Saturday 28 January 2017


Hey readers, and happy Saturday! Today I am soooooo excited to be on blog tour for one of my favourite books I have read this year - Waiting For Callback: Take Two!

For my spot on the blog tour, Perdita and Honor will be talking about the editing process of Take Two, and will be revealing all in what went down! 

So, without any further ado, I'm going to hand over to Perdita and Honor...

So it’s Day Six of our blog tour and we’ve got all the way to Post-Production. We thought it would be fun to give you an unvarnished insight into the process of editing Take Two.  (So unvarnished that you’ll only be reading this piece if it made our editor laugh not cry.)

Our editor is Jane Griffiths – she’s the Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster, she’s ridiculously brilliant (nominated multiple times for the Branford Boase award and The Bookseller rising star 2016 etc.) and she’s lovely but she’s quite demanding.  Here’s how it goes behind the scenes:

Jane: ‘I love this joke. Can we have more like that… the same but different.”  Us: ‘Absolutely. Not a problem.’ *Panic and look around in despair for the joke bank that is stocked with jokes that are the same but different. 

Jane: ‘This joke about Brexit made me laugh…but maybe let’s lose it.’ 
Ok, she didn’t put it quite like that. She warned us it would date and as per she was right.  We’d just got a bit carried away by the zeitgeist.  We went back and raided the alternative joke bank,

Jane: ‘I love this break-up storyline. Can we have more of it.’ Us: ‘Absolutely. Not a problem.’  *Panic. (You try writing break up scenes between teens that are realistic and yet free of swearing and/or dickish behavior – and which don’t use the word ‘dickish’. It’s fun but it’s challenging.) 

Jane: ‘I love this realistic teen dialogue but what does ‘basic’ mean?’ 

Hon: ‘Well, Jane do you like pumpkin spice latte?’ 

Jane: ‘Well, yes, I do.’ 

Hon: ‘Do you like Taylor Swift?’  

Jane: ‘Why yes, I do.’ …We changed it to ‘tragically mainstream’ a) because P was also quite confused, b) because there was a consensus on Taylor Swift and c) because Jane was feeding us biscuits at the time so was bound to win. It’s probably the right call. In Waiting for Callback she wouldn’t let us have ‘chirpse’ because she said no-one would know what it meant. ‘But Jane,’ we said repeatedly, ‘All teens know what ‘chirpse means.” A theory we then tested out at school visits and it turned out she was right (and we have to stop being honest in print because we’ve never admitted that and now she knows!). 

Jane: ‘I love this scene with Amber’s dog, Kale,’ (you’ll have noticed that she always starts very, very gently) “but I don’t think dogs do actually grin do they?’ Us: we just annotated the manuscript with this fetching pic…  We won that one.  Of course we did. It puts it beyond doubt.

But being pushed like this has been so good for us.  Our editor doesn’t let us get away with what is lazy or easy, she pushes us to put more and better on the page. We love being edited and we’re just very grateful. 

Thank you Alix for hosting us! Tomorrow’s the final day of our tour and we’d love you to come to our Premiere (a.k.a. an extract from the beginning of Take Two – we’re being hosted by Beth over on Words from a Reader! 

My review of Waiting For Callback: Take Two will be up at some point this week, but believe me, it's one you'll want to get your hands on... 

Make sure you check out the rest of the posts on the tour!

Check out Perdita and Honor here:
Until next time :) 

Friday 27 January 2017

BLOG TOUR | 'Titian's Boatman' by Victoria Blake (****)

Hello readers, and happy Friday! Today I am super excited to be on blog tour, to celebrate the publication of a wonderful new novel, Titian's Boatman by Victoria Blake. I was kindly sent Titian's Boatman in exchange for review by Black & White Publishing, and as soon as I saw the blurb I knew it was a book I would love!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

It is 1576 and Venice is in chaos, ravaged by disease and overrun by crime.In the midst of the anarchy we find those brave souls who have chosen not to flee the city. Titian, most celebrated of Venetian painters, his health failing badly; Sabastiano a gondolier who is the eyes and ears of the corrupted and crumbling city and Tullia, the most famous courtesan of the age who must fight to retain her status as well as her worldly possessions. And in the present day the echoes of what happened centuries earlier still ripple as the lives of ordinary people as far distant as London and New York are touched by the legacy of old Venice...

