Thursday, July 30, 2015

REVIEW: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

I am a big fan of Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse series of books which delved into some Hindu and Chinese mythology. I thought it was an interesting story about brothers and this love story between a girl and a tiger shape-shifter. With than in mind, I was very excited to learn that Colleen Houck would be starting a new series of books that begins with Reawakened based around Egyptian mythology.  Unfortunately, I wasn't as taken with this story, these characters or the relationships that were introduced in Reawakened.

This story begins with Lily at a museum in New York City in which she is drawing in a closed section of the museum and comes across Amon, a mummy and the descendent of an Egyptian god who is reawakened after 1,000 years in order (with his two brothers) to perform a ceremony that will hold off the god of chaos and save the world. In a nutshell.

To begin with, I didn't feel like I ever connected with the main character, privileged American girl, Lilliana Young. Her voice was grating and whingey in the beginning and I never really saw any development to her character and I couldn't particularly describe any defining character traits of hers.  She does talk frequently about her image and clothing and her in relation to guys and I found it all a little frustrating. Several times she is rejected by the main love interest and asks herself 'maybe I'm just not pretty enough?' One of my biggest problems with Reawakened is how often Lily sees herself as a weak, unimportant girl compared to hot, powerful demi-god, Amon. And I wanted to scream.

I also thought the pacing was off.  There were many times throughout this story in which there is a moment before something really dangerous or thrilling in which Lily (and the reader) is subjected to an info-dump and the characters all have this lengthy conversation about mythology and a history lesson on Egyptian gods or some aspect of Amon's personal history. And throughout I was thinking 'there are zombies/monsters trying to eat you right now, is this really the right time to give us this load of information?!' I just could not believe that Lily or anyone would calmly take part in such dull conversations in such a time of peril. It just didn't seem realistic.

What also didn't seem particularly realistic was the romance.  I didn't really believe in Lily and Amon and I wasn't rooting for them either.  There just wasn't any chemistry between them, for me.  I think the problem was that Lily didn't have enough of a personality and Amon wasn't far too nice and it was as if the idea of Amon was trying too hard to be the ideal guy/perfection.  Perfection is utterly boring.  And while Lily was intent on telling us of his good looks and hard abs (during another life-threatening situation!) I just wasn't feeling it.  I want more than a pretty face.

I think after reading the Tiger's Curse series, I was thinking that perhaps even if everything else was disappointing at least there would be an interesting dynamic between Amon and his two brothers?  Unfortunately there wasn't enough of the three of them together to make any kind of impact.  This book is the first in the series, so I'm guessing that will be explored more in future books.

This review is a lot more negative than I intended.  I rated this book three stars because despite my many frustrations with the book, I did finish it and there were certain aspects of the book that I found interesting. I was just very disappointed on the whole and I wanted so much more from it.  I wanted the mythology to be more seamlessly interwoven into the narrative. I wanted Lily to be a stronger presence in the story. I wanted the love story to take a backseat to other relationships, in particular the relationship between brothers.  I probably won't be continuing this series.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

REVIEW: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites by Marie Lu was exactly my kind of book. In fact, if I'd know how wonderfully dark this book and the main character would be, I think I would have picked this book up far sooner.

It's so rare, I think, to read of a character like Adelina.  And it would probably be easy for her to be turned into a different kind of character if she wasn't written just right. But I think Marie Lu did an amazing job of having her do questionable things but still remain as sympathetic as she is. There wasn't a single page or chapter where I wasn't rooting for her or hoping the best for her. And I think that's where the skill lies in Marie Lu.

The Young Elites is the first book in a trilogy set in a fantasy land in which an illness spread many years ago and some of the survivors were left with markings and these marked survivors are branded malfettos and treated like second-class citizens. But amongst the malfettos are a small group of people who possess gifts or powers that further separate them from the majority.  They are called the Young Elites.

Adelina is a malfetto, her hair is silver and she is left with a scar where one of her eyes used to be. And since childhood, her father has beaten her and treated her horrifically in the hopes that Adelina's gifts would show themselves. Things begin to change when Adelina leaves home and is taken in by a band of young elites whose aim is to overthrow the corrupt government and put the outcast malfetto prince back on the throne. Adelina spends a great deal of time in this book mistrustful of her surroundings and this unusual band of superpowered teenagers. But also mistrustful of herself and the things she is capable of.

And I loved every second of this book.

