Monday, 18 March 2019

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Vote for Effie' by Laura Wood

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am thrilled to be sharing with you a book that has become my new YOU HAVE TO READ THIS! book. This book is so full of joy and heart and unapologetic grit and it completely stole my heart! Vote for Effie is a book that is about standing up for what you believe in, and not apologising for standing up for it. It is a book I wish I could press into every young boy and girl's hands, especially in today's climate.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Join Effie Kostas as she fights to become Student Council President in her new school. With a campaign team of loveable misfits, she tackles the truly important subjects: gender imbalance, outdated school conventions...and good-looking boys stealing the last slice of chocolate cake at lunchtime. A laugh out-loud rallying call for switched-on kids everywhere.

I was kindly sent a copy of Vote For Effie by Scholastic in exchange for an honest review :)

I adored Vote for Effie from start to finish. Laura Wood first bowled me over with A Sky Painted Gold, and now my admiration for her has grown even more. Honestly, they are both completely different books and both of them are just absolutely gorgeous. Find me another author with this kind of versatility... But honestly, I don't think I've read a middle-grade book before that has made me this emotional! Effie Kostas is like a mini Leslie Knope (but with bigger hair, of course) and she is such a fabulous role model for young people. She is kind, honest, hardworking and fights for what she believes in. She stands up for people who have been sidelined and she doesn't give up easily. Can we have Effie Kostas for Prime Minister, please? I am sure she would sort this Brexit nonsense out (and all the other nonsense that's occuring, and still have time to organise her stationery). 

Effie's fight to become Student Council President is no mean feat, and she tackles issues that cannot be taken lightly - girls not being allowed to wear trousers, no buddy system for new pupils, no money for a girl's football team. Even though Aaron Davis, the coolest boy at school, has won the Student Council President for years, Effie soon inspires students to be vocal about what they care about, and take action to change things that are unfair.

Apart from the fabulous writing, the characters in Vote for Effie were what made this book brilliant for me. It's rare to get this kind of characterisation in a relatively short middle-grade read, but every single character was so fleshed out and I loved reading their interactions. My favourites have to be Effie's parents and her sister Lil (who is the sassiest, funniest kid I have ever come across in a MG book) and the next door neighbour Iris. There was a real effort made to celebrate difference in this book, which is something every kid needs to come across in their books.

If you're in the mood for a fun, smart, inspiring read, then Vote for Effie is definitely the book to get your hands on! Especially in the midst of all this political turmoil - I'm sure there are kids out there just like Effie Kostas - and so, there is hope :)

Check out Laura Wood here:

Until next time :)

Saturday, 16 March 2019

PROUD BLOG TOUR | My favourite LGBT+ YA & How they Helped Me Become a Better Ally

Hey guys, and happy Saturday! Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the *long-awaited* publication of Proud, a brilliant and urgently needed anthology that showcases and celebrates LGBT+ voices and artists. I finished reading this last weekend and honestly, this book really does reflect everything I love about the YA industry and it's continuing efforts to publish responsibly and diversely. I can't even imagine how many young people this book will inspire to be themselves and celebrate who they are. It is also simply just a wonderful book, with stories and artwork that will delight and inspire you until the very last page.

Check out the blurb here...

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.


I'd just like to point out that I am both cis and heterosexual, and I have never experienced any form of harrassment, judgement or threat due to my sexuality. Reading this book made me realise that reading LGBT+ is what has helped formed me to be the ally I am today. I might never fully understand what it feels like to be LGBT+ and constantly needing to explain who you are and the way you feel to the rest of the world (heck, I never needed to come out to my parents as straight), but I truly believe that reading LGBT+ literature has deepened my understanding to the point where I cannot imagine not feeling passionate about defending and advocating for the rights of LGBT+ people. I am a believer that ignorance can be one of the most harmful and toxic things in our society today, and I am so glad that kids today will grow up being able to read about people who are both similar and different to them, and have a much broader picture of what the world really is like. 