I loved this book, and it was unlike any story I had read before. Titian's Boatman is a wonderfully eclectic mix of art, history and romance, with a focus on the necessity of savouring life and making the most of every second. This is a story that is gritty and brutally dark, but also warm and uplifting. 

The huge array of characters in Titian's Boatman were vivid, colourfully creative and came to life right before my eyes on the page. My favourite character was undoubtedly Tullia and I loved her chapters the most. I adored the overlapping narratives and how the different stories fitted together, united in association with one artist and one painting, revealing how art can transcend ages and generations, and force relations and connections with members of the living and members of the dead.

Titian's Boatman is a superbly clever book; not one which provided me with all the answers but encouraged me to join the dots and figure out the answers for myself. It was great how everything fitted together at the end and the ending brought everything together for me - a sign of a fantastic book!

Overall, I loved Titian's Boatman and if you like history, intrigue and a story you can lose yourself in, pick up yourself a copy!

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


Until next time :) 

Monday 23 January 2017

GILDED CAGE BLOG TOUR | 5* Review | Vic James

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am very excited to be on the Gilded Cage blog tour, to celebrate the publication of the first book in the amazing Dark Gifts trilogy by Victoria James! I adored this book so I'm excited to be shouting about it in this blog tour!

Gilded Cage is the first book in an exciting, exhilaratingly fast-paced fantasy YA following the lives of Luke, as he makes his way in a world that is governed by the Equals - the Aristocracy who have magical gifts, who control the lives of everyone else. Everyone else including Luke, and his family. In this world every commoner has to dedicate ten years to serve the Equals - whether that be in a slavetown, or an aristocratic house. When Luke ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, he has to make his own way and figure out what his own destiny will be.

I was sent Gilded Cage by Pan Macmillan in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

As is probably evident from my 5* review, I absolutely adored Gilded Cage. Most people know that I'm not a huge fantasy fan and I don't read a lot of that genre (my favourite series is Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen, but I don't read more than that), however once I saw the blurb for this book I knew that I wanted to give it a read. It seemed to be The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and I adored every second of reading it.

Basically, there was hardly anything I could fault about Gilded Cage. The characterisation in the novel is fantastic, and the story is told through multiple POVs, so you get to know the characters really well and don't get bored by reading one perspective. My favourite POV was Luke - I found him to be such an interesting and complex character, and an easily relatable teenager. Abi was probably my least favourite, not because I didn't find her chapters interesting but because I felt like much of her narrative was spent pining over the love interest, and I felt she could have been as well-developed as the rest of the characters.

This was such a fascinating world and there were no gaps in the explanation of how it worked - I loved finding out about the Equals and although the book is fantasy, I felt everything to be easily understandable and relatable to our world now. Nothing was too far-fetched in terms of plot, and there was continuous action throughout. The pacing was fantastic (think of Sally Green's Half Bad trilogy) and soon enough I found myself to be addicted to the story and needing to find out what had happened to the characters. 

Overall I think it's pretty obvious I looooovvveeeeedddd Gilded Cage and I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the trilogy. For a debut novel this really was outstanding, and I can't wait to read more from Vic James!

Check out Vic James here:

Make sure to check out the other spots on the tour!

Until next time :)

WING JONES PHOTO BLOG TOUR | Path To Publication...

Hi readers, and happy Monday! Today I am super excited to be part of the Wing Jones Photo Blog tour... If you haven't read the book yet, you reaaaallllyyyyy should <3

Wing Jones is the much anticipated debut novel from Katherine Webber, publishing 5th January 2017 in the UK. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants…

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention. You can find her on Twitter: @kwebberwrites.

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!

Below is my photo for the blog tour - hope you enjoy this post!

Getting a book deal didn’t mean the work was done…oh no, far from it. I still had structural edits and line edits and copy edits and all kinds of work to do! Even when I went on vacation to Santorini, I brought my laptop so I could make sure I’d hit all my deadlines. Not a bad place to work!

Hope you enjoyed reading, guys, and keep an eye out for the rest of the posts on the tour!

