features


Feature: Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Want My Future Children to Read


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is books I want my future children to read. This is a really hard one! I had a think about books I loved when I was little (they were pretty much all series right enough) so here they are!

1. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

I have been obsessed with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit since I was little and so this would definitely be the one I’d want my children to read. It’s a beautifully written book and I still read it again and again!

2. The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

I have this beautiful hardback edition of The Chronicles of Narnia that is stunningly illustrated and combines all the books together. I wanted to be Lucy when I was little so I would definitely pass this gorgeous edition down to my own kids.

3. The Secret Seven – Enid Blyton

When I was little I was pretty much addicted to books by Enid Blyton. Although The Secret Seven were my favourite, I’d pass on The Famous Five, Mallory Towers and pretty much all of her books – I think I might need to buy some new copies though, might are a bit dog-earred!

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket

I remember getting the first two books of A Series of Unfortunate Events for my birthday one year and I was hooked, I don’t think I spoke to anyone for the rest of the day. I love this series (and the new Netflix adaptation!) so this one had to go on the list.

5. The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling

I think Harry Potter will be on a lot of people’s top 10. This magical series has touched so many people, I’d definitely share it with a new generation of readers.

6. Sweep Series – Cate Tiernan

This series is one of my favourites and I think really underrated. The 15 book series follows a young woman who finds out she’s descended from witches. It deals with all the usual high school and teenage dramas all with a magical setting.

7.  Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

I still love Alice in Wonderland today. This fantastic story is one I read over and over as a child. It has pretty much everything. What’s not to like?

8. The Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials was one of the first series that I felt were quite grown up books even though I was still a child. I loved the complex layers of magic and the fantastic settings, I’m so excited to read The Book of Dust and see what’s been happening in Pullman’s fascinating world.

9. The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

These books are so sweet and fun and I’ve kept my battered copies since I was a little girl I even have stuffed Peter Rabbit teddies. These books are perfect for little ones so I’m definitely going to pass them on.

10. Eragon – Christopher Paolini

And last but not least! Eragon was one of the first really really big books that I read,  I felt so impressed with myself by managing to finish all the books in the Inheritance Cycle. They are such fantastic books and full of dragons and magic, I couldn’t put them down!

So that’s my top 10! Which books would you want your future children to read? Let me know in the comments!


Blog Tour: Wunderkids – Jacqueline Silvester

34659493

15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and… two very different boys. 

However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal. 

Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run. 

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the fabulous Wunderkids by Jacqueline Silvester! With Wunderkids being set at a boarding school, Jacqueline has kindly written a post about her top boarding school settings in books and film. Take a look!

 

7933650

 

1. Catcher in the Rye

Though Holden Caulfield’s boarding school only plays a small(ish) part in his story, it’s still and important one. This classic was my first experience with a coming-of-age narrative and a boarding school setting. Thus, it deserves a spot at the top of the list.

6487308

2. Fallen by Lauren Kate

The Fallen series by Lauren Kate centers around two boarding schools, Sword and Cross Reform School in Savannah Georgia and Shoreline School in Northern California, both schools have one fabulous thing in common- they are both populated by angels.

Wild_child_poster

3. Wild child

A rich and spoilt Malibu teen is sent to a strict boarding school in England as punishment for her latest prank. Hilarity ensues. Featuring Juno Temple, great uniforms, and Alex Pettyfer behind the wheel of a 1958 Austin Healey Sprite.

download (2)

4. Little Princess

A young girl is left at a prestigious school in England when her father has to go off to fight in the war. When he is presumed dead, the young girl is forced into servitude. Based on the children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this film is beautiful and it will make you cry. I was absolutely in love with this film when I was little.

 

3682

 

5. A Great a Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A mysterious, gothic, and beautiful YA series that takes place in 1895 and tells the story of Gemma Doyle, a young girl whose I uprooted from her life in India and send to a boarding school in England. If you’ve read my novel Wunderkids you know that I have a weak spot for creepy, sinister academies.

LesChoristes

6. The Chorus

The Chorus is a gorgeous French film. It’s about a music teacher who starts a job at a boarding school for troubled boys. Once there, he founds a choir to help the boys channel their energy into something positive. It has been years since I’ve first saw the film but I still have the entire soundtrack on my phone and listen to it all the time.

movieposter

7. She’s The Man

Cheesy? Yes. But this film is also hilarious, and takes place at a boarding school, and it never once failed to cheer me up. Also, who wouldn’t want to be dorm mates with Channing Tatum?

