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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THE VALENTINES: HAPPY GIRL LUCKY – Holly Smale

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RELEASED: 07/02/2019
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
GENRE: Teen, Young Adult, Contemporary

Introducing The Valentines. Fame – It Runs in the Family!

Sisters Hope, Faith and Mercy have everything: fame, success, money and beauty. But what Hope wants most of all is love, and it doesn’t matter how far she has to go to find it.

Except real-life isn’t like the movies. Even if you’re a Valentine . . .

Happy Girl Lucky is the first hilarious, heart-warming book in The Valentines series. From the internationally bestselling author of Geek Girl, Holly Smale.

Growing up, my favourite books as a teenager were your typical teen books such as those from Cathy Hopkins and Jacqueline Wilson, so when Holly Smale burst onto the scene with the Geek Girl series I was delighted! Her writing was something new, combining the things that I love about young adult contemporary fiction with the best part of teen fiction thus making books that were perfect for both markets. The Valentines is no different; whilst it tackles genuine issues that affect teens, it’s not romanticised or overly fluffy yet it gives you all the feels and enjoyment that you’d get from a nice light teen read.

I was very quickly drawn into Hope’s world in Happy Girl Lucky and found her to be an adorable main character. She’s not perfect; she’s ditzy and has her head in the clouds, but that’s what makes her such an interesting narrator! The story moved at a good pace which is what kept me reading on and on, and it touches upon some heavier topics that many teenagers deal with relating to dysfunctional families and first love. That said, Hope’s love interest was…interesting!

Going into this book, I did expect to like it, but I didn’t expect it to necessarily be a five star read, but I was so pleasantly surprised and couldn’t put it down! It’s the perfect read for younger teens right the way through to adults, so I’d definitely recommend it.


Thank you to HarperCollins via NetGalley for the eBook of this title.

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!

OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST – Susin Nielsen

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RELEASED: 02/03/2017
PUBLISHER: Andersen Press
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she’d kept an eye on her sister, if only she’d sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only… Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula’s ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats. But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.

As someone who is relatively pessimistic, I was really looking forward to this one. They say that you should never judge a book on its cover…or in this case its title…but it definitely persuaded me to give this one a go!

Optimists Die First is a contemporary YA book that is at its core a romance and touches upon several different issues that can affect teenagers – we meet several troubled teens who are kind of thrust together at a “therapy” setting at high school. One aspect of this that I did like was that on the surface some of them came across as self-centered or off the rails, but underneath there were some insecure young people who had reasons behind why they felt and acted the way that they did. That said, I did find it odd how quickly the trigger behind Petula’s anxiety and obsessions was explained; this is a storyline that I expected to develop further into the novel and not a few chapters in! I’m glad that I did persevere with this title though as it was an enjoyable read and there were some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and some interesting developments with some of the characters that I could not have predicted.

Many of Petula’s anxieties are highly relatable, especially when the relationship between her and Jacob starts to develop. Whether you’re a teenager or a young adult, those worries are still there and the aspect of letting down your guard is terrifying! It was nice to have a character who did have those reservations about a new relationship and didn’t rush in to it as such.

Finally, whilst I’m certainly not a cat person, it’s hard not to love the idea of a film of Wuthering Heights shown with cats as the cast!


Thank you to Anderson Press for sending me the proof of this title.

ENCHANTÉE – Gita Trelease

47584789_2034450909979277_7616072665545668784_n5/5

RELEASED: 21/02/2019
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy

A compellingly beautiful tale of magic, intrigue and deception, set against the backdrop of eighteenth-century Paris on the cusp of revolution.

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . . 
When seventeen-year-old Camille is left orphaned, she has to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the `Baroness de la Fontaine` and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .

Enchantée, a word which translates to enchanted…and that is quite literally how this book made me feel throughout my whole reading experience.

As a student of French, I am a sucker for a book set in Paris so of course as soon as I heard about this book I knew that it was one that I’d have to get my hands on. I squealed when I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy from MyKindaBook and was desperate to dive into the world of revolutionary Paris. I had very high expectations going into this book, and thankfully it was everything and more!

Camille is a very likable main character. She’s not perfect and has basic human flaws, but she is definitely a good person and cares deeply for her sister. The family unit in Enchantée is an interesting one, and it’s one that changes significantly as the story progresses. We see how situations can have a massive impact upon a person, and yet how, even in the hardest of times, love and caring for others can make a huge difference.

Talking of love…we meet a host of different characters both in Paris and at Versailles, but the one who absolutely stood out to me was Lazare. I adore him. He’s got his own brilliant character arc throughout the story, and, again, he’s not perfect! But that’s part of why I finished this book loving him so much.

La magie in Enchantée is also a fascinating take on the whole magician thing; the knowledge of how it works builds up gradually throughout the book and slowly intertwines itself in the story. It’s a very clever world that Gita has crafted; you truly believe that you’re in Paris at a time of change, and that magic truly can exist!

