Saturday, 30 April 2016

April review

April has been an insane month for me blogwise. I'm still trying to throw off a horrible coldly/flu like bug I seem to have had since Christmas and therefore I've spent a lot of time at home reading in bed.

Read in April
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman (3 stars)
Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar (5 stars)
Kook by Chris Vick (4 stars)
Here we Lie by Sophie McKenzie (3 stars)
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (5 stars)
London belongs to us by Sarra Manning (5 stars)
Mystery and Mayhem by Katherine Woodfine et al (4 stars)
You know me well by David Levithan (2 stars)
The One we fell in love with by Paige Toom (5 stars)
V for Violet by Alison Rattle (4 stars)
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (4 stars)
Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan (5 stars)
Lying about last summer by Sue Wallman (4 stars)
The Second Love of my Life by Victoria Walters (4 stars)
The OMG Blog by Karen McCombie (3 stars)
Nightwanders by CJ Flood (3 stars)
Tall Oaks by Chris Whittaker (3 stars)

Book of the Month


Had to be Sarra's book. I've waited no so patiently for it for what seems like ages and it was definitely worth the wait. It's just perfect diverse UKYA and I adored it.

Events attended
None. Downside of living in Norfolk as I had several invites for evening events in London which I just couldn't get to.

May TBR
The Girls by Emma Cline
A Seven Letter Word by Kim Slater

Friday, 29 April 2016

V for Violet by Alison Rattle


Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing - but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe - an auspicious start, but now she's just stuck in her family's fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn't look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau's a rocker - a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet's grey little life, and she can't believe her luck. But things don't go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet's best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can't believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He's weird, and she feels sure he's hiding something. He's got a secret, and Violet's got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all...

My thoughts
I am a huge fan of Alison Rattle's work and will read anything she writes. I was therefore incredibly excited to get my hands on a copy of this book.

As always with an Alison Rattle book the historical detail was rich and superbly done. I was absolutely fascinated with it. The story itself was fast paced and exciting too. Much of it was centred around a murder mystery whuch kept me guessing throughout.

I adored the main character Violet. I loved her awkwardness and her frustrations which the life she is being made to follow because of the society she lives in. I adored it when she decided to go teen rebel turning her back on bad friends and going against her family's expectations.

Just awesome and highly recommended.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar


Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don't mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig - sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they're at their most vulnerable?

It's all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy's stuff. Just your typical love story.

A searingly honest and achingly funny story about love and sex amid the hotbed of university colleges by the award-winning author of Raw Blue.


My thoughts
This book is so good. I actively hunted it own after loving Raw Blue and yay for Book Depository for now having Aussie titles that they ship for free directly to the UK. It was absolutely worth the effort of tracking it down.

I really loved so many things about this book and can't recommend it enough. It is older YA or could be seen as New Adult as the book is set at university. I've not been a huge fan of new adult in the past but if New Adult books were like this I'd read so much more of it.

I loved the main character Jess because she is a really awesome and strong female lead. I love the fact that she is both tough but also with a softer edge. I really rooted her from the first page and wanted to know more about what was going to happen to her. I would gladly read more books about her further experiences at university.

For me one of the best things about this book is its take on feminism. I love that these girls are independent and tough, they enjoy sex but also girly and feminine too. So many times in fiction feminism is seen as being tough and man hating and anything else is seen is unfeminist. I love how the feminism in this is flexible in much the way I think it should be to suit the different characters you meet. Linked to that Another thing that stands out about this book is that the sexy scenes are damn sexy. They aren't cliche and show girls enjoying the experiences without guilt which is refreshing.

I loved the main storyline which is centred around a revenge plot. It's exciting and interesting throughout. I found myself not wanting to put down the book as I needed to know how things were going to plan out.

All in all a book I adored. Definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Second Love of my life by Victoria Walters



In the Cornish town of Talting, everyone is famous for something.

Until recently Rose was known for many things: her infectious positivity; her unique artistic talent; and her devotion to childhood sweetheart Lucas.