1334260

8. Never Let Me Go (film)

Based on the book by the Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, this film has everything I love- dystopia, romance, and boarding school.

 

852470

 

9. Gallagher Girls by Aly Carter

Boarding school for spies? Yes, please! Paired with Ally Carter’s dynamic writing, great storytelling, and a cast of kickass schoolgirls who can hack into CIA databases and disable bombs. Perfection.

 

345627

 

10. Vampire Academy

The setting for this series is St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for Vampire royalty and their protectors. Enough said. Just do yourself a favor and skip the film.

 

Thank you so much to Jacqueline for her wonderful guest post! What are your favourite books/films that feature boarding schools? (Mine has definitely got to be Harry Potter!) Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out the other blog stops!

DJomtz2WsAEvL9W


Blog Tour: Herself Alone in Orange Rain – Tracy Iceton

orange rain full cvr

For those that haven’t heard about Herself Alone in Orange Rain yet, can you tell us a bit about it?

Herself Alone in Orange Rain is part two of my Celtic Colours trilogy which explores 100 years of conflict in Ireland. Part one, Green Dawn at St Enda’s, focuses on the 1916 Dublin Easter Rising and came out last year to coincide with the Rising’s centenary. Green Dawn’s main protagonist is a schoolboy, Finn, who becomes embroiled in the Easter week rebellion.

But this is not a typical trilogy where part two picks up shortly after wherever part one left off and Herself Alone in Orange Rain is mainly set in the 1980s. The novel is about a young woman who joins the IRA, becoming an active service volunteer for them and taking part in many of the high profile attacks of that period. Before the late 1970s women were not commonly ‘on the front line’ for the IRA but that’s what I wanted to explore so that meant setting the book about 70 years later than Green Dawn.

The main character in Orange Rain is a 19 year old art student called Caoilainn. A family connection runs through the whole trilogy so she’s related to Finn from part one (I’m not saying how– you’ll have to read to find out!). This way I can show how the Irish conflict impacts on one family down the generations. Caoilainn (and Finn) is entirely fictional but her experiences, attitudes, decisions and actions are based on the real life accounts of IRA women from this period. I think people who’ve read Green Dawn may be surprised because part two is very different, telling a more emotive and divisive story. But the one thing that both books have in common, and part three will develop this too, is the cost of conflict.

Where did the inspiration come from for the book?

Once I had the idea for Green Dawn and started doing the research I quickly realized I would be writing a trilogy; there was too much for one novel. I always felt part two would be set during the 1970/80s because, historically, that was a pivotal period in terms of IRA activity but originally I thought I’d be writing about a man because, probably like most people, I assumed the IRA was all male. Then a friend and fellow writer, Natalie Scott, said it would be interesting to tell the story from a female perspective. This was an intriguing proposition that raised lots of questions about the role of women in the IRA and about how that is portrayed in fiction so I started researching, discovered that women had indeed operated in combatant roles for the Provisional IRA and from the extensive research came the novel. In fact there was such a wealth of research to do that the novel actually became my creative writing PhD project.

What was the writing process like for the book, did it take you long to complete?

The whole process of researching, writing and editing took me three years because that’s how long I had to do the PhD. But of that the research and the editing took far more time than the initial drafting because doing a novel in an academic context for a PhD meant I

had to go much deeper with the research. Handily it has resulted in a much strong, more maturely written novel, I feel.

Now that the book is about to be released, what are you working on next?

I’m furiously tapping away at part three of the trilogy which currently has the working title White Leaves of Peace. This concluding part is focused on life in Ireland since the signing of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and will go up to 2016, looking at whether or not there truly is peace in the north of Ireland. Again there is a family tie the main protagonist, a young man called Cian, is related to Caoilainn from Orange Rain (but again, I’m not telling you how).

You’ve written in a whole range of areas, from non-fiction to flash fiction, do you find it difficult switching between them?

I don’t really find switching between types of writing difficult. After I’ve finished doing this feature I’ll be back later today to working on part three of the novel. I just take a short brain break in between, I’ll probably go to the gym. What also helps is thinking about what I’m writing before I sit down to do it. I write in my head constantly and if I know tomorrow I’m doing a short story I’ll be thinking about it when I get up, while I’m in the shower, eating breakfast, cleaning up etc. so that when I sit down I’m already in the ‘short story’ zone.