I did. I loved it. I loved Adelina and her internal struggles, especially her uncertainty of where she fits into the world. I loved her bond with her little sister and her conflicted feelings for Enzo, the malfetto prince. I loved her friendship with Raffaele.  And everything about the ways in which Adelina is trained and getting a clearer picture of what she can do. There is just so much about this book that made my heart sing.

But I think it was really just the magnetic pull of Adelina as a character that made me fall so hard for this book.  There's something deeply dark about this book. But it's also sexy and painful and just felt really truthful.  The pain that Adelina feels as she has faced such hardship and rejection in her life makes for a complex character in which darkness competes with her goodness.

I'm absolutely gasping to read the sequel to this book.  I finished The Young Elites and I wanted nothing more than to flip this book back to the front and read it all over again just to be back in this world and with these characters.

Monday, July 20, 2015

REVIEW: The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery

I really enjoyed The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery. It was a tense, pacey read and I loved how the characters interacted and how all of the different story lines merged together. Admittedly, story lines involving drugs and memory aren't my favourite and I was hesitant to read this book, I am still really glad that I did. I loved the way this book managed to surprise me. Both in terms of twisty plot line but also how dark it went.

The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery is the story of two main characters, Jess and Cooper after both have pretty intense experiences on New Year's Eve. Jess ends up in a house fire after discovering her best friend and boyfriend have been cheating and that her boyfriend has been dealing drugs. And without having any time to adjust to that new scenario, her best friend is in hospital badly injured.  Meanwhile, Cooper is attacked and ends up on the bad side of local drug dealer and is forced into coming up with way more money than would be possible with their family's limited income.

I really liked Jess and Cooper as narrators. Occasionally the narration drifts off into other perspectives and I found these fairly short chapters from another point of view jarred me out of the story but at least they were infrequent and I felt like Jess and Cooper did well to invest me emotionally throughout. The fact that these two are exes made everything between them super intense and I loved that between them. But I also just really liked them as individuals.

Jess is one of those strait-laced girls whose main focus is very much on good grades and this whole thing with her boyfriend and her best friend really sends her for a loop. She becomes very intent on finding out answers for all the questions raised by the texts she's seen on her boyfriend's phone and the things that Cooper has experienced. The whole idea of Nostalgex was intriguing. A drug that simulates past memories and helps clarify things and contort the memories into different ways. And Cooper was just lovely. Obviously a boy who has made plenty of mistakes but you can tell he's still a good guy. Especially by the way he treats his sister and how he shoulders the burden of keeping them both afloat after they fall on hard times.

I feel like there is so much to talk about with The Memory Hit. I loved the family relationships and the complicated mess of being exes and ex-friends after a break-up and the twisted family histories that crop up, both with Cooper and Leon, the drug dealer.  I loved Jag and Cooper's friendship in particular. I thought it was interesting to see one of the characters succumb to the temptation of Nostalgex.  The person behind it all was an absolute surprise to me and there were a couple of really gruesome deaths that felt a bit shocking. I loved that darkness. I just really found this book to be really entertaining throughout!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Andrew from The Pewter Wolf about #YALC

Andrew from The Pewter Wolf is here today, on the first day of YALC, to talk a little bit about his upcoming blogging workshop at YALC. If you see him, give him a hug and tell him he's going to do brilliantly!



This coming Sunday, I will be at YALC. For the first time. Am oddly excited over this. But, at the same time, I am quite worried over it.

My main reason is an odd one. Someone, I will be taking part in a panel about blogging. I, along with 5 other bloggers (Michelle from Tales of Yesterday, Laura from Sisterspooky, Lucy from LucyTheReader on youTube and Queen of Contemporary online, Vivienne from Serendipity Reviews and Jim from YA Yeah Yeah) will be doing panels, chatting about blogging and our love for YA.

For those of you curious, Michelle, Laura and myself will be the panel “Blogging 101” (Book Blogging for Beginners) on Sunday about half 12 to quarter past 1. And Lucy, Vivienne and Jim will be doing “Taking Your Blog To The Next Level” (I think i will be lurking in the crowd, taking mad notes) at half 1 till quarter past 2. Both events are hosted by Andy Robb.

Now, you must be thinking this is awesome. And it is. I am thrilled and honoured to be asked to talk about blogging and share my experience with the crazy blogosphere known as YA Book Blogging. This is a wonderful community to be part of and our love for reading and blogging is something we should be celebrating!