But two years ago that changed in one unthinkable moment. Now, Rose is known for being the young woman who became a widow aged just twenty-four.

Though Rose knows that life must go on, the thought of carving out a new future for herself is one she can barely entertain. Until a newcomer, Robert, arrives in Talting for the summer...

Can Rose allow herself the chance to love again?

Get lost in Victoria Walters' immensely touching debut novel, and discover a world that will capture your imagination and heart.


My thoughts
I picked up this book on a whim and I've very glad that I did I definitely think Victoria Walters could be a new auto buy author for me. Read in one sitting and very much enjoyed. Felt similar to a Lucy Dillon novel whose books I also really enjoyed.

For me this book was a real emotional rollercoaster. It made me smile and brought me close to tears on several ocassions. I won't go into too much detail as I wouldn't want to spoil any of the details for anyone but I will say that it really captured both the raw grief felt by the main character as well as the those feelings associated with falling in love with someone new.

I very much enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking out for what the author writes next.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Can't wait to read

Another month, more books I can't wait to read


Post-breakup Avery interviewing exes, classmates, and family to learn why none of her relationships have worked thus far.

I don't know much about this book but one of my twitter friends who has excellent book taste was raving about it so naturally it had to go on my wishlist.


Wish you weren't here…

When Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of her life are a complete blank. All she has been told is that she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…. wasn't just an accident.

With no memory of what happened or what she did, can Jill prove her innocence? And can she really be sure that she isn't the one to blame?


This book looks awesome. I can't wait to get a copy. 

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 about to get in a whole lot more trouble


I love Paige's books and I love this series. I can't wait for this.

 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Cover reveal: The Graces by Laure Eve


Today I am delighted to be able to reveal the cover for Laure Eve's forthcoming book The Graces. The Graces sounds awesome and I literally cannot wait to read it.

Synopsis
Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.


Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.



Thursday, 21 April 2016

Kook by Chris Vick


A heart-pounding love story that grips like a riptide, and doesn’t let go…

Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere.

Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding and riding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.

As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave – into a storm, to danger … and to heartbreak.


My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. Exactly what I've been wanting to read for a good while now.

I loved that they main characters were easy to were really easy to relate to. I instantly warmed to them and found myself really invested in them from the outset. I loved the fact that it's YA contemp and a love story but from a male perspective. It was interesting to see the different perspective when most of the the YA contemps I read are from a female perspective.  The love story is really intense and captured that way in which those first loves can be all encompassing.

For me this book was a bit of a love letter to the surfing and cornwall. I'm not a surfer by any means but have been a few times where I mostly flailed around in the water ungraceful but even that experience gave me a real insight as to why those who do it are so addicted because that feeling of being in the sea and the rush when you catch a wave is like nothing else. This book really showed that as you see the main character Sam as he learns to surf after moving to Cornwall. Cornwall itself is one of those places I personally can't get enough of and again this book really gets across why the place is so addictive.

All in all a book I really enjoyed and definitely worth a read. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Chasing Charlie by Linda McLaughlin


When unlucky-in-love Sam bumps into her first boyfriend, the charming but roguish Charlie, she falls head first for him all over again. Even though he broke her heart, she's determined to win him back - even if she has to chase him all over London…

Sam’s friends have their doubts about whether cheating Charlie is really the man for her, but they have their own problems to deal with. Uptight Mara is struggling to trust anyone after a bad break-up; sexy corporate go-getter Claudia has her self-confidence rocked after a health scare; and sensitive, intelligent Ed, has been secretly, hopelessly in love with Sam for years…

As Sam chases her lost love like a woman possessed, getting into ever more outlandish situations and making a fool of herself in the process, she finds herself wondering just how far she’ll go to win Charlie back. Or will she finally see what’s right under her nose?


