Friday, 6 July 2018

GUEST POST | 'It's A Wrap' by Perdita and Honor Cargill | 3 Favourite Minor Characters

Hey guys, and happy Friday! Today I am so thrilled to be sharing a post by Perdita and Honor today, to celebrate the publication of the last book in this fabulous trilogy, It's A Wrap! This book is no doubt one of the best books I read this year, and take it from me it is the perfect summer read that you all need to get your hands on!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Elektra James is back and her life is more hilariously chaotic than ever!

Elektra is hoping for big things this year... She's finished her first feature film (even if her character was unexpectedly killed off half-way through filming), hosted the party of the year (well, before her mum arrived and threw everyone out - how embarrassing!) and managed to become Archie Mortimer's Actual Real Life girlfriend (for now anyway...), so things are most definitely moving in the right direction. But with social media to navigate (#actinggoals #instanightmare), GCSEs looming and a seemingly never-ending parade of failed casting calls, Elektra's road to acting stardom is proving to be as rocky as ever.

The Waiting for Callback books are a funny teen series, just perfect for chilling out with in the school holidays. And now with It’s A Wrap just published, you can binge on the cringe.  The series follows the adventures and mostly misadventures of Elektra James, teen actor-in-training. We love Elektra but the books are packed with fun and pretty eccentric characters so we asked the authors to turn the spotlight on three of their favourite minor characters, one from each book. Here’s what they came up with…

Aaaaagh, we do NOT want to pick but here goes:

From Casting Queen:

It’s got to be Squirrelina! One of the high points of Elektra’s first year as a professional actor (OK as an actor with an agent who is TRYING and mostly failing to get jobs) is to get cast as the voice of the second most important squirrel in a nuts’ commercial. Glamorous, right? Not so much… Elektra muddles her way through her first voice-over but she kind of bonds with Squirrelina.  It’s tricky to explain given that she’s a fictional talking animal in a poorly scripted commercial for inedible nutty treats so here’s an extract! 

From Take Two

Elektra is filming in this book and there’s a big cast and crew. Frankly, most of them are pretty eccentric, so too many contenders here.  We were tempted by Kale, the small but very fierce and troublesome handbag dog belonging to A-Lister and yoga devotee, Amber Leigh but we’re going to go for Eddie. He’s one of the assistants on the production and he is a slave to precision timing and never separated from his clipboard. Because nothing on this production runs on time, poor Eddie is pretty much always stressed. He’s got a thing about working out his abs and Abba. Also, although he’s a fairly far-fetched specimen he may or may not be drawn pretty closely from life… Meet him in this brief extract here.

From It’s A Wrap

We’re going to go with Mike Minor Squire.  Elektra is pretty harsh to poor old Mike. He’s just not the love interest she had in her imagination. Seriously, where is his chiselled jaw? Worse, where is his conversation?  Read a brief extract where she meets him here. But mostly we like him because he has a pivotal role in our favourite scene. We can’t tell you much about it and we can’t extract that scene because…SPOILERS – Look, it involves a chicken fillet and a guy in a tailcoat screaming “BOOBIE!”. That’s all you need to know. 

Thank you so much, Perdita and Honor, for appearing on my blog!

Check out my 5* review of It's A Wrap here:

Buy It's a Wrap here:

Check out Perdita and Honor Cargill here:

Check out my reviews of the other two books in the trilogy here:

Until next time :)

Perdita and Honor Cargill co-write the Waiting for Callback series, published by Simon and Schuster. The last book, It’s A Wrap was published on 31 May 2018. All available through Hive, Waterstones, Amazon or your other favourite retailers. 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | GRANDMA Z BLOG TOUR | 'Grandma Z' by Daniel Gray-Barnett (****)

Hey guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am very happy to be back with another children's book feature, to celebrate the publication of an awesome new picture book Grandma Z. As soon as I saw the press release for this book I knew I had to read it - just by looking at the blurb and seeing the illustrations, I knew Grandma Z was one of those picture books that represents the very best in children's literature.

