Thursday, 30 June 2016

June review

Another quiet one for me book wise. I'm deep into exam period with the kids having just finished exams and me now starting exam marking. I'm very much counting down until the middle of July and my summer holidays starting so I can read everything.

Books read
Born Scared by Kevin Brooks (3 stars)
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah (2 stars)
The Boy most likely to by Huntley Fitzpatrick (3 stars)
Wonder Boy by Nicole Burstein (4 stars)
Very British Problems by Rob Temple (3 stars)
Songs about a girl by Chris Russell (5 stars)
If I was your girl by Meredith Russo (3 stars)
Sunny Side up by Holly Smale (4 stars)
The Girls by Emma Cline (2 stars)
The secrets of Billie Bright by Susie Day (5 stars)
Girl out of water by Nat Luurtsema (3 stars)

events attended
I went to an awesome event at Walker HQ. I got to meet lots of lovely authors and bloggers and hear about all of walker's awesome future titles.

Book of the month

without question songs about a girl was my favourite book this month ... possibly even this year

July TBR
The Deviants by CJ Skuse
The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
No Man's Land by Simon Tolkein
Ride by Lisa Glass
Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe
Replica by Lauren Oliver
The Wrong Train by Jeremy De Quidt
Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali
False Hearts by Laura Lam
Beck by Mal Peet
A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole
The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
The Sport of Kings by CE Morgan
The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance
Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Six Four by Hideo Yokomama
Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker
Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
The Age of Reinvention by Karine Tuil
The Secrets of Dreadcliffe Grange School by Kim Newman
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Anders
Trigger Mortis by Antony Horowitz
Sleeping Giants by Slyvan Neuvel
Under Rose Tainted Skies by Rose Gornall
The Next Together by Lauren James

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that her sleep problems might be driving her mad or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness...

My thoughts
This story is well creepy. It kept me guessing from the first page until the last.

There are several things about this book that I enjoyed. Firstly the tension throughout is incredible. It is very much edge of your seat reading which I just couldn't put down. I liked the main character and following her story both in seeing her determination to find out the truth but also how she was quite vulnerable and real too. The setting made for a really intense read that kept me guessing. The limited cast and limits to the geography with the boat meant it was easy to suspect everyone and trust no one. All of those things made it a really intense and creepy read.

All in all a book I really enjoyed which I was entirely drawn into. Very much recommended.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Can't wait to read

another little pile of books I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts onto

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Alwyn Hamilton recommended this on instagram a few days ago and now I want it. I want it lots.

All I ever wanted by Lucy Dillon

Nancy is four, nearly five. She talks all the time: in the car, on the way to nursery, to her extrovert older brother, to her collection of bears. But then, one February morning, everything changes. Nancy's mum and dad split up. Her father Patrick moves away from their Bristol home to Newcastle. And Nancy stops talking.
Eva is forty-four, nearly forty-five. She didn't expect to be the third wife of a much-loved household name, but eight years ago, she and semi-retired bad boy Michael Quinn fell in love. Eva knew marrying a much older man meant compromises, but it was the love of a lifetime for them both - until Mickey dies suddenly, leaving Eva alone with his gossipy diaries, their two pugs, and a distressing voice in the back of her mind, wondering if perhaps she's sacrificed more than she meant to.

I love a Lucy Dillon and cannot wait for this. I've had it on preorder for ages.

I found you by Lisa Jewell

'How long have you been sitting out here?'

'I got here yesterday.'

'Where did you come from?'

'I have no idea.'

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement she invites him in to her home.

Surrey: Twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

I also love a Lisa Jewell novel and have had this one on preorder for ages

Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent half of her junior year falling for a sensitive film geek she only knows online as “Alex.” Two coasts separate them until she moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist trap, the oddball Cavern Palace Museum. Or that she’s being tormented daily by Porter Roth, a smart-alecky yet irritatingly hot museum security guard. But when Porter and Bailey are locked in the museum overnight, Bailey is forced to choose whether she should cling to a dreamy fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex. Approximately.

I loved Jenn's previous YA effort completely and I really want to read this as a consequence. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.

My thoughts
I was really excited when I received this book for review.

The first three quarters or so is awesome. I found myself fascinated and needing to read more and more because I didn't want to put it down. I was desperate to know what happened to the kids and all the whys and wherefores of what had happened to them. In the end I had too put it down because it was a school night and then when I did pick it up again I just didn't care as much. I don't know if it's because the outcome wasn't as clever as I'd hoped or what it was but I ended up feeling a little disappointed and kicking myself for not powering through the night before sleep be damned.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Blog Tour: The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries. Question and Answer with author Jamie Scallion

How influential was music to you as a child?

Very, my dad was in a band that did pretty well and he had a huge record collection (back in the days of vinyl). I remember this one record as a very young boy that was pink. It fascinated me. It was Elvis Presley and it was amazing. My dad had all the classics. The Beatles, Stones, Who, Dylan. It was a treasure trove.