 
My thoughts
I did enjoy this book quite a bit. I'm not a huge adult books reader but do like adult authors such as Paige Toon and Lucy Dillon so if you like those sort of reads I'm sure you'll like this too

Chasing Charlie is the story of a group of friends and the narrative is split between several of the them. The main story that of Sam and Charlie, he ex she thought was long gone. They meet after a long time apart and the story follows Sam as she tries to get back with him. I must admit her story left me quite frustrated. You can clearly see that Charlie is one of those complete bastards who all women should avoid and I spent a lot of the book wanting to shake some sense into her.

The story also has several interesting subplots which I think I enjoyed more than the main story revolving around Sam's friends. They did mean the book was quite a long one for what it is bout I did find them really interesting. I particularly enjoyed Claudia's story and would have happily read a book just about her.

All in all an interesting read.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley


The captivating debut children's novel from popular television historian Lucy Worsley is an exciting and charming glimpse behind the scenes of the Tudor court.

I would often wonder about my future husband. A knight? A duke? A stable boy?
Of course the last was just a wicked fancy.


Eliza Rose Camperdowne is young and headstrong, but she knows her duty well. As the only daughter of a noble family, she must one day marry a man who is very grand and very rich.

But Fate has other plans. When Eliza becomes a maid of honour, she's drawn into the thrilling, treacherous court of Henry the Eighth . . .

Is her glamorous cousin Katherine Howard a friend or a rival?

And can a girl choose her own destiny in a world ruled by men?


My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book.

I loved how well it did the history and how it makes it a read I can give to my students without being worried they'll come away with loads of ridiculous misconceptions about the time period.

I really enjoyed the take the story had on a young Katherine Howard and her motivations that led her to become the person we remember from History. Much like Harriet Castor's VIII I love that this book makes her real.

I also really enjoyed the story. It was fast paced and interesting all the way through and covered the history in an entertaining way rather than becoming bogged down in dry detail.

I, for one, am very much hoping this is the first of many fiction books by Lucy Worsley


Friday, 15 April 2016

Shtum by Jem Lester


Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.

When Ben and Emma fake a separation - a strategic decision to further Jonah's case in an upcoming tribunal - Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben's elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men - one who can't talk; two who won't - are thrown together.

A powerful, emotional, but above all enjoyable read, perfect for fans of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.


My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me real insight to how it must be to have a child with autism and the lengths you must have to go to to make their needs met as well as all the feelings you have to deal with while living that life.

I adored the relationship between the father of the book and his father but also the relationship between the grandfather and the child. I also found the background story to the grandfather fascinating.

Heartfelt and beautiful. Very much recommended.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Guest Post from Chris Vick author of Kook






I’m very lucky.  I’ve spent a lot of time on, or in, the water, both in my work for Whale and Dolphin Conservation (www.whales.org) and as a surfer, on my own search for waves. I’ve travelled all over: France, Barbados, Morocco, Canada and more.

But when I came to write books, featuring surfing, and the rescue of stranded whales (in the one I’m writing now), I chose to set them here in the UK and specifically Cornwall.

Why? Firstly, I simply know it better.  I’ve spent more time patrolling the Cornish coast’s coves and beaches looking for waves, than anywhere else. And especially in autumn and winter, when the storms hit, the waves are bigger and the crowds are thinner.

For me, that’s when the place really comes alive.  The clichés of winter surfing are all about driving through hard rain, squeezing into cold rubber, and getting battered in heavy swells. In other words, you’d have to be a masochist.  Yes, all of the above is part of the experience but there’s plenty of sunny days too, in autumn the water is still warm, and the tech on the wetsuits these days is amazing. You really don’t get that cold.  (Honest!).

 There’s something about getting in the sea in the more remote locations; something about connecting with somewhere that is still a wilderness, but right on our doorstep; something about riding the sort of waves only a serious storm can generate. It’s wild and elemental, different from - and an antidote to - a screen, work and stress filled life.  There’s the search too. There are popular spots like Croyde in Devon and Newquay in Cornwall, sure. But I pretty much never surf them.  Even in these days of insta-everything, there are places that are secret; that only work in a bigger swell.  Places you might have to walk cliffs, climb rocks or paddle a long way to get to.

