Saturday, 28 June 2014

YALC Readathon Guest Post: My Big Fat Imaginary Production Company by Cat Clarke

I can't believe that this little readathon project that I've been plotting for months is nearly over! But fear not! We have a whole weekend of reading ahead of us and I intend to make the most of it.

I hope that by now you've all had chance to read some excellent books and that you'll be trying to squeeze in as many more pages as you can during this last leg of the readathon. No matter how much or how little you've read I hope that you've been having a lot of fun!

My YALC author guest today is Cat Clarke. With YALC taking place at London Film and Comic Con, Cat is going to be talking about which books she'd choose to adapt if she owned her own production company. I'm always casting actors as characters in my head as I read so it's nice to know that authors do this too with their own books and other peoples!

I often get asked if I’m going to turn any of my books into a movie, and every time I get this question, I sigh a little wistful sigh. I wish it were that easy. I think most writers would love to see their books on the big screen, but unfortunately it’s completely, totally 100% outside of our control. But now that I’m in charge of an imaginary production company, the power is MINE, ALL MINE. MWAHAHAHAHA.

Obviously I’ll have to start by adapting one of my own books into a film. The first one that springs to mind is a novel that’s coming out next year, but that’s cheating, right? So I think I’m going to go with TORN. There are a couple of scenes in particular that I would love to see on film, but I’ll be vague to avoid spoilers: the scene in the cave and Tara’s demise (and immediate aftermath). Oh, and I’d love to see Jack on the big screen, mostly because he’s the most adorable character I’ve ever written.

OK, now that the TORN movie is in the works, there are a few YA books I’d like to tackle right away. Some of my favourites have already been/are already being made into movies (Grasshopper Jungle springs to mind), but there are some gems I’d love to get my hands on…

1.) THIS IS NOT A TEST – Courtney Summers. I recently saw Courtney describing this book as ‘The Walking Dead meets The Breakfast Club’. If that’s not enough to make you want to see this movie, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.
2.) FIREBRAND – Gillian Philip. I reckon I’d need a big budget to do this one justice, but I think this could be the first in an epic fantasy series.
3.) CRUEL SUMMER – James Dawson. This movie would be a total riot. Definitely one for a raucous late night showing on a Friday. I suspect I’d also like to make a movie of SAY HER NAME, but I’ve yet to get my grubby little mitts on a copy so I can’t say for sure. I’ll definitely be nabbing this book at YALC.
4.) IMAGINARY GIRLS – Nova Ren Suma. Oh boy, this would be SUCH a cool film. Creepy as hell and achingly beautiful too.
5.) Every single Christopher Pike book ever written. Nuff said.

Would anybody like to volunteer to be my Imaginary Casting Director? Because if the casting were left to me, I’d somehow find a way to shoehorn the entire cast of Game of Thrones into every one of these movies. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) as Jack in TORN, perhaps? (OK, don’t answer that.)

Sigh. Now I feel sad that my production company is just a figment of my imagination. If any high-powered, fancy-schmancy movie-making people happen to be reading this … PLEASE MAKE THESE MOVIES NOW! I promise I’ll come and watch every single one on their opening weekends.

Thanks for sharing Cat! Personally I would LOVE to see This Is Not a Test and Cruel Summer on the big screen. It's a real shame that we don't have ALL OF THE POWER and can't turn cinema into one big YA love-fest *sighs* maybe one day. I'm sure there's got to be *someone* we can talk to about this at YALC.

Cat will be appearing at YALC on Sunday 13th July 
Free this weekend? It's not too late to sign up for the YALC Readathon! Why not join us for the last two days and read some fantastic books? Sign up here!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

YALC Readathon Guest Post: When authors meet other (more famous) authors by Holly Bourne

Hi guys! We're on day three of the readathon now and I hope that you're all making great progress with your TBR piles. If not, no worries! We still have another four days to go which includes a weekend so keep calm and read on!

Speaking of keeping calm my YALC Readathon guest today is the lovely Holly Bourne who is going to be talking about her experience meeting an author she admires and sharing some tips on how to keep your cool.

