Thursday 25 May 2017

BLOG TOUR | TELL ME YOUR SECRETS | 'I Have No Secrets' by Penny Joelson

Hey readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am so excited to be on blog tour to celebrate the publication of the amazing sounding YA book I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson.

I Have No Secrets is a rip-roaring rollercoaster of a read, with a fantastic mystery at it's heart and a voice you won't forget in a while. Addictive and packed with action, this is a book you NEED on your summer reading list!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can't tell anyone. 

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change...

A page-turning thriller seen through the eyes of a unique narrator, this is a truly original, heart-rending and compulsive book for young adult readers. Perfect for fans of Wonder, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Looking for JJ. 

For the blog tour, bloggers and Penny Joelson herself will be sharing secrets, big and small, to get you excited to read the book! Today the secret Penny and I will be sharing is on imagination and early writing...

My secret:

I started writing stories as soon as I was able to hold a pencil in my chubby fingers. I was convinced that by the age of ten I would be a world-famous novelist and people all over the world would be queuing outside bookshops to get their hands on my books. So I started early. My first stapled 'book' was called Red Fairy Ruby, written when I was 6 years old, a story about a family who go on holiday to Cornwall and meet a fairy who lives in a cave. I was so convinced that this story would make me famous that, a few weeks later, I completed an autobiography: Alix: The Story Of My Life.

Penny's secret:

I was a very shy child and was an only child until I was eight when my sister was born. I spent most of my childhood living in a complex imaginary world, which included children from books I had read. I developed stories around all these children that went on for years. 

I decided I wanted to be an author when I was seven years old. My first attempt at writing a ‘novel’ was an eight-page story about worms.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this blog post and gotten a good laugh out of us ;)  Make sure you check out the other spots on the blog tour!

I'd love to hear your secrets about imagination and early writing!

Buy I Have No Secrets here:

Check out Penny Joelson here:

Until next time :)

Tuesday 16 May 2017

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Girlhood' by Cat Clarke

Hey guys, and happy Tuesday! Today I am very excited to be shouting about this amazing book... I finished it the other day and it has been keeping be sane through essay and revision madness!

Of course, this book is Girlhood, the latest book written by YA extraordinaire Cat Clarke - you may have seen it on a lot of blogger's insta feeds in the last couple of weeks because everyone is loving it! I can't believe I hadn't read any Cat Clarke before this point but now I will definitely be buying lots of Cat's books for the summer holidays.

I was sent a copy of Girlhood by Nina Douglas in exchange for an honest review :)

Girlhood follows Harper, in her last year at Duncraggan Academy, a boarding school with its fair share of mysteries, secrets, and friendships for life. Harper has pulled through the greatest tragedy anyone can go through and has started life afresh at remote Duncraggan. She has a close group of friends and Harper has started to feel like life is getting back on track. That is until the new girl turns up, and strange occurrences leads Harper to wonder who exactly is Kirsty? And why does she remind Harper of parts of her life she has tried so hard to forget?

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Real, compulsive and intense: Cat Clarke is the queen of emotional suspense. For fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott and Jandy Nelson.

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows no one else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

I LOVED THIS BOOK! Growing up I loved the Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton, and I have always been fascinated with the idea of boarding school. I don't think I'd survive five minutes in one, but a girl can dream, right?! 

It was such a great setting for a book about female friendships, as it made all the drama feel that much more intense. I loved the characters in this book, and the way they were all so different and interacted so differently with each other. I particularly loved Rowan - she was such a wonderfully well-rounded character, and wasn't afraid to let people know who she was and what she stood for. All in all, this was a gloriously diverse book - so different to the group of straight, white, middle-class girls you find in a Mallory Towers or St Claire's book. 

Girlhood was also brilliantly paced and it was definitely a page-turner for me. I couldn't stop reading. There was the constant sense of uneasiness from the moment Kirsty appeared on the scene, and the tension remained throughout. I thought Kirsty was such a great character who had so many different layers of complexity. Clarke doesn't spoon feed the reader all the answers; I felt like I was part of the group of the girls, trying to work through the problems and questions that were thrown up. 

