Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REVIEW: It's About Love by Steven Camden

I really loved It's About Love by Steven Camden. I had heard of the book when it was first published at the beginning of the year but I always felt a little bit on the fence about reading it. I knew it was about two characters, Luke and Leia, and that they meet on a film studies course at college, but nothing else apart from that.

It wasn't until I attended YALC in July that I changed my mind. I heard the author, Steven Camden, do a performance poem about this novel and that made me really sit up and take notice.  This piece of poetry was amazing and his delivery of it made me incredibly intrigued.  So when I saw It's About Love on a library shelf recently, I snapped it up immediately.  It isn't the first or last book that I've read because of YALC.  And with It's About Love I'm really glad that I did give this book a chance.

It is about two characters, Luke and Leia, and they do meet on a film studies course. That is true. But this novel felt like much more than that as well.  It felt like a journey towards creating something wonderful and about identity and friendship and family and love and how all of those things can be messy and complicated and painful and beautiful.  This book was filled with so many honest truths that I cried several times at the beauty of it. There was one particular bit about tears and how there are only two types of tears and reading it brought tears to my eyes so quickly that it took me really by surprise.

I really loved the unusual format of the story.  It's told from Luke's perspective and it has his narration, but there are also hand-written journal entries of his memories or thoughts or dreams. There are also some bits that read like a film script with scene headings and descriptions. It really worked and the whole film motif really worked throughout the story.  I loved all the film mentions and particularly the creative process Luke and Leia writing their own screenplay for the film studies class.  I loved the idea of Luke taking inspiration from his friends and family for ideas and how these little bits of conversation help shape both his writing but also his identity.

This book, as I said, is many things. It's a bit of a love story between Luke and Leia. But it's also about Luke adjusting to a new school and a different setting and social circle and trying to reconcile this new part of his life with his old friends. It's also about Luke's brother, Marc, coming home from prison and Luke and his family adjusting to life with him home again. I loved some of the scenes between Luke and his father especially in which it felt like more was said in their silence than in their words. It's also a book about film and about telling stories in different ways.  And I really, really enjoyed it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

#YAShot Programme

Have you guys heard of the #YAShot literary 'festival' being held in Uxbridge on 28th October?! It looks amazing. I thought today I might break down the official programme and let you know how excited I am for all of the panels and workshops. And yes, I'm included in the programme, but I promise you that I'd have been excited regardless.

The box office is now open, do buy your ticket while they last!

Uxbridge Library – Workshop Programme:
10.30am – 11.15am Faye Bird – Sitting on Both Sides of the Desk: Writing & agenting, novels & scripts
Faye will use her experience, both as a former agent for television scriptwriters and as a YA author, to inspire you to create your own characters and get them talking.
11.30am – 12.15pm Jason Rohan – Show, Don’t Tell To Reveal Character
Jason will draw on his experience of performing theatre and working with comics to show how to bring characters to life and how to convey important background information without lengthy narrative. [MG event, suitable for age 7-11 as well as adults]
12:30 – 1:15pm Siobhan Curham – True Face: Be Real. Be Fearless. Be You!
Siobhan will explore techniques for resisting pressure from the ‘perfection police’ to help you take off the masks you wear and proudly reveal your true self to the world. The workshop will provide a supportive environment to discuss how to be honest, dream big and create a life that is happy and fulfilling.
1.30pm – 2.15pm Taran Matharu – Creating Fantasy Worlds
Taran will explore how to create compelling original worlds and share his own experience of how to leverage social media and online opportunities to create modern avenues to traditional publication.
I love the sound of all of these workshops. Especially the True Face workshop with Siobhan Curham, because I've read True Face and I love how inspiring Siobhan Curham is. But the other workshops look fascinating too, exploring different aspects of writing and publication using the fascinating experiences of the authors to benefit everyone as widely as possible. I love that.