I'm going to be meeting some of my all-time favourite authors during YALC. It'll only be my third book signing and so some tips on how to not get too overwhelmed by it all could not be more welcome!

Here's Holly to talk about her experience including what it feels like to be on the other side of that signing table...

When authors meet other (more famous) authors by Holly Bourne 
I don't want to sound anti-social but... I find meeting readers scary. Like, really scary.

I LOVE it, but I also spend the build-up to any author event hyperventilating into a bag and sweating all over the floor.

There is SO much to worry about. In my case:
• Swearing
• Spelling someone's name wrong when signing a book
• Spelling my own name wrong when signing a book (this has happened three times)
• Not being 'nice' enough - if people have gone to all this trouble of meeting you, what if you're not the person they want you to be?
• Etc...etc...etc... thus all the sweat.

It never occurred to me that it's equally nerve-wracking to be on the other side - the reader side. That was, until, I got to meet one of my own writing heroes recently.

EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert is a marmite book. If you love it, perhaps that's because it's like a heat-seeking missile that finds its way into your life exactly when you need it. When I was 24 and a miserable news reporter I picked up an old copy in an Oxfam shop and read it within a few days. It changed my life.

Within a month or two, I'd quit my job to go travelling, just like she did. While travelling, I stood on top of a mountain, feeling all deep and meaningful and a bit like Kevin Spacey at the end of American Beauty, and had a very profound thought I'll never forget:

"Holly, go home and write that book you've been thinking about writing."

Four years later, that book is on bookshelves. My life has changed considerably and for the better. Last month I got to meet the woman partly responsible for all that happening. Elizabeth Gilbert was coming to London to do a talk, and I got tickets to see and meet her.

Holly meeting Elizabeth Gilbert

It was so weird going through the process from the other side after only ever being on the 'author' side of these events and it came with its own set of anxieties:

• How early do you need to go to get a good seat?
• Whereabouts do you even sit? Isn't it too keen to go right at the front? But you ARE KEEN!
• Do I look too much like a crazy fan? Oh God, I'm at the front of the queue, I do!
• What the hell do I say to her? Do I tell her I'm a writer too? Or will that annoy her because I'm making it about me? Will I come across OK? Will she even remember me?
• Will it annoy her that my book is a secondhand copy?
• What if her talk is crap? What if I don't like her? Will that ruin the book for me?

It was oddly surreal when she walked into the room - suddenly I was sharing the same breathing space as the person who wrote those words. This person, who has no idea I exist or how her words and story have touched me, was now inhaling the same oxygen.

Of course, Elizabeth was WONDERFUL and her talk was everything I wanted it to be. Then for the really scary part, actually meeting her. WHAT DO YOU SAY?

For me, it all happened in a rushed blur. I blurted out: "Your book changed my life, and now I'm an author too. Thank you so much."

I waited for her to roll her eyes, or look at me as if I was bonkers, or both. Instead, she asked all sorts of questions: 'What's it called? What's it about?' And she looked pretty darn happy when I said her other book, COMMITTED, provided a lot of the research for SOULMATES. She finished by high-fiving me and saying 'ROCK ON.'

It's fair to say, my literary crush is now fully fledged. But despite the good vibes, I still left in a state of worry. Had I made a fool out of myself? Should I have said what I did? Should I have asked for a photo? Damnit! I should've asked for a photo! Did she enjoy meeting me? Will she remember me? Or do I just fade into the long line of fans?

That's when I remembered what it's like on the author side of the table, and how it feels to meet your readers. Here is the essence:

• The author is just as nervous as you are, I promise.
• If you love their book, TELL THEM. That is why they wrote the book - spending thousands of hours alone in their jimjams - for people like you to tell them they loved it. You won't sound gushing, or like a strange sad fan. To the contrary, you will be making their day/week/month/year.
• Please do write your name down beforehand so the author can see it and spell it correctly. A lengthy queue of Catherines and Katherines can easily produce some embarrassingly mis-signed books.
• But that should not suggest that we won't remember you. Anyone who has ever come up and chatted to me at a signing is etched on my memory forever in the section marked 'happy place'.

