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

 

 

 

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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.

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!

GIRL IN PIECES – Kathleen Glasgow

girl in pieces5/5

SundayYA today has involved a lot of recommendations, both books that are out already and books that are most anticipated for next year. One author that came to mind immediately for both of these topics was Kathleen Glasgow; I adored Girl in Pieces and am incredibly excited for How To Make Friends With The Dark! As I’m making my way through all my old reviews on retail sites and transferring them on to here, I figured that today is the perfect day to finally upload my review of Girl in Pieces from when I first read it way back in 2016 as a longlist reader for a children’s book award. I went on to nominate it for the shortlist, insist on copies being stocked in the bookshops where I worked, and sell sell sell!

img_3485I could not shut up about this book since I started and finished reading it; it’s an absolutely incredible debut! It’s filled with such raw emotion, but not to the extent that it is an uncomfortable or triggering read, and, although this is an extreme case of depression/self-harm, it’s one that sheds a very realistic light on the issue. For people who have experienced this, the book is inspiring and easy to relate to, but equally it’s enlightening for people who do not know much about the mentality behind self harm and suicide. One of my personal highlights is the BEAUTIFUL author’s note at the back. READ IT!

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My heavily tabbed copy!

It’s surprisingly easy to read and get totally lost in because of the way it’s written. The book is separated into parts and the chapters are all of varying length, which added to the overall feel of the book as I felt that the “chapter” lengths sort of represented the state of mind of Charlie at various stages of her mental health. It’s also brilliant how Kathleen has touched upon the problem of young adult homelessness, and how often the reasons behind it aren’t the fault of the young people themselves but more a result of their situation at home.

All in all though, this book shows how you can hit rock bottom but it IS possible to carry on and survive despite all the stuff