2.30pm – 3:30pm Vlogging Workshops
Workshop Bay 1: Benjamin of Tomes – Getting started with Vlogging
A star vlogger with over 43,000 subscribers on YouTube, Ben was shortlisted as Champion Vlogger in the inaugural UKYA Blogger Awards. Ben’s workshop will help you get started with vlogging and booktubing. Don’t know how to get a YouTube channel or how to hide your date of birth? Don’t know how to get comfortable in front of the camera or what to wear/what not to wear? Ben will answer your questions and explain how to create a safe, comfortable approach that suits you. Find Ben on Twitter @Benjaminoftomes.
Workshop Bay 3: Michelle of Fluttering Butterflies – Vlogging Group Projects
Shortlisted as Champion Adult Blogger in the inaugural UKYA Blogger Awards, Michelle blogs and vlogs, including as part of the brilliant Bookish Brits team. She’ll be talking about group projects, reading challenges and how to stand out from the crowd. Find Michelle on Twitter @cloverness (watch out for the autocorrect that quite understandably turns her handle into @cleverness).
3.45pm – 4.45pm Blogging Workshops
Workshop Bay 1: Chrissi of Chrissi Reads and Beth of Bibliobeth – Getting started with Blogging
Shortlisted for the Champion Newcomer category of the inaugural UKYA Blogger Awards, Chrissi and her sister, fellow ace blogger Beth, will help you develop the skills and confidence to build a great blog that is sustainable and enjoyable for you and your followers. The perfect workshop for those who are curious about starting a blog, those who’ve just done so and those still relatively new to blogging. Find Chrissi on Twitter @ChrissiReads and Beth at @Bibliobeth1.
Workshop Bay 3: Debbie of Snuggling on the Sofa and Daphne of Winged Reviews – Developing your blog’s brand and gaining followers
Debbie (shortlisted for the Champion of YA category at the inaugural UKYA Blogger Awards) and Daphne (winner of the Champion of Social Media category) will host a workshop perfect for people who’ve been blogging for a while and want to know more about how to create a brand, set themselves apart and grow their following. Find Debbie on Twitter @SnugglingonSofa and Daphne @wingedreviews.
5pm – 6pm Reviewing Diversity in Literature & MYSTERY WORKSHOP
Bay 1: Jim Dean and Wei Ming Kam – Reviewing Diversity in Literature: Probably the first and hopefully the last workshop needed
Ming and Jim (winner of the Champion of Diversity mantle at the inauguralUKYA Blogger Awards) will discuss some of the major questions about diversity in YA fiction and how they apply to bloggers and vloggers. How important is it to review diverse books and support diverse authors? What IS a diverse book, for that matter? Should reviewers talk about diversity when it’s not a key part of the plot, or isn’t obvious until some way into the book Do bloggers have a responsibility to call out problematic representations of diversity? The workshop will explore these issues and practical advice on how to discuss diversity in a positive way on your blog. WARNING: controversy and uncomfortable truths ahead! Find Jim on Twitter @yayeahyeah and Ming @weimingkam.
Bay 3: It’s a mystery – at least for now!
Find out more about how we’ll be filling our final workshop slot during #UKYAchat on Twitter 8-9pm Monday 26 August.