So, with all that in mind, my advice to anyone coming to YALC this year to see your favourite authors is this - don't panic, enjoy every moment, and make sure you take that photo if you want one!

 Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today Holly! I think I'm going to print these tips off and take them along to YALC with me!

 Holly will be appearing at YALC on Saturday 12th July

For news on Holly's new book The Manifesto on How to be Interesting check out my exclusive reveal post here

 Only just heard about the YALC Readathon? There's still time to sign up here.

Monday, 23 June 2014

YALC Readathon Guest Post: Katherine Woodfine talks YALC behind the scenes

Good morning readathoners! It's day one of the YALC Readathon and I hope that you're just as excited as I am to read some amazing books this week!

Throughout the readathon myself and my co-hosts Carly, Vicky and Michelle will be sharing guest posts from the YALC authors but today to kick the readathon off I have a very special guest post from Katherine Woodfine who works at Booktrust and is part of the team putting YALC together. She's here today to talk about how YALC came about and to give us an insiders look at what it takes to organize such a big book event. Without further ado it's over to Katherine.

YALC: the story so far by Katherine Woodfine
I’m lucky enough to manage the Children’s Laureate programme at Booktrust – which currently, of course, means working with the fabulous 2013-2015 Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman.

But if that alone wasn’t enough of a treat, I’m also currently organising Malorie’s major Laureate project – the UK’s first Young Adult Literature Convention! Today I’m here to tell you the inside story of YALC, and how the event came about.

When Malorie was appointed as Laureate in June 2013, one of the key things she wanted to do was ‘make reading irresistible’ to young people. With research showing that only 3 in 10 young people read daily out of class, and a fifth of young people saying they’d be embarrassed if a friend saw them reading, she knew she wanted to change perceptions and get ‘more young people reading more’ – but how?

As it happened, the UK’s Young Adult publishers had already been talking about an exciting new idea to put a spotlight on books for young people. Inspired by events in the USA, they wanted to hold the UK’s first YA Lit Con, and had even had some conversations with Showmasters (the organisation behind London Film and Comic Con) about hosting it – but they were short of someone to take the project forward.

As the first Laureate primarily known for writing for teens and young adults, Malorie was the perfect person to step in – and the Children’s Laureate team were on hand and ready to help make the event happen!

Our first job was to go along to LFCC and conduct some ‘research’. We went along for the day with Malorie and had a brilliant time – celebrity spotting in the Green Room, admiring the incredible outfits, and Malorie even had her photo taken in the Iron Throne. We all loved it and knew that LFCC would be the perfect home for the event, where books could sit alongside films, TV and comics.

So far, so good. But to get an event as ambitious of YALC off the ground, we knew we would need a lot of help. Enter the Young Adult publishers – as well as getting lots of advice from them, we also recruited a fantastic YALC Committee of publisher enthusiasts to help us with all the planning. Our brilliant Children’s Laureate PR agency Riot Communications came on board, and Laureate sponsors Waterstones confirmed they would be able to provide a bookshop for the event. We were also delighted to be able to secure additional support for YALC from Prudential Plc, as well as the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society.

We got the ball rolling by inviting all the UK’s YA publishers to suggest topics and authors, and then we started work with Malorie to put the programme together. This was the really hard part - there were so many brilliant ideas and fantastic authors put forward that we could easily have planned a whole week of events, never mind just a weekend!

We announced plans for YALC at the Winter 2013 LFCC, with a special event with Malorie and three other YA authors - Anthony McGowan, Lucy Christopher and Meg Rosoff. The event was great, but it was even more exciting to see the explosion of excitement about YALC from authors, bloggers and readers.

Several months, many meetings, and an insane number of emails and spreadsheets later, we’re now (whisper it…) just a few weeks away from YALC itself!

Our full schedule for the event has been revealed, including 50 amazing authors and a host of industry experts. We have panel events covering everything from fantasy to horror to how to get published; workshop sessions where you can get tips on writing, creating comics, and even pitch your work to agents; and of course, book signings with all our participating authors. There will be lots of books to buy in our YALC bookshop provided by Waterstones – and of course there will be all kinds of other fun book activities and surprise goings-on to enjoy throughout the weekend!