But, I’m a little scared. I have several reasons. Well, several small reasons which comes from public speaking (What if I freeze on stage? What if I vomit on stage? What if I say something stupid and very Andrew-like? What if I get banned from YALC for [insert stupid reason here]? What if what if what it?)

But my main reason for freaking out is this: I don’t know exactly what advice I’m going to give you guys who decide to come to the event.

I will give out advice and some funny one-liners, I hope. But I’m not sure what advice I will actually give you. When I started blogging, I made it up as I went along. Hell, until very recently, I never thought of myself as a book blogger! And Michelle broke the news to me a few weeks ago that, because I do videos for Bookish Brits, I am now a book vlogger as well.

When I started blogging, I would just type and hope for the best. I had no idea if anyone was reading my blog. I would tweet and chat about books but who, in their right mind, would read my blog?

I guess, because I never really thought about who my blog’s primary and secondary target audience were, I just did what I did. I had fun and tried to write something I would enjoy reading. And, somehow, that has worked. I’m here, about to do a panel and am trying very hard not to freak out or get stage freak (Laura and Michelle will have to give me hugs if things get too much…)

So, I just wanted to write this post to say thanks. And sorry in advance if my worse fear comes true and I vomit in my shoe.

But what the day represents - YALC and our love and passion for books - that is the most important thing. And I can’t wait to sit down with you guys (either one to one, in a big group or via the mighty Twitter) and get excited over that book. Yes, that book. You know the one I’m talking about…

Friday, July 10, 2015

Domestic Violence in YA

I've just read two books in a relatively short period of time which have elements of a much larger issue and I've found it interesting enough that I wanted to talk a little bit about it today.



Over the past month, I've read both The Baby by Lisa Drakeford about teenage pregnancy and parenthood and also The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle a sort of magical realism novel about there being a season of accidents that affect one particular family that involves death, injury and general misfortune.  These two books don't have a great deal in common. They aren't issues books, the main focus of the story of either book is not domestic violence. But both books contain elements of violence between a couple.  And it really surprised me to see both of these books at least mention these types of relationships.  I count this as a step in the right direction as we have a bigger discussion about domestic violence and unhealthy relationships.



There have been other books I've read about violence amongst teen relationships. And I mostly 'enjoyed' these books too. Books such as Bitter End by Jennifer Brown and Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. There is But I Love Him by Amanda Grace and Stay by Deb Caletti. and those are just the books that *I* have read. If you have any recommendations, please do leave them in comments! One of these books in particular, (sadly I can't remember which!) the author has purportedly chosen to tell her story in reverse to stop readers from objecting and to show how complicated matters of domestic violence are and that it isn't always easy to point to a specific time and place and say 'a line has been crossed here, I will not accept this' and move on but is in fact a series of lines crossed and minor things happening until gradually things become more serious and reach a point where there isn't an easy way for the victim to extract herself.

And while I do think these stories are important, I also think sometimes focusing on something like domestic violence specifically means that usually just the most extreme stories are told. So while I think that these books should exist, so should the other stories in which domestic violence is mentioned alongside the other themes of  a larger story. Because I would hate for readers to read a more extreme case and think 'this isn't what is happening to me, so it must not be domestic violence.'

I really like that this is happening.  I like that I'm coming across topics and themes that I think are really important and I really do hope to see this continue!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Maia from Maia Moore Reads (Celebrating British Bloggers)

Hello and welcome to another edition of Celebrating British Bloggers in which I ask some fairly difficult questions about books and blogging to some awesome British book bloggers.

I recently came across Maia's blog and I absolutely love it. Definitely one of my recent favourite blog! If you don't already, I really recommend that you follow Maia's blog and to follow her on Twitter... 





Firstly, can you tell me something about yourself and your blog?

Well I'm Maia, I'm 24 years old and work in IT, and blog at http://maiamoorereads.blogspot.co.uk on the side. I mostly read YA and have always been a stickler for fantasy/sci-fi, but I'm trying to branch out into more genres at the moment. I studied Creative Writing and Theatre at university in Wales, and did a Masters in Theatre as well.

I have a secret double life as an actress that I don't tend to talk about in the blogging world (keeping them separate for some reason) but I've got to do some really cool things through that (my favourite being throwing a pint at someone, which was filmed in slow motion and looks AWESOME - small things please me greatly).

I also write my own stories and completed the first draft of my first novel last year, which was a big achievement for me. I hope to have people posting reviews of my books on their blogs in the not too distant future!



