Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Marriage Pact Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The Marriage Pact blog tour! Today I am giving 5 of my lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the book. In case this gripping thriller isn't on your radar yet here is a little bit about it...

"It's the perfect wedding gift. Newlyweds Jake and Alice are offered membership of a club which promises members will never divorce. Signing The Pact seems the ideal start to their marriage. Until one of them breaks the rules. Because The Pact is for life. And its members will go to any lengths to ensure nobody leaves..." 

 I'm so excited to read this book that has been praised by authors such as JP Delaney, Lisa Gardner and Gin Phillips.

 For your chance to win a copy of The Marriage Pact head over to Twitter 

 Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Feminist Fiction On My TBR

With the success of The Handmaid's Tale and in the YA community books such as Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill and Holly Bourne's Spinster Club series I've noticed more feminist fiction being published this year which makes me incredibly excited! I've read a lot of non-fiction on feminism but fiction is my preference and I love that there are more and more stories being published with the subject of feminism at its forefront.

Today I wanted to share with you some of the feminist fiction I have on my TBR pile that I want to get to over the next few months. I hope that it gives you some ideas for feminist books to add to your own reading piles!

The Power by Naomi Alderman 

Like most people, I first heard about The Power when it was nominated for The Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction this year. That and the quote from Margaret Atwood had me sold and I ordered a copy straight away. I find the premise of this one absolutely fascinating - what if the power to hurt was in women's hands? In The Power teenage girls wake up one day to find that they can inflict pain with a flick of their fingers. I've heard nothing but brilliant things about this book and since it went on to win the Bailey's Prize I know I need to get to it soon.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 

This book has been sitting on my shelf for years unread but I started watching the TV series and absolutely adore it so it's going on pause for a while as incentive for me to finally pick up this book because I prefer to read a book before watching the adaptation. The Handmaid's Tale is a modern classic for a reason and I'm excited to finally read it soon and then get back into the show!

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed 

This book is being pitched as being perfect for fans of The Girls by Emma Cline which was one of my favourite books of last year. It tells the story of a cult founded by ten men years ago when they colonised an island. Girls are wives in training, massively controlled and must reproduce at the first sign of puberty. I think that like The Girls this is going to be a dark and disturbing read. I currently have a giveaway for Gather the Daughters running on my Instagram so if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning go enter here.

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin 

Moving on to some YA! I loved Virginia Bergin's The Rain series and have high hopes for this dystopian read about a world where a virus has wiped out the male population and women are in charge. The idea behind this book sounds so interesting to me and I'm excited to see what Virginia Bergin does with it.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls 

I think that this is one of the books I am the most excited to get to on this pile! Things a Bright Girl Can Do releases in September and follows three courageous teenage girls as they fight for equality and join the Suffragettes. I don't think I've ever read any YA historical feminist fiction and what better place to start than to read about the Suffragettes? This book also has LGBT rep and from the looks of it is going to be absolutely fantastic!

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu 

Thanks to Zoella picking it for her 2017 book club, everybody is reading Moxie right now! This sounds like an American version of What's a Girl Gotta Do? and follows Viv who begins a girl revolution at her school. I have a feeling that I'm going to love this book as it ticks a lot of boxes for me. It's one that is at the very top of my reading pile!

Which book do you think I should start with? 
And what books are on your feminist fiction TBR pile?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Ask No Questions Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Ask No Questions blog tour! Today I have a brilliant guest post from Lisa Hartley sharing her top writing tips for all of you budding authors out there.

Lisa Hartley's Top 5 Writing Tips 

1) Sit down and write.
Sounds obvious, but for a long time, I dreamed about being about being a writer without actually doing much writing. This turned out to be not the best way to achieve that dream. You might have the perfect plot, the most amazing characters, but if they’re in your head and not on the page, you’ve no way of sharing them. Sit down and write regularly, whether you manage five minutes or 50,000 words. I’m currently working on the second book in my new series. For me, this means writing at least 600 words a day. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s achievable even on the days I have other commitments. I usually manage a lot more, but even if I don’t, I’m always making progress towards a completed first draft.

2) Read. 
Other people’s words are inspiring. Read in the genre you’re planning to write in, but also more widely. Never plagiarise, but allow the ideas and themes you read about to encourage your own ideas.