Check out my review of Wing Jones here:

Buy Wing Jones here:

Check out Katherine Webber here:

Until next time :)

Saturday 21 January 2017

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Wing Jones' by Katherine Webber

Hey guys, and happy Saturday! Sorry I've been a bit quiet for the last few days but I am very happy to announce that I have officially finished semester one of my second year! I have handed in my essays, my creative writing portfolio and completed my exams! I now have a week of sleep and books and cake...

Today I would like to kick things off with a review of a fantastic book, that has received praise from bloggers and authors and, basically, just about everyone. I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy from Walker Books, so thank you very much for sending Wing Jones to me!

Wing Jones follows fifteen-year-old Wing, who has grown up with a mother, two grandmothers and a brother who is, undoubtedly the star of the family: Marcus, a high school football star destined for a scholarship from a top college. Whilst Marcus is charismatic, popular and good-looking, Wing has never really felt like she fits in. When the unimaginable happens, Wing finds a way to get through it, and this just happens to be the one thing that gives her power. 

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

To put it simply, I adored Wing Jones. It was everything I could have wished for in a YA contemporary novel: humour, warmth, and above all, a whole lot of heart. Even from the first page I fell in love with Wing's distinctive and vivid narrative voice. Webber's writing is so fresh and new and relevant for reader's today, and to be honest I think we all need a book like this right now - one which can lift the spirits and make you feel like you can do anything!

Some parts were heart-warming, others funny and some utterly heart-breaking. I did actually cry at some points, which is rare for me when reading a book! However, the book in itself was such a moving experience and the way Webber wrote the story was so realistic. I felt as if Wing was sitting next to me, telling me the story in real life. 

I loved how diverse Wing Jones is, and to be honest I don't think I've read a book before where there is only one main character who is white. This is what made the book so particularly refreshing to me, along with the fact that there was a same-sex relationship and also the bringing together of various different cultures. The book was so fresh and imaginative and it was honestly unlike any YA novel I had read before.

The characterisation was probably the best bit about Wing Jones and I loved every single character, they were so believable and realistic. My favourite characters were Wing (obviously), Monica, Aaron and Wing's grandmothers. They peppered every page with warmth and brilliance and I could read a hundred books featuring these characters.

Above everything, Wing Jones touches on a load of important issues that are, unfortunately, still relevant today. Wing Jones is about race, bullying, feminism, and self-confidence in young women. Wing, although at first doubtful of her abilities, eventually learns to believe in herself and realises she can achieve anything she puts her mind to. I think Wing could inspire a whole generation of young girls and boys to never stop believing in themselves and aspire to whatever their dreams are, no matter how huge the obstacles are that stand in their way.

Overall, I adored Wing Jones, and I'm sure you will too! It is the perfect book for everyone, of any age! Don't miss out, order it online or run to your nearest bookshop.

Check out Katherine Webber here:

Keep your eyes peeled for my spot on the Wing Jones blog tour coming soon!

Until next time :)

Monday 16 January 2017

BOOK REVIEW | Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (****)

Hello readers, and happy Monday! Today I am very excited to be bringing you a review of not only a brilliantly written and collated, but also an unarguably important book. 

I was kindly sent Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Walker Books, in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I saw this, I knew it was something I had to read. I spend my whole life trying to pretend that I understand everything about the world (obviously I don't lol) so when I find a book that I think will broaden my perception of the world, I am desperate to get my hands on it. Beyond Magenta seemed to me to be that kind of book. And, luckily, I was right! 

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out is a wonderful 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.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

I have dipped in and out of this book for months during essay season and the end of term - it is definitely a book that you can read a bit at a time - in my case, one teen's personal essay for each reading session. I loved the fact that it was a book with images, which allowed me to really connect with each story and each person featured in the book. I loved how the book didn't read as an interview, with questions and answers appearing systematically on the pages, but as individual stories that really allow the voice to come through. 

I loved reading about these people's journeys and their exploration of their own identities. I don't want to call the teens inspiring, because I feel like that's very patronising, but I certainly felt inspired while reading the book that I want to live my life with a greater understanding of other people, with the sensitivity and awareness of what other people are experiencing. 