How did you begin being a book blogger? What is it about books that makes you excited to talk about books on your blog?



I started blogging at the beginning of the year, on a whim really. I had no idea about blogging or Twitter or the community I was getting into, but I'm so glad I did it. It such a friendly, supportive community to be a part of.

I've always loved reading - you couldn't find me without a book in my hand as a teenager - and I've always thought YA books were the best ones for me. I've read a few 'adult' books but I never seem to get into them or enjoy them as much. 


What would you like to have known about book blogging before you got started that you didn't know beforehand?


Argh so much! Mostly technical things and really silly little things - like the font on my first few posts was really tiny, and I didn't think what that would be like for people tp read (silly, I know). And I wish I'd known how great it was so I could have started sooner. I would have loved to have something like this when I was a teenager (though I don't think blogs were around so much then *sobs at being old*)


When you're not reading or blogging, what do you do with yourself?


I work, and that involves 3 hours of travel a day as well, which is where I get most of my reading done. I love horror films and video games and writing my own stories too. And because these are all pretty sedentary activities I've started jogging this year, which is less awful than I thought it would be.


What type of things do you champion on your blog? What would you like your blog to be known for?


I don't really have a 'thing' like some of the others do - like contemporary, or UKYA. But I think one of the things I'd like to work on with my blog is some older books which I think need more recognition - the kind of things I read as a teenager and people would have raved about on blogs and Twitter if they'd been around then.


What has been the best experience of being a book blogger so far? 


Probably the UKYA Extravanganza in Birmingham. Even though I was super shy and hardly spoke to anyone, it was a really great day. I loved being involved with the blog tour that led up to it and interviewing an author for the first time (the lovely Rachel Ward). It really showed me what an open and friendly community it is.


What is your biggest struggle as a book blogger? 


I think getting obsessed with page views and followers and the like. As a newbie, it can be disheartening to see all the established people with thousands of followers and getting more views in a day than I've had in a lifetime. It can be frustrating, but I also have to remind myself it's not a numbers game. I really enjoy what I do and I just like being able to share my views and talk about books with people.


You can do it, what is your absolute favourite book?


Oof you're cruel!

But my go to answer for this is usually The Borrible Trilogy by Michael de Larrabeiti. And it's not cheating to choose a trilogy because my copy is all in one big book! That's one of the slightly older books that I'd love to see people reading nowadays.


What books or authors or series would you like more people to be aware of? 


Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn - they're the first ones I reviewed on my blog and I love them so much. Also The Echorium Sequence by Katherine Roberts and The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.


Have you discovered any books or authors through blogging that you might not have otherwise found?

Oh tons. Since going to uni about 5 years ago I stopped reading so much (bogged down by text books) so there's a massive amount of books I've missed out on, and I've been able to catch up by recommendations from other bloggers. I love the buzz that's around debut authors as well, I think it's so great that they often have bloggers on their side and buzzing about them before they've been published.


Name your top 5 UK book bloggers!

That's another cruel one...

Is it cheating if I put you on the list?! Too late cos I'm gonna...

Stacie at http://parkerandme.co.uk who does books and lifestyle

Lucie at http://queenofcontemporary.com/ I love the UKYA chats

Katie at http://queenofteenfiction.blogspot.co.uk/ who helped me out when I first started

Michelle at http://talesofyesterday.co.uk/ a fellow Midlands blogger and so friendly

And http://www.flutteringbutterflies.com/ because the British Books Challenge has been one of my favourite parts of blogging this year 


If you could meet your favourite author, who would it be?


I'd say Michael de Larrabeiti, seeing as I put his book as my favourite. Unfortunately he died a few years ago - I found out because Waterstones had a display of recently dead authors books and his was on there, it was mortifying!


What would you like to see more or less of in the books you read?


Less awful romances! I feel like there's a real trend towards love triangles and romance for the sake of romance at the moment, and it really doesn't interest me (unless it's extremely well done). I'm interested to see more kinds of relationships, sibling relationships in particular


And finally, who is your ultimate book crush?


I'm not really a book crush-er person, but I'd say Knocker from The Borrible Trilogy, as my first love.

Thank you so much for that, Maia! 

Tell Maia and I what you think of her answers in comments! Agree or disagree?