If you haven’t gathered by now, I can’t recommend this book highly enough! It’s perfect for fans of historical fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and the comparisons to The Night Circus and Caraval are very much deserved. If you like any of those, I implore you to pick up Enchantée and discover a new favourite book!


Thank you to Amber at MyKindaBook for sending me a copy of Enchantée!

HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE – Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe4.5/5

RELEASED: 6/10/2016
PUBLISHER: Penguin
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary

“We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one.”

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone. Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counseling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours. 

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are – and seeing them right back. 

I LOVE All The Bright Places so naturally was desperate to read Holding Up The Universe and it didn’t disappoint! That said, it is totally different to ATBP since it’s a slightly more cheerful topic, making it better suited to younger teens, and the ending wasn’t sad – since its publication I’ve reassured lots of fans of Jennifer Niven who were hesitating over not wanting a read that needs a box of tissues to hand and so I would like to reassure people that THIS BOOK ISN’T THE SAME!

Something that I love about Jennifer’s writing is that on the surface we have a typical contemporary teen romance, but underneath there are layers to the story and characters which confront common and often serious conditions (although Jack’s debilitating condition of prosopagnosia is one that isn’t commonly known about) in a way that makes the writing enjoyable to read. It feels like a key element of the characters is showing that even the people who appear to have it all can have problems behind closed doors and that it is okay to be different. The issue of weight and body image also continues to be a massive problem in the modern world and this book joins the ranks as one of the brilliant books for teens dealing with this.


Thank you to the Penguin Huddle for sending me a copy of this title!

snailycanflyy Book Award 2018

Last year, I hosted my first snailycanflyy Book Award, where I narrowed down my top books of the year, and after a fab reading year the award is back for 2018! Last year saw some tough competition from some amazing books featuring amazing authors and illustrators with the overall winner being the very worthy The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson which still stands out as one of the best books I’ve ever read!

The award is split into three categories – Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade and Best Young Adult, with a winner in each category and an overall winner. The criteria is simply that it has to be a five-star rated book published in 2018 and one that I want to talk about, one that has stuck with me since reading and one that I would recommend wholeheartedly. So, without futher ado, here are the category nominees:

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BEST PICTURE BOOK:

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn – Lou Carter, Nikki Dyson
The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the FiddleDavid Litchfield
Ruby’s Worry – Tom Percival
Space Tortoise – Ross Montgomery, David Litchfield
The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty Jessica Courtney-Tickle

BEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK:

The Truth PixieMatt Haig
Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens
The Eye of the North – Sinead O’Hart
The Light Jar Lisa Thompson
The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull – Pamela Butchart

BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK:

I Was Born For ThisAlice Oseman
To Kill a KingdomAlexandra Christo
LegendaryStephanie Garber
Sunflowers in FebruaryPhyllida Shrimpton
The Exact Opposite of OkayLaura Steven

AND THE WINNERS ARE…drumroll please!

oscar the hungry unicornBEST PICTURE BOOK
Oscar the Hungry Unicorn

death in the spotlightBEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK
Death in the Spotlight

to kill a kingdomBEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK
To Kill a Kingdom

OVERALL WINNER
The Truth Pixie

A massive congratulations and thank you to all of the authors who’s books made it to the shortlist! All of these books are so incredible and I’ve loved reading them in 2018!

kayleigh

 

My Year of Audible: 2018

It’s scary to think that I’m already over halfway through Blogmas 2018! Today I am going to share with you some of the audiobooks that I have loved this year; although I’ve not listened as frequently lately, I have got some brilliant audiobooks this year!

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson narrated by Leon Williams

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

The Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles narrated by Cynthia Holloway

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman narrated by Aysha Kala, Huw Parmenter

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven narrated by Laura Aikman

Legendary – Stephanie Garner narrated by Rebecca Soler

To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo narrated by Jacob York, Stephanie Willis

Daughter of the Pirate King – Tricia Levenseller narrated by Marisa Calin

Although I haven’t got around to finishing listening to all of these, I have loved the freedom of having an Audible membership and having some wonderful titles added to my audiobook library!

Have you listened to any of these, or are there any you’d recommend?

Young Adult Books for Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve been looking for some YA Christmas books to read, and was happy to discover that there are a few that I needed to add to my TBR! For day 16 of Blogmas, I thought that I would share those with you!

Almost Midnight – Rainbow Rowell

My True Love Gave To Me – Various

Let It Snow – Various

 

 

 

The Chaos of Standing Still – Jessica Brody

What Light – Jay Asher

All Wrapped Up – Holly Smale

 

 

 

Have you read any of these? Are there any YA Christmas books that I’ve missed?

kayleigh

 

 

 

Bookish Advent Calendar 2018: Week 1

So, over on my Instagram, I’ve been hosting a bookish advent calendar where I am showcasing some of the best wintery and festive books! Each week, I am going to round up the doors that I’ve opened and show you which books I’ve discovered!

Week One:
the story orchestra the nutcracker
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I wonder which books I’ll discover next week!

kayleigh