Grandma Z is a story all about fun and family and living life unordinarily. Albert wants to spend his birthday doing something fun, however just like every birthday, nothing special or exciting happens. That is... until Grandma Z turns up on Albert's doorstep. And suddenly, things become very unordinary indeed...

I was kindly sent Grandma Z by Scribe Books in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

On an ordinary day, in an even more ordinary town, it was Albert’s birthday.

When Grandma Z roars into town on her motorcycle, Albert is swept up in a very extraordinary adventure. Life may never be the same again!

This glorious debut from Daniel Gray-Barnett is filled with wonder, imagination, and a wild, magical spirit that will thrill young and old.

And I am especially excited as today is the official publication day for Grandma Z, so you can go and get your hands on it now!

I loved everything about this book! The eccentric Grandma Z and little suited-up Albert make an unlikely pair, but everything about this relationship is so wonderful. This is such an exciting, fast-paced story to read to kids; the storytelling aspect is fantastic, as of course the emphais is on Albert's unordinary birthday. 

Grandma Z and Albert do extraordinary things: hunting for treasures, climbing mountains, bird-watching and even discovering a new species of beetle. I love how imaginative this book is, both in terms of the story and the illustrations. The colour palette is gorgeous and the drawings are absolutely brilliant, perfectly capturing the sense of magic and adventure.

This book is perfect for kids who wish more for their birthday than birthday toast and socks! Suitable for babies all the way up to 7 years old.

Check out Daniel Gray-Barnett here:

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the posts on the blog tour <3

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

ACCESS ALL AWKWARD BLOG TOUR | 'Access All Awkward' by Beth Garrod (****)

Hey guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am really excited to share with you my review of Beth Garrod’s brand new book, Access All Awkward. Beth’s books have been on my TBR for absolutely ages, but somehow I have never read one until now. But it’s safe to say that after completely devouring this one, I can’t wait to read the others!

Access All Awkward is the third book in the Super Awkward series – a laugh out loud series following the adventures (and misadventures) of Bella Fisher, who is trying to juggle the chaos of teenagedom, with all the complications and awkwardness it can bring. In Access All Awkward, Bella is doing her best to navigate the stressfulness of her GCSEs, and the most likely probability that she will fluff them all up and not be able to go to college with her BFFs, Tegan and Rach. But the promise of the summer of all summers at RebelRocks (as a litter picker, but let's ignore that) is keeping her going. But there's a lot more awkwardness to come, along with boyfriend worries, and a band who are behaving in a way that is so out of order. 

I was kindly sent a copy of Access All Awkward by Scholastic in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Bella Fisher is stuck in EXAM HELL - with only the promise of a weekend at the RebelRocks festival with her mates as a reward afterwards. OK, so she can't actually afford a ticket and will have to work as a litter picker and toilet scrubber, but it's still going to be epic: the best bands, her best friends and best-boy-in-the-world Adam, with not a parent or teacher in sight.

But when she arrives to find annoying older sister Jo has been sent by Mum to keep an eye on her, things go from bad to worse. BFF Rachel is hanging out with some mean girls, awful ex-boyfriend Luke pitches up with his model girlfriend and her pristine Hunter wellies, and the drummer in her favourite band is exposed as a sexist pig. All the face glitter and flower crowns in the world can't save the day... can they?

I adored this book. In the summer I am always in the mood for YA and this absolutely hit the spot. I've never read a book set at a festival before (or even been to a festival for that matter), but this book transported me to a (sometimes) sparkling world of friendship, glitter and late summer nights celebrating music and good times. I loved how realistic this book was, and that it didn't sugar coat the teenage dream of a summer at a festival with all your best mates. The fact that Bella couldn't afford a ticket in the first place and had to work, the questionable portaloos, and prolific sexism in the music industry were issues that were brilliantly portrayed in this book, and I think it is really important that they were.