And if you put in the effort, you can be rewarded with top class waves. On their day, the reefs at Porthleven and Lynmouth are amazing.  But there are other places too.

I wanted to get the atmosphere of this’ search’ in Kook.  All of which might make you think it’s all just about surf.  It’s not.  It’s about those places, and also about a bunch of teens finding a challenge, a rite of passage, that they can’t get from an urban life, an x box or on a football pitch.

In short, adventure. We can all relate to that.

So, a lot of my own experiences of being in home seas, have seeped onto the pages.

I’ve even surfed with dolphins here.  I’ve seen whales In Mexico from a row boat, dwarfed by the grey whales we were studying. Killer whales in Canada, so close I could see their black marble eyes staring at me.  But this was always from the safety of a research boat.  It’s different when you’re in the water. 

I was surfing in Cornwall, down at my favourite spot, a bay of granite rock and azure water when I saw a grey bullet of dolphin, headed straight at me.  I wasn’t afraid exactly, but it was unnerving. Male UK Bottlenose dolphins are ten foot long, and they move at speed.  It surfaced followed by the arcing backs and exploding phoosh breaths of its pod, or family group.  How many were there. Four, five? More? 

Before I even gasped they were under and around me.  They rode a few waves, and made it look easy, swooping and carving, rushing and diving.  True aquatic acrobats. Up, down, in and out of the water.  Total masters of the same waves, we clumsily, and desperately, work to try and glide on.  Just so we can do for a few seconds what they can do any time they please. As far as I could tell, they did it for the same reason we do.  The heart thrilling rush of it. 

Another key experience,  influenced the rite of passage for the surfers in Kook; to surf An island, with reefs called the Devil’s Horns. There’s a real place that inspired it. It’s not on any surf website.  In these times of instagram, when anyone can take a photo and give a map ref. it’s still a secret spot.

It’s a nightmare to get to, it only works at low tide. It needs a massive swell, with particular wave and wind direction, to really get going.   Basically, it’s fickle as hell. So its un-crowded. The muddy path runs through thick woods, between steep hills. At the end there’s a slippy clamber down some rocks. There’s a thin entry and exit point, after which, you paddle like crazy to get out and round, into the bay, where you surf in front of the cliffs. 
Usually, if it’s working at all, it’s big. There’s an ever present danger of rips, taking you away from the entry/exit spot. The waves can close out (break wide and quickly) a lot, not only robbing you of a ride, but threatening to give you a nasty pasting. It only works in a big winter storm. So it’s usually dark, rainy and cold too. But the place offers up a solid mix of quality surf and real adventure.  You have to be careful. You back off or paddle over, ten waves for every one you go for.  But when you do get one, it’s fast and hollow.

I could go on…  The point, really, is that, there’s plenty of surf in the UK, and heaps of amazing, wild places, especially in Cornwall and Devon.  Somewhere we only get a taste of in the summer hols.  Somewhere untamed, or as Ted Hughes, said, ‘unexorcised.’



Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Love Song by Sophia Bennett






A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina’s not one of them.

She’s the new assistant to the lead singer’s diva fiancée, and she knows it’s going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn’t as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up. Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina’s determined to stick it out – and not fall for any of them …

The new novel from the popular and highly-acclaimed author of You Don’t Know Me, The Look, and the Threads series.


My Thoughts
I really loved this book.

For me the mark of a good book is one that I can fly through effortlessly without realising I'm doing it. This book was very much like that. I sat down to read a chapter or two and next time I looked up I was over half way through.

I loved that it was based around a band. Over the years I've craved books like this mostly because I think they appeal to my inner teenager who loved boy bands. I loved the boys in this book and found myself swooning over them so I perfectly understood why Nina was drawn in by them initially

Equally I adored the lead in this book. Nina is so normal yet really awesome too. I adored her in the way in which she did her thing and stood her ground and wasn't distracted by the fact that she was dealing with the hottest band in the world.