The one thing that I didn't love about this book was the fact that I feel like the stories were watered down slightly, to suit a cis audience (a person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth) and to explain things to them, rather than a book written to help young people who are having problems figuring out who they are, and where they belong. If the young people were given total free reign to let loose with their stories, I feel like we would have been recipients of a grittier reality that is so true for so many young people.

Despite this, I did truly love this book and I will definitely be re-reading it, especially the stories of Cameron and Luke, which I found particularly enjoyable.

I would definitely recommend you pick up this book!

Check out Susan Kuklin here:

Until next time :)

Friday 13 January 2017

THE DBR AWARDS 2016 | My Year In Books

Hello readers, and happy Friday! I know this post is really, really late, but today I thought I would do the New Year feature that I debuted last year - the DBR awards! Basically, this works instead of a 'Top Ten Books of 2016' post - last year I came up with categories to sort my favourite books of this year, and I'm going to do that again this year!

It was extremely difficult to decide my favourite books of this year, because I have read so many wonderful books by so many fabulous authors. 

However... I managed it! Check out the winners below!

I will link my review (If I wrote one) if not, I will link the Goodreads page...

Enjoy <3

Best Historical Fiction

Maus - Art Spiegelman

The Game-Changer

Eat, Sweat, Play - Anna Kessel

Best Adult Fiction

The Summer That Melted Everything - Tiffany McDaniel

Best Non-Fiction 

Everywhere I Look - Helen Garner


Grief Is The Thing With Feathers - Max Porter

Best 'Classic' Novel

Lady Audley's Secret - Mary Elizabeth Braddon

The Important Book

Asking For It - Louise O' Neil

Best Poetry/ Short Story Collection

Sweet Home - Carys Bray

Funniest Book

Waiting For Callback - Perdita and Honor Cargill

Let me know if you've read any of the books above let me know!

Congratulations to all of the authors whose books have won, and thank you for all the wonderful books you write (and please, PLEASE continue to write more PLEASEEEEE)

And another huge thank you to all the bloggers who continue to spread the word about the amazing books that these wonderful authors write :)

Until next time :) 

Thursday 12 January 2017

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys by Karen McCombie (****)

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! I hope you are all having a lovely week so far and are looking forward to the weekend (it's not that far away...) Today, I am so excited to be featuring another fabulous children's book on my blog, and today it is the wonderful St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys by Karen McCombie! On Monday I was a spot on the blog tour, if you didn't read my post check it out here.

St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys is a fantastically funny story following Dani as she is dumped in St Grizelda’s School for Girls while her mum goes to the Antarctic to research penguin bums. However, it's not the strict institution she expected it to be... in fact, this is the total opposite of what she imagined! Now known as St Grizzles, Dani's new school is somewhere that teaches circus skills, where you can bake meringues in class and where the head teacher, Lulu, wears a crown of plastic spoons. The events that follow are crazy, wild and unpredictable. But what kind of adventures will be found along the way?!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Hi I'm Dani and my mum loves penguins’ bums more than me. Otherwise she’d never dump me in some stuffy old school while she heads off to the Antarctic.

And it gets worse. When we arrive at St Grizelda’s School for Girls, the school’s had a drastic makeover. Gone are the uniforms, the rules and ... er, most of the pupils and staff.

In their place is TOTAL CHAOS.

We’re greeted by a bunch of stampeding eight-year-olds, a head-butting goat and a crazy head teacher wearing a plastic-spoon crown...

Somebody get me OUT of here!

I was kindly sent this book by Little Tiger Press on behalf of Stripes Publishing, in exchange for an honest review :)

I absolutely loved this book. It was so well-written in a distinctive and hilarious way, and the voice of Dani really comes through - it is as if you are in her head. I loved her relationship with Archie and her Granny Viv. The interactions between the characters in this book were so well-described and the book was, simply, a joy to read.

The other characters were fabulous too - I loved Swan, Zed and Blossom. It was great that McCombie included a child who was in a wheelchair and also characters who were not white - the diversity really stood out and this fantastically illuminated the overall message of the book - difference is a great thing, and it makes the world a lot more interesting!

The illustrations were also great and I love that there were pictures on almost every page; this made for a truly interactive reading experience. Although this book is recommended for children age 9 and upwards, this could easily be read to children younger, as the pictures do really help to explain what's going on. My favourite illustrations were that of the children - I thought they brought their characters to life and I loved the tiny details.