Friday, July 03, 2015

Interview with Cat Clarke, author of The Lost and the Found



Hello and welcome back to Fluttering Butterflies! Can you please tell us something about yourself and your new book, The Lost and the Found? 


Hello! It’s so lovely to be back here! Thank you so much for having me. I’m Cat, writer of UKYA and avid consumer of cheese. The Lost and the Found is about a seventeen year-old-girl called Faith, whose abducted sister reappears after thirteen years. I like to think of it as a story that starts with a happy ending and then things move on from there…



One of my favourite aspects of the book is the mentions that the media plays a part in reporting (or not reporting) missing children. Was this something important for you to get across in this book? 

For me, that’s what the book is really all about. It was something I was very interested in exploring – the types of stories that the media chooses to latch onto, and those that it chooses to ignore. It’s awful to see stories about missing teenagers or children consigned to a couple of lines on page 23 of a newspaper, simply because their faces don’t fit or their story isn’t quite ‘acceptable’ to a mainstream audience.


Confession/brag time: Faith and Michel spend lots of time whipping up delicious macarons. What is the best/worst thing you've ever baked/cooked yourself? What's your specialty?


Food is my favourite topic of conversation.  The best thing I ever cooked was very recently, actually! Turkish-spiced chicken with a hot green relish. The recipe is from an amazing cookbook called A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry. I’m salivating just thinking about that relish. I’m making it again tomorrow! The worst thing I ever made was a gluten-free Victoria sponge for my wife’s birthday. Actually, the end result wasn’t entirely revolting, but it took three attempts to get sponges that weren’t as flat as a pancake. In the process I managed to drop two eggs on the floor, burn my arm, phone a friend in a complete panic AND cry. Suffice to say, baking is NOT my strong point.


In fact, Michel was one of my favourite characters! I loved his and Faith's relationship and it was great to see his position in the modern structure of this family. Talk to me about diversity and representation! 


Thank you! Faith’s parents are divorced, and her dad lives with Michel, a Frenchman. Faith’s dad is bisexual, and Michel is gay. Michel is probably my favourite character in the book, and not just because he’s a master macaron-maker. Diversity is so important. For me it’s just about reflecting the society we live in. I think it’s important to include LGBT parents as well as LGBT teenagers in YA fiction, because it reflects the family situation of lots of young people, and it shows that LGBT kids grow up to be adults too! It sounds obvious, but if we don’t see these adults in YA fiction it’s almost like they don’t exist.


Usually in author interviews with authors who have written books with a darker plot line, I'd ask what the toughest scene was to write. But for The Lost and the Found, was it harder to hold back from telling us about the darkness Laurel had faced? Was that a conscious decision to spare readers from the traumas she had faced?


The story is told from Faith’s point of view, and she herself is spared most of the details of the trauma Laurel has suffered so it wasn’t a conscious decision to spare readers. The most important thing has to be what’s right for the book.


I quite liked this easy connection that Faith and Laurel had right from the start. Who are you favourite literary sisters?


I love reading about sisters! Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls is a fascinating and brilliantly dark exploration of the bond between sisters. A new favourite is Sarah Crossan’s One, an astonishing book about conjoined twins. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.


If you had £1000 to spend in a shopping spree, where would you go and what would you buy?


I would buy a super comfortable battered old leather armchair, and ban anyone else from sitting on it. Or a super comfortable battered old leather jacket, and ban anyone else from wearing it. And I would probably save some of the money because I’m boring like that. Wait. Scratch that. I’d buy £1000 worth of cheese (and biscuits and assorted chutneys) and host a magnificent cheesefest. Will someone give me £1000 please? 


If one stumbled upon it, from a writerly perspective, what would your internet history tell us? 

Alas I can’t tell you about my current internet history because it would give you all kinds of spoilers about my next book. Oh, and it would also show you that I spend far too much time on social media when I should be writing said book.


The Lost and the Found was one of my most highly anticipated UKYA books published this year, what book(s) are you most looking forward to reading this year? 


I’m SO looking forward to ALL OF THE ABOVE by James Dawson, THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich, AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne and COUNTING STARS by Keris Stainton. I have a feeling this is going to be a bumper year for UKYA!


REVIEW: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

I have been very much looking forward to reading The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke! She is a definite favourite author of mine and I went into reading her new book expecting something very emotional and that is definitely what I got from this book!

The Lost and the Found is a story about a girl who was lost ... she's abducted from her family and then returns 13 years later.  It was very much a story about families and about sisters and about missing children. I loved the exploration of the media portrayal in particular and how not every missing child has the same response.