You’ve also been a writer in residence on several occasions, what was that experience like?

Being a writer in residence is, aside from writing, my favourite writer’s job because it gives you an extended opportunity to work with others on a particular project that really focuses creative energy and sees amazing results produced. When I was working on the Silent Voices project in Helmsley for an exhibit at nearby Rievaulx Abbey I got to work with an entire primary school of enthusiastic young writers who were all thrilled to be able to exercise their creativity.

More recently I’ve been writer in residence for the Crossing the Tees book festival, working with them on a brand new aspect to the festival: a short story competition. And I’ve been privileged to help emerging writers really develop their craft through a series of short story writing workshops and some one-to-one mentoring sessions, hopefully inspiring them to keep writing and one day seeing their work in print too.

Finally, can you recommend us a good book you’ve read recently?

I recently read what I think is one of the most brilliantly creative, experimental pieces of storytelling published in a long time. It’s called This is the End of the Story by Jan Fortune. She happens to be my editor so, admittedly, I read it because I was curious about her own writing, especially when I’ve had to read some harsh, but justified, criticisms of my writing from her. But, having read her novel, I hold my hands up and say my God, she can write and I consider myself lucky to have her as an editor, guiding my creative practice.

Big thanks to Tracy for answering my questions, and be sure to check out the other stops listed below!

Orange Rain Blog Tour banner-2


Feature: September Book Haul!

Or as I’m calling it the month I bought waaaay too many books. In my defence, my birthday was in September, I also finished my dissertation at the end of August and had to celebrate and loads of really good books came out that I had to get my paws on. So here we go!

27827203

1. Frostblood & Fireblood – Elly Blake

So I absolutely loved Frostblood when I read an E-ARC from Netgalley late last year, but for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to picking up a physical copy. I was dying to read Fireblood, so I thought now might be the perfect opportunity to pick up a copy of each! (You can also read my review of Frostblood here).

The frost king will burn.
Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

27774758

2. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

I have sadly never read An Ember in the Ashes. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it from tons of bloggers, so when I saw it just after I finished my dissertation was submitted, I knew I had to rectify that and get myself a copy!

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

33229367

3. Obsession – Amanda Robson

I saw lots of posts on Twitter about this book when it first came out and lots of bloggers were raving about it, so when I saw it on sale for just £2 in The Works, I picked myself up a copy. Looking forward to reading it on one of these chilly autumn evenings!

One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?
It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.

19161852

4. The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is a book I’ve always wanted to read, so again when I saw it in The Works I rushed to buy a copy. Can’t wait to read this beauty. 

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.
Three terrible things happen in a single day.
Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

26114100

5. High Stakes – ed. by George R. R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass

I love George R. R. Martin’s books, and I read pretty much everything he’s ever written. I’ve never read his Wildcard series, which he edits along with Melinda Snodgrass, so I figured I might give it a shot and see how it goes!

Perfect for old fans and new readers alike, High Stakes (Wild Cards) delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and Lovecraftian horror.

33614521

6. Kingdom of Sleep – E. K. Johnston

I absolutely adored A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston, but for some reason had heard virtually nothing about this beauty. I was browsing in Waterstones when I came across Kingdom of Sleep, and if that beautiful cover doesn’t make you want to read it, the blurb will have you hooked!

The world is made safe by a woman . . . but it is a very big world.
It has been generations since the Storyteller Queen saved her country from fire and blood – but now, the kingdom of Kharuf is threatened by a demon gathering power. When a princess is born, the demon is ready with her final blow: a curse that will cost that princess her very soul, or force her to destroy her own people to save her life.

34913667

 

7. A Skinful of Shadows – Frances Hardinge

I ashamedly have never read anything by Frances Hardinge (I know!) but I know a lot of people were really excited for this book coming out. I picked it up in the airport bookshop while I was waiting for my flight and it just sounded so good that I couldn’t resist.

This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .
Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide. 
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding. 
Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard. 
And now there’s a spirit inside her. 

34076952

8. The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo

I don’t think I have to say too much about this one, it’s probably one of my most anticipated books of 2017. It has pretty much gone to the top of my TBR.