Altogether, I loved St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys and would recommend it to all the little boys and girls in your life!

Buy St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys here:

Check out Karen McCombie here:

Until next time :)

Wednesday 11 January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR | Books I Read In 2016!

Hello readers! I'm so sorry this is late, but New Year was a bit hectic for me - I went to Manchester with my boyfriend for New Year and then came back for revision! So you can guess what I've been doing for the past two weeks... :( I managed to read 71 books this year - for those with brilliant memories, you will remember that I read 71 books last year as well... FREAKY! I am very grateful to all the wonderful authors/publishers/publicists who have sent me wonderful books this year, this has been a great year of amazing books! 

Anyway, here is the list of books I read in 2016! 

Red Caps: New Fairy Tales for Out of the Ordinary Readers - Steve Berman

The New Teacher - Dominique Demers

The Roaring Girl - Thomas Dekker

I Was Here - Gayle Forman

The Night Before Christmas - Rose Collins

What Light - Jay Asher

Wing Jones - Katherine Webber 

News from Nowhere - William Morris

Lady Audley's Secret - Mary Elizabeth Braddon 

On Art and Life - John Ruskin 

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers - Max Porter 

Oroonoko - Aphra Behn 

There's Not One - Jennifer Higgie

The Tragedy of Mariam - Elizabeth Cary

The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby - Jenny O'Connor 

The Island Princess - John Fletcher

Utopia - Thomas More

Love, Sex and Death - Hallie Fletcher 

The Condition of the Working Class in England - Friedrich Engels

Paradise Lost: Books 1-2 - John Milton 

Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

Belle and Sebastien - Aubry Cécile

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

A Colouring Classic: Pride & Prejudice - Chellie Carroll 

Everywhere I Look - Helen Garner

The Castle of Inside Out - David Henry Wilson

The Emergency Zoo - Miriam Halahmy

The Beekeeper's Secret - Josephine Moon

Red's Untold Tale (Once Upon A Time, #4) - Wendy Toliver

Crush - Eve Ainsworth

Luca, Son of the Morning - Tom Anderson

Heartache and Other Natural Shocks - Glenda Leznoff

What a Way to Go - Julia Forster 

13 Minutes - Sarah Pinborough 

The Summer that Melted Everything - Tiffany McDaniel

My Husband's Wife - Amanda Prowse

Caramel Hearts - E.R. Murray

Anthem for Doomed Youth - Wilfred Owen

The Night is Darkening Round Me - Emily Brontë

How To Become A Writer - Lorrie Moore

The Deepest Cut - Natalie Flynn

Knights of the Borrowed Dark - Dave Rudden

Under Rose-Tainted Skies - Louise Gornall 

You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour and David Leviathan 

The Museum of You - Carys Bray

Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives - Anna Kessel

Following Evan - Elida May

Hope Farm - Peggy Frew

Hester and Harriet - Hilary Spiers

Indigo's Dragon - Sofi Croft

The Complete Maus - Art Spiegelman

Austerlitz - W.G. Sebald

Waiting for Callback - Perdita and Honor Cargill

The Trouble With Women - Jacky Fleming

Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter

Asking For It - Louise O' Neil 

The Deepest Cut - Natalie Flynn

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard 

Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - Angela Carter

Poetics - Aristotle

Kindred Spirits - Rainbow Rowell

Castle Rackrent - Maria Edgeworth

Sweet Home - Carys Bray

The Museum of You - Carys Bray

 Lyrical Ballads - Wordsworth and Coleridge

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

Mythologies - Roland Barthes

Colour Me Mindful: Enchanted Creatures - Anastasia Catris

Half Lost - Sally Green

An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory - Andrew Bennett

Let me know if you've read any of these! 