The Lost and the Found is the story of missing Laurel Logan. How she was abducted 13 years ago and that returns to them after a very long time.  The story is told from the perspective of Faith, Laurel's younger sister and she is a wonderful narrator. Really showing the reader how difficult it was at times to live in Laurel's shadow and how difficult it was to transition into having a sister and sharing their family after such a long time.

My favourite aspect of the book is Faith and Laurel's relationship. That instant connection. That bond between the girls even though they've been separated for such a long time, it felt easy for them to become sisters. Faith takes it upon herself to let Laurel shine for awhile, to do things she would rather not because Laurel requested it.  I loved them together. They're not perfect or without conflict, but I really believed in their relationship.

I also really loved Faith's family. In particular, her father's partner, Michel.  I loved Faith and Michel's relationship and Michel was by far my favourite character. I loved that Faith had somebody like Michel in her life to talk to and be open with who isn't so intrinsically linked to Laurel's abduction. Plus he's French and makes macarons. Also, plus points for having both same sex parental figures and also a bisexual man.  Both need more representation in YA and I'm glad that Cat Clarke included both.

At the heart of this book, there is this underlying tension and I felt quite unsettled while reading that Laurel wasn't telling us everything. I was quite glad that a lot of her experiences while she was away were glossed over (and just because we didn't hear the gruesome details doesn't mean that the reader won't come away unsympathetic to her.)  But I also mean that Laurel's secrets put me on edge and I found it really interesting to go on this journey with Faith and Laurel.

The Lost and the Found was surprisingly emotional. In that, I didn't realise until that last page just how emotionally invested I was in this story, in these characters and in this relationship between Faith and Laurel!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

UKYA Published in July

Half the year is officially over! But don't worry, there's plenty of super exciting UKYA releases this month and later on in the year. SOOOO MUCH to look forward to.

From this list, I'm most looking forward to Frail Human Heart! And Stone Rider and Lorali and Birdy. Which books are you most looking forward to reading this month?!



Andersen

Too Close To Home by Aoife Walsh

Think this book might actually be middle grade? I'm not sure. I have it on my TBR shelf to tackle soon, so I'm including it. Published 2nd July!

Chicken House

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford

I've already read and reviewed this and shared an extract recently. Very fun story about teenage pregnancy and parenthood. Published 2nd of July!


Harper Collins

Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

I am such a huge fan of Jenny Valentine and have since read this book via Netgalley and loved it. What a great story about art and secrets and family. Definitely keep an eye out for this one!



Hodder

Way Down Dark by James Smythe

Two very dark sounding books this month.  Both sound very interesting and I shall be delving in soon... 


Hot Key Books


Birdy by Jess Vallance

Two amazing books from Hot Key Books this month. I am definitely looking forward to Laura Dockrill's first foray into YA after her incredibly Darcy Burdock books and I've heard nothing but wonderful things about Birdy. And following Jess Vallance on Twitter is hilarious. Both books published 2nd July.


Macmillan

The Dark Light by Julia Bell

This book is published the 16th July and sounds really interesting. About an LGBT relationship in the midst of a cult setting.


Penguin

Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr

Stone Rider will also be published on 16th July and it sounds amazing. My copy says a cross between The Hunger Games and The Road. I'm intrigued!


Quercus

The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

Always a good month when there's a new Cat Clarke published! The Bookish Brits and I are reading this book for the July book club. Do join us. (And come back tomorrow as I will be reviewing this book AND interviewing Cat Clarke)


Random House


The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson 

I've luckily already read both of these books and they are both wonderful.  Published today.



Simon and Schuster



I Knew You Were Trouble by Paige Toon

Three very gorgeous books from Simon and Schuster this month.  The Potion Diaries and All My Secrets are being published today and I Knew You Were Trouble later on this month, the 30th. I'm definitely looking forward to a new Sophie McKenzie and more Jessie Jefferson adventures...


Usborne

Deep Water by Lu Hersey

Deep Water is quite a fun story incorporating Cornish myths and legends and was published yesterday, 1st July.

Walker

Frail Human Heart by Zoe Marriott

Ahhhh! I think this is the book I'm absolutely most excited to read. The conclusion to the Name of the Blade trilogy. *bites fingernails*

Which book(s) are you most looking forward to reading in July?!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

British Books Challenge - Link your July reviews



6 months of the year have already passed. I'm just going to let that sit there for a moment.