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.
Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.
Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

30622162

9. Sleeping Beauties – Stephen & Owen King

I’m so excited to read this mammoth book. It looks absolutely stunning, though I’m not looking forward to lugging it back and forward with me on my commute!

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.

9275658

10. Legend, Prodigy & Champion – Marie Lu

I saw a box set of this series for only £6 so I figured now was the perfect time to pick up some beautiful paperback copies!

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

32580398

11. Perfect Remains – Helen Fields

This is another series I’ve always wanted to read. I recently volunteered at the Bloody Scotland book festival and Helen was on a panel. She talked a lot about her series so I thought it would be the perfect time to pick up a copy, and she signed it which was a fab bonus.

The first in a nail-shredding new crime series. Fans of M.J. Arlidge will be gripped from start to finish.
On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

23125266

12. I Let You Go – Claire Mackintosh

Likewise Claire Mackintosh did a fantastic panel at Bloody Scotland. I didn’t have any pennies on me at the time to pick up a  book, but I did manage to pick up I Let You Go at a later date from my local bookshop, and I’m so looking forward to reading it!

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street … 
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past. 
At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

31450852

13. Tower of Dawn – Sarah J. Maas

This is another one that I probably don’t have to say much about. The next instalment in an absolutely wonderful series.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

30226723

14. King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard

I absolutely loved Red Queen but for some reason I haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of the series. Planning to rectify that over the next few weeks so I picked up the latest instalment, and I cannot wait to read it!

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.
 


Blog Tour: The Cost of Living – Rachel Ward

9781910985830.main

After a young woman is brutally attacked on her way home from the local supermarket, checkout girl Bea is determined to find out who’s responsible. She enlists the help of Ant, the seemingly gormless new trainee – but can she really trust him? Customers and colleagues become suspects, secrets are uncovered, and while fear stalks the town, Bea risks losing the people she loves most.

Now read an interview with author Rachel Ward!

1. For those that haven’t read The Cost of Living, can you tell us a bit about it?

The Cost of Living is a detective story with a difference. It is set in and around a fictional supermarket and my ‘detectives’ are Bea, a smart checkout girl, and Ant, a seemingly gormless new trainee. It’s at the cosy end of the crime spectrum, although there is still some darkness in there.

2. What inspired you to write the book?

I started with my main characters. Bea wandered into my head first. I knew what she looked like and where she worked and it occurred to me that all human life passes through a supermarket and it was rich material for a book. I’d wanted to try a detective story for ages and the two things just came together.

3. You’ve written books in several different genres, did you feel in any major differences writing The Cost of Living versus Numbers/The Drowning?

For some reason writing The Cost of Living was much easier than writing all my YA books, except Numbers. I think with both of these books I was writing without any expectations, just telling myself the story. With a crime book there are certain conventions (at the very least you need a crime near the beginning and some sort of resolution at the end), which I enjoyed playing with.

4. What was the writing process like for the book, did it take you long to complete?

This was a new process for me. For the first time I sent it chapter by chapter to my husband’s kindle. He gave me feedback on each chapter and was keen to receive the next instalment. This continued when he had to live in hospital waiting for a heart transplant. It was a rather wonderful thing, actually. The book took just under a year to write, with a few breaks for other writing and domestic upheaval. I’m continuing with the writing in instalments process for my next book. So far his feedback has been positive!

5. When coming up with new characters how do you go about it? Are they based around people in your life or completely creative?

I try not to base characters on people that I know, although occasionally they sneak in. Sometimes I go shopping for characters by deliberately observing people when I am out and about, noting down appearances, clothes, etc. on my phone if I think they might be useful. I also get inspiration from tv programmes, especially reality and talent shows, the news and films.

6. Now that The Cost of Living is about to be released, what are you working on next?

I’m about halfway through a sequel. I’ve got quite a few plots in mind for Ant and Bea and I hope I get the chance to write them.

7. The cover for The Cost of Living is really striking! Did you have any input into the overall cover design?

I love the cover! It really sums up the book for me, both the content and the tone. It was designed by the very talented David Wardle, commissioned by Sandstone Press, my lovely publisher. They did show me an early design and asked for my feedback. All I could really do was gasp and go ‘Wow, I love it!’