Man, alive! Doesn't that look like an amazing line-up for blogging/vlogging workshops? I love all of these bloggers and vloggers and I cannot wait for these. The one I'm most looking forward to, obviously, is Jim and Ming's workshop on blogging and diversity. Because it sounds ace. The mystery blogging workshop hasn't been announced yet but I hope it got some good entries! 
‘UKYA’ Hall (Civic Hall, Civic Centre):
10:10am – 10:15am YA Shot Opening: News About the Year-Long Legacy Programme
10:15am – 11.15am Surviving Secondary School: The joys of High School and other myths – Chaired by Eve Ainsworth with RJ MorganAlice Oseman and David Owen
11.30am – 12.30pm Playing with Time: Historical fiction and historical settings – Chaired by Natasha Farrant with Lucy CoatsRhian Ivory and Alison Rattle
12.45pm – 1.45pm Crime and Punishment: Fictional wrongdoing and human rights – Chaired by Laura Jarratt with Cat ClarkeKeren David and Emma Haughton
2pm – 3pm Trigger Warning: Exploring sensitive issues in ethical ways – Chaired by Alexia Casale with Holly BourneTanya Byrne and Louisa Reid
3.20pm – 4.20pm The Stuff of Nightmares: Using dystopia and horror to explore social issues – Chaired by Laure Eve with James DawsonAntonia Honeywell and Emma Pass
4.40pm – 5.40pm Make ‘Em Laugh: Using humour to create empathy and understanding – Chaired by Matt Whyman with Ben DavisAndy Robb and CJ Skuse
6pm– 7pm Women Re-writing Worlds: Heroines of Fantasy – Chaired by Ellen Renner with CJ DaughertyGary Meehan and Melinda Salisbury
7.20pm – 8.30pm In conversation: Tom Pollock and Samantha Shannon
8.30pm – 8.40pm That’s a wrap!
Oooh! I love these panels. The sound of 'Surviving Secondary school' 'Crime and punishment' and 'Trigger Warning' especially. Plus, I just think each of these authors are in such perfect panels. Love the way that everyone is given a chance to play to their strengths and hopefully really shine. This is going to be SUCH an exciting day.
MG Central (Waterstone’s Uxbridge) Events:
10am – 10.45am Workshop with Ian Johnstone
11am – 12noon Daring Do!: High stakes versus safety nets in MG adventures – Chaired by Sally Nicholls with Emma Trevayne and Kiera O’Brien
2pm – 2.45pm Workshop with Susie Day
3pm – 4pm Weird and Wonderful: The familiar and the fantastical in MG fiction – Chaired by Abi Elphinstone with Nigel McDowell and Tatum Flynn
4.15pm – 5pm Workshop with Giancarlo Gemin: Cows to Cowgirl 
5.15pm – 6.15pm Into the Past: Exploring history in MG fiction – Chaired byEmma Carroll with Katherine Woodfine and Anne Booth
All the MG Central events are suitable for children aged 7-11 as well as adults.
I'm not a massive reader of middle grade fiction but this looks like a really exciting line-up of events! Particularly intrigued by Daring Do!: High Stakes versus safety nets in MG adventures and Into the Past: Exploring history in MG fiction. 

‘YA/MG’ Hall (Hall CR6, Civic Centre) Events:

10.15am – 11.15am Intrepid Girls: Adventure heroines – Chaired by Sam Oseman (Sam Hepburn) with Sarah Sky and Kerry Drewery
11.30am – 12.30pm Diverse Lives: Looking beyond labels – Chaired by Sarah Benwell with Lisa Williamson and Keris Stainton
12.45pm – 1.45pm Treasured Land: Nature as a character and concern in YA – Chaired by Piers Torday with Lisa Heathfield and Anna McKerrow
2pm – 3pm In conversationTim Bowler and Frances Hardinge 
3.20pm – 4.20pm No Escape: The enduring fascination with horror – Chaired byLou Morgan with Dawn Kurtagich and Sangu Mandanna
4.40pm – 5.40pm Tragedy! Tackling sadness in fiction for younger teens – Chaired by Candy Gorlay with Jane Elson and Aoife Walsh [MG event, suitable for children aged 7-11 as well as adults]
6pm – 7pm Subverting Stereotypes: Transforming myths, legends and pop culture – Chaired by Lu Hersey with Liz de Jager and Stefan Mohamed
7.20pm – 8.20pm Hopeless Romantic: Doomed lovers and ideals of romance – Chaired by Lauren James with Cat Doyle and Lucy Saxon

I think this portion of the programme looks like my favourite. All the panels/workshops look ace. I read this part and thought to myself 'all of them. I want to go to all of these panels.' Will really have to schedule myself well beforehand and prioritise because I know so many things will clash :( But I love the sound of the Hopeless Romantic panel, the Horror panel, Nature as a character and Subverting Stereotypes especially.

