THE YEAR AFTER YOU – Nina de Pass

the year after you5/5

PUBLICATION DATE: 14/2/2019
PUBLISHER: Ink Road Books
GENRE: Young Adult

“If guilt could kill, I’d already be dead, like I’m supposed to be …” New Year’s Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in tragedy. Cara survives. Her best friend Georgina doesn’t. Nine months later, Cara is consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back. Up in the Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows her past and she intends to keep it that way. But classmates Ren and Hector have other ideas. Cara keeps her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight-talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are breaking down the walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to. The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara is quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance.

My two favourite types of book are boarding school stories and young adult contemporary (especially mental health) and I’d come to accept that the likelihood of reading a book that ticks both of these boxes is very slim. Then along comes an offer to be part of a blog tour for a book from Ink Road…THAT TICKS BOTH OF THESE BOXES. Of course I had to say yes yes yes!

The Year After You is a book that as soon as I picked it up I couldn’t put it down; every time life got in the way I’d be anxiously waiting to get back to reading! In it, the characters are all so varied – they come from a variety of backgrounds and all have stories to share. I like how diverse the story was without it being thrown in your face; it was like life, just part and parcel of having a group of teens at school together.

Nina’s writing style was brilliant and she crafted a story that, although it covers some pretty difficult topics, ultimately was enjoyable and easy to engage with. Cara was a brilliant main character who was flawed but also vulnerable. It was refreshing to see a character who you’d think had it all but actually shows that situations can have an impact on anyone. I think the way that grief and guilt are tackled throughout the book makes this essential reading for young people too.

I’d highly recommend The Year After You, especially for fans of authors such as Sara Barnard, Gayle Forman and Phyllida Shrimpton, as well as people who may have grown up loving school stories and are looking for something a little more modern to love.


Thank you to Sarah at Ink Road for sending me a copy of The Year After You and for involving me in the blog tour!
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BLOG TOUR: THE YEAR AFTER YOU

the year after youI’m very excited about today’s post! Just before Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive a present in the post – a copy of a book that sounded wonderful! I was immediately captivated by the description of this YA contemporary set in the Alps and in a boarding school (perfect combination!), and so am delighted to be here on the blog tour for this book – The Year After You by Nina de Pass.

So, today is my stop on the blog tour, and I have something a little different to share with you! I really wanted to do a Q&A post, and something I was really keen to do was interview someone who works for the publisher, Ink Road. Luckily, the lovely lady who I’ve been in contact with was up for answering a few questions on Ink Road and The Year After You! So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Barnard!

Hello Sarah! So first of all, I’d like to find out a little bit about you! What is your role at Ink Road and what sort of things do you do on a day to day basis?

I’m the sales account manager at Black & White Publishing (the publisher that Ink Road is an imprint of). I look after Scottish sales, and liaise with our sales teams in the rest of the UK, Ireland, America, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa. A lot of my day to day life is processing orders, and making sure everyone has up to date info on our titles. One of my favourite parts of my job is getting to visit bookshops and tell lovely booksellers all about our books. But I also do lots of other Ink Road things because I absolutely love YA: I’m responsible for the Ink Road Reads newsletter (pls subscribe), as well as helping with our social media, I attend events, and I have the excellent job of being in charge of Ink Road’s YALC adventure this year!

Your job does sound so varied and exciting! I’m looking forward to finding out more about what you’ll be getting up to at YALC; I’m desperate to go this year, for the first time!

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I spend lots of time immersing myself in Edinburgh’s publishing scene – I’m membership secretary for the Society of Young Publishers’ Scotland branch. We’re currently planning our 2019 conference, which will take place in Edinburgh on 15 February. I would really highly recommend coming along if you’re interested in getting into publishing. If you can’t make it to the conference, do think about joining your local SYP branch. It’s the best place to get insight into the industry and make great pals along the way.

I also try to convince myself my life isn’t 100% publishing, by singing in a choir, taking French classes, and cultivating a strong recreational interest in cake.

Très bien! French and cake really jump out at me there. That’s also some really useful advice for anyone who wants to go into publishing!

What’s your current read?

I just finished my namesake Sara Barnard’s completely gorgeous Fierce Fragile Hearts – UKYA at its heart-wrenching finest, and a beautiful, tender story about the many different kinds of love and how they help you to not only survive, but to live.

YES! I LOVE THIS BOOK TOO! Shamelessly going to plug my review here. That’s a beautiful summary.

