Preparing for Blogmas

For the whole of December I shall be aiming to post daily with lots of festive themed content and book reviews, all whilst I prepare for the busiest time of the year both at work and at home!

With just 10 days to go, I’ve actually got some free time to start prepping and I’m really excited about some of the posts I’m planning on doing! There are so many wonderful festive books out there that I can’t wait to share with you, as well as starting to look forward to 2019. Thank you to Jess @foundationsandfairytales for the inspiration for some of my posts and for making me start thinking about this before December actually arrives!

 

kayleigh

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THAT’S NOT MY LLAMA… – Fiona Watt, Rachel Wells

that's not my llama5/5

Honestly, I squealed as soon as I saw this book in the supermarket, I embarrassed my boyfriend as I ran across the aisle to grab my beautiful copy, and then I proceeded to grin like a cheshire cat all the way back home.

Similarly to the other Usborne touchy-feely books, we meet a variety of llamas who can’t possibly be my llama due to a series of different img_3636textures that make each one unique. This book is very colourful and engaging, and very fun to read.

That’s Not My Llama… is definitely my favourite in this awesome series from Usborne, even beating the beautiful That’s Not My Unicorn…! It makes the perfect gift for that llama-lover in your life, whether they’re big or small!

OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS – Justin A. Reynolds

opposite of always4.5/5

Opposite of Always is a little gem of a YA contemporary that is so brilliantly written and unique, with a host of characters who aren’t perfect which makes them so real. I found this book impossible to put down, highly relatable and full of purpose. It’s about living and how things can’t always be how we want them to be and how every action can have an impact.

This may be slightly controversial to say, but I do tend to struggle to get into books that I’m unable to relate to – such as teen books set in America or with a lot of diverse characters that I may not have much in common with. So, Opposite of Always, a book set in the black community in a small town in America, is not the sort of book I would expect to find myself particularly enjoying, but I loved it! The way that Justin has created his opposite of alwayscharacters makes them come to life, and, whilst you know which community they represent, it doesn’t define the whole book and felt just like reading any other brilliantly written YA book that’s sole purpose isn’t to be diverse. That in itself felt quite refreshing. Next, add in that I’m not a massive fan of time travel, and we have here a book that in essence I should not have liked!

I’m so glad that I gave this book a chance and requested it, and I strongly urge fans of authors such as Sara Barnard and Phyllida Shrimpton to get their hands on a copy as soon as they can! It’s a wonderful book!


Thank you to MyKindaBook via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Heather Trim

Hello and welcome to something a little bit different; I’m very excited to have my first author interview on here!

HeatherTrim03Today I am joined by Heather Trim, author of the YA fantasy Wingbound series (Wingbound came out earlier this year, and book two, Wingless, came out earlier this month). I’ve really been looking forward to this post since Heather agreed to it – going on book one, this series is something that’s totally different to anything that I’ve ever read and is one that I would love to share with you!

So, without further ado…welcome Heather!

What inspired you to begin writing the Wingbound series?

The Wingbound Series was a result of daydreaming. I may have been driving and cloud gazing at the same time. (Don’t worry, no one was harmed in this daydream!) But I saw a cloud that looked like an island floating in the sky. I imagined it circling the world as it drifted by. And there had to be people aboard. People with wings!

That’s good to hear! The world you’ve crafted in Wingbound really is wonderful!
Did you always know that it would be a series as opposed to a stand-alone?

It started as a stand-alone and the story kept going beyond the end of Wingbound. So Wingless was born, and it’s even better than book 1.

wingboundYou’re making me so excited to read book 2! It sounds fab. For those who haven’t come across your books before, could you give one sentence to describe it?

The Wingbound Series is a young adult fantasy with a drop of romance and a dash of adventure.

Have you ever been inspired to write for any other genres or age ranges?

Young adult has always been my favorite to read and write, whether it’s fantasy or sci-fi, as long as there is at least one good kiss. Ha! I guess I will never grow up!