We hope that YALC will offer something for everyone, from the chance to meet megastar authors to the opportunity to hear from new voices and discover exciting debuts. We want the event to be an amazing experience for all those who love books – but also a great way to show those who might not currently be keen readers just how exciting and inspiring YA books can be!

All you need to come along to YALC and join the fun is a pass to LFCC – find out more here. But if you can’t make it, don’t despair – we’ll be photographing, filming and live-tweeting throughout the event, and sharing as much as we can online. Follow us on Twitter @yalc_uk for all the latest news.

Planning the event has been a real learning curve – but one that we hope will conclude with an amazingly fun and memorable event for everyone, which will help create a buzz around reading for young people, and shine a spotlight on YA books.

 Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today Katherine! 
Only just heard about the readathon? No worries! There is still time to sign up here.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The #YALCReadathon Twitter Chat!

Eeekkk!!! The YALC Readathon is starting on Monday and I could NOT be more excited! I hope those of you who want to take part have signed up (gentle reminder: you do not have to be going to YALC to take part in the readathon) and if not signs ups are still open and will be throughout the readathon for any latecomers who want to join in.

We're a fairly low maintenance readathon, for us it's all about reading the books. There won't be any daily updates to link to, challenges or anything like that. But there will be some guest posts from YALC authors going up on myself, Carly, Vicky and Michelle's blogs throughout the week so make sure you check back for those.

We have also decided to run a Twitter chat which will be happening on Thursday 26th June at 7pm UK time and will run anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour long. This gives readathoners the opportunity to talk about the books they've been reading and their progress. There are also going to be YALC authors joining us to answer some questions so even if you don't fancy the readathon but are going to YALC you're more than welcome to join in the chat as we discuss the event.

The questions will be coming from me @Jessheartsbooks and the tag we're using is #YALCReadathon please use this when answering any questions and chatting to one another so that we can all follow the conversation.

I hope that you'll join us to talk books, YALC and to hear from some of your favourite authors!

If you'd like to find out more about the YALC Readathon please click here.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Guest Post: Sarah Alderson on Writing Romance Across the Genres

Hi guys! To celebrate the e-book publication date of Sarah Alderson's (writing as Mila Gray) steamy New Adult novel Come Back To Me I have Sarah joining me on the blog today to talk about writing romance. Sarah has wrote books in the Thriller, Paranormal and now New Adult genre but no matter what subject she tackles you can always expect a swoonworthy romance within the pages. If you've read a book by Sarah you'll know that she writes the best book boys and so today she's sharing where she gets her inspiration from and what a great romance means to her.

Writing Romance by Sarah Alderson 

Finding Inspiration 
There’s inspiration in everything. My biggest inspiration comes from characters in books and movies. I’m a total romantic. 

I fell in love with Han Solo when I was a kid - his cheekiness & rebel rouser ways made my seven year old heart beat faster. Then it was Nathaniel from Last of the Mohicans (I still sigh every time I hear the line ‘I will find you. Just stay alive no matter what occurs.’). In my teens it was Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then Noah from The Notebook. When I ran out, I started writing my own. 

I’ve also been lucky enough to date some amazing guys (and a few not so amazing) who have all ended up in my books in one way or another. My husband was the basis for Alex in Hunting Lila. 

What Makes a Great Romance? 
In my opinion a great romance is: 
- One with believable obstacles in the way, not ones that are clearly contrived for the purpose of a story. 
- One with fully rounded out characters with quirks and history. 
- Characters who complete each other - not in a Jerry Mcguire way - but in the sense that they both bring something to the relationship that helps the other one transform into a better person. 
- Not necessarily a happy ending (though I prefer that!) Some of the greatest romances have tragic endings: TFIOS, Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights. 
 - A guy who isn’t an asshole! I’m so tired of reading about guys who are arrogant, controlling / violent / stalkery - it’s SO not attractive. And yet readers seem to lap it up. It confuses me. I’d like to see more authors writing about male characters who have integrity, respect women and use words instead of fists - isn’t that way sexier? 
- A slow build. It’s OK to make the chemistry sizzle from the off but no insta-love. Real love builds over time and grows from friendship. OUT OF CONTROL is set over just 36 hours in New York and the two leads only meet at the very beginning so there was no falling in love but there was intense emotion and they have fantastic chemistry. On the other hand in Hunting Lila, Lila’s been in love with Alex since she was five years old. There’s something gorgeous about a friendship that morphs into something more… :)