Next up, I’ve got a few questions that are about Ink Road and The Year After You.

the year after youWhat made this book stand out as one that you [Ink Road] had to publish? What sets it apart from other YA books?

Cara’s voice is arresting from the very beginning of the novel: she’s so guarded and so vulnerable, flawed but engaging and deeply sympathetic. The writing is beautiful, and the setting is fantastic. I love the aesthetic of all the snow-capped mountains and the boarding school with its golden domes!

What makes an Ink Road book? How do you choose your books and authors to represent your imprint?

Ink Road has only just turned 2 years old, so we’re still a young imprint, but we’ve published some really brilliant books in those two years, starting with Pooja Puri’s The Jungle. We’ve developed a strong reputation with our fresh, contemporary YA novels (all of which have fabulous covers, too). We love finding new writers and helping them develop their voices; we’re very proud to be publishing Estelle Maskame’s extraordinary sixth novel in August!

What’s been your favourite part of being involved in the publication of The Year After You?

It’s the first Ink Road book I’ve followed all the way from manuscript to publication, which is super exciting! That’s what publishing is all about! My favourite part so far has been the wonderful responses we’ve had from everybody – from my fave YA authors like Sophie Cameron and Lauren James, to all the other brilliant bloggers – who has read it. I feel very proud to be sending it out into the world, and very grateful for how well it has been received. It’s lovely that Nina shares our excitement too! There’s nothing like getting a phone call from a debut author who’s just received the first copies of her actual book to make the day to day feel worthwhile!

the year after youHow has the increased use and influence of social media and bloggers changed how you market a book?

Social media means publishers can speak directly to readers in a way we couldn’t, really, even a few years ago. Everything is more immediate – both good feedback and bad! But with shrinking coverage of books in print media, especially children’s books coverage, it’s so important to have this huge network and proliferation of spaces online where people shout about books they love. It also means even more emphasis on making books look beautiful: I’m always astounded by the creativity of bookstagrammers, who make everything look so shiny! And, so, when you see the book in its natural habitat (the bookshop) you recognise it and pick it up…

Beautiful covers is something that Ink Road definitely has a grasp of; I’ve yet to see one that hasn’t drawn me in immediately!

And finally…

Finish the sentence: if you loved….. you will love The Year After You.

If you loved We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, you will love The Year After You. Two beautiful books about isolated, grief-stricken girls in frozen landscapes, learning to let their hearts thaw again.

Thank you so so much Sarah for featuring today! To all of you readers, I hope you found that as interesting as I did – Sarah’s mentioned some really good points! Make sure to check back on the 16th for my review!

The Year After You by Nina de Pass is out tomorrow from Ink Road books. Get your copy here:

Amazon
Foyles
Waterstones

Dyi-dioVYAA6unk


Thank you so much to Sarah at Ink Road for sending me a copy of The Year After You and for having me on the blog tour!

THE STAR-SPUN WEB – Sinéad O’Hart

the star-spun web5/5

RELEASED: 07/02/2019
PUBLISHER: Stripes
GENRE: Middle Grade, Magical Realism

With her passion for scientific experimentation and her pet tarantula Violet, Tess de Sousa is no ordinary orphan. When a stranger shows up at Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings, claiming to be a distant relative come to adopt her, Tess hopes to find some answers to her mysterious origins. But as she adjusts to her new life at Roedeer Lodge, it becomes clear that Norton F. Cleat knows more about Tess – and the strange device left with her when she was abandoned as a baby – than he’s letting on. And when Tess discovers that the Starspinner is the gateway between her world and a parallel world in which war rages, she realizes she may be the key to a terrible plan. A plan she must stop at all costs…

Sinéad O’Hart stormed into the Middle Grade scene last year with her fantastic debut The Eye of the North, so there were high expectations riding on her second book, The Star-Spun Web. Aside from the fact that Sara Mulvanny and Sophie Bransby have done a stellar job on the cover again (it’s BEAUTIFUL!), this book was just as engaging and enjoyable to read as book one!

50210701_324361354859487_5763330421077364150_nThe Star-Spun Web is a mysterious story full of magic, science and wonder…and, despite my intense dislike of spiders, I actually began to warm to Violet, Tess’ pet spider! It’s a book that I was always excited to get back to reading; I genuinely cared about the characters and was rooting for Tess! As a character, she is one of my favourites I’ve come across in middle grade books; she’s just the right amount of feisty, vulnerable and intelligent. It’s refreshing to have a female character who is so independent and inquisitive. That said, she also relies on other people at the right times, showing how we can think we can do something alone but actually we need other people sometimes to help, whether that’s from our family or friends.