3) Ask a trusted friend or a professional to give their honest opinion of your work.
I had always enjoyed writing, but realised that didn’t mean I had any talent for it. Once I’d (eventually!) finished my first full length novel, On Laughton Moor, I had no idea if it was any good. I couldn’t ask my partner or my mum for their honest opinion, because they would feel pressured to be polite and encouraging, as would friends and other relatives. What I needed was the opinion of someone who knew the publishing industry, a person who really knew what they were talking about. If I was ever going to make writing my career, I would have to get used to receiving feedback on what worked and what I needed to change. It’s a daunting thought, terrifying even. The project you’ve spent so long working on, your “baby”, being read by someone who will pull no punches when giving their opinion. But you need to learn to accept constructive criticism if you’re ever going to improve. This might mean approaching an agent or publishers, or there are also companies which offer critiques of manuscripts and other services. If you choose that route, research them as much as you can, ask around, and choose wisely.

4) Accept that not everyone will like your work. 
This perhaps follows on from the above, but the fact is some people will not enjoy your novel. This doesn’t make it a bad book, and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a writer who should sell their computer and go and find something more worthwhile to do.

It just means this particular person didn’t like your book.

For me, this was a huge thing to accept. A negative review can feel like personal attack. The trick is to read, shrug, and get on with your life. If someone offers advice you feel you can use, then brilliant, do so. As I said above, constructive criticism is vital, but someone just saying your book is “rubbish” (or whatever) isn’t going to help you improve. This person didn’t like your book, and that’s fine. Time to move on.

I’m the worst person in the world at doing this, though. When I received my first negative review, it upset me for ages. Eventually I learnt to accept it and move on. Easier said than done, I know, but necessary to save yourself some heartache.

5) Make your own way. 
Read reviews, blogs, and interviews with writers you admire. Go to book festivals, chat on Twitter with writers and readers. In the end though, keep writing whatever it is you want to write. Listen to advice, maybe follow the “rules” of your genre to the point where you realise you’re going to have to break some to tell your story. And keep reading.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Review for Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Century
Release: 27th July 2017
Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction
Source: Copy received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?"

Then She Was Gone follows the disappearance of Ellie Mack, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared on her way to the library one day never to be seen or heard from again. Ten years later and her mum Laurel receives news of an update in the case when her daughter’s remains are found.

As Laurel tries to move forward, she meets a charming man called Floyd who finally brings some happiness back into her world, but when she’s introduced to his nine-year-old daughter Poppy alarm bells start ringing. Because Poppy looks just like Ellie and even has the same mannerisms and interests.

Just as Laurel thought the past had been put to rest, the truth about what really happened that day comes rushing to the present. Could Floyd have something to do with Ellie’s disappearance? And what exactly happened to her daughter all those years ago?

There are so many thrillers out there at the moment that after a while they can all start to feel very similar with the same tropes covered over and over again but Then She was Gone is a heart-breaking and harrowing story about a shocking situation that I haven’t read about before. Although you know roughly from the synopsis where this book is heading, it still managed to surprise me with the twists it took.

The story is broken up into different parts that jump between back when Ellie disappeared and the present day ten years later. I really enjoyed how in each section you get to hear from all the key players so that by the end of the book you have a complete picture of what happened with no bias toward one character and the way they see things.

Lisa Jewell is an author who evokes so much emotion in her writing. I could really feel for each character as I read from their perspective and the book constantly had me questioning what I would do if I found myself in their situation.

Then She Was Gone is a book that I gobbled up greedily at any spare moment I had, it’s certainly not a book you want to start if you have a lot going on! Although I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Lisa’s more recent books Then She Was Gone has to be my favourite yet. This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Books I Want to Read Before the End of the Year

Last Wednesday, I did a post about my favourite books of 2017 so far and it got me thinking about all of the books I was so excited to be released at the start of the year that I still haven't gotten around to. So today I wanted to share the books that I really want to have read before the end of the year and I'm hoping that by putting them down in a list it'll drive me to finally pick them up!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

"But, Jess! Wasn't Strange the Dreamer one of your most anticipated releases of 2017?" I hear you cry. Well yes friends, yes it was. A reoccurring theme with this list seems to be that they're all books that I really want to read. I think my problem is that I wait to read them under perfect circumstances, like when I'm in a good reading mood, when I have lots of time to read, when I don't really have any plans so I can dedicate a good chunk of time to the book etc but of course this perfect opportunity then never presents itself. Laini Taylor is one of my favourite authors and I'm determined to read this book before the end of the year - perfect reading moment or not!

This Love by Dani Atkins 

Our Song by Dani Atkins was one of my favourite books of last year so I'm really excited to read this latest book from her. I love the sound of it and my most trusted blogger friends have all really enjoyed this one. If it's anything like Our Song it'll have me crying buckets so I'm going to be picking this one up next time I'm in the mood for a good weepy.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab 

This is the final book in the Shades of Magic series, I think what's put me off so far is its size at over 600 pages and also the fact that it's the last book in a beloved trilogy. Another reoccurring theme of mine seems to be reading and loving a series but never getting around to the final book. I think in my head if I don't read it then it's not over and I don't have to say goodbye to these characters I love so much. Does anybody else do the same!?