Now that we've recovered, on with business! I'm always super impressed with everyone's commitment to reading books for this challenge. Keep up the good work!  June's prize pack was hosted by the lovely people at Bloomsbury, and using a random number generator the winner has been chosen... 

Sofia from The Reading Fangirl
(for her review of Air by Lisa Glass)

Huge congrats Sofia! You have one week to email me with your postal address so that I may your details on to my contact at Bloomsbury.




Now onto July! The lovely Hot Key Books has stepped forward and offered a copy of Lorali by Laura Dockrill and Being A Girl by Hayley Long. Both look amazing, what a great pair of books.  Thank you, Hot Key Books!  Now get reading...



Important Information:

  • Please make sure you sign up for the challenge before you start linking your reviews, I will delete links from people who aren't registered. You can sign up HERE if you haven't already.
  • When you add your link to the Mr. Linky below please make sure you link directly to your review, not just to your blog (invalid links will be deleted)
  • Books must have been read in 2015 to count towards the challenge so those books you read in December but reviewed in January don't count!
  • Also, please make sure that the reviews you link are for books written by British Authors - they can be born in Britain (living here or abroad) or they can be adopted British Authors (who were born elsewhere and now live here) but if they don't fit into one of those categories then they don't count. (as above invalid links will be deleted and won't get you an entry into the prize pack). Please note that Britain includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, I'm afraid authors from Southern Ireland don't count.
  • If you need ideas for books by British Authors check out the FAQ page for lots of suggestions. You don't have to choose books from these lists though - they are just to give you ideas if you need help!



Link Your Reviews:

Now for the important part, make sure you link all of your reviews using the Mr. Linky form below. In the Your Name field please include your blog name, the title of the book and the author. Make sure the link takes me directly to your review or your entry won't count and will be deleted from the list.

For example: Remix by Non Pratt (Fluttering Butterflies)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June wrap-up

AHHHHHH. It's now the last day of June and I am in DENIAL. Surely not.  I've had an interesting month.  It's been GREAT in terms of reading but TERRIBLE in terms of blogging. I've really given up the blogging lately and I feel really bad about it. Hopefully that will return slowly throughout the month of July? I'm not hopeful, but we'll see.  Here's how I did in June...


Books read in June:


1. My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood (4 stars)
2. Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine (5 stars)
3. End Game by Alan Gibbons (3 stars)
4. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (5 stars)
5. Remix by Non Pratt (5 stars)
6. In Another Life by Laura Jarratt (4 stars)
7. The Baby by Lisa Drakeford (4 stars)
8. In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll (4 stars)
9. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (3 stars)
10. House of Windows by Alexia Casale (5 stars)
11. One by Sarah Crossan (4 stars)
12. The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (4 stars)
13. The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson (4 stars)
14. Being A Girl by Hayley Long (4 stars)
15. The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle (4 stars)
16. The Next Together by Lauren James (4 stars)
17. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (5 stars)
18. Deep Water by Lu Hersey (3 stars)
19. Only We Know by Simon Packham (2 stars)

Total read in June: 19

Total in 2015: 89

I decided at the end of May to only read books by British authors during the month of June and I did (with the exception of The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle who is an Irish author living in Ireland, but so many people count her as being British that I decided to sneak it in) It has been an absolutely incredible month of reading for me. So many five star or amazing books: Remix by Non Pratt, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness, House of Windows by Alexia Casale, Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine, The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson which I finally read! So many.

Too many amazing books read this month that I cannot bring myself to choose my favourite of the month!




British Books Challenge and UKYA in 2015:





Celebrating British Bloggers


Thank you to both Caragh and Samina for taking part in Celebrating British Bloggers this past month.  I have one interview that will go up in July but nothing planned afterwards so I think that'll possibly be it for the near future. It's been a fun run though, hasn't it?


Books reviewed in June:

The Stars Don't Rise by Rachel Vincent
Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young
My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood
Mini reviews: Two Boys Kissing, How They Met and Every Day by David Levithan
Jessica's Ghost by Andrew Norriss
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Finding Jennifer Jones by Anne Cassidy
When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson
The Baby by Lisa Drakeford

Considering my review-writing-slump that I'm in now I think this is an amazing collection of reviews to be published in June! I've quite surprised myself.