I want a sequel. Hell I want a series of sequels. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Head over Heels by Holly Smale


“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows only one flag in the world features a building.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So when love is in the air, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

Has GEEK GIRL overstepped the mark, and is following the rules going to break hearts all over again?


My thoughts
I find it really hard to review books which are several in in a series. I can never gauge what to say which isn't going to spoil the book but also be helpful.

Therefore I'll say this. Head over Heels was another fun Harriet story which I really enjoyed. She's as quirky as always but you can see that she's finally starting to grow up a bit in this book which I enjoyed seeing. I'm really looking forward to seeing what this will mean for the next books in the series.

If you love the series you'll adore this too.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Blog Tour: Houses that inspired Heatherwick Hall by Sophia Bennet




5 HOUSES THAT INSPIRED HEATHERWICK HALL

Headley Grange

 picture taken from http://www.headley-grange.com/

I can’t remember when I first got the idea for a rambling country house as a setting for The Point as they struggle to write a new album, but it might have been inspired by Headley Grange, where Led Zeppelin recorded some iconic albums in the 1970s.

In photos, the house looks nothing special in itself, but my imagination was fired by the way the band used it to hunker down away from their fans and bond together musically. I stole so many details of those days for Love Song – like the Rolling Stones mobile recording studio outside (I used the exact studio, though the real thing is now in Canada), the drumkit in the hallway, where the acoustics were most atmospheric, and even the relaxed, off-hand way the band behaved there:

(Wikipedia) Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
(About IV: “. Jimmy Page later recalled: "We needed the sort of facilities where we could have a cup of tea and wander around the garden and go in and do what we had to do.")

It’s odd, because I read about the Rolling Stones themselves recording in a villa in the South of France, and you’d think that would have provided an even more compelling backdrop, but it was the Englishness of Headley Grange that ultimately appealed to me. I pictured the band writing, recording and listening to Kashmir there, the way Nina listens to it in the book.

South Wraxall Manor


I started putting a Pinterest board together while I was looking for ideas for my imaginary location, and South Wraxall Manor was the first house to make it (https://uk.pinterest.com/sophiabennett/love-song/). Exquisitely beautiful inside and out, it’s been lovingly restored by its current owners, John Taylor and his wife Gela Nash, the co-founder of Juicy Couture. Even if it didn’t happen to be owned by John Taylor, I would still adore this romantic, mysterious place. But it just so happens that John, the bass player for Duran Duran, was one of my serious crushes in the 1980s.

God he was beautiful. The classic out-of-reach pop star who goes out with supermodels who Nina is so dismissive of in the book. I was thrilled to discover that he’d recently written an autobiography about those days, and it’s very honest about how insecure and romantically hopeless he was during all the madness of touring with the band. I leaped on it as research for Love Song (this was work! I love my job!) and it gave me a lot of the detail about what it’s like to be in a super-band on tour. Connor Clark, the beautiful bassist in The Point, has more than a hint of John in those pre-Wraxall days about him. (OK, he’s basically based on John.)

Eglingham Hall



I was already writing Love Song, and imagining the grand, crumbling country house I wanted. After much thought, I’d placed it up in Northumberland – far from wifi and what the boys would consider civilization. I was describing it to a friend of mine who happened to be an ex-stylist for fashion magazines, and she said ‘Oh, you mean Eglingham Hall’. I didn’t, because I’d never heard of it, but when I looked it up, the similarities were spooky. My imaginary house is largely Elizabethan and Eglingham Hall is boldly Georgian, but other than that, they have a ridiculous amount in common. Both grand, tucked away in Northumberland, not far from Alnwick Castle, and slightly falling apart in a quintessentially English way.

Eglingham is special because it’s used for eccentric fashion shoots by the likes of Tim Walker, who’s been one of my favourite fashion photographers for years. April Potts, who owns it, lets him fill rooms with fake snow, horses, a bi-plane or whatever else takes his fancy, for shoots with Kate Moss and Lily Cole. The pictures helped me imagine what Nina might get up to as an artist/photographer in Heatherwick Hall. The Silk Room, with its peeling yellow silk walls and creepy collection of dolls, was inspired by Eglingham.