Let me know what you think of the YAShot programme!

Friday, August 21, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Winterkill trilogy by Kate A Boorman

Hello! I have something very special to show you today. This time last year I read a wonderful book, Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman. It was one of those books where I fell into the characters and the setting and the story so easily. It was beautifully written and atmospheric and emotional and I'm really looking forward to reading more in this trilogy!

Faber have rebranded the first book in the series and today I (along with other bloggers!) will be sharing the new covers. I hope you're just as excited as I am. And kudos to Will Steele, the cover designer, and Helen Crawford-White, the illustrator, for these covers. Amazing! ( #picturesmeanbusiness )

Before we get to the exciting Darkthaw reveal, let me show you the new look for Winterkill:

Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave...

The Council's rules are strict, but they're for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year.

But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council's suffocating embrace - especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage.

Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall...

And here is the sequel, Darkthaw in all its glory! Darkthaw will be published 5th November and I will certainly be reading it straight away. I won't add the synopsis here, in case you haven't yet read Winterkill. Minor spoilers!

And, because Faber are very forward-thinking, they have also started work on the third and final book in the trilogy, Heartfire, (I'm assuming) publishing sometime next year. This cover is not final! But it will give you a good indication of what the whole trilogy will look like together.

What do you guys think? I love them.  The original cover for Winterkill was very blue (and I like that cover too!) but having seen these covers now, I much prefer them. I love how each cover has colours that really complement each other and that the whole trilogy sits nicely together. I love the snow and trees and the solitary silhouettes in each of the covers. They're just so pretty.

Now tell me what you think! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

REVIEW: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Wow, I really enjoyed Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. It's the story of a girl, Sam, who has Pure-O OCD. Pure-O is something I'd never heard of before but it focuses on obsessive thoughts instead of compulsions which OCD is more known for. I really enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about this and also about Sam and her life and friendships. 

I think the thing I liked the most about this book is the way that poetry is used to help struggling teenagers to battle through mental illness, heartbreak, grief, bullying and other really awful things that teenagers go through. Sam meets this band of misfits that don't really fit in and they become this great, comforting and supportive friendship group. Through words and song lyrics and poetry and they write all their thoughts and feelings down and share with the other members of the Poetry Corner in this really awesome, vulnerable, brave way.

In direct opposition to the Poetry Corner group are Sam's 'best friends' the 'Crazy Eights' who are all for the most part manipulative, bitchy mean girls who treat Sam really badly and leave her feeling uncertain and unwanted and unsure about where she fits in. It feels easy to just think Sam should walk away from this group of girls but it's all she's known for such a long time and I could understand why it was so difficult for her. 

And while I don't think that the romantic elements of the story between Sam and AJ were at the heart of the novel, I did like them together. It was an interesting to see them become what they did after Sam and her friends bullied him when they were all younger. I'm not sure if that was quite believable but perhaps I'm just not as forgiving as AJ is. 

My favourite thing about the whole book is witnessing Sam's progression throughout the novel from someone very unsure of herself to someone happy and confident and able to share with those closest to her. I was really drawn to her as a character and I always, always wanted the best for her. I loved her friendship with Caroline, I loved how she described her experiences in the swimming pool and I especially loved reading her raw, honest poetry. 

This book inspired me. To read more about Pure-O and to try my hand at some of my own poetry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can characters be unlikeable but still loveable? by Alexia Casale

Absolutely pleased and honoured to be sharing this guest post from Alexia Casale today. Alexia is the author of The Bone Dragon and House of Windows (published this month!) as well as the organiser of upcoming literary 'festival' for MG/YA #YAShot. 

House of Windows is one of my favourite books I've read all year. You can read my review of it here and I'm so glad that Lexi chose to write about the likeability (or not) of her main character, Nick. I think it's really interesting and I hope you enjoy it too! 

