Friday 29 March 2019

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee' by Jeff Zentner

Hey guys, and happy Friday! Today I am thrilled to be sharing with you a book review of a brilliant YA book I read last month. As soon as I read the blurb for Jeff Zentner's new book, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee, I knew it would be just my kind of book. I'm happy to say I was not wrong! 

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee follows best friends Josie & Delia, otherwise known as Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, as they are on their Friday night local cable television show, where they showcase the very best of the cheesiest, strangest horror movies they can find. No matter what else is going on in their lives, this show is routine. The one thing that will never change. Or so Delia thinks, until Josie is offered a place at college and an internship at a mainstream TV network. To make things even more complicated, there is a boy involved. Can Josie and Delia's friendship survive? Or does the end of the show mean the end of everything? That's how it feels to Delia. 

I was kindly sent a review copy by Andersen Press in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures - and the TV show they host - in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.

I looooved this book from beginning to end. I love old horror films that are kinda crappy - but in the best possible way. I love them because they're not bad enough to be unenjoyable and the special effects aren't good enough for them to be properly scary. This book felt like a love letter to these films, and to be honest a love letter to anything that people treasure because it makes them feel a little better about whatever might be going on in their life. For Delia this is exactly the case, and she was so easy to relate to because I'm sure we all have that one thing that may seem dumb or irrelevant to other people, but for us, it's our lifeline. It was this element to the book that just made it so heartwarming and comforting to me. 

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee is so unique yet had the warmth and relatibility of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. Like Fangirl, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee is all about following your passions, however niche, and navigating the sometimes thorny world of friendships and moving into adulthood. The writing was gorgeously conversational and descriptive; I was practically living in Tennessee the two days I spent devouring this book. The characterisation was also particularly strong; my favourite characters were Delia and Arliss, but to be honest the interactions between all the characters were great to read. I looooved the romance in the book (not going into detail because of spoilers) but it was so nice and wholesome and I just wish all YA authors wrote romance like Zentner. 

I thought the action that took place near the end of the book was a little ridiculous, and I know other readers struggled with this part, but I was so invested in the story and with these characters that I went along with it. There is so denying that Jeff Zentner is a master storyteller, and can perfectly capture what it feels like to be a teenager when it feels like everything around you is changing, and you'll be the one left behind. The ending of the book was perfection, and I could easily read another hundred books about Josie and Delia.  

Check out Jeff Zentner here:

Until next time :)

Monday 25 March 2019

BOOK REVIEW | 'Glass Town Wars' by Celia Rees (****)

Hey guys, and happy Monday! I am pleased to be back today with another book review, this time of Celia Rees' Glass Town Wars, a speculative YA novel with plenty of twists and suprises. As you may have guessed from the title, the world at the heart of the story is inspired by the Brontë's juvenilia, and it was this that made me desperate to read this book (everyone knows how I feel about the Brontës!).

I was kindly sent this book by Pushkin Press in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

'A beautifully crafted, multilayered story with a gripping adventure at its heart' Melvin Burgess

All these Glass Town intrigues. No matter how long you'd been absent, how far you'd travelled, once you were back, it was as though you'd never been away.

Tom and Augusta are from different places and different times, but they meet in the virtual world to combine forces in battle, to save a kingdom, escape a web of deceit and to find love. In a place where fictions can be truths and truths fictions, learning who to trust is more than friendship, it is about about survival.

Glass Town Wars, inspired by the early writings of the Brontës, is a captivating, magical novel by the renowned Celia Rees.

As soon as I started reading, I was gripped by the writing and this world that Rees conjured right in front of my eyes. This is Glass Town as you've never seen it before: neither ancient nor modern, gritty, intriguing, always glittering. I particularly loved the different parts to the book; the fantasy-esque part where war is on the horizon, the part in the hospital where Tom is in a coma and is being used as a guinea pig for a new gaming device, and Emily Brontë's life in Haworth, where she exists in a place that is permanently in between reality and fantasy. These three parts to the novel brought everything together in a way that was so compelling. I couldn't help but imagine how pleased Emily Brontë would have been to see the world she errected on paper as a child, perceived as a futuristic video game; a cutting-edge life-threatening experiment.

The imagination behind this book was astonishing, at some parts to the point that I got quite lost. As with the original Glass Town stories, the number of people involved and the relations between them was quite confusing at times, though the ending of the book made all of that make sense to me. I think the interweaving stories and intricacy of the storylines only added to the vast complexity of this book, and made this an incredibly rich reading experience for me. Even if I couldn't always keep up with the storyline, this didn't take away from the richness of the story and the detailed, decadent world of Glass Town, a world that I was swiftly swept into. And the descriptions of Emily furiously scribbling her stories onto paper while waiting for the bread to rise only made this frantic, fast-paced world seem all the more realistic. Glass Town Wars is a fantastic adventure story written by a prolific, brilliant author. But what I thought was most skillful about this book was that the story was still, somehow, Emily's. 

Check out Celia Rees here:

Until next time :)

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 :)