8. Finally can you recommend us a good book you’ve read recently?

Oooh, I mostly read crime these days and the series I’ve enjoyed recently is by Jorn Lier Horst, a Norwegian writer and former police investigator. I’ve rattled through all his William Wisting books that have been translated so far and am eagerly waiting for more. Taking a break from crime, I read Ready Player One. I had bought it for my son, who is a gamer, and he loved it and insisted that I read it. I can see why – it’s a cracking story, believable, authentic and exciting.

Twitter tour banner


Feature: August Book Haul

How can it possibly be the end of August already? This month really has flown in. Even though I feel like it has been and gone in the blink of an eye, I still managed to buy more than a few books. Here they are:

22053410

1. Perfect Ruin – Lauren De Stefano

I absolutely adore Lauren De Stefano’s series Wither. I’ve read it more than once and I still recommend it to people all the time. So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that an author I loved had a whole other series that I hadn’t read. It sounds fantastic and so this was my first purchase for the month. I must say the copy I bought does not have a cover as eye catching as this one, but I’m still very excited to read it.

On the floating city, you can be anything you dream – a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker… Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There’s only one rule: you don’t approach THE EDGE. If you do, it’s already over.

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her at home: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or whom she will lose.

23308087

2. The Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh

This is a book I’ve been hearing loads about amongst the book blogging community. I’ve seen loads of people post absolutely glowing reviews of it, and so when I saw it in the bookshop, I decided I definitely had to go and find out what all the fuss was about!

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
26156203

3. The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game has been on my wishlist forever. I’ve been continually meaning to buy it because it sounds fantastic. I was given an Amazon Giftcard as a present recently, and so one of my purchases was this beauty!

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
32051572

4. Dividing Even – Joelle Charbonneau

This was another Amazon purchase (I know) because my local Waterstones didn’t have it in stock. It sounds similar to Three Dark Crowns, and I’m hoping it will be a really gripping read!

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

3016366135068563

 

5. Spindle Fire/Winter Glass – Lexa Hillyer

Last month the horrific news event was the fire at Grenfell Tower. As I’m sure most of you know, many authors and publishers  attempted to do their bit to help the victims of this awful event by doing online auctions. I tried to bid as much as possible, and the auction that I won was for Lexa Hillyer’s book Spindle Fire and a proof of the sequel to Spindle Fire – Winter Glass. I was obsessed with Sleeping Beauty as a child and Spindle Fire has been on my wishlist since it came out in march, so I was really pleased to win the auction, and to contribute to the victims, even if only in a small way. 

A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.

18520642

6. Proof of Forever – Lexa Hillyer

As part of the auction lot there was also a copy of Proof of Forever, Lexa’s first published novel. This sounds like a really fun and enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to get stuck in. She also kindly signed and personalised all three books, and they currently have pride of place on my bookshelf.

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

So those are the books I bought in August. What books did you buy? Have you read any of these, and if you have what did you think? Let me know!


Feature: Liebster Award

liebster.png
The lovely Katie at KatieJudgesBooks nominated me to do the Liebster Award Tag. I’ve never done this before so thank you so much Katie!

The rules

1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Nominate 11 blogs.
4. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Katie’s Questions

1) Why and how did you start blogging?

I started blogging after attending my first ever WorldCon in London. I met lots of lovely publishers and they gave me proof copies of some of my favourite authors and suggested I try reviewing them, especially if I wanted to work in the publishing industry. I figured I would give it a go and I got hooked. After taking a year or two out of doing it, I’m back to blogging as much as possible.

2) Does it ever feel like work and how do you juggle all the other responsibilities?
I think if you have a lot on it really can be difficult. When I was studying I definitely found it difficult to juggle blogging, working and studying. If you’re passionate about it though you should stick with it!

3) Do you ever connect with authors/chat with them?
Sometimes, I’ve started to try and participate in the Twitter Chats hosted online, these are really fun and there’s usually plenty of authors taking part.

4) Do you like writing reviews and what do you do when you have to write a bad review?
I always find it difficult to write a bad review. I think you have to be really careful and make sure that your review is constructive, no matter if you loved or hated the book. Writing reviews that just slate a book are no use to anybody. I love writing reviews for books I absolutely adored, although they quickly become a two page rant on how awesome it was.

5) Do you do tags and all these things or do you just post reviews?
I try to do book hauls and discussion type posts every now and then, as well as guest post and author reviews. I haven’t really done any tags, but I definitely want to do more.