So as part of the blog tour, I'd love to share my favourite LGBT+ books, to celebrate their existence as both ways of promoting LGBT+ stories, and also because they are just bloody brilliant books.

Pulp - Robin Talley
Pulp is a fantastic book with a narrative that transcends generations, with storytelling and lesbian pulp fiction at its heart. It is a story about how far we have come, yet still how much further we still have to go. It is about two young women who are facing different battles, yet still have a lot in common. Pulp is also in many ways a love letter to writing and to stories, and how despite everything writing can be an escape from the realities of life, when things are at their most difficult. Janet and Abby are both so similar, even though they are from completely different societies, yet their circumstances are much more common than first expected. In Pulp, the dual narrative really allowed me to examine American society for what it was and how it still is, and how whatever happens, we can't allow ourselves to be complacent. We must keep fighting for those that others marginalise and sideline, and we can't afford to be silent.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Emily M. Danforth
This is an absolute whirlwind of a book. The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron over many years, as she comes to a realisation about her sexuality, and what consequences may follow from that realisation. It is a story that is both horrific yet full of hope, and it is about having the strength and bravery to be yourself, even when the very way the fabric of society is constructed forbids you to do so. What was so gripping about this book was the narrative; Cameron is a real flesh and blood individual. Emily M. Danforth is a marvellous storyteller. 

Beyond Magenta - Susan Kuklin
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out is a wonderful and vitally important book chronicling the lives of transgender and gender-neutral teenagers. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six young adults, who appear throughout the book. You meet these young people before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender identity. The pages are filled with portraits and family photographs, making this an emotional and unforgettable read.

Honor Girl - Maggie Thrash
Honor Girl follows Maggie, as she navigates another summer at Camp Bellflower for Girls, although this summer is a little different. Suddenly, and unexpectantly, she feels herself falling for Erin, one of the Camp's counsellors. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for Maggie to express her true feelings, and even her proficiency at the rifle range and her adoration for Backstreet Boys isn't enough to distract her. This gorgeous graphic novel shows that one summer really can change everything, and when you're a teenager, it changes your whole world. I zoomed through this, and was left wanting more and more. 

Read Me Like a Book - Liz Kessler
Read Me Like a Book chronicles one teenage girl's journey as she navigates the thorny path of adolescence, and begins to question her identity. Ashleigh, the protagonist, is on a journey of terrifying self-discovery, and the narrative reflected this brilliantly. Not every single teenager feels confused about their sexuality, but every teenager sometimes feels confused, period. Read Me Like A Book made me feel okay about that, and opened my eyes to what it might feel like to begin to question everything you had ever thought about yourself and who you might be. It's awful to think that today, in our supposedly 'modern' society, people are still afraid to speak about who they really are. Read Me Like A Book is not only groundbreaking in subject matter, but also in its message of always staying true to yourself, no matter how frightening that seems to be. 

Make sure you guys check out these books, if you haven't already, and also check out Proud! There will be a gloriously glittering review coming soon...

Also, be sure to check out the rest of the posts on the blog tour!

Buy Proud here:

Check out Juno Dawson (who compiled the collection) here:

Until next time :)

Thursday, 14 March 2019


Hey guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am delighted to be bringing you a review of a gorgeous picture book for my children's book feature! I haven't featured a children's book in agggeees so I'm very happy to be featuring Wren on my blog today. 

Wren is a beautifully illustrated, heartwarming story about a boy called Wren, who likes peace and quiet and some quality time with his books. Everything in Wren's world is so loud; the traffic outside, the washing up being done, and now, Wren has a brand new baby sister. The rest of the family do their best to stop her crying: with talking, singing, playing music. So Wren decides to move to his grandparents, to get a bit of peace and quiet. But when he starts to miss home, Wren has a tough decision to make...

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

Check out the blurb here...