I absolutely loved Bella's voice; I loved how her kindness and confidence and loyalties were qualities that were exentuated. The relatonships in this book were also fantastically portrayed as being lovely and healthy. I also loved the plot about The Session and the girls fighting back against the awful sexism. Access All Awkward brilliantly manages to tackle serious, current issues while presenting fantastic characters that come right off the page, and hilarious moments. If you need a hilarious YA summer read about friendship, first love and the intoxicating chaos of a first festival, then look no longer - you need Access All Awkward on your summer TBR!

Check out Beth Garrod here:

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the posts on the blog tour <3

Until next time :)

Sunday, 1 July 2018

BLOG TOUR | 'One' by Jennifer L. Cahill | Why I Write or Why I Wrote/Wanted to Write One?

Hey guys, and happy Sunday! Today I am excited to be part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of One, a book all about friendship, love, and finding yourself as being a small fish in a very large pond. I am thrilled to have Jennifer L. Cahill on my blog today to talk all things writing inspiration, but before that, check out the blurb here...

It's London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi, and One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.

Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.

Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At 28 she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.

Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness.

Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future.

So without any further ado, here is Jennifer with how she finds inspiration for her writing, and more importantly, why she wanted to write One...

I feel like I have to write, it’s like breathing for me. I’ve always written, and I do a lot of writing in my day job which is helping big companies manage change and transformation.  A key part of this is change communications and articulating the change journey, which can often be very complex and sometimes unchartered territory. 

I was inspired to write One? primarily to entertain and help my readers learn a little about the most complex journey that we all embark on….finding that one perfect partner. I think that the traditional models of relationships need to be addressed as the world around us is changing at such a fast pace. The roles of women, and men are changing along with it, and we are all navigating these changes. 

I didn’t plan the book in advance, inspiration struck and it came tumbling out of me like an unstoppable torrent. I really love the writing process, and as soon as I started writing the book it felt like life turned into an adventure. All of a sudden everything was potentially inspiration, it added an extra dimension to my life. I love the creative process and how inspiration can strike at any moment.  

 I love nothing better than delving into somebody else’s world in a good book, and if I can do that for my readers, I’ll be very happy indeed. 

Thank you so much, Jennifer, for appearing on my blog! 

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the books on the blog tour <3

Buy One here:

Check out Jennifer L. Cahill here:

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 'I Was Born For This' by Alice Oseman (****)

Hey guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am excited to be bringing you another book review, this time the wonderful Alice Oseman's I Was Born For This! Oseman has been a huge name in YA for a while now, however this is actually the first book I have read written by her, and it's safe to say that now I cannot wait to read her other two books!

I Was Born For This follows Angel Rahimi, who pretty much lives for superstar boyband The Ark. For Angel, The Ark are everything, and she's pretty sure that she wouldn't be able to live without them. When she gets the opportunity to travel down to London to meet her long-time internet friend Juliet, and more amazingly, see The Ark perform live, Angel can't believe her luck.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci always dreamed of being in a boyband. The Ark has given him everything: money, fame, stardom. But for Jimmy, sometimes this life is a bit too much to handle. Jimmy feels like everything is spiraling out of control, and he begins to miss the calm life he once had. When Jimmy and Angel meet in crazy circumstances, they discover that they may be able to help out the other in more ways than they previously thought...

I was lucky enough to receive this book from Nina Douglas, in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

I loved loved loved this book! The first thing I immediately noticed was the incredible diversity in I Was Born For This. I know that in an ideal world, characters in TV shows and books and films would all reflect the diversity of our world but, unfortunately, that is not always the case. It is clear that Oseman made a conscious effort to make her book enjoyable and relatable for everyone - people of all genders, religions, and sexual orientations were part of this book. And of course, this makes the story a lot more interesting as well. Why would you want to read about characters who were all the same?! The writing was so sparky and fresh; it is one of those YA page-turners that make you feel so happy that you never want it to end.

I have never read a book about a boyband before, and this was definitely something different for me. I loved the fact that we got both Angel and Jimmy's perspective - and especially with Jimmy, I was enlightened to a side of fame that I hadn't thought that much about before. I thought it was really refreshing for 'celebrity' to be portrayed in this way. Oseman explored the idea that everyone lives with mental health issues, no matter how happy they might appear to be. I think Jimmy's point of view was incredibly sensitively written, and he had so many layers to his character that I enjoyed uncovering as the story went on. 