Find out more about Alexia Casale, her books and YAShot using the following websites: 

Can characters by unlikeable but still loveable?
by Alexia Casale

A while back, I did an interview about The Bone Dragon that included the question ‘Why will readers like your protagonist, Evie?’ I remember blinking at the screen and realising I’d never even thought about it before because it had never occurred to me as an issue. I love some of my characters and hate others, but I never think about whether they’re likeable. It seems such a low bar to set – and, at the same time, it’s so hard to achieve a general ‘likeability’ that everyone will agree with. Likeable characters are like bread: very pleasant, but also very easy to get fed up with unless you add something to the mix. How could any writer ask people to read an entire book about bread-people? Books need to be about marmite-people: people love or loathe. People readers will have a strong opinion about.

            Nick, the protagonist of House of Windows, is a prickly, touchy, difficult, largely self-centred smart-alec. I don’t expect the majority of readers to like him. Instead I hope most will slowly come to love him, not because they discover he has a hidden heart of gold but through gradually coming to understand him: to see why he’s self-centred and why such a smart person is so dumb when it comes to people. There are reasons that Nick is as he is, but during the book he starts making different choices and becoming a slightly different person. But his choices aren’t a matter of him saying ‘Oh, I guess I’m a bit of a jerk: better do something about that’, they’re about him coming to understand that there are other ways of behaving.

As we slowly realise, Nick needs some help learning enough about other people to know how not to be selfish. I love Nick and I feel for him because I understand why he hasn’t seen the other choices he could make before. Also, he’s still a child and I think there’s a lot to love about a person who is doing his best, as he approaches adulthood, to find a way to be a better person when he’s really not had any help figuring those things out. The things we learn about why Nick as he is don’t excuse his behaviour, but they explain it. It’s easier to have sympathy for people when we understand where they’re coming from. Often we see that when people aren’t nice to us, they’re not trying to be hurtful: they’re just try to deal with stuff going on in their own lives. When we see that people don’t mean us harm, it’s easier to see past their actions. That’s the journey I hope to take readers on with Nick.

            Meanwhile, one of the others characters is presented as a ‘nice chap’. But then there’s a bit of stereotypical, slightly cartoonish ‘comedy’ with one girl and then another… and over time I hope readers will see that this ‘likeable’ ‘funny’ ‘nice chap’ isn’t really either of those things. In his way, he’s a much less pleasant person than Nick – he’s just got a shinier, smoother surface. He doesn’t prickle at everyone and periodically sneer, but he is much more deeply unkind. More deeply selfish.

And that’s another issue I have with ‘likeableness’. Often the people who are overtly likeable aren’t actually that nice or kind or decent. Yes, they make nice and they smile and they never actively say anything horrid and they try to avoid conflict… but those things aren’t always good at all. If someone stamps purposefully on your foot because they fancy it and then smile and make an apology, it’s harder to call them on it. But I’d say that person is worse than the one who just comes up and stamps on your foot while glaring at you and then swears at you and walks off. We often mistake slick for likeable. After all, how can anyone be ‘likeable’ and still challenge implicit prejudice from someone who is smiling and oblivious when this will doubtless mean upsetting people and ‘causing a fuss’? On the one hand it’s not likeable to do otherwise, but upsetting people and causing a fuss are antithetical to the appearance of being agreeable and smiling and getting on with everyone that we often associate with likeableness.

Likeableness is a mask people wear when you first meet them. It doesn’t tell you much about what’s going on underneath and that’s what I care about in creating characters: I don’t want them to be a small list of traits but feel like real people - complex and contradictory and all the more wonderful because of it.

            It’s not that hard to love people who act in selfish and difficult ways provided they’re not cruel and you understand why they’re behaving that way. Liking people is all about surface impressions: it’s relies on not knowing very much about someone. Love relies on complexity: it’s about liking some bits and not others, but understanding how all the bits fit together and appreciating the whole person as more than the sum of their parts. That’s what I strive for with my characters. I want them to be interesting. I want them to gradually come to make sense. Then you can like them or not, love them or hate them, but I hope you’ll see them as I do – as people on page, not just characters acting out a story.