Sometimes we find what we’re looking for in the most unexpected places.

Wren just wants a bit of peace and quiet. What he gets is the noisiest baby sister you could ever imagine! But when Wren runs away to the country, he discovers that maybe peace and quiet isn’t all he needs …

With bright, modern illustrations and a powerfully simple story, any child (and any parent!) who’s ever had to deal with a noisy sibling will love Wren. This debut from the new team of Katrina Lehman and Sophie Beer is sure to delight.

Wren is a wonderful book all about wanting your own space and needing to share, and maybe sometimes, it being nice to share that space. I think this is a brilliant story for children who are experiencing change in any sense: a new house, a new school, a new sibling... whatever that change may be. Wren is forced to accept change and, at the end of the story, realises that change can be a good thing. 

This wonderfully simple story is accompanied by the most gorgeously cheerful and bright illustrations that depict the wonderful chaos of family life. The yellow cover just oozes joyfulness. There are so many great details that older children would love pointing out. This, coupled with the fun rhythmic prose, makes this a great story to read aloud at bedtime. 

Wren is recommended for children 0-5 years, but I think this is a great story for young kids of any age all about changing family dynamics and how to still carve out space for yourself.

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the spots on the blog tour!

Check out Sophie Beer here:

Until next time :)

Monday, 11 March 2019


Hello everyone, and happy Monday! I have been absent from this blog for a long time (I haven't been doing any less reading, but having a full-time job has been kicking me in the butt and the last thing I have wanted to do when I come home is sit down and do more typing!) However I am determined to get back into the swing of things, and what better way to start than by getting involved in a blog tour?!

Today I am excited to be reviewing a brand spanking new YA book, The New Boy, by Paula Rawsthorne. The New Boy is a creepy, suspenseful thriller that will have you hanging on the very edge of your seat! It follows Zoe Littlewood, new at college, and desperate to make a good first impression. Luckily, she has her best friends by her side, so things can't change that much, can they? But then Jack Cartwright walks into the college common room, and just like that, everything in Zoe's world changes. Everyone is clamouring after Jack's attention; copying his hairstyle, his clothing, listening to his advice about what gadgets to buy, what video games to play, how to be just like him. There is something about the new boy that makes Zoe nervous, but before long even she is under his spell. But what she soon discovers is anything but a romantic fairytale, and she has to discover the truth before she and everyone who is close to her get hurt...

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

When new boy Jack starts at Zoe's school, something about him makes her nervous - he's so perfect, he can hardly be real. But Zoe is soon swept up in how charming, popular and handsome he is. Soon, they're dating and he's everything she dreamed he might be - kind, attentive, full of romantic gestures. Eventually, though, the cracks start to show and Zoe wonders whether she was right all along. Is Jack too good to be true? 

Thank you so much, Scholastic, for sending me a copy of The New Boy in exchange for an honest review :)

As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I knew it was something I would love. YA thrillers always have that delicious dark yet playful edge, and The New Boy definitely had this edge. The plot was brilliantly crafted and so well-paced. Sometimes books like these can get weaker with too much back story or unnecessary detail, yet Rawsthorne avoided this temptation and the story flourished without it. 

I found it hard to get on board with Zoe as a character; she was painted out to be anything but naive and someone who always took the less-trodden path, but for me, she was the complete opposite to this. There was always a seed of doubt in her mind about Jack, however, she didn't act on anything until the end of the book. I think it would have been interesting if this was drawn out for a bit longer, but I guess the plot-twist at the end of the book was worth it!

I loved Zoe's relationship with her mum, Ethan and Ethan's parents, and these were really well-explored in the book and provided a bit of a recess from the darker parts of the story. It made all the creepy moments with Jack seem all the more creepy! I looooove being frightened by a book and this definitely happened with the last third of The New Boy. However, the horror was anything but insubstantial, and I loved how Rawsthorne brought in contemporary issues and debates, which actually made the story all the more terrifying.