How impactful do you think reading is on music and songwriting?

I think it’s extremely impactful. Reading helps you collect the words you need to be a good songwriter. I still look up words I read in books I don’t understand and learn their meaning.

What inspired you to write a book, and why did you decide to write a book about a band?

I was inspired by boredom. I was on the road with my band, Officer Kicks, and I didn’t want to drink all day or watch TV so I started writing. I wrote it about a band because it’s what I know.

Are there any events in the books that are based on real life, and can you tell us which ones?

Oh yes, loads! Many I can’t tell you about. In book 1 when one of the band gets their hair stuck in a guitar - that happened to the Funky Love Children when we were seventeen.

Which book or author would you say influenced you the most as an author?

J. R. R. Tolkien without a doubt. Of course our material and styles are worlds apart (he’s on a different level in terms of his genius!) but I have read his books several times and they never fail to inspire.

Which musician or song would you say has influenced you the most as a musician and songwriter?

The Beatles. Their range surpassed all in my opinion. They are undisputed.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of writing a book for the first time?

Write it from the heart and work on it very, very hard. Complete it and (this is the hard part) keep doing it until you get good. Practice never makes perfect but you do get better.

What advice would you give to budding musicians and songwriters?

The same as above. Just write, always. Be obsessed by it.

Which band or artist, living or dead, would you most like to meet and why?

I’d like to host a dead rockstar tea party. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.

Who's your favorite RockAteer and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I think Burt because he has been such a joy to bring to life. I really think he’s misunderstood and writing about bad guys is more fun. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

London belongs to us by Sarra Manning

Twelve hours, two boys, one girl . . . and a whole lot of hairspray.

Seventeen-year-old Sunny's always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London - starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she'd have anything in common with - least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French 'twins' (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone - from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers - is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.

A fast-paced, darkly funny love letter to London, boys with big hair and the joys of staying up all night.

My thoughts 
Fabulous stuff. I am an unashamed Sarra Manning Fan Girl. I have adored her work since her J17 days and I am so pleased that I got the opportunity to read this book.

I really loved loads of things about this book

I loved how diverse the characters were. The main character Sunny is mixed race and it was really interesting to see the impact that has on the way in which she is treated by some of the secondary characters in a world that should be well past making racist assumptions about others.

Special shout out has to go to Sunny's roller derby team. I love that there is a UKYA book out there with a roller derby team featured.

I enjoyed that the book plays out almost in realtime making it a really intense adventure which you live along with the character as each event plays out. I also really enjoyed The Tour of London you get across the evening as each part of the book takes part in different parts of the city. The story captured those differences well and showcases the real diversity that can be found in one city. The real geeky part of me really loved the facts about the different areas that prefaced each section.

All in all a really exciting adventure which I really enjoyed.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well. 

A hilarious and heartwarming coming-of-age perfect for readers of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and All The Bright Places, Highly Illogical Behavior showcases the different ways in which we hide ourselves from the world—and the ways in which love, tragedy, and the need for connection may be the only things to bring us back into the light.

My thoughts
Oh this book. Meeting Solomon made my heart ache as you get to know what he goes through because of his anxieties and how much of a toll that has on his daily existence.

High Illogical behaviour is an interesting story. It focuses on three teen characters. Solomon, Clarke and Lisa. Solomon hasn't left the house in years because of his anxieties and Lisa decides to make make friends with him in order to cure him and get him out of the house dragging boyfriend Clarke into the plan too.

The story really made me feel for Solomon as you see the real toll his anxieties have on his day to day and how much it limits him, especially when he is such as awesome character with so much to give to the world. Lisa actually grew on me too. I initially thought she was bit heartless but actually I think she's actually a bit naive and you can see this come through over the course of the book. My favourite character had to be Clarke purely because he is so cool but also really sweet, particularly so with Solomon and I kind loved him for that.

A really interesting read which gave me a lot to think about

Friday, 3 June 2016

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom . . . But at what price?

My thoughts

This book made my heart ache. It's dark and chilling and one that will stay with you long after reading it. There were a lot of scenes which felt like a car crash in that I didn't want to look but needed to in equal measure as I needed to know what was happening but also sat and squirmed at the awfulness that June suffered. It said a lot about how no one really knows what goes on in other people's houses and the extent to which some young people suffer at the hands of those who should be protecting them. A really well done and thoughtful novel which will stick with you for a long time to come

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

British Books Challenge: Link your June reviews here

We are now almost half way through the British Books Challenge for 2016. How did that happen?

Firstly the winner of a copy of Paige Toon's The One we fell in love with is Tine from Novel Meals. Please email me Tina with your address and I'll get it sent out.

This Month I will be giving away a copy of a book published in June which I thought was awesome. That book is London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning. I'll get it sent from Book Depo or Amazon or Waterstones depending on which one is cheapest on the day