Six for Sunday: 5th May 2019

It’s always good when you go to edit the previous week’s post to do this week’s and find that you also went book shopping last Sunday! Today, I was fairly restrained again…I bought another three books! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

The Ever Growing TBR: 2018 books still unread

  1. img_3179Peril in Paris – Katherine Woodfine
  2. The Mermaid – Christina Henry
  3. i stop somewhereThe Smoke Thieves – Sally Green
  4. Skylarks – Karen Gregory
  5. The Colour of the Sun – David Almond
  6. I Stop Somewhere – T.E. Carter

So last year was a learning curve with regards to NetGalley…I still have a fair backlog of 2018 titles that I need to get to! Have you read any of these?

kayleigh

 

Advertisements

Six for Sunday: 28th April 2019

Today I’ve had a fairly bookish day as I got to spend some time in several bookshops! I was very good and only bought three! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Kid’s Lit Represent: 2019 KidLit Recommendations

  1. 55837766_2162176580518359_8716889922690661966_nA Girl Called Justice – Elly Griffiths
  2. The Golden Butterfly – Sharon Gosling
  3. The Star-Spun Web – Sinéad O’Hart
  4. img_4359Murder Most Unladylike Book 8 – Robin Stevens
  5. The Day I Was Erased – Lisa Thompson
  6. A Pinch of Magic – Michelle Harrison

I’ve read the first three and LOVED them! I highly highly recommend checking them out! The next three are ones that I’m excited to get to this year that are either out already or coming soon! Have you read any of these/are you going to?

kayleigh

 

Six for Sunday: 14th April 2019

Good evening! I’m back today with another Six for Sunday post after a very busy week! I joined the gym and am so proud of myself! Anyway, back to books…this week’s topic was so so hard to narrow down to six! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Kid’s Lit Represent: Books From My Childhood

  1. Midnight For Charlie Bone – Jenny Nimmo
  2. First Term at Malory Towers – Enid Blyton
  3. The Great Good Thing – Roderick Townley
  4. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
  5. The Doomspell – Cliff McNish
  6. The Prophecy of the Gems – Flavia Bujor

Have you read any of these? I can’t wait to reread them all!

kayleigh

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 2nd April 2019

Good evening! Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. I’ve seen a few of these posts today, and the topic sounded like such fun to think about! This week’s topic is:

Things That Make Me Pick Up A Book

  1. Author. Odds are, if I’ve read a book by the author before and loved it, I won’t hesitate to pick up another of their books.
  2. Illustrator. As above, if I love the illustrations, I’m likely to pick it up knowing less about it! For example, if I see a cover by Karl James Mountford or David Litchfield, chances are I’ll buy it.
  3. Recommended by a favourite author on the cover. I’m putting a lot of trust in their judgement!
  4. “For fans of Harry Potter”…need I say more?
  5. Mental Health. Give me a book on mental health and I’m so much more inclined to read it. I personally choose books that relate to the mental health difficulties I’ve dealt with, so I’m spoilt for choice.
  6. Middle Grade Murder Mystery. Robin Stevens is the Queen, but if a book is along those lines I’ll probably love it!
  7. Boarding schools are one of my weaknesses; since being an obsessive Enid Blyton reader when I was younger, I’ll always give a school book a go!
  8. “Scandalous” teen books with topics such as teen pregnancy and teacher crushes…in my experience some of the best teen books!
  9. Beautiful hardbacks under the dustjacket…SO PRETTY!
  10. Publisher. There are just some publishers who usually put out books that I love without fail.

What do you think? Would any of these things make you pick up a book?

kayleigh

What A Month!

March is coming to an end, and I am aware that I’ve been fairly quiet on here for which I can only apologise. If you’ve read some of my previous posts or on Twitter, you may know that I’m in the process of buying my first home – WHICH IS SO STRESSFUL! I’m so excited and pleased with how I’m coping with it all though; I’m trying to take everything in my stride and just be organised and keep things going smoothly. So yeah, that’s taking up a fair amount of my time at the minute!

That aside, I’m also working hard on my mental health. Work has thrown up a few challenges in recent weeks and is likely to get a bit tricky soon as we have a crossover of maternity leaves in the room, but I’m coping okay and venting when I need to which really helps. I can’t work out whether I’m just more agitated than usual because of hormones, the situation or…

I’m finally coming off my antidepressants!

I’ve been on Sertraline on and off since the end of 2012, so it’s a long time to have depended on it, and for the past year I’ve been on the maximum dose of 200mg. Coming off it is making me feel a bit more tired than usual, but other than that I feel like I’m doing really well! On the advice of my pharmacist at work, I am alternating doses each day so that I come off it in 25mg doses rather than jumping down 50mg each time, so it will take a little while but I’m really hoping that soon I’ll be tablet free because once I stop that I’ll also stop taking Aripiprazole which I’ve already halved.

The only thing that’s not going so well at the minute is my reading! I’m just struggling to find the time and concentration needed to read, but I’m loving audiobooks at the minute as a way of still immersing myself in stories but without as much focus needed. I’m going to start trying to manage my time better though from April to see if I can start to catch up on some long overdue reads and reviews! I want to start working on my blog a bit more this month and am really excited to get back into it. I think one of the things that’s really spurred me on is some exciting news I got over on Twitter on Friday:

I’ve been longlisted for Best Newcomer Blogger for the UKYA Blogger Awards!

I never ever expected to get a single nomination, so to have been longlisted with nine other wonderful bloggers, many of whom I’ve looked up to, is amazing! If you happen to be reading this and nominated me, I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to you; I’m truly grateful and so happy! This is such a strong longlist, making it a difficult decision to make! If you do enjoy my content though, and would like to vote, please head across to http://www.ukyaba.co.uk!

So yeah, that’s March! I’m going to spend this evening rewatching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before…for the sixth time this weekend…and preparing some posts for April!

I hope you’re all doing well, and thank you for sticking with me during my slight quietness!

kayleigh

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!

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.