Are you intrigued by the mystery at the heart of The New Boy? If so, head to my Twitter account and enter my giveaway to win a copy of the book! (You'll find the giveaway as my pinned tweet.) UK and Ireland only. Giveaway ends Monday 18th March 8pm. 

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the spots on the blog tour!

Buy The New Boy here:

Check out Paula Rawsthorne here:

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Pulp' by Robin Talley

Hey guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am excited to share with you an amazing book I read recently: Pulp by Robin Talley. As soon as news of this book landed in my inbox I knew I had to read it - I have never heard of a book before like it, and I'm happy to say that it was better than I could ever have imagined. 

Pulp is a story about how far we have come, yet still how much further we still have to go. It is about two young women who are facing different battles, yet still have a lot in common. Pulp is also in many ways a love letter to writing and to stories, and how despite everything writing can be escape from the realities of life, when things are at their most difficult.

I was kindly sent this book by Nina Douglas (on behalf of HQ Stories) in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.

Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

In this novel told in dual narratives, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go.

I adored this book. It was everything I could have asked for, and so much more. Everything from the writing style to the characters was so spot on, and has so much YA heart in it too. I have been fortunate to read quite a lot of LGBT+ books over the last few years (yay YA book industry!) but this certainly has to be one of the best, certainly for the way that Talley deals with the dual narrative and how both stories so perfectly interweave. 

I loved the writing style of Pulp so much and I will definitely be returning to Talley's writing. It was so fresh and vibrant and perfectly represented the two protagonists and their obstinate, unwavering creativity. I haven't binged a book in a while but I couldn't help myself but zoom through this one. The writing made me so invested in Janet and Abby and I felt myself feeling protective over them, desperate for the ending of the book to be a happy one.

Janet and Abby are both so similar, even though they are from completely different societies, yet their circumstances are much more common than first expected. The dual narrative really allowed me to examine American society for what it was and how it still is, and how whatever happens, we can't allow ourselves to be complacent. We must keep fighting for those that others marginalise and sideline, and we can't afford to be silent.

Buy Pulp here:

Check out Robin Talley here:

Check out my Q&A with Robin Talley here for the Pulp blog tour:

Until next time :)

Saturday, 26 January 2019

OH MY GODS BLOG TOUR | 'Four Families in Fiction I Love...'

Hey guys, and happy Saturday! Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the Oh My Gods blog tour celebrating Alexandra Sheppard's amazing new YA novel. This is such a brilliantly written, heartwarming and hilarious book and if you haven't read it already, what are you waiting for?! 

Oh My Gods follows Helen Thomas, who is in pretty much every respect a normal teenager, spending her time hanging out with friends, texting boys and worrying about her exams. There is however, one exception: Helen's family are all Greek gods, and Helen herself is only half-human. And this doesn't come without its problems. If her family blow her cover, a dreadful fate awaits them. Will Helen's family be able to control their craziness for their own, and Helen's sake? 

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic. 
But, for Helen Thomas, it's tragic.

She's just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings - who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!

Between keeping her family's true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen's stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.

She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.

Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?

And today I am so happy to have Alexandra Sheppard on my blog, with her four favourite families in fiction!

As one of five siblings and with enough step-parents, aunties and cousins to fill a coach, my family has certainly shaped the person who I am today. But that relationship wasn’t always easy. After a vicious squabble with my sisters over my favourite strappy top/Destiny’s Child CD/eyeshadow palette, I would long for a family that wasn’t quite so….much. 

Getting to know literary families - the ones that were close, loud and over the top - was a revelation to me. It wasn’t just me who had an acutely embarrassing Dad or a little sister with a life-ruining streak (she smuggled my top-secret diary to the cute boys next door - I will never forgive that particular indiscretion). 