6) Do you schedule your posts in advance or just go with it and try to post as regularly as possible?
I schedule posts if I have an agreed date i.e a blog tour or a particular date a review needs to go up, otherwise I just try and post a few times every week.

7) Do all your friends read or are you friends with people who do not read?
Actually most of my friends aren’t big readers, I have one or two who are crazy bookworms which is great, but it’s nice to have friends with other interests too.

8) What do you feel like when watching the movie/series not following the book?
I used to get quite upset about this., I was always the sort of person that would be like “but that’s not in the book!” but then I did a module at university on books and adaptation, and my lecturer talked a lot about how the two mediums are completely different things, there are plenty of reasons that things from books get changed – it might not translate, it doesn’t go with the flow of the film, budget reasons etc. She suggested that if you take them as two completely separate things, you’ll enjoy it a lot more in the long run.

9) Your favourite book at any point of life?
Oh goodness. I have so many books that I love. My favourite book is still probably The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read it when I was younger and adored it, and I’ve read it countless times since. I also hold a special place for George R. R. Martin’s books, particularly Fevre Dream and the A Song of Ice and Fire books. I also pretty much adore anything by Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas.

10) Do you stick to one genre or do you read diverse books?
I do try and read diversely but I don’t think I’m very good at that. I love fantasy and science fiction books, so I tend to gravitate towards them, whether they’re adult or young adult doesn’t really bother me. I am also a big fan of historical fiction, crime thrillers and literary fiction, but I tend not to read them as often as I do fantasy books.

11) Did you like the books you had to read in school or not?
It’s funny because my English teacher at school estimated that I would probably fail at Higher (GCSE) level. I loved books, but not particularly the ones we studied in school. I loved Macbeth, but was never a fan books like To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies. Now as a grown up I love both of those books, and I got an A in English, so what did he know!

My 11 questions are:

1. What is your favourite thing about being a blogger?
2. Is there anything in particular that got you into blogging?
3. Do you attend author events? If so which authors have you met?
4. You’re stranded on a desert island with only three books. What do you take?
5. How do you keep track of your review books, do you have a schedule or just pick them up as you see them?
6. Who are your favourite book bloggers to read reviews from?
7. You’re having a dinner party, which authors do you invite?
8. What’s the best book (or books) you’ve read so far in 2017?
9. Do you take part in the Goodreads Challenge? How many books have you set yourself and are you on track?
10. What’s one book everyone seems to love but you just didn’t like?
11. What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation?

So I’d like to nominate these lovely bloggers, (I totally apologise if you’ve done this tag already!)

Grace @ City of Novels
Faye @ A Day Dreamers Thoughts
Abby @ Anne Bonny Reviews
Jo @ Over the Rainbow
Tiffani @ The Book Venom
Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek
The Maniacal Book Unicorn
Vanessa @ Postcards for Ariel
Nicola @ Fantastic Book Dragon
Chloe @ Chloe’s Cosy Corner
Rae @ A New Look On Books


Feature: Interview with Charlie Laidlaw

Check out our interview with author Charlie Laidlaw, all about his book The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, and the inspiration for it.

Tell us about your books:

The things we learn COVER FINAL
I’m the author of two novels, The Herbal Detective (Ringwood Publishing) and The Things We Learn When We’re Dead (Accent Press). Assuming we don’t experience nuclear Armageddon in the immediate future, and I’m not betting against it, a third novel, Darker Matters, is due to be published by Accent Press in January 2018.

A little bit about yourself:

I was born and brought up in central Scotland and am a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then but, craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian. And that’s about it.

What is The Things We Learn When We’re Dead about:

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a modern fairytale of love and loss. It’s about the subtle ways in which we change, and how the small decisions that we make can have profound and unintended consequences.

On one level, the book is a simple story of a young woman’s life. But, for those readers who want to make the connection, The Things We Learn is also a retelling of The Wizard of Oz: how a young woman in ultimately tragic circumstances comes to reassess her life and find a new beginning.

But don’t worry: most readers won’t make the Wizard of Oz allusion, so it’s not as wacky as it sounds!

Why the Wizard of Oz?

The book is about second chances – a young woman looking back at her life, and realising what he really has, and who she really is. That theme has been written a million times before and is universal and timeless.

