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.

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!

…AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR? – Holly Bourne

and a happy new year?5/5

There’s a reason why people LOVE The Spinster Club girls and this book showcases all three perfectly! Although this is the latest book in the series, it’s a perfect one for people who somehow haven’t yet read the series but would love to see what the hype’s about and who the girls are. I’d love to read more books like this, where you can check in with the girls in a brief story packed with emotion, drama and fun.

I loved this book; it was a quick read taking place on this one night but that doesn’t stop it being an important read for teens and young adults since it’s showing the girls after leaving school/college which is a scary and exciting time! It was so refreshing to read something that shows how not everyone loves uni, not everyone goes to uni and how friendships do inevitably change when people move off to different places and others stay behind, but all of these things are OK!

If you haven’t read The Spinster Club yet, read this and you’ll want to pick up the others straight away to know more about three brilliant characters. If you have…read this one to know what happens next!


Thank you very much to Stevie at Usborne 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

 

2018 Titles That I Still Need To Read!

So 2018 has seen some AMAZING books come out, and there are many books that either I own or want to own that came out this year that I just haven’t got round to reading yet! Here’s a selection that come to mind as being high up my TBR:

the trouble with perfectThe Trouble With Perfect – Helena Duggan

a darkness of dragonsA Darkness of Dragons – S.A.Patrick

img_3179Peril in Paris – Katherine Woodfine

 

 

 

img_3178The Last Chance Hotel – Nicki Thornton

img_0742-1Boy Underwater – Adam Baron

img_0746-1Ella on the Outside – Cath Howe

 

 

 

img_0686-1The Uncommoners: The Frozen Telescope – Jennifer Bell

img_0692The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neill

img_5144-1The Peculiars – Kieran Larwood

 

 

 

img_3284Skycircus – Peter Bunzl

img_3339Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

i stop somewhereI Stop Somewhere – And the Ocean Was Our Sky

 

 

 

And The Ocean Was Our Sky – Patrick Ness

40337922_313615062521646_4768739448783359826_nTheatrical – Maggie Harcourt

37753642_268992100547899_3607785125779079168_nEditing Emma – Chloe Seager

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

 

 

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes – Holly Bourne

Kingdom of Ash: INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER (Throne of Glass)Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J Maas

notes on a nervous planetNotes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

 

 

 

Have you read any of these – would you recommend them?

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?

WWW Wednesday: 12th December 2018

It’s Blogmas day 12! I’m still posting daily despite it being pretty hectic! Welcome back to WWW Wednesday, although I’ve not read much this week.

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What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just been lucky enough to receive a proof of The Year After you by Nina de Pass which I’m hoping to start this week!

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What did you recently finish reading?

I read Last Stop on the Reindeer Express this week which was such a beautiful and lovely picture book!

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What do you think you’ll read next?

I need to make my way through my Christmas picture books for reviewing in the next few weeks, so I shall be reading those!

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