I think you’re spot on there! How does your writing fit in with your daily life?

For me, writing is an escape from normal life and a stress reliever. When I just need to do something not serious and fun, I write.

What’s your favourite read this year?

I loved Legendary by Stephanie Garber (book 2 of the Caraval series). There’s so much mystery and plot twists. My biggest question is HOW did she write this!?!

winglessYES! I have to agree – it’s such a good series with a wonderful cast of characters! Who’s your favourite character in the Wingbound series and why?

I love all of them of course! They are my BFFs. But if I had to choose, it would be Hollis. She is the main character, Leger’s, love interest. She’s so wild, funny and sassy. I wrote her with “what would I NEVER do?” in mind and out came the dragon riding wildcat: Hollis.

Hollis is the one who stood out to me. Everyone loves a good sassy character! What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to become an author?

Three things: read a lot, write a lot, and edit a lot. Flush insecurities, because the combination of those three things keeps you learning and practicing so you keep getting better and better. Only compare yourself to your past-self.

That’s such good advice for budding authors, and for life in general! Finally, what’s next for you?

I’m working on the final installment of the Wingbound Series. (I don’t even know the title yet!) But there is some fun in store including plot twists, love interests (or two), and more dragons!

WINGLESS-3d-2Thank you so much to Heather for answering my questions, and good luck with the third and final installment in this fantastic series!

Wingbound and Wingless are out now!

If you’re UK based, at the time of publication of this interview, Wingbound is on an unmissable offer on Amazon!

WWW Wednesday: 14th November 2018

It’s been a MyKindaBook week – I got approved on Friday on NetGalley for three of 2019’s most exciting titles so that threw all my murder mystery plans out of the window!

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What are you currently reading? 

I expected to like Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, but I didn’t expect to be as hooked as I am! It’s such a good YA contemporary with a little dash of time-travel, which made me a bit hesitant at first, but I’m loving it!

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What did you recently finish reading?

FIERCE FRAGILE HEARTS BY SARA BARNARD. AND YES, IT’S GOING TO LIVE UP TO THE HYPE BECAUSE IT’S AMAZING. I’m just glad that I have other good contemporaries to read otherwise I think I would’ve been left in a massive book hangover from this one!

I also read The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty this week – it’s my favourite in the series! It’s just a stunning book that I would highly recommend for everyone who loves music and fairytales, and it would make the perfect gift.

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What do you think you’ll read next?

Last but not least from my NetGalley recent approvals is Enchantée by Gita Trelease. I’ve been so excited for this ever since I saw the image of the proof on Twitter (it’s STUNNING) – France, revolution, YA…what’s not to love?! I can’t wait to get stuck in.

THE STORY ORCHESTRA: THE SLEEPING BEAUTY – Jessica Courtney-Tickle

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As soon as I received an email through saying that copies of the third stunning book in The Story Orchestra series were available for request, I didn’t hesitate in replying! Four Seasons in One Day is a book that my sister and I love to read together and the children at her school love it too, so I had no doubt that I would love The Sleeping Beauty. Luckily, we were not at all disappointed, and this has turned out to be my favourite in the series so far!

The Sleeping Beauty, like the previous titles in this series, is a beautiful book that makes for a hugely enjoyable read since it combines a story with music. In this case, we have the classic story of The Sleeping Beauty accompanied by the music from Tchaikovsky. The pieces of music selected really compliment the story and Jessica’s illustrations are a delight to look at!

I really hope for more in this series; they just keep getting better and better!


Thank you to Megan at Quarto for sending me a copy of this book!

FIERCE FRAGILE HEARTS – Sara Barnard

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So…as I write this review it’s 2018. I’ve already decided what one of the top books of 2019 is, and it’s this one – the sequel to the equally wonderful Beautiful Broken Things.

I was so desperate for a copy of this book, and I’m so glad that I was approved on NetGalley to read it early! The only reservation I had was that it was so long ago that I read Beautiful Broken Things that I thought I wouldn’t remember anything about it and would struggle to get into the new title, but how wrong I was! It’s a testament to how brilliant Sara’s writing and characterisation is that I was thrown straight back into the world with some of the most wonderful characters!

img_3606A key factor that makes Sara’s books so popular and loved is that her characters are real. They’re perfectly flawed, relatable and diverse. For example, as we’ve previously seen in her books, mental health is a key theme that she gets right – in Fierce Fragile Hearts, whether or not you have experience of anxiety, depression or bipolar, there’re parts of Suze (our main character) that are highly relatable to all readers on some level. However, the thing that I love is that those heavy topics that in so many books you have to put them down, such as abuse and mental health, don’t define the book and overshadow the story. I guess what I’m very badly trying to say is that a subject that could be incredibly triggering is presented in a way that doesn’t detract from your enjoyment of the book.

I could witter on about how much I love this book for ages, and as the day has gone on the intensity of that feeling has grown, along with my feelings for Matt *swoon*. Yet again, a five-star read that I urge everyone to get their hands on!


Thank you to MyKindaBook via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

THE BANDIT QUEEN – Natalia and Lauren O’Hara

the bandit queen4.5/5

I went into this book a bit blind; I was literally going on the fact that it had a beautiful cover and is published by Puffin, and then I realised that it was from the pair behind Hortense and the Shadow, which explains why it’s so beautiful!

The Bandit Queen is a poetic story with morals intertwined that are subtle and open to interpretation. This makes for a really engaging story since you can get a lot out of it with each reread. I personally loved the message about needing structure and support in order to grow up, and how you can have everything that you think you want, but ultimately it’s family and friends who make the difference. That said, you could just see this as a fun children’s rhyming story, full of chaos and mischief!


Thank you very much to Puffin via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

WWW Wednesday: 7th November 2018

I’m so mad that I forgot to do this last week – it was the last day of Blogtober too! Anyway, I’ve read a fair bit this week considering that I have a load of exams and studying to do for my job, and I bought two BEAUTIFUL picture books!

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What are you currently reading? 

I’m really in the mood for middle grade mysteries at the minute since my last couple of reads, so I am about to start Peril in Paris! It’s long overdue!

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What did you recently finish reading?

I think I’ve found my new favourite Murder Most Unladylike book – Death in the Spotlight! It was just such an intricate and gripping murder mystery!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next up I think I shall continue making my way through my NetGalley TBR…I haven’t decided which one yet!

Six for Sunday: 4th November 2018

Hello and it’s a very early morning (for me) welcome to this week’s Six for Sunday (you can find the prompts here)! This week’s topic is:

Dream panels/events

I actually found this prompt a little tricky to think of, especially as I’ve just woken up. So, I’m going to put a slight twist on it and go for the six authors I’d most love to meet!

the goldfish boy1.  Lisa Thompson

I feel so bad for how much I have tagged Lisa in all my fangirling over The Goldfish Boy, and am so grateful to her for sending me the beautiful French and Spanish editions, that she’s top of the list of authors I’d love to meet!

2. Stephanie Garber

The Caraval series is just amazing, and Stephanie seems like such a lovely person that I’d love to have the chance to meet her!

3. Robin Stevens

I’d love to go for bunbreak with Robin Stevens and chat all things murder mystery!

sunflowers in february4. Phyllida Shrimpton

Sunflowers in February has been one of my favourite books this year, and Phyllida seems so lovely on social media that I’d love to get to meet her!

5. Maz Evans

Admittedly I haven’t read her books yet, though I recommend them…but she seems hilarious and like she’d be good fun!

6. Giovanna Fletcher

Who wouldn’t? She’s adorable and everyone says how lovely she is to meet!

Which authors would you most like to meet? Have you met any of the ones I’ve listed?