Come Back To Me is available to buy on Kindle as of today 
and in paperback on October 23rd 2014

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Exclusive Reveal! The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne‏

So if you've followed the blog for a while you'll know that I've been a huge supporter of Holly Bourne's since before the publication of her debut novel Soulmates and so it's such an honor today to be exclusively revealing the title, cover and synopsis for her upcoming book *drum roll...*

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting
I absolutely love this bright coral neon cover and sprayed edges! It's definetely going to catch eyes in bookshops! And here's the synopsis for the book which sounds just as fab as the cover!

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting is a fearlessly frank take on school cliques, crushes and fitting in.

Bree is a loser, a wannabe author who hides behind words. But when she’s told she needs to start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to be Interesting is born. Six steps on how to be interesting. Six steps that will see her infiltrate the popular set, fall in love with someone forbidden and make the biggest mistake of her life.

Sounds great, right? So I bet you're wondering when you can get your grabby hands, that I just know you're all making at the screen, on a copy. Good news! The publication date has been brought forward to 1st August 2014.


If you're a fan of Holly's then you probably already know that she'll be at YALC on Saturday 12th July and I'm excited to reveal that copies of The Manifesto on How to be Interesting will be joining her! The book will be on sale early so fans attending YALC will be the first people to be able to buy and read the book.

 Do let both myself and Holly know what you think either in the comments or on Twitter @Jessheartsbooks and @holly_bourneYA 

Find out more about Holly and her books on her website

Friday, 13 June 2014

Ruin and Rising Blog Tour: Special Grisha Artwork and Giveaway!

Welcome to my stop on the International Ruin and Rising blog tour! Today I'm sharing with you a beautiful piece of Grisha art and a special giveaway to celebrate the upcoming publication of Ruin and Rising.

 The Summoner by Irene Koh

Okay, can we just stop for a moment and observe the gorgeousness of the kefta and clothing Irene Koh created for Alina in this panel of the triptych? The braiding, the fur cuffs, the allusion to Morozova's collar at her throat—it's ceremonial but also very much a uniform for a girl going to war. When I described what I wanted to see in Alina as the Sun Summoner, I used the words "battle ready" and that's exactly what Irene delivered. You also see suggestions of the sea whip's scales at her cuffs and the repetition of the sea motif in the background and even in the waves of her hair. – Leigh Bardugo 

I'm giving one UK based Grisha fan the chance to win this exclusive poster of The Summoner along with a copy of Ruin and Rising. Read the rules and fill in the Rafflecopter to enter. Good luck!

Giveaway Rules 
 To enter please fill in the Rafflecopter 
 Open to UK residents only 
 End date: 20th June 2014 
 One winner will be drawn and will be contacted by email with 1 week to reply else another winner will be selected

Ruin and Rising goes on sale Tuesday 17th June officially and internationally! Make sure you stop by Mundie Moms tomorrow for the next stop on the blog tour.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Spoiler Review/ Discussion for City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker
Release: 27th May 2014
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Bought

"Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian - but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance. Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?"

This is the sixth and final book in The Mortal Instruments series and WILL contain spoilers not only from the rest of the series but for City of Heavenly Fire itself. It’s starting to become a bit of a thing where I review the last book in a favourite series with spoilers so that I can freely share all of my thoughts and feelings and find out what you guys thought too.

The Main Story/ Characters:-
I have to start off on a not so positive note here and say that plot wise I don’t think this is the strongest of Cassie Clare’s books. I honestly felt that the main story was dragged out to fit in Emma and Jem’s stories. The Middle was quite slow for me and I could have done with a couple of hundred pages being edited out.