Monday, August 17, 2015

REVIEW: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

I was really looking forward to reading Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger and I think what really attracted me to the book, aside from the author and how much I've enjoyed her previous books, is that there's a person of colour on the front cover. Love that. It was pointed out to be at a recent Twitter chat and that very fact made me bump this book up my virtual-TBR pile. (Hurrah diversity!) 

I didn't know very much about the book before I started reading. It shouldn't have come as a surprise that it's very much a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac but I didn't properly read the blurb! I love mistaken identity stories and this one with its modern technology and catfish thing should have been right up my street. But for some reason I felt a little bit distant from everyone. I didn't really connect with Sonny and Amy's relationship or Sonny and Ryder though I wanted to for both relationships. I thought they were cute but we never really reached that point where I was super invested in their dramas or problems.

But that isn't to say that I didn't really enjoy this book or that I didn't race through it in almost a single sitting. I did. I just wasn't as fully there as I'd hoped. I did feel very emotional sometimes, mostly to do with Sonny's family and home situation and the fact that the Rushes take her in so completely and without question. But then, that's something that just gets to me every time, no matter what.

There are a lot of mentions of Wesley and Bianca from The DUFF in this book and that was lovely to see. Both how their relationship is going several years on but also how nice Wesley is with his sister and as a friend to Sonny. There were also some cameo appearances from other Kody Keplinger stories but, if I'm honest, they felt a little out of place and like they were shoe-horned in for the sake of it and threw me more out of the story. But then, I do also like how some books are interconnected in these small ways. 

So, sort of a mixed review for this book. I did enjoy it! I liked how the fall-out from Sonny and Amy is at the heart of this story as opposed to Sonny and Ryder. More wonderful stories about female friendship, please.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Michelle from Tales of Yesterday (Celebrating British Bloggers)

My final Celebrating British Bloggers interview! I've really enjoyed hosting this feature but it has come to its end.  Thank you to everyone who has taken part or has read or commented or tweeted about the feature of any of the previous interviews.

And thank you to Michelle from Tales of Yesterday for being super lovely as well as being the final ever participant! Tales of Yesterday is one of my favourite new blogs and I love Chelley's passion and enthusiasm for both books and blogging. I'm sure you're already following her blog and on Twitter, but if you are not here are those links again:

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

Hi, I’m Chelle and I run a book blog - www.Talesofyesterday.co.uk.  I read lots of books and review them on my blog and also love to feature guest posts, Q&A’s amongst others things from authors as well as other bloggers.  I always feature anything I enjoy or find fun or want to know the answers to!

I am helpdesk / resource planner team leader for a service company by day and an avid book reader / book blogger / serial tweeter / twitter addict by night and on weekends!

I’m also a co-mod for the awesome book forum BookishPeeps.com and organiser of #DrinkYAMidlands and #PicnicYAMidlands where everyone is welcome to meet up for bookish chat and fun!  I also host a nostalgic #PointHorrorBookClub on the 13th of every month where we read and discuss a Point Horror book which were all the rage and loved by myself in the 90’s – do you remember them?

I am often known to be a little bit clumsy and possibly a little loopy! I am always laughing at something or another and have a bit of a chuckle laugh (one of my managers calls me chuckles).

I live with my husband, Kevin, who I have known since I was 4 and I have a 10 Year Old son, Corey, who is as much of a book lover as me! I also have 3 cats, Skittles, Patch and Louis who enjoy clawing at my curtains and 3 rabbits, Smudge, Caramel and Clover who pinch all my vegetables!

I am a book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher horror film loving csi geek! I’m often seen on twitter embarrassing myself and tweeting about books a lot using @chelleytoy.

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 have always loved books ever since I was a little girl when my mom used to take me to the library a lot (I talked about this for a Love Libraries Feature here but be warned it features pictures of younger Michelle!).  I have carried on with that love for books ever since, but I hit a stumbling block in my love for books when I lost my sight suddenly in 2013.  I wrote a guest post about it previously here, but upon keeping the sight in one eye I gradually got back into reading and discovered the wonderful world of YA and it reignited my love and passion for books.