The simple truism is that every piece of fiction being written now has already been written many times before – mainly by Shakespeare, although he also leaned heavily on much older sources.26790464
It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing about love, war, betrayal, death, marriage, alien invasion or the zombie apocalypse, a lot of other novelists have already been there, done that and got the T-shirt.

In that sense, “no place like home” isn’t just a physical place but a state of mind. In thinking the plot through, I realised I could either do what other authors have done and ignore the Oz link or, in my own way, celebrate it. I chose the latter.

What were some of the things that inspired you?

Somerset Maugham once remarked that “there are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” For me, that pretty much sums up what it’s like to write a novel. I really do struggle for inspiration.

But the idea for The Things We Learn was different. It came to me on a train from Edinburgh to London and so powerful was the initial idea that I hoped that the train would break down, or for spontaneous industrial action by the train crew.

I was therefore disappointed when the train pulled into King’s Cross, regrettably on time, but I did have the outline of a narrative – and, more importantly, a first and last chapter. The first chapter has changed out of all recognition, but the final chapter is still much as I first wrote it.

What was the first book that really inspired you?

The first semi-grown-up book that made a mark on me was Jennie by Paul Gallico. The central character is a small boy who is transformed into a cat. It echoed an Alice in Wonderland madness, but with adult themes. It was the first book I read that dealt with death and loss.

What are some of your favourite books now?CL bandw

I only really read contemporary literary fiction, so I must be a bit dull. But I do like books with a distinctive narrative voice – for example, The Last Family in England by Matt Haig, as narrated by a Labrador called Prince. Or Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, written by a teenager suffering from Asperger’s.

Or, even more recently, Anatomy of A soldier by Harry Parker, about a British soldier horrifically injured in Afghanistan. The impact of the book comes from a shifting narrative that is recounted by the inanimate objects that surround him – from a battery to a bullet, from a medical swab to a military drone. The overall effect is both distancing and weirdly intimate.

What advice would you give to other writers?

As a writer, I suppose you have to be a reader, and by a strange process of osmosis you do slowly absorb other authors’ wisdom – how to structure a book, how to create good dialogue and narrative, and pace and context.

Also, try to have a support structure around you: p

What’s next?

That’s entitled Darker Matters and is being published by Accent Press in January next year. It’s about love, loss and is, at least partly, a satire on the unexpected consequences of celebrity. It’s a dark comedy, I suppose, but I hope the smiles far outnumber any tears!

www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

Thanks so much for checking out this interview with Charlie. Also take a look at this fab video trailer for The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, available here!


Reading Challenge: The Reading Quest

So I’ve seen lots of people signing up on Twitter to do a month long readathon called The Reading Quest. It’s basically a fun video game style quest to conquer your TBR pile! Now that my dissertation is almost finished and I’m hoping to have lots more time to read, I thought this would be a fantastic way to kick things off. All the information is available on Aentee’s blog Read at Midnight. There is a point system involved, explained in the link there, which I will try and follow, but I’m mainly hoping to make a bit of a dent in my TBR over the next few weeks!

(Also all the beautiful graphics for this were done by CW of Read, Think and Ponder. They’re so stunning!)

the-reading-quest-character-classes
These are the four different character class options, and sticking with the video game theme I’m going to go for the Mage option, because that’s what I usually pick for games.

reading-quest-board1

So here are the books that I am going to try and tackle during this challenge. I’ve only chosen the books for the mage quests just now, if I manage to get any further I will add the others in later. This is the first reading challenge I’ve ever signed up to, so fingers crossed I don’t fall at the first hurdle!

1. A Book With A One Word Title: Carnivore – Jonathan Lyon
2. A Book That Contains Magic: Roar – Cora McCormack
3. A Book Based On Mythology: Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
4. A Book Set In A Different World: Everless – Sara Holland
5. The First Book In A Series: Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Some of these are books I’ve wanted to read for ages, and a few are from my current review pile. Will update as time goes on, but here goes!


Feature: YALC Book Haul

IMG_1240

So as many of you know last weekend saw bloggers and ya fans flocking to London for London Film and Comic Con and the Young Adult Literature Convention. Myself amongst them, I had a fabulous time, and I bought some beautiful new books, as well as winning/was given some gorgeous new arcs. I only posted a little about the books that I bought so I could focus more on the arcs, but will add in goodreads links if you want to know more about them. Here’s we go!