Angel was a fantastic character - confident, funny, compassionate - all while living with her own worries and insecurities. Yet again, Oseman stayed away from a simple characterisation here, and the result was a brilliantly realistic female character who knew what she was passionate about, and didn't shy away from it. I love that Angel and Jimmy collided in the novel, as I think there are so many things that are similar about them, but not in any obvious way. 

More than anything, this book is about loving something and being passionate about loving it, all whilst being true to yourself. For me, Oseman perfectly captures what it means to be a fan, and how it can be the most wonderful thing in the world, yet only if you can still feel enough love for yourself and the people around you. 

Check out Alice Oseman here:

Until next time :)

Monday, 25 June 2018

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Waiting for Callback: It's a Wrap' by Perdita and Honor Cargill

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am thrilled to be reviewing an absolutely fabulous book I read recently, and I don't think this will be a suprise to any of you, but this book is the final book in the Waiting for Callback series, one of my favourite series of all time. You know that series you can always depend on, to cheer you up, comfort or, or just transport you to a familiar, happy place? Well, that is what this series does for me.

Therefore, reading this final book in the series was a strange experience. I wanted more than anything to devour it, gobble it up, hole up in my room for a whole day so I could finish it there and then. But I wanted it to last forever, and I dreaded saying goodbye to these characters who are simply so lovable that I wanted to stay inside this book eternally. 

But anyway, enough of my rambling. It's a Wrap follows young actress Elektra at what would seem to be the height of her new career. She has just finished her first feature film, but now that she's started she only wants more, however work seems to be annoyingly few and far between these days. That being said, her GCSE exams are taking up more time and causing more stress than she would like, and her best friend Moss is facing some off-screen drama (boy related) of her own. When a social media mishap spirals suddenly and distressingly out of control, Elektra starts to wonder if she can cope with all that stardom comes with, especially with her future-determining exams looming ever closer...

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Elektra James is back and her life is more hilariously chaotic than ever!

Elektra is hoping for big things this year... She's finished her first feature film (even if her character was unexpectedly killed off half-way through filming), hosted the party of the year (well, before her mum arrived and threw everyone out - how embarrassing!) and managed to become Archie Mortimer's Actual Real Life girlfriend (for now anyway...), so things are most definitely moving in the right direction. But with social media to navigate (#actinggoals #instanightmare), GCSEs looming and a seemingly never-ending parade of failed casting calls, Elektra's road to acting stardom is proving to be as rocky as ever.

The third and final book in a trilogy carries a staggering amount of weight. While the second book in a series has the pressure to hold up to the standard of the first one, the third is really the make or break moment. In my opinion, It's a Wrap is the most perfect ending to the trilogy that I could have ever hoped for; a loving farewell to the characters who I have grown to love dearly. Everything was just so well done - from the continued fantastic characterisation, the amazing dialogue and the hilarious cringe moments that make this series so wonderful. I loved the relationship between Elektra and Archie, and also the friendship between Elektra and Moss, which in this book becomes more complicated due to Moss' tumultuous love life. I think Perdita and Honor are fantastic at portraying good, healthy relationships, whether romantic or friendship, which I think is really important for a book that is primarily enjoyed by young people. 

The comedic scenes in this book were better than ever; I especially loved that dinner party filming fiasco! The new characters were amazingly done, and I felt that in this book we got a lot more of Elektra's professional acting life as it developed, which was so interesting to read. Her confident, adventurous attitude is so refreshing to read, and I think this series does really show people how important it is sometimes to just put yourself out there, be confident, and be yourself. It's a Wrap also discusses some vital issues such as body image, pressure from social media, and the various ways young men and women are forced to act in a certain way, that isn't them. There are just so many things in this book that make it great for anyone and everyone to read. It's such a cliché, but the Waiting for Callback books really do contain something for everybody. 

I will miss Elektra, Moss, Archie, Eulalie and Elektra's mum and dad with all my heart. These books have always been a welcome escape in times of stress or just when I'm not feeling my best. These books are the very most hilarious and heartwarming books there are out there. And I will miss them so very much.