If you’re a fashion illustration junkie like me, check out some of Tim Walker’s pictures in this article from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2013/may/24/tim-walker-photographer-in-pictures


There’s more than a hint of Lordington House in Heatherwick. ‘House’ doesn’t begin to do justice to this place. It’s a Jacobean manor, with roaring fires, an immaculate garden, and views of endless rolling fields beyond. I know it well, because I’ve stayed there. It’s run as a B&B in Sussex, not far from Goodwood, and you can stay there too. Do!

I based a lot of the interiors on the house, which is grand and wonderful, with roaring fires, but lived in, and a bit haphazard. It inspired the maze of corridors and the bathrooms carved out of bedrooms in the book. Nina’s bathroom at Heatherington was totally stolen from Lordington. Not the cheesy pink suite, but the slightly odd location, and the stunning view you get through the window while sitting in the roll-top bath.


While I was putting this piece together I knew I’d missed something out, but couldn’t place where, or why. Then I realised that there’s a house we go to every year – sometimes in the summer, sometimes in the dead of winter – to visit very close friends, and of course I’d been thinking of it. It’s a beautiful Georgian rectory in Cornwall, set beside the sea, with a large kitchen where we all tend to congregate because our friend is a fabulous chef. I must have had it in the back of my mind when I was writing all the happy scenes at Heatherwick, when Nina and the boys are eating together, or settling into the sitting room to make music.

The whole location was so special to me that ten years ago I asked if we could get married there. The church is a few steps away at the end of the garden, so after the wedding we all came back to the house for a wonderful home-cooked supper. I think, subconsciously, I based the impromptu feast near the end of Love Song on that meal.

My husband plays guitar, my brother plays semi-professional bass, my father has played rock drums all my life, and my brother-in-law is a dab hand on vocals. They put together a scratch band for the wedding reception, and I danced the night away to their covers of the Arctic Monkeys and the Rolling Stones, surrounded by family and friends.

Did that night at influence a book I later wrote about a band, a girl, and the art of being in love? Maybe …

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Consumed by Abbie Rushton


Myla used to love spending long, hot days on the beach with her sister, Asha. Until the day Asha was taken from her and the sun went out. Forever.

That was two years ago. Myla hasn't been down to the beach - or even left the house - since. Crippling agoraphobia and panic attacks keep her locked inside a nightmare of the day she can never forget. Her main contact with the outside world is online - until she meets Jamie.

Jamie is new in town and also struggles with things most people find easy. Nobody gets why it's so hard for him to eat. But, like Myla, Jamie is trapped by his fears and feels anxious, awkward and alone.

Gradually the pair begin to trust each other. Are they willing to reveal their secrets - and risk discovering the truth? Or will they let their pasts consume them for good...


My thoughts
I liked several things about this book.

Firstly I enjoyed the mystery element. I found myself unable to put the book down because I wanted, no needed, to know what happened to the sister all those years before and that meant I just had to keep reading. I thought the way it turned out was both quite clever in that I didn't see it coming and it hung together well and made sense.

I enjoyed both the main characters. Myla is an interesting one. I was interested to see the impact the loss of her sister had had on her and the way in which this was dealt with across the course of the book in a sensitive way.

I loved Jamie as a character. I've not seen a YA book where the male character is affected by a eating disorder and it was interesting to see the toll it had on him pyschologically and the reasons why he had become the way he had. It was thoughtful and logical and I think it is really important for teens to see that it isn't just girls who can be affected by when people say cruel things linked to body image.

The story was gripping throughout. As a side note I got really geekily excited when I found out it was set on the North Norfolk coast.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern: Blog Tour with Exclusive Content from Harpercollins



Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.


Watch the book trailer here



Exclusive Blog Tour Content