Books I Bought:

1. Gilded Cage – Vic James

This book has been on my wishlist for absolutely ages, so when I saw Vic James was signing, I absolutely knew I had to pick it up. She was absolutely lovely and chatted away about the book. I’m so excited to start it!

 

 

2. Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Footy

This book caught my eye on the YAHQ stand. It has such a beautiful cover and when I picked it up it sounded so amazing. The book deals were really fab at YALC so I got this for £5 and it was available a little earlier than in bookstores!

 

3. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

I have heard such fantastic things about this book from the book blogger community. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone give it less than 4 stars. So when I heard this was going to be on sale early at YALC, I knew I had to buy a copy. It was a bit of a mad dash to get one, as they sold out in a few hours, but I’m sure it’s going to be worth it! (Also how stunning is that cover? I could look at it forever.) Lauren James also kindly signed my copy, and it’s pretty much gone straight to the top of by TBR!

 

ARCs:

1. WAR: Wizards and Robots – Will.I.Am and Brian David Johnson

Goodreads

The lovely folks at the Penguin Platform stand gave me a copy of this. It sounds really fantastic and I’m looking forward to reading it.

When a young man breaks into her home claiming her life is in danger,  Ada Luring’s world changes forever. Geller is a wizard, on the run from his father’s hidden clan who want to kill Ada and her mother. Sara Luring is the scientist who will create the first robot, the wizards’ age-old foes.

But a robot has travelled back in time to find Ada, and will lay everything on the line to protect her, as she may just be the key to preventing the earth’s destruction in the future.

2. Otherworld – Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Goodreads

This was a very hot proof over the weekend. The lovely folks at Rock the Boat did a blogger giveaway for it and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to be there. This book is the first in a series from Jason Segel (from How I Met Your Mother) and since it’s about gaming I think it will be right up my alley. Very much looking forward to reading this one.

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

3. Everless – Sara Holland

Goodreads

There were two proofs I was really hopeful to get over the weekend, one was Fireblood by Elly Blake (which sadly I didn’t get, but I now have an e-galley so it’s not all bad!) the other was this beauty. I’ve heard some overseas book bloggers talking about how stunning this is, and was so so happy to have got a copy. I’m probably going to dive into this straight after The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

4. Blackbird – N. D. Gomes

Goodreads

This was a surprise giveaway that happened just as I was walking past the YAHQ stand. I hadn’t heard much about it, but now that I’ve read the blurb I’m really excited to read this one!

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

5. The Fandom – Anna Day

The Fandom is another book that has been getting loads of buzz on Twitter and social media recently. The lovely folks at Chicken House were giving away copies in exchange for signing up to their newsletter, so I was delighted to get a copy. Anna kindly also signed my copy of The Fandom, and I can already see big things for this beautiful book!

Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands…

6. Zenith – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

Goodreads

I think this was possibly the most sought after book the whole weekend. The queues to get a copy did get a bit on the forceful side, but YAHQ were kind enough to give me one. The book sounds stunning, a sort of YA Star Trek style epic with kick ass leading ladies, and I’m very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into it!

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situationand at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

7. Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Goodreads

This took me completely by surprise because I had no idea that BKMRK were planning to do a giveaway of Invictus proofs. This book was already on my wishlist, so I was so happy to be one of the lucky 100 people that got one. Ryan also did a signing that day so I managed to get my copy signed as well!

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

8. The Treatment – C. L. Taylor

Goodreads

I love a good thriller and this sounds right up my alley. This again was given to me by YAHQ, who were very generous with their proof giveaways over the weekend. (I think there were even more books given out on the Friday as well!) C. L. Taylor also popped by to sign some books at the YAHQ stand, and it was really fantastic to meet her!

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

9. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

Goodreads

This was another complete surprise and I’m so happy to have a copy. The Exact Opposite of Okay sounds completely kick ass, and Laura was there to sign copies too!

 Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

10. The Book of Fire – Michelle Kenney

Goodreads

This was such a cool book to get and I can’t wait to read it. It’s one of those proofs that’s plastic bound, so it did get a little dented on the way home, but given the amount I had to carry, I can live with that. It has also been dubbed ‘The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator’ and if that doesn’t peak your interest I don’t know what will!

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told. Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders. 

Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. 

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever. 

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

So that’s all the beautiful books I got this weekend. Were you at YALC, did you get any of these? Are there any you’re particularly looking forward to reading? Let me know in the comments below!