Forever Geek by Holly Smale 

Oh, look! Another final book in a series I love that I haven't gotten around to! I just really don't want to say goodbye to Harriet and the gang okay? Especially Toby whom I love oh so very much. This series is pure feel good comfort reading for me and I have no idea what series I'm going to turn to for that once this one has finished. If you have any recommendations for what to read after Geek Girl let me know!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

THUG is a book that I'm a little scared to read because of all the hype surrounding it. I also felt this way about When Dimple Met Rishi, which as we know has turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year so far. Everyone has fallen in love with THUG this year and I really need to read it soon!

Frostblood by Elly Blake 

When I read Caraval and sent out a tweet looking for other fantasy books like it, a lot of people came back to me recommending Frostblood with some saying that they enjoyed this book even more than Caraval! The sequel, Fireblood is out in September so I really want to read this soon ready for book two.

 Those are the books that I want to read in the second half of this year. 
Are there any books on your TBR that you want to make a priority in 2017?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

My Favourite Books of 2017 So Far

Can you believe that we're halfway through 2017 already!? I know I can't, but in that time I've discovered some new favourite books so today I wanted to share with you the best books that I've read in 2017 so far. I'm so curious to revisit this post at the end of the year and see how/if this list has changed as I discover more wonderful books!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 

Hands down my favourite book of 2017 so far has to be Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Eleanor is very different to the kind of heroine you usually read about in women's fiction and felt entirely real to me with her odd quirks and on point observations on life. This book looks at loneliness, abuse, trauma, mental illness and the feeling of being the odd one out. I loved Eleanor so much and wanted to give her a massive hug. If you're looking for a book that's different and special because of it, then look no further. I need more books and more heroines like Eleanor Oliphant.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

When Dimple Met Rishi is the kind of book that gives me the warm fuzzies every time I think about it. This story is told in alternate chapters between Dimple and Rishi whose parents have set them up in an arranged marriage. Dimple is smart, fiery and ambitious with plans to take over the tech world by storm and not settle for the life her parents want for her. Rishi on the other hand is loyal, sweet-natured and willing to put his dreams of being an artist aside to follow through with his parents wishes. The two couldn't be more different but they balance each other out so well. Sandhya Menon's writing reminded me a lot of Rainbow Rowell's and this is the cutest nerdy romance I've read since Fangirl.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera 

This book isn't out until September but I was lucky enough to read a proof and oh my gosh guys this book is going to be big! They Both Die at the End is about two boys who learn how to live on the day they are going to die. It's a book that looks at so many of life's big questions when it comes to death, dying, fate, the afterlife and the one we've all asked, if today was your last day how would you live it? It's heartbreaking, life affirming and makes you want to live a richer, fuller life whilst you still can. It's perfect for fans of books like The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay and I predict it will do just as well.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber 

I read Wing Jones way back in January but it still stands at the forefront of my mind as one of my favourite books of this year. The story follows Wing Jones, a biracial teenage girl with a huge heart and a loveable family who takes up running after her brother is in an accident that leaves him in a coma. Wing started running to escape her problems but as word of her talent gets out she’s suddenly thrust under the spotlight. When a life changing opportunity presents itself Wing has to decide: does she continue to run away? Or find the courage to run towards her dreams? I loved Wing and her family so much and felt so inspired by this story about losing your way, finding your feet, and chasing your dreams.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber 

I haven't been reading many fantasy books this year but I couldn't resist picking up Caraval after all of the hype and I'm so glad that I did because it's one of the most magical and enchanting books I've read for some time. Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down because I became so entranced by the world of Caraval with all of its strange and beautiful wonders. This book took so many turns that I wasn't expecting and I loved that like Scarlett, I could never tell what was real and what wasn't. Caraval made me feel like a little girl again reading a fairytale and I loved the magic and whimsy of it all.

Margot and Me by Juno Dawson 

I've been a fan of Juno Dawson since the start of her career and have enjoyed so many of her books but I think Margot and Me has to be my favourite so far. The book follows Fliss as she goes to stay with her grandmother Margot in the countryside whilst her mum is recuperating from chemotherapy. Margot and Fliss do not see eye to eye but then Fliss discovers Margot's diary from back when she was a teenager in the 1940s set in World War II. As she begins to read her grandmother's diary she gets to see a different side to Margot that is brave, strong and heroic that helps Fliss to find her own courage when she needs it the most. Margot and Me is a heartbreakingly beautiful book about family, loss, secrets, history and finding inner strength.

 Those are my very favourite books of 2017 so far and if you have them on your TBR I'd definitely urge you to pick them up! 

I'd love know, what's the best book that you've read this year?
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