The writing was fresh and direct and wonderfully lucid. It was such a great book to read during revision because the writing makes the book easy to read, but the writing also keeps you in it's iron grip until the very last page.

 Overall I would encourage all of you to pick up this book! It is a wonderful YA treat about female friendships, set in a setting so interesting and mysterious you will want to experience it for yourself!

Check out Cat Clarke here:

Until next time :)

Thursday 11 May 2017

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | BLOG TOUR | 'Little Mouse Helps Out' by Riikka Jäntti | 5* Book Review

Hi guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am very excited to be on blog tour, especially on a Thursday - the day of my children's book feature! 

Today the book I am going to be reviewing is Little Mouse Helps Out by Riikka Jäntti - a beautiful book with equally beautiful illustrations, and one that will quickly become your children's favourite! Jäntti has been dubbed Finland's answer to Judith Kerr, and the Judith Kerr books were my favourites when I was little, so when I saw this book I knew it was something I had to pick up!

Today is the day of publication, so I am so happy to be celebrating the publication of this wonderful book today!

I was kindly sent Little Mouse Helps Out by Scribe Publishing in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Little Mouse has a lot of things to do today … and he can do them all by himself!

It’s an exciting day for Little Mouse. His friend Pip is coming over to visit. But first, there are chores to do around the house, like cleaning, laundry, and cooking lunch. Little Mouse is determined to help Mummy Mouse with all of them. And after that — playtime!

The second picture book from well-loved Finnish author/illustrator Riikka Jäntti to feature Little Mouse — the small kid with the big personality — Little Mouse Helps Out is sure to become another read-aloud favourite. 

This is such a wonderful book to read aloud, and is told in such a lovely way that elucidates the joy of the small pleasures in life. Children will be able to relate to everyday tasks and a daily routine, and will delight in the mishaps Little Mouse finds himself in!

The illustrations are some of the best I've seen in a children's book - they are wonderfully simple but also gorgeously detailed - I want to live in Little Mouse's house!

The book also teaches vital lessons for children such as the importance of sharing, helping out with jobs and chores, and how much fun made-up games can be.

Overall this was a glorious book, and I would recommend this for all children aged 4 and up. However, this is also a great book to read aloud, to children of any age!

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

Buy Little Mouse Helps Out here:

Check out Riikka Jäntti here:

Until next time :)

Monday 8 May 2017

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Between a Wolf and a Dog' by Georgia Blain

Hey guys, and happy Monday! I hope you all have had wonderful weekends filled with lazy lie-ins, books and chocolate...

Today I am going to be reviewing a book I read recently that I should have reviewed aaagggeeesss ago (I was sent it to review in September - whoops!) I picked this up off my bookshelf because I have read quite a lot of YA recently and wanted to try something a little bit different. I wanted to be completely lost in a story, transported to another world, and embark on a journey with characters I wouldn't forget in a hurry...

Luckily enough for me, Between a Wolf and a Dog was that book.

Between a Wolf and a Dog follows the lives of Ester, April, Hilary and Lawrence - all connected by familial ties, a mistake that has ripped the relationship between the two sisters apart, and a secret that, once exposed, will either heal the open wounds or tear the family apart for good. Between a Wolf and a Dog is a story about family, betrayal, and hope in the face of almost unbelievable adversity. It is about relationships and the way that they can be healed, and the importance of doing this work in repairing them.

I was kindly sent Between a Wolf and a Dog by Scribe Publishing in exchange for an honest review <3

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Ester is a family therapist with an appointment book that catalogues the anxieties of the middle class: loneliness, relationships, death. She spends her days helping others find happiness, but her own family relationships are tense and frayed. Estranged from both her sister, April, and her ex-husband, Lawrence, Ester wants to fall in love again. Meanwhile, April is struggling through her own directionless life; Lawrence's reckless past decisions are catching up with him; and Ester and April's mother, Hilary, is about to make a choice that will profoundly affect them all.