Here are a few of my favourite books that capture messily imperfect family life: 

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Set in the 1930s, this novel is the diary of precocious teenager Cassandra Mortmain. She captures the change in fortune of her impoverished, eccentric family when they become friendly with a pair of wealthy brothers from America. There is much to love about this book - the crumbling castle setting, the portrayal of first love - but Cassandra’s family are the stand-out stars. Her stepmother Topaz’ stories of being a muse in her heyday are particularly charming. 

This is one of my very favourite books, and the perfect summer read. I revisit it every year. 

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

The book focuses on two families - the Jones’ and the Iqbals - following their intertwining fates since World War II. It explores what happens when the sins of the fathers are visited upon their children (and grandchildren), and the ways in which different generations struggle to understand one another. Despite the heavy-sounding description, there are few books that make me laugh as much as this sprawling, multi-generational novel.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

As one of five daughters, I totally related to the close bond between the Covey sisters - and how that bond can be intense in more ways than one. Though it’s firmly a romance story (and a brilliant one at that - is there a more perfect YA boy than Peter Kavinsky?), Han finds ample space to explore the complexity of sisterly relationships. 

The Georgia Nicolson Diaries by Louise Rennison

Georgia Nicolson’s antics have had me snorting with laughter since I was thirteen. I don’t think I will ever stop finding this book series utterly hilarious. Georgia is very much the star of the show but her family (including her bonkers baby sister Libby and Angus the wildcat) is the cringe-making icing on the cake. Uncle Eddie, with his ancient motorbike and awful one-liners, was a particular favourite. 

Thank you so much, Alexandra Sheppard, for appearing on my blog! Make sure you guys check out the rest of the posts on the blog tour :)

Check out my review of Oh My Gods here:

Buy Oh My Gods here:

Check out Alexandra Sheppard here:

Until next time <3

Monday, 21 January 2019

BOOK REVIEW | 'Whiteout' by Gabriel Dylan (****)

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am excited to be sharing with you another book review of an awesome winter read - Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan. This is a book from Stripes' Red Eye horror series and I can assure you that it definitely one hell of a creepy read...

Whiteout tells the tale of a group of Sixth Formers away on what promises to be an amazing ski trip - awesome slopes, beautiful views and a time to get away from their everyday lives. But when a storm comes and cuts the resort off from the rest of the world, the students may have a lot more isolation than they bargained for. And they can't shake the feeling that something is out there. But people are coming to rescue them... right?

I was kindly sent Whiteout by Stripes Books in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

‘She sat us all down and told us a story. About things that lived in the woods. Things that only came out at night.’

For Charlie, a school ski trip is the perfect escape from his unhappy home life. Until a storm blows in and the resort town is cut off from the rest of the world. Trapped on the mountain, the students wait for the blizzards to pass, along with mysterious ski guide Hanna. 

But as night falls and the town’s long buried secrets begin to surface, the storm is the least of their problems….

A chilling RED EYE horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Charlie Higson.

I have been reading a lot more horror recently, and to be honest, I'm loving every second. There's nothing like the high stakes of a good horror to really bring out the best of the characters, and that is exactly what happened with Whiteout. I enjoyed the dynamics between all the characters, particularly with Charlie and Hanna. I also loved Tara, which may be a controversial choice, but she is a great mixture of hormones and moodiness and confidence and, to be honest, probably who I would be most similar to if I was stranded in a remote ski resort without any form of contact with the outside world. 

I thought the descriptions were amazing and they are definitely what brought this story to life for me. Dylan made incredible use of his setting and exploited every element to bring out the most creepiness possible. The story was filled with so much tension and I couldn't help myself bingeing the book, especially when I got close to the end. The stakes were so astronomically high in this book, and this coupled with Dylan's incredibly cinematic writing, this turned out to be a horror story that will stick with me for a very long time!

And that ending. Damn, that ending.

Make sure you check out the author interview I did with Gabriel Dylan on my blog here.

Buy Whiteout here:

Check out Gabriel Dylan here:

Until next time :)