Starting a book blog seemed to be a natural step for me and something I wish I had done years ago!  I LOVE talking about books and sharing my thoughts and experience of a book with people and sharing my thoughts through reviews on my blog.  Books in general excite me.  I love getting lost within the pages of a book.  Feeling what the characters are feeling or experiencing and going on a journey with them.  I also love being asked for recommendations especially by children and then being told how much they love the book…this makes me so happy.  I also love sharing books with my son and having reading time with him every night.

So yeah basically – Chelley loves books!

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

I would love to have known how wonderful and awesome the community is!  I have made some lovely friends through blogging and it genuinely brings a tear to my eye to think about it.  When I think back to a time in my life where I felt quite lonely and scared (I had my family of course) if I had known that book blogging would introduce me to genuine wonderful people I would have done it sooner.  I love the community so much.

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

Oh wow!  Working!  Lol.  I work Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and live about an hours motorway drive away from my job (I am the only driver in my family) so when I get home it is normally time to spend with my family, watching lots of Netflix’s, reading, blogging and I try to fit some writing in occasionally too.

I am often known to spend too much time talking to people on twitter too!

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

I do read a lot of YA books and a lot by British Authors as I like to champion #UKYA and celebrate our home grown talent.  I have been taking part in the British Books Challenge 2015 and am thoroughly enjoying it.  I also feel passionate about #WeNeedDiverseBooks so I like to champion this and get the word out there and read more diverse reads where I can.  I feel it is important for our children to grow up with access to diverse reads so the more we spread the word the better.

I think I would like my blog to be known as a place to get to know authors a little better or to discover a new book recommendation via my reviews.  A fun place where people can enjoy themselves.

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

The best experience of being a book blogger so far is getting to know new supportive people who love books and the community just as much as me.

I have also loved the chances I have had to meet authors or have authors appear on my blog and learn more about their lives, writing, books and the publishing industry.  I always feel truly honoured when an author agrees to appear on my blog.

On a personal note the most over whelming experience has been winning a UKYABA award in March for Champion Newcomer 2015 which in turn has given me the honour of speaking on a book blogging workshop / panel at YALC which is mind blowingly amazing and scary all rolled into one big ball of fun!

What is your biggest struggle as a book blogger?

My biggest struggle as a book blogger is time!  I need Hermione's Time Turner!  I want to spend ALL my time with my family and friends, read ALL the books, put more time into my blog and write that book that’s inside me, but time is restricted sometimes.  

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

Okay my favourite ever book is Watership Down!  I adore this book!  A childhood favourite.  It is followed closely by a number of other books though.

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

Ohhhhh this is a tough one!  I just want people to read ALL the books!  

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

Yes!  I’m always discovering new authors and books all the time especially through Bookish Brits videos, #UKYAChat and via Jim over at @YAYeahYeah amongst others.  For me twitter provides me with so many book recs that my TBR list grows to a staggering amount!

Name your top 5 UK book bloggers!

Just 5??!!  I don’t think I can through fear of missing off a blogger I adore!

*offers Cloverness a cake and bats eyelashes to let me off the question*

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

I feel I have been very lucky to meet a lot of my favourite amazing authors already, but for me this would be John Green or James Patterson…..two authors I adore who I would be honoured to get a chance to meet in real life!

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

I would like to see more friendships rather than love interests and more #LGBT that are just there rather than being the focus on the book if that makes any sense.  I would also like to see more disabled characters in books.

And finally, who is your ultimate book crush?

At the time of writing this I am reading a book called Black Iris (recommended to me by Jim over at @YAYeahYeah) and I have a serious SERIOUS crush on a character called Armin….he makes really bad (I say good) 80’S song reference jokes and I LOVE him (well so far…unless things turn in the book…now I’m worried).  
Ultimate book crush?!  I’m not sure I have one?  
*minds goes blank* I can’t think at all….however if you follow me on twitter I like a man with a beard and old!