characters by virtue of a grandfather clock striking thirteen or an old brass bed in a boarding school, are transported back to another time. Nowadays, the control system for time travel itself is often the focus in science fiction movies like Time Code, Adjustment Bureau and Looper. I like to think of Groundhog Day, one of my favourite films, as a kind of ‘stalled’ time travel movie.

When I came to write my own time travel tale, The SeaBEAN Trilogy, I knew I’d have to confront the age-old conundrum which has dogged concepts of time travel, sometimes referred to as the ‘grandfather paradox’. That is, how can you go back in time and affect things without destroying the possibility of your own existence, as happened to Marty McFly in Back to the Future when he notices that unless he makes his parents fall in love with each other, he’s gradually disappearing from the family photo he’s carrying in his back pocket.

In SeaBEAN, when the main character Alice comes across a mysterious black cube – the ‘C-Bean’ – on the beach she has no idea it has the potential to travel through time. Her first challenge is to get inside it, and as she slowly figures out how to control the C-Bean and make it go somewhere, she also learns that she can communicate with people across time and even affect events to change how things turn out.

Because this is complicated enough for most readers, I needed to keep my time travel rules quite straightforward, because I got completely lost when I read The Time Traveller’s Wife, and eventually gave up on it, which is not something I usually do with a book! For example, if Alice spends an hour back in 1851, she is missing for an hour from her present. I also wanted to instill the idea that if time travel is possible, it comes with a health warning and some possible side effects. So in the second book, SeaWAR, Alice and Charlie start noticing they feel ‘rearranged’ once the C-Bean is updated to a Mark 4, where the time travel algorithm is more aggressive on the human body.

But most important of all, rather than depict time travel in a gratuitous we-can-do-anything kind of way, I needed to convey the sense that it is a privilege and a responsibility. Having harnessed the C-Bean’s powers, Alice realizes she needs to take care to bring about change that is beneficial and not harmful to our existence. And by the end of SeaRISE, we get to see the final outcome of her actions.