It felt like it took a long time to get to the crux of the story with The Clave messing around making dumb decisions and twiddling their thumbs at the beginning (seriously, why are they even in charge?) And then towards the middle it felt like we spent a lot of time traipsing through hell looking for Sebastian. I personally would have liked a tighter, snappier plot. It felt like in the end when it came to these characters and their story there wasn’t really much more to tell and we were covering old ground.

Emma and the Blackthorns:-
I really enjoyed getting to know Emma and the Blackthorn family. City of Heavenly Fire basically acts as a prequel to Cassie’s new series ‘The Dark Artifices’ and I really like where this series is heading. I really liked Emma and this book certainly set up a lot of drama for her with her parent’s murder, hints at a future war against faeries, and Emma planning on becoming parabatai with Julian.

Is it just me or is anybody else under the impression that Ty is Autistic? I have two family members who have Autism and he seemed to have a few of the traits. If this is the case I think it will be fantastic to have a Shadowhunter with Autism. We need more books featuring characters with disabilities without them being “issue books”.

Jem and Tessa:-
And so we come to my favourite part of this whole book. I am a HUGE The Infernal Devices fan so basically any mention of the Carstairs and Herondale relationship and I was a blubbing mess. I loved that Jace was the one who turned Brother Zachariah back into Jem and again found that very fitting for the Carstairs/ Herondale relationship.

Tessa and Clary’s chat at the end of the book made me so happy and I thought the whole Fairchild + Gray = Fray thing was pretty cool. I wonder how long Cassie has been planning that one!?

In our UK edition we get a The Infernal Devices comic strip of Tessa and Jem’s wedding and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and basically re-lived my intense The Infernal Device feels over a few pages. Even though it wasn’t an actual part of the book I couldn’t *not* mention it because it was so beautiful.

I really loved how many nods Cassie Clare gave to The Infernal Devices and the characters and how she showed that no one is every really gone through them. I can’t begin to explain my joy when I read that Jem and Tessa are off to LA so there’s a very big possibility that they’ll feature in ‘The Dark Artifices’. Hurray!

My Favourite Moments:-
• Jocelyn holding Jonathan as he died.
• Simon saving Izzy and drinking Alec’s blood.
• Jem stealing Church.
• Simon naming his band ‘The Mortal Instruments’ and remembering Clary.
• Seeing the characters ‘hearts desires’ in the demon world.
• That gorgeous Epilogue. Seriously Cassandra Clare is the queen of beautiful endings.

Overall although City of Heavenly Fire was not my favourite Cassandra Clare book I was still really happy with the ending and am really looking forward to ‘The Dark Artifices’.

What did you think of City of Heavenly Fire?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Revisited: OCD, the Kindle and Me

Some of you may remember a post I did a little while ago called ‘OCD, The Kindle and Me’ where I talked about how my OCD affects the relationship I have with my Kindle and reading. I wanted to give you a bit of an update on this today and revisit the issue.

We’re currently in the process of decorating which is stressful at the best of times and for me a bit of a nightmare. A large part of my OCD is the need to have everything in its place and doing certain rituals and checking to prevent the high anxiety and worry that something bad will happen if these checks are not performed. A lot of the items I’d usually check have been put into storage meaning I can’t do my OCD reassurances.

The first few days I was a complete mess; hysterically crying and having several panic attacks. However over the last few days I haven’t felt so bad. It’s definitely gotten easier and it feels strangely liberating dealing with the panic head on and not burying it under false promises and unnecessary bargaining.

Another big change is that a lot of my books are now unavailable to me in storage. I actually can’t believe I’m about to type this but my Kindle has become my new best friend! I can’t keep rummaging through boxes of books looking for a specific title and so I’ve been reading more on my Kindle. I used to read one or two books a month on it if that but now the last four books I’ve read on the date that I’m writing this post have been on my Kindle. This is a huge deal for me as you’ll know if you’ve read my ‘OCD, The Kindle and Me’ post. I literally don’t know what I’d have done without my Kindle these past couple of weeks.