Check out the books I read in 2013 here:

Check out the books I read in 2014 here:

Check out the books I read in 2015 here:

Monday 9 January 2017


Hello everyone, and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a magical weekend of relaxing with your loved ones and reading lots <3

Today I am super stoked to be participating in a blog tour for Little Tiger Press... to celebrate the release of their two fantastic children's books St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys and Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip! For this blog tour each blogger was assigned either of the books, and I was delighted to find out I had been given St Grizzles

St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys follows Dani as she is dumped in St Grizelda’s School for Girls while her mum goes to the Antarctic to research penguin bums. However, it's not the strict institution she expected it to be... in fact, this is the total opposite of what she imagined! The events that follow are crazy, wild and unpredictable. But what kind of adventures will be found along the way?!

Intrigued? Here's the blurb to find out more...

Hi I'm Dani and my mum loves penguins’ bums more than me. Otherwise she’d never dump me in some stuffy old school while she heads off to the Antarctic.

And it gets worse. When we arrive at St Grizelda’s School for Girls, the school’s had a drastic makeover. Gone are the uniforms, the rules and ... er, most of the pupils and staff.

In their place is TOTAL CHAOS.

We’re greeted by a bunch of stampeding eight-year-olds, a head-butting goat and a crazy head teacher wearing a plastic-spoon crown...

Somebody get me OUT of here!

For my spot on the tour today I will be sharing with you some character profiles from the book, just to whet your appetite for when you come to read the book (trust me, you should!)

Hope you enjoy :)

Name: Dani Dexter
Age: 11
Best friend: Arch. He is a numpty but he is MY numpty.
Pet: Downboy, my box-a-poo. #arf #arf
My talent is: Directing mini-movies with Arch, starring all our random ex-toys. One day we will win a fancy film award at the Oscars! (We’ll have to make a VERY small suit and bow tie for our star actor, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.)
Something no-one knows about me: I am allergic to skirts; they make me go all snarky. 

Name: Arch Kaminski
Age: 11
Best friend: Dani Dexter.
Pet: I’m not allowed one cos my parents are allergic to having any.
My talent is: Doing voiceovers for the ex-toys in the mini-movies me and Dani make. You should hear me doing Clio the Beanie Boo as Elsa, singing ‘Let It Go’.
Something no-one knows about me: I have a photo of me and Dani Blu-tacked inside my sock drawer. But don’t tell her or she’ll think I like her in a smushy sort of way, or moan about her face being so close to my socks or something. 

Name: Granny Viv
Age: 18-ish-ish. OK, 66. Satisfied?
Best friend: Eric. He is a semi-retired mechanic by day and sings punk songs in pubs and clubs at the weekend.
Pet: I am Downboy’s part-time doggy walker/human cushion.
My talent is: I can do the splits, but not when I’m wearing my skinny jeans. *RRRIPP!!*
Something no-one knows about me: Back in the 1970s, I was nearly the singer in Eric’s punk band, but got sacked for having too nice a voice. They wanted someone more shouty.

Name: Lulu (Ms Louise Murphy, Headteacher, St Grizelda’s)
Age: 39
Best friend: My twins Swan and Zed, everyone at St Grizelda’s, the universe.
Pet: I found Twinkle the goat and Toshio the Japanese student as strays in the same week. No-one claimed Twinkle, so she became our school mascot. Toshio decided backpacking around the UK wasn’t for him since he kept getting lost, so instead, he’s spending his gap year being our temporary receptionist, in exchange for English lessons. He’s getting very good at answering the phone. He just needs to work on figuring out what the callers are saying to him.
My talent is: Nurturing students, looking at education in a fresh and highly-creative, non-pressured environment. Oh, and I can touch my nose with my tongue.
Something no-one knows about me: I got the idea for the new direction at St Grizelda’s after I took Swan and Zed to India and I observed  a monkey colony outside our beachside hut. They were so free, having such fun and yet being very caring of one another. Swan said they were just eating each other’s nits, but still.

Name: Swan Chen-Murphy
Age: 11
My best friend is: My twin brother Zed, but don’t tell him, or he’ll expect me to be nice to him.
Pet: Twinkle the goat, though she’s officially the school mascot. So I suppose all the girls in the Newts class would be a better answer.
My talent is: Painting birds. Okay, I mean I like to DO paintings OF birds. (Actually painting birds would be cruel. And dumb.)  
Something no-one knows about me: I could tell you my middle name, but then I’d have to kill you.

