Monday 30 July 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 'How to Write a Love Story' by Katy Cannon (****)

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I'm thrilled to be sharing with you another book review, of Katy Cannon's brand spanking new YA novel, How to Write a Love Story! The premise for this book is unlike any other YA book I have heard of before, and I was so excited to start reading it and see if it lived up to expectations. I love books that explore the theme of writing itself and I was super intrigued to see how Cannon explored this in her novel. 

How to Write a Love Story follows Tilly Frost - grandaughter of Beatrix Frost - one of the most notorious and well-loved romance authors. Tilly has always adored her grandmother's books and recently, even helped her grandmother in the process of writing them, but everything suddenly changes when, for Beatrix's next novel, she wants a little more than Tilly's suggestions. For the first time, Tilly has to step into her grandmother's shoes. But how does one write a rip-roaring romantic novel without any experience in romance herself?

I was kindly sent How to Write a Love Story by Stripes Publishing in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Tilly Frost has grown up reading her grandmother's bestselling romance novels - so when the one and only Beatrix Frost is taken ill, Tilly finishes writing her latest work. Then Tilly agrees to start the next book. But what is her gran hiding from her? And how can Tilly write a heart-pounding romance when she's never been in love? Can she turn her school crush into something more? One thing Tilly should know is that the course of true love never did run smooth...

If you liked FANGIRL, you'll love this!

As I mentioned before, I love stories about writing stories. This was such a great premise for a YA novel, and I'm happy to say that this book completely lived up to my expectations. I thought Tilly was a fantastic character who knew her own mind and her own capabilities, and I especially loved the dynamic between her and her grandmother, Beatrix. You don't get that many grandchild/grandparent relationships in YA, and I was happy to see one presented so well. 

The plot itself was great, and I was intrigued to see how Tilly got on with both her writing and her quest to fall in love. I think Cannon depicted the writing process brilliantly, and it was so interested to read about. I enjoyed all the twists and turns and how things eventually worked out in a way that I wasn't expecting. All of the characters were carefully crafted to add some complexity to the story, and I loved how they interacted together. I particularly liked the friendship between Tilly, Anja and Rohan. 

Just like in the last Katy Cannon book I read, And Then We Ran, I thought the writing was wonderfully fresh and brilliantly descriptive. Cannon is undoubedtly a master storyteller, and understands the teenage mind so well. This is so important for YA novels, as what kind of teenager wants to read about a teenager who doesn't seem like one at all?! How to Write a Love Story is a superbly unique story all about writing and friends and family and staying true to yourself and your feelings. It is definitely one that you need to get on your TBR list, you won't regret it!

Check out Katy Cannon here:

Until next time :)

Thursday 26 July 2018

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | 'Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates' by Elizabeth McKay and Maria Bogade (****)

Hey guys and happy Thursday! Today I am thrilled to be sharing with you another brilliant children's picture book - this time it is Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates by Elizabeth McKay and Maria Bogade. This is another brilliant children's book by Floris Books, delightfully Scottish, and such a joy to read aloud (cue pirate dialect!) 

Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates is a fantastic book all about adventure and magic (with some pirate action sprinkled in, of course). Harry and Emily are off to Arran on holiday with their beloved Wee Granny, but of course there are obstacles along the way... however no problem is too big for Wee Granny or her magic bag. However, when some pirates need help finding their buried treasure, does Wee Granny's magic bag have the ability to help them?

I was kindly sent Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates by Floris Books in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Get ready for excitement and surprises as Wee Granny (Scotland's very own Mary Poppins!) and her magic tartan bag set off on another adventure. Wee Granny is going on holiday with Emily and Harry to Arran but they've missed the ferry. Don't worry; Wee Granny's got just the thing in her magic bag -- a rowing boat! But shiver me timbers, on their journey Wee Granny and the children meet Captain Shoogle and his pirate crew. Does Wee Granny have anything in her magic bag to help the pirates find their buried treasure? You'll never guess what unbelievable thing she'll pull out next! The third book in the hugely popular Wee Granny's Magic Bag series is a hilarious tartan-Jolly Rodger mash-up with plenty of fun for pirates and landlubbers alike. Turn each page to reveal a brilliant mix of colourful illustrations and an exciting story full of surprises!

This book has everything a child who loves stories could ask for - loveable characters, packed with adventure and excitement and... pirates! The story is gloriously heartwarming and thrilling and is sure to keep little ones entertained from beginning to end. This was such an enjoyable book to read and the illustrations by Maria Bogade really made the story come to life. Wee Granny is such a brilliant character and is definitely Scotland's answer to Mary Poppins... but as far as I know Mary Poppins never had to help out a band of pirates!

Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates is a book that children of all ages will enjoy, and is the perfect book to take on your summer holiday this year to keep all of the little ones entertained, especially on those long car journeys...

Buy Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates here:

Check out Elizabeth McKay here:

Check out Maria Bogade here:

Until next time :)

Wednesday 25 July 2018

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Lou Out of Luck' by Nat Luurtsema

Hey guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am very excited to be sharing with you a 5* book review, of the wonderful Lou Out of Luck by Nat Luurtsema! When I saw the blurb of this book I knew it was one I had to get my hands on, but I had no idea that this was the second book in the series. So rest assured, you can still read this and enjoy it if you haven't read the first book in the Girl out of Water series (which is Goldfish), and it made me want to go and grab the first book straight away! 

Lou Out of Luck follows Louise Brown as she continues to navigate teenage existence, though this time she has gorgeous boyfriend Gabe, who is making life a lot sweeter. However, Mum and Dad are still broke, and Lou is a little sick and tired of quick showers and mushy cereal. But with the school prom coming up, surely that's something to look forward to? I mean, if it hadn't taken away Hannah from Lou... 

I was kindly sent Lou Out of Luck by Walker Books in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Poverty sucks. Dad's timing the family's showers and refusing to turn on the heating. Mum has arranged for Lou to get lifts to school with Drippy Dermot and his eccentric mother in the Van of Doom. And lentils seem to feature in EVERY SINGLE MEAL. Lou is still coming down from her brief moment of TV super-stardom and getting to grips with the fact that - hold the news - SHE HAS A BOYFRIEND, but with both parents out of work, life isn't all plain sailing. Throw in Hannah's obsession with the school prom, Dad's strange shed activity and Lav's brief flirtation with a modelling career, and suddenly training a dance troupe to swim underwater seems like a walk in the park.

I adored this book from start to finish. Lou Out of Luck is the perfect balance of humour, drama and real life issues - for me, these things make it the perfect YA read. It is a lighthearted book, however I do not want to reduce it to that. Lou Out of Luck explores some very important issues that are vital for teens to have represented in their books - from poverty, family issues, peer pressure and much more. They say laughter is medicine and that message is so clear in this book. Despite all the hardships that Lou's family face, Lou's narrative remains unfailingly positive. I think the message that this puts across is really important for a YA book - there is always something positive to be found, even in a seemingly helpless situation. Lou was a fantastic character and her voice was amazing. I also loved the presentation of Lou's family and their relationships with each other - one of the best family portrayals I have seen in a YA novel. 

Overall, Lou Out of Luck was a fantastic story with characters that I could really connect with and relate to. It made me laugh endlessly and I struggled to put it down! This is a great YA read to take on your summer holiday and devour on the beach, in your garden or in the park. I can't wait to read Goldfish and also see what Nat writes next!

Check out Nat Luurtsema here:

Until next time :)

Monday 23 July 2018

300TH BLOG POST | Sharing with you my writing...

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am so thrilled to be writing my 300TH BLOG POST AHHHHH!!! I cannot believe that this is actually the 300th post; it honestly doesn't feel like there have been that many. For this pretty momentous occassion, I wanted to treat you guys to something a little special, a little different, just to say thank you to all my readers who have stuck with me for this long.

So I did a cheeky little poll on both my Instagram and Twitter, and basically asked you guys what you wanted to see from my 300th post. And TERRIFYINGLY, you wanted a new YouTube video, and... to see my writing :o

Those of you who know me, or who have been following my blog for a while now, know that I have been writing from pretty much when I first learned to read, and this hobby has lasted throughout my childhood to culminate in me studying English Literature with Creative Writing at University! I graduated a couple weeks ago *omg* but honestly studying creative writing and having the opportunity to learn so many things from great writers, while also learning the discipline of writing often, has been so invaluable to me. 

So today I am very excited, but also terrified, to share with you an example of the writing I have been doing throughout my three years at University. I decided to pick this poem to share because it is a summer poem, and celebrates the many long, languorous holidays I have spent in Cornwall since I was little. 

So anyway, I'll stop rambling now. Enjoy! 

Blessing of the Sea

A cut cross of heather offered 
to the lurching mass. Father’s cassock 
billows, and we watch
the retreat of swollen clouds.

We play the congregation: 
collecting drift wood to fix 
an altar fire, smoking
mackerel on coal for supper.

Too young to know anything,
old enough to prise open limpets 
with a penknife. In rockpool sacristies 
we hunt for mussels

and blenny bloated with salt, 
the crags sticky 
with trails of periwinkles and, at 
the breakwater,

we are a silent moment,
searching for the shore crabs 
on the border of this 

harboured world. 

As always, thank you very much for the continued support and reading my blog - it means the world!

If you would like to see more of my writing, let me know <3

Until next time :)

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 :)