Thank you, Perdita and Honor, for writing these books, and I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us. Keep doing what you're doing, you're utterly brilliant at it.

Check out Perdita and Honor Cargill here:

Check out my reviews of the other two books in the trilogy here:

Until next time :)

Thursday, 21 June 2018

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | ISLA & PICKLE BLOG TOUR | Inspiration from the Scottish Landscape...

Hey guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am so happy to be back with another feature for my Delightful Kids Books segment, this time to celebrate the publication of another wonderful children's book. Today the book in question is Isla & Pickle: The Highland Show, which is a gorgeous story about a little girl and her Shetland pony, who are going to be taking part in a competition at the Highland Show. Everything seems to be going to plan, except when the day of the competition comes, Pickle can't seem to be able to stay out of mischief...

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Isla and her best friend Pickle, an adorable miniature Shetland pony, can't wait to take part in the Perfect Pony competition at the Highland Show. They practise really hard but when the day of the show finally arrives, cheeky Pickle can't seem to stay out of trouble! Isla finds Pickle just in time for the competition but the mischievous pony is stinky and covered in cake. They'll never win the Perfect Pony prize now! But maybe together they'll discover there's more to life than being perfect.

Isla & Pickle: The Highland Show is the second picture book in a new series about a feisty little girl, a cheeky Shetland pony and their adventures. They live on a Scottish island where they get up to all sorts of mischief, led by Pickle the pony, who enjoys escaping from his field and getting very messy! Perfect for any children with a penchant for ponies, this book is full of fun in the great outdoors, with bright, humorous illustrations that are sure to make grown-ups smile and give wee ones the giggles.

And today I am delighted to have Kate McLelland on my blog to talk about how the beautiful Scottish landscape inspired her books!

For author, printmaker and illustrator Kate McLelland the natural landscape is a huge source of artistic inspiration and influence. Today, Kate reveals which Scottish island is her principle source of inspiration in her Isla and Pickle picture book series. 

Isla and Pickle is my love letter to Skye and to my little sister, Emma, who I based Pickle on. 

As a child, I visited the Isle of Skye annually with my family.

We drove up from Durham and it took around 8-9 long hours! However, despite the car journey, we always got excited when we started recognising west coast landmarks as we drew closer. 

Eilean Donan castle was always a joy to see, magnificently framed against the three sea lochs. Sometimes we did a detour to Plokton - one of my favourite coastal villages. 

No visit was complete without getting stuck in the car surrounded by a herd of cheeky highland cows! 

Before the bridge was built we crossed to Skye from the mainland by ferry. 

We always stayed in Dunvegan, on the west coast of the island, so it was still an hour’s drive before we would arrive. However, there was never a dull car journey on Skye. 

My parents would play albums by Capercaillie and we would all be captivated by the views outside our windows. 

As we got closer, the roads narrowed and the scenery became even more dramatic and beautiful. 

Waterfalls gushed close enough to the road to splash the car, dramatic volcanic mountains loomed over and stunning bays were around every bend. 

To get to our holiday cottage we had to unlock a sheep gate, and from there me and my sister would run the rest of the way down a dirt track.

The cottage overlooked Dunvegan loch, which had spectacular pink and orange sunsets - when is wasn’t tipping down!

There are so many locations on Skye that I have tried to capture in my Isla and Pickle books, the colourful houses in Portree Bay, the Coral Beach, Macleod’s Tables and Dunvagan - to name a few. 

But mostly I hope I have captured how special my time with my loved ones was in the magical West Coast of Scotland.

Thank you so much, Kate, for featuring on my blog today!

Make sure you guys check out this book and the other ones in the series... Also don't forget to check out the other posts on the blog tour!

Check out Kate McLelland here:

Until next time :)

Kate McLelland is an accomplished illustrator and printmaker. She trained in illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. She is the illustrator of bestselling picture book There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie and the much-loved My First Scottish board book collection, and has received and been nominated for a range of awards.