The stressful process of decorating has been a bit of a blessing in disguise forcing me to confront a few of my OCD related issues. I’ve definitely become more comfortable reading on my Kindle and only hope that I don’t revert back to my old ways once we’ve finished decorating. That’s not to say that I no longer love my physical books. I do still prefer them but now being able to read on my Kindle too is a welcome bonus. I’m so proud that I’ve reached my goals for project learning to love my Kindle. Although some may think overcoming an OCD related fear of Kindle reading is a bit strange and trivial it’s one step closer to overcoming all aspects of my OCD that have ultimately controlled my life for years and I couldn’t be happier!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Review for On The Fence by Kasie West

On The Fence by Kasie West 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: 1st July 2014
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Summer
Source: Received for review via Edelweiss

"She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high."

When people think of Charlie Reynolds they see her as one of the guys. Growing up in a house with three older sports loving brothers, her dad, and the boy next door as her best friend it’s no wonder Charlie is a tomboy who loves nothing more than playing sports and goofing off with the five loving and protective men in her life. Charlie knows how to hang with the guys but when she gets a job at a clothing boutique and starts crushing on her best friend she’s thrown in at the deep end with no mom or girlfriends to help keep her afloat. On The Fence follows Charlie’s journey over one summer as she ventures into the unexplored territory of girlhood whilst trying to stay true to who she is.

One chapter in and I knew this was going to be the kind of contemporary summer story that I love to read. There’s a lovable and large close-knit family, a boy next door/ best friend, and a coming of age story looking at grief and being true to yourself. On The Fence was a sweet, quick, read that left me all smiley.

The relationships here had to be my favourite thing about this book. The goofy and teasing relationships that Charlie had with her brothers reminded me so much of the one that I have with my own brother. There’s also a really sweet slow burning romance between Charlie and boy next door Braden that is easy to get behind. They have these honest and meaningful midnight fence chats and you watch these two long term best friends blossom into something more as they share their secrets underneath the stars. Braden was the boy next door, brother’s best friend and boy you’ve know your whole life rolled into one which made for a really cute love interest.

Overall On The Fence is a sweet summer read that’s perfect for fans of ‘My Life Next Door’. It’s utterly feel good but there’s enough depth there to stop it from being fluffy. All in all? Perfect summer reading.

Monday, 2 June 2014

May Round Up and Book of the Month!

May's Book of the Month is The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

I had a bit of a mixed reading month in May with my ratings for books ranging from 2 to 5 stars. The start of the month wasn't great for me and I couldn't have picked up The Dead Wife's Handbook at a better time because it stopped me from going into an epic reading slump! This was such an emotionally powerful book and I can't believe it's Hannah's debut novel. I seem to really be enjoying emotional women's fiction this year and The Dead Wife's Handbook was an absolute gem! To read more of my thoughts on this book check out my review here.

*** Evan Peters pretty much sums up my feelings throughout this entire book *** 

Read in May
34.) Precious Thing by Colette McBeth (2*)
35.) The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello (3*)
36.) Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout (3.5*)
37.) The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman (5*)
38.) Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (3.5*)
39.) Thirteen Weddings by Paige Toon (3.5*)
40.) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (4*)
41.) Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (4*)
42.) Just One Night by Gayle Forman (4*)
43.) The Accident by C.L. Taylor (4*)

Monthly Book Awards
Best Plot: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Best Writing: Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Best Cover: The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
Best Characters: The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
Best Ending: The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
Best Romance: Just One Night by Gayle Forman
Most un-put-down-able: The Accident by C.L. Taylor
Most Memorable: The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman
Best Moral: The Dead Wife's Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

Top 3 Most Recommended Books: The Dead Wife's Handbook, Grave Mercy, The Accident 

Books I’m Looking Forward to Being Released in June
Come Back To Me by Mila Gray
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson
Written in the Stars by Ali Harris
Say Her Name by James Dawson
Two Weddings and a Baby by Scarlett Bailey
Lobsters by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen

 What was the best book you read in May? 
 And what are you looking forward to reading this month?

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