Other posts in June:


Diversity Matters: Being Mixed Race as a Teenager
Favourite Fictional Redheads
Cover Reveal: Inferno by Catherine Doyle
Diversity Matters: Economic Differences
Interview with Catherine Johnson, author of The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo
The Baby by Lisa Drakeford Extract Blog Tour

What I've Been Watching Lately

I've been quite enjoying writing this series of posts 'Diversity Matters' only I'd quite like it to have its own blog button/graphic and I don't know where to start. Any ideas or suggestions?


Booktube videos in June:

May Book Haul
British Books Challenge | May
Reading Outside My Comfort Zone
LGBT YA Round-Up 1
British Books Challenge | June Part 1
My Life In Books Tag
Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt | Review


May Book Club: Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman and When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
Michelle's Bookish Wishes

Lots of booktube videos this month! It's getting to the point where I don't quite know what to film or talk about now. So if you have any requests for future videos, I'd love to hear from you!


Progress in my reading challenges in June



LGBT Challenge in 2015:

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Remix by Non Pratt
The Baby by Lisa Drakeford
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Only We Know by Simon Packham

Total for June: 6

Total for 2015: 20

Not bad on the LGBT reading this month. Most of these books featured secondary LGBT characters except for The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson.





British Books Challenge 2015:

My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood
Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine
End Game by Alan Gibbons
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Remix by Non Pratt
In Another Life by Laura Jarratt
The Baby by Lisa Drakeford
In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
House of Windows by Alexia Casale
One by Sarah Crossan
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson
Being A Girl by Hayley Long
The Next Together by Lauren James
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Deep Water by Lu Hersey
Only We Know by Simon Packham

Total for June: 18

Today for 2015: 50

Obviously quite a lot this month for the British Books Challenge! It really has been an amazing reading month for me.  Again favourites include Fire Colour One, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Remix, House of Windows, and The Art of Being Normal!



What was your favourite book(s) read in June?

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford Extract Blog Tour

I'm really happy today to be kicking off this fun extract tour surrounding the debut UKYA book, The Baby by Lisa Drakeford!  The Baby is a really fun book that surrounds 5 people at a 17th birthday party and the very unexpected events after a baby being born.  What I love so much about the book is that the birth of this baby ties these characters all together but Lisa Drakeford really allows all 5 characters to shine and tell their own stories. 

This blog tour extract will share snippets of each of these five characters and I really hope you enjoy it.  I thought The Baby was a really interesting book - that covered teen pregnancy and parenthood as well as bullying and domestic violence. It was a surprising range of content in this gloriously brightly coloured book!

For today's extract, I bring you Olivia...
Olivia

They make their way up the stairs. They stand by the bathroom door – there’s another low moan. They look at each other.

‘Who is it?’

Olivia shrugs. ‘Dunno, but I’ve not seen Nicola in ages. I’m worried about her. I wonder if it’s her.’

‘Nicola, is that you?’ Ben calls.

Another moan, almost a growl. Olivia’s heart thuds. She sees Alice looking anxious through the open bedroom door.

‘Nicola – can you open the door? Let me in babe.’

There’s no reply.

‘Nicola!’ She raps sharply.

Still nothing apart from that low moaning again. It prickles the back of her neck.

‘We’re going to have to break in,’ she mutters to Ben. Best not think about her parents.

Ben squares his shoulders and jerks his weight against the door. It doesn’t budge. He shoves against the wood again and still it doesn’t move. But the moaning has notched up a level. It’s got to be Nicola behind the door. And Olivia is supposed to be her best friend. What on earth is she doing in there?

‘Here, let me help.’ She says.

‘After three.’

Ben and Olivia heave their bodies against the door at the same time and at last there’s a splintering sound. After their second thrust, the thin wooden panel breaks and the lock gives way.

They jostle their way into the small, hot room and peer at the sight before them.

It’s not one they’re expecting.

It is Nicola in there. But not the Nicola they’re used to seeing. This Nicola is on all fours, her head and shoulders over the bath. Her bum high. Moaning and wailing now.

At first Olivia thinks she’s being sick. Throwing up in the bath.

But like the growl earlier, there’s something animal-like about her position. This is so much more than drunken vomiting.

Olivia kneels down next to the quivering figure. ‘Nic . . . Nic, you OK?’

Nicola shakes her head. Her cheeks are flushed high and there’s a slick of sweat on her skin.

She turns to her oldest friend. ‘It hurts. It feels like I’m dying.’

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