I’m not sure whether this book is going to be a stand-alone; there is a lot of potential for a sequel in this world! I’d love to revisit Tess and all her friends, and discover what happens to the villains of the story too!


Thank you to Leilah at Stripes for sending me a copy of this book!

 

 

BLOG TOUR: THE STAR-SPUN WEB

the star-spun webFINDING HOME

I’m very excited to be the hosting final stop on the blog tour for Sinéad O’Hart’s The Star-Spun Web! The Star-Spun Web is a gripping middle grade book, full of mystery, science and magic (my full review publishes tomorrow!). Today, I’m working with the prompt “Finding Home” for which Sinéad has answered two really important questions:

All the children in this book don’t have a conventional ‘mum-and-dad’ family set-up. There are girls like Millie who work in servitude away from their family, orphans in the care of Ackerbee’s two kind female senior staff, and our main characters in the charge of shadowy, distant guardians.

Is it important to show unconventional families? How important is it that all of these children find a place to call home?

Of course it’s important to show unconventional families; I love that none of the kids has a conventional setup, and I hope I portrayed them effectively. My character Millie, who works in service in Roedeer Lodge many miles from her mother, is based on my own grandmother’s reality: my grandmother was in service from the age of 12 or 13. She was sent to Dublin to work, leaving her family behind in County Laois (in the centre of Ireland). The other kids’ situations are imagined, and I hope the limitations of my own experience (I was raised in a two-parent home) doesn’t cloud my depiction of their reality. I wanted to depict Ackerbee’s as a working children’s home, but without any shade cast by unhappiness or bad management; from the start, Miss Ackerbee and Rebecca love the children they care for and treat them the way children should be treated. You often see ‘bad’ children’s homes in fiction so I wanted this to be different. I also wanted to show that family isn’t always defined as ‘the people you’re born to’; Tess’s found family loves her just as deeply as her birth mum and dad would have.

I come from a very dysfunctional family, and so I’ve always felt that it’s important to show families with all different sorts of set ups in children’s and young adult fiction. For me, a nuclear family is a very odd concept so for me books with two parents tend to form a bit more of an escapism feel. On the other hand, for someone who has grown up with a stable home environment, a character with none or one parent can be an eye opener and provide a different reading experience. That said, I love reading about all kinds of families be they nuclear or dysfunctional and it’s the bonds that are expressed in the book that are important. Found families and friendships are as vital to a character’s development and sense of belonging as blood relations, and I think that books like The Star-Spun Web really do highlight that.

The Star-Spun Web is available now from Stripes Books:

Amazon
Foyles
Waterstones

Check back tomorrow for my review of The Star-Spun Web, and, in the meantime, why not check out the other stops on the tour?

 


Thank you so much to Leilah for having me on the blog tour and for sending me a copy of The Star-Spun Web, and to Sinéad O’Hart for providing me with some really interesting content for this post!

YOUR MIND IS LIKE THE SKY – Bronwen Ballard, Laura Carlin

img_43174.5/5

RELEASED: 07/02/2019
PUBLISHER: Frances Lincoln
GENRE: Picture Book, Mental Health

Your mind is like the sky. Sometimes it’s clear and blue – but sometimes a raincloud thought comes along and makes everything seem dark. So what can we do about rainclouds? This beautiful picture book, written by child psychologist Bronwen Ballard and illustrated by award-winning artist Laura Carlin, shows children that worries and negative thoughts are normal and helps them develop healthy thinking habits. Tips on mindfulness and extra resources for parents are included at the back of the book.

As someone who struggles with controlling my thoughts, I was very intrigued when I heard about this book. Mindfulness is something that I haven’t found useful in the past, much as I’d love it to be! So, I was really hoping that a picture book aimed at children may help me a little bit more…

Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Your Mind Is Like The Sky is a beautiful book with a powerful message; whilst you can’t control your thoughts, you can accept them and learn to deal with the different types. I love how thoughts are personified into clouds; this makes them seem less scary, and shows that, despite how dark they can be sometimes, they are only thoughts and they will pass. Unlike many books that focus on mindfulness, there isn’t too much text which made this book stand out even more. It reads just like a normal story and is just the right length to make it useful but not overwhelming.