Taking place largely over one rainy day in Sydney, and rendered with the evocative and powerful prose Blain is known for, Between a Wolf and a Dog is a celebration of the best in all of us -- our capacity to live in the face of ordinary sorrows, and to draw strength from the transformative power of art. Ultimately, it is a joyous tribute to the beauty of being alive.

I absolutely adored this book. Without a doubt it is one of those novels you can completely wrapped up in, and I had trouble putting it down. The characters are so vivid and easily imaginable and whilst reading it I found myself imagining that they were sat down on the sofa next to me, sharing with me their lives, confessing their most darkest secrets. I loved Ester and Hilary a lot, and detested April and Lawrence with equal passion. All of the characters were so realistic and the four narratives worked really well in the novel, allowing the reader access to these hugely different four minds.

Blain's writing is beautifully lyrical and so evocative of the setting. The constant rain that acts as a backdrop to the novel gave the novel an ambience of overwhelming gloom, but also the sense of comfort that you get on days sat inside with the rain splattering against the window, the voice of the radio drowned in the noise. 

The story itself is really interesting and you get the excitement you don't always feel in novels that are set in one day. Although there are separate stories that evolve from the lives of the four different characters, it was really satisfying when they all came together, and you could see how they all merge and dissolve into each other.

Although this book deals with issues such as grief, loneliness, betrayal and mortality, there is a life-affirming message at the centre of this novel: the importance of living your life to the full; the huge and tiny joys that life has to offer. This message only became the more poignant to me once I had learned that Georgia Blain passed away in December last year.

Overall I adored this book, I would urge you all to go and pick it up straight away from your local bookshop!

Until next time :)

Monday 1 May 2017

BOOK REVIEW | 'Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow's Diary' by Emma Chastain (****)

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am excited to be sharing yet another book review with you - I was quite chuffed about the amount of books I managed to read over the Easter break!

The book I'm going to be reviewing for you today is Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow's Diary by Emma Chastain. I was kindly sent this book by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

Confessions of a High School Disaster is a wonderful book written in diary form following Chloe Snow and the pinnacles and disasters of her High School experience. From boys, family problems and rivalries with the not-so-nice seniors, Chloe has a lot on her plate. Will she be able to navigate the ups and downs of High School life without drowning in the deep end?

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, senior football star, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.

Mom says the only thing sadder than remembering is forgetting, so I’m going to write down everything that happens to me in this diary. That way, even when I’m ninety, I’ll remember how awkward and horrible and exciting it is to be in high school.

This book is definitely for the younger end of YA - I'd suggest fourteen and up - however there was so much in this book that I could relate to, having once been a teenager myself (what a strange, strange time). Issues such as peer pressure, relationships, family problems and bullying were dealt with in this book, and I'm pretty sure every teenager will be able to relate to this book in some way. This book reminded me of the Louise Rennison books (which were my lifeline when I was a teenager), and Confessions of a High School Disaster is definitely a book for the next generation of teenagers.

I loved the fact that the book was written in diary form and it made it so easy and fun to read - Chloe is a great character and I love how she isn't presented as being perfect in any way - she makes mistakes, she says the wrong thing, she isn't afraid to be herself and more than anything, she realises that even when things go wrong, your family are always there behind you.

This book also featured a wide range of diverse characters - something I always look for in YA, and something that is especially important in the younger end of YA. People of different religions and sexualities are included and when an author makes the effort to do this in their book, you know that they have the interest of teen readers at heart. 

My favourite character was definitely Chloe's Dad, and I loved the relationship between him and Chloe. I think in YA there is such an under-representation of father/daughter relationships and I think in this book the relationship was so wonderfully and sensitively explored. 

I loved this book and although I think it is for the younger side of YA, if you love YA books you are sure to love this! Filled with humour, heart and larger-than-life characters, Confessions of a High School Disaster will make you smile, cry, and cringe as you are transported back to the moments of your own teenage years!

Check out when I hosted Emma Chastain on my blog, where she is talking about the importance of keeping a diary!

Buy Confessions of a High School Disaster here:

Check out Emma Chastain here:

Until next time :)