Name: Zed Chen-Murphy
Age: 11
My best friend is: My twin sister Swan. (Not really; it’s Twinkle. I just said Swan cos I thought she’d get grumpy if I chose a goat over her.)
Pet: See above. 
My talent is: Doing excellent wheelies in my chair.
Something no-one knows about me: Ha! I know something about Swan that she doesn’t want anyone to know. Her middle name is– OUCH! That hurt, Swan!! 

Name: Blossom Stogdon-Culbert
Age: 8
Best friend: Everyone at St Grizzle’s is my best friend. Well, maybe not Mrs Hedges, who does the cooking and stuff. She doesn’t like noise, mess or children. And since I am a kid and noisy and messy, I think she might like me less than the snail family she found oozing around the tins of beans in the kitchen cupboard yesterday. Yes, I put them there – it was a bit chilly in the garden and I thought they’d be cosier inside.  
Pet: Something is growing out of the pizza slice I hid in a box under my bed and forgot about. Does that count?
My talent is: Roaring. RAAARRGHHH!! 
Something no-one knows about me: I am quite shy. Not really – RAAARRGHHH!! 

I hope you guys enjoyed this spot on the blog tour! Make sure you catch everyone else's posts :)

Buy St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys here

Check out Karen McCombie here:

Until next time :)

Monday 2 January 2017

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'I Was Here' by Gayle Forman

Hello readers, and happy Monday! I hope you have all had a wonderful New Year weekend and are not dreading the return to work/school too much...

I have had a wonderful Christmas and New Year catching up with my blogging and reading some of the amazing books that were sent to me this autumn and winter. This first semester has been really busy for me and I haven't managed to keep up with blogging as much as I hoped, but slowly I am catching up and I hope to have lots of book reviews to share with you over the next couple of months.

And what better way to kick things off than with a 5* book review?! Today I am delighted to be reviewing I Was Here by Gayle Forman, kindly sent to me by the lovely people at Simon & Schuster who, at the beginning of December, sent me a wonderful package of books from their amazing YA list. Gayle Forman is also the author of If I Stay (the book made into a film starring Chloe Grace Moretz) and I have been meaning to read one of her books for aaaagggeeessss - I have heard nothing but good things!

It's fair to say that I was not at all disappointed by I Was Here.

I Was Here is a heartbreaking, bittersweet story focusing on the aftermath of Meg Garcia's suicide. It came as a shock to everyone - her housemates in Seattle, her parents, and most of all, her best friend Cody. Cody thinks that there must be something she's missing. Something else must have happened to stop Meg confiding in her. What ensues is a harrowing exploration into Meg's life, a journey of loyalty and friendship, as Meg leaves no stone unturned, desperate to find out what exactly pushed Meg to the edge... and why she didn't reach out when she needed her best friend most.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

This is undeniably one of the best YA novels I have read in a long while. With echoes of Sarah Dessen and Stephen Chobsky, Forman packs the biggest emotional punch all whilst keeping the story believable and the topics within the story sensitively dealt with. The characters in I Was Here are so well described, and the relationship dynamics interesting, complex and realistic. I loved the character of Cody and made an immediate connection with her. Forman didn't litter the story with over-sentimentality and pathos, she made the story real. Not shying away from the grim realities that is teen suicide, and the fallout that comes after, I think this is probably the best book to help someone understand about death, loss, and most of all redemption.

Gayle's writing is so strong and I found myself believing every word. The descriptions were so good and so intense that for me Meg was a fully fleshed out, integral character in the story. For me she wasn't a memory, or a representation of the tragedy of what depression can do to someone, she existed throughout and I felt I got to know her as well as I got to know Cody. The writing was razor-sharp and freshly gripping, and I read it in just a few days, staying up into the early hours to read as much as possible. I loved the way that this was a mystery framed by a tragic story, which meant that it was a book with so many layers, and kept me turning the pages ferociously until I had finished it.

Overall I think it's evident that I adored I Was Here - it is a pitch-perfect YA novel that deals so well with the difficult topics of depression and suicide, in a way that is so realistic and so well described. I finished this book feeling haunted, but a lot more knowledgable about depression and suicide, and with a hopefulness that with books like this, more people can be helped and more people will be knowledgable about these kind of topics.

Buy I Was Here here:

Check out Gayle Forman here:

Until next time :)