Wednesday, 30 September 2015

September review

This month has sucked for me for several reasons. I won't go into most of them because quite frankly they bore me so they'll definitely bore you but it has resulted in me reading bugger all.

Books read in September
Asking for it by Louise O'Neill
Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntire
Counting Stars by Keris Stainton

Book of the Month

It was all kinds of awesome. I will review properly at some point.

Events attended
None. Life has taken over leaving no time for book events.

On the Blog
Review of The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew
Review of The Next Together by Lauren James
Review of Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
Review of Monster by CJ Skuse
Review of Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

October's TBR pile
Tonight the Streets are ours by Leila Sales
The Boy who drew the future by Rhian Ivory
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
Prom Princess by Meg Cabot
Royally Obsessed by Meg Cabot
Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
Monsters by Emeral Fennell
The Boy who sailed the Ocean in an armchair by Lara Williamson
Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
The Honours by Tim Clare
When I was me by Hilary Freeman

Sunday, 27 September 2015

UKMG Extravganza Blog Tour - Guest Post by Linda Chapman

Write About Something You Know…

It’s one of the tips most often given to budding authors. After all, it seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you love horses, write a book involving horses, if football’s your passion, write a book with football in it. But when I think back to the first books I got published, not one of them involved a subject I knew much about. They were all animal books and although I know a fair bit about dogs and horses, I actually found myself writing books about cats, chinchillas, rats and goats. This theme of writing about subjects I know very little about has continued over the years. I’ve written a series about ice-skating, a series about ballet, a series about travelling the world and rescuing endangered animals and, most recently, a series about baking. None of which were things that I knew very much about when I started writing them. 

You see, if an editor says to me ‘I’d like a book about…’ (fill in the gap with whatever activity/animal you want) I will undoubtedly find myself saying ‘no problem, I can do that!’ and then usually adding for good measure: ‘oh yes, I used to do it all the time when I was a child.’ The thing is, in my head I can bake and ice skate and ballet dance. I can certainly imagine what it’s like to love those things and to feel passionately about them and I do lots of research to fill in the gaps and details. Research is brilliant fun – often far more fun than writing –the Internet is a wonderful tool. You want to know what it’s like to go to study polar bears in a remote settlement in Svalbard, Norway then you can bet that someone, somewhere will have blogged about it and provided photos. You want to know what the airport in Delhi looks like, well you can watch many YouTube videos of people walking through Delhi airport. You want to know the traditional way to make pumpernickel, then you can find photos and recipes galore. I thank heavens for those people who take photos and videos wherever they go and of whatever they are doing because I really do rely on them. I also rely on talking to people who are experts in their field. Reading, watching, talking to people who can actually do the things I am writing about and getting my own hands on experience if at all possible helps me no end - sadly not possible when it came to the polar bears in Svalbard but I did end up baking a lot of cakes and pastries when I was writing my Best Friends Bakery series. The more I baked, the more I came to understand why so many people love to bake so much - even if my own attempts still in no way measure up to the fantasy cakes I am able to bake in my head!

So, if you or someone you know would like to write, yes, writing about something you know a lot about is clearly good, sound advice but you might also have an incredible time if you write about something outside of your comfort zone, something completely new – you need to do the research but it will open your mind, broaden your horizons and most of all, be a huge amount of fun!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Chicken House YA Romance Blog Tour

I am delighted to be able to offer you all today extracts from Helen Maslin's Darkmere and Lucy Inglis Crow Mountain as part of the Chicken House YA Romance Blog Tour

Darkmere by Helen Maslin and Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis are out now and published by Chicken House. For more information visit 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Can't wait to read

These are the books I am dying to be published so I can get my grubby little hands on them.

All Wrapped up by Holly Smale

I really love this series and looking forward to this little installment already.

Front Line by Michael Grant

Perfect for fans of The Book Thief and Code Name Verity, New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, genre-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

Alternate History is always a bit odd for me but when it is done well I love it. I'm very much hoping this is fab.

PS I Like You by Kasie West

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

I always like Kasie's books. I really wish she had a UK publisher.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

I am already very excited about the idea of this book. It sounds awesome 

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

This sounds super cute. I've never heard of the author but I am hoping it is so good. 

In real life by Jessica Love

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There's just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she's supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah's romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick's girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn't the only thing he's been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can't be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Another one I don't know much about but am very much looking forward to.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal - and a very special girl called Sophie.

'Some stories are hard to tell.
Even to your very best friend.
And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.
But if you bottle them up, you might burst.
So here's my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.'

Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she's fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion - and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can't put it into words. But it's also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.

SOPHIE SOMEONE is a tale of well-intentioned but stupid parenting, shock, acceptance and, ultimately, forgiveness, written in a brave, memorable and unique language all of its own.

My thoughts 

This book is so different and I really enjoyed it lots.

The main quirk of this book is the fact that Sophie has developed her own language substituting words for others which at first seems confusing but as the book progresses gets easier to get your head around until you are at the point where you are reading it without realising.

I liked the mystery element to this story and finding out more about Sophie's family and the hidden secrets surrounding them.

A really different and interesting UKYA offering which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Monster by CJ Skuse

At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.

My thoughts
I am a sucker for boarding school stories and always have been so when I found out this book was coming out from one of my favouite UKYA authors I was very excited indeed

It is so so so good. The thriller storyline is brilliant and kept me guessing throughout. I loved the laugh out loud dialogue which was funny, witty and clever. The entires story was fast paced and exciting from the first to last page meaning I was incredibly reluctant to put it down at all as I needed to find out what was going to happen next. I'm deliberately not going to tell you anything at all about the storyline because I don't want to spoil the book for you.

Ppreorder this brilliant read now ready for september. A perfect example of why I adore UKYA just don't read at bedtime if you want to get any sleep at all

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Three women - three secrets - one heart-stopping story.Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can't reveal.Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her.Katie's grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and 'capable of anything', despite suffering from Alzheimers.As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is 'badness' genetic?In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love.Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories

My thoughts
This book is so good. I suspected it would be before I started it and just knew after the first page it was going to be as wonderful as I'd hoped.

Unbecoming is the story of Mary, Caroline and Katie and starts when Caroline and her daughter Katie are contacted by the hospital to collect Caroline's mother Mary. Caroline is not happy about this having not seen much of her mother over the years due to an incredibly rocky relationship with the woman her gave her up to be brought up by her aunt when she was a baby. It is clear from the outset that Mary has Alzheimers and Caroline is forced to take her into her home.

As you can imagine the welcome Mary gets from her daughter is not a warm one and it ends up being Katie who makes the effort and spends time with Mary and helping her to remember things on a day to day basis. Trouble is the more Mary remember the more it uncovers about the past which Caroline wanted to keep buried.

I really enjoyed seeing the differing relationships between the three generations of the family. I also thought this book showcased the heartbreaking way in which Alzheimers can rob everything for someone the more it progresses. Seeing the world from Mary's view made you really feel for how much she was losing.

All in all a wonderful book about family

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Next Together by Lauren James

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different...

My Thoughts
This book is awesome. I'm not sure I have the words to do it justice really.

If you love historical fiction you'll love this book.
If you love contemporary fiction you'll love this book.
If you love dystopian fiction you'll love this book.

This book is really hard to pin down because it is so unique in what it does. It centers around the story of Matthew and Katherine who meet each other and fall in love time and time again in different lives. Each era has its own challenges and over the course of the book the pair try to deal with them as best they can.

I loved seeing how each story linked together and seeing each of the different threads of the story played out.

Only thing is the end left me with all the questions. I need someone to read it too so I can discuss at length.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

A startling coming-of-age novel set in a contemporary Nazi England.

Jessika Keller is a good girl: she obeys her father, does her best to impress Herr Fisher at the Bund Deutscher M├Ądel meetings and is set to be a world champion ice skater. Her neighbour Clementine is not so submissive. Outspoken and radical, Clem is delectably dangerous and rebellious. And the regime has noticed. Jess cannot keep both her perfect life and her dearest friend. But which can she live without?

THE BIG LIE is a thought-provoking and beautifully told story that explores ideas of loyalty, sexuality, protest and belief.

My Thoughts
Really chilling and thoughtful read.

I was concerned about reading this book. I love Julie Mayhew's previous book but I am very picky at all about anything with made up Nazis because they can make me really really cross. Throwing the book across the book cross.

I am very pleased to say this book did the Nazi side very well indeed and was obviously well thought out and researched which meant I could believe in the world building and get behind the story.

The world set up in The Big Lie is a terrifying one. The Nazi state controls everyone and every aspect of their lives. Those who don't conform are treated ruthlessly and as a consequence most who haven't been fully brainwashed into believing in Nazi ideology are too scared to stand up against it and keep quiet to save their own skins.

The story itself really made me think as you see the story progress.

Highly recommended indeed.