At the back, something that’ll make this book more useful for parents and teachers is the breakdown of how mindfulness works and what you can do to help children. That said, I think that this book is useful for people of all ages who struggle with raincloud thoughts making this an essential addition to your collection of books about mental health.


Thank you to Ellen at Quarto for sending me a copy of this book.

WWW Wednesday: 6th February 2019

This week I’ve not really got around to reading much; it’s been rather hectic and I’ve just felt too tired to read! That said, I’ve started two books that, from what little I’ve read, are really good, and I’ve spent a lot of time reading tweets…that counts right?!

i owe you one
What are you currently reading? 

I’m currently reading I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella, which, no surprises, is off to a good start! I love Sophie’s writing style so it’s nice to be back reading one of her books. I’ve also started The Valentines: Happy Girl Lucky by Holly Smale, which, again, is very good so far!

the star-spun web
What did you recently finish reading?

I finished The Star-Spun Web last week, and I REALLY enjoyed it! It’s such a good middle grade mystery and adventure, and I’m very excited for my blog tour post and review to go live next week!


What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I shall continue working my way through my NetGalley list, and get on with reading The Colour of Shadows by Phyllida Shrimpton!

kayleigh

Top Ten Tuesday: 29th January 2019

Hello and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl! This week, could easily have been a top 20, top 50, top 100! The topic is:

The 10 Most Recent Additions To My TBR

  1. The Colour of Shadows – Phyllida Shrimpton
  2. The Skylark’s War – Hilary McKay
  3. The Day I Was Erased – Lisa Thompson
  4. Happy Girl Lucky – Holly Smale
  5. Frostfire – Jamie Smith
  6. Gabriel and the Phantom Sleepers – Jenny Nimmo
  7. The Ice Monster – David Walliams
  8. Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James
  9. And The Ocean Was Our Sky – Patrick Ness
  10. The Train to Impossible Places – PG Bell

I really could keep going! I’ve just gone for books that I’ve bought/received most recently! Have you read any of these?

kayleigh

Six for Sunday: 27th January 2019

It’s the last Six for Sunday of January – one month into 2019 already! This is a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Bookish Beginnings: Bookish Hates

  1. Cover changes mid series
  2. Poorly written books, such as those by PC and Kristin Cast, where it’s very clear that the authors wrote it for a class and it isn’t good enough for publication!
  3. Books about abuse that are too graphic or uncomfortable to read, such as Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield. I don’t get why people love this book; it’s awful!
  4. Picture books with no purpose or with poor morals…which leads on to my next point:
  5. Julia Donaldson
  6. This is going to be more controversial, but I really dislike books where the diversity is thrown in your face; I like it when characters of different races and sexual orientations are part of the story and it’s just a matter of fact, rather than being such a massive deal. I hope that makes sense!

This was quite an interesting topic to think about; something that one person hates, another may love! What are your bookish hates?

kayleigh

 

Six for Sunday: 20th January 2019

Typing the title…one month until my birthday! I’m gonna be 25…I feel so old! Anyway, welcome back to Six for Sunday, hosted by Steph at A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Bookish Beginnings: Bookish Loves

  1. Glitter! I love a cover with glitter on it; it just makes them look so beautiful and magical.
  2. Sprayed edges. They just make a book that little bit more stunning.
  3. French and Spanish editions of my favourite books, or just foreign editions!
  4. Sassy female lead characters.
  5. A love triangle.
  6. Book boyfriends. I have so many; they can be so wonderful!

I could go on; there are so many tropes that I love and bookish aesthetics that I could talk about! What are your bookish loves?

kayleigh

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 15th January 2019

A tag that I’ve wanted to get back into doing regularly is this one – Top Ten Tuesday. It’s hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, where you can find all the prompts that are coming up! This week’s is:

New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

  1. the truth about aliceJennifer Mathieu (The Truth About Alice)
  2. Alice Oseman (I Was Born For This)
  3. Rachael Lucas (My Box-Shaped Heart)
  4. Beth Reekles (The Kissing Booth)
  5. Chloe Seager (Friendship Fails of Emma Nash)
  6. Pamela Butchart (The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull)
  7. amelia fang and the barbaric ballLaura Ellen Anderson (Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball)
  8. Melinda Salisbury (Floored)
  9. Non Pratt (Floored)
  10. Isabel Sánchez Vegara (Little People, Big Dreams)

As you can see, I read some really good books last year from authors who I really wish I’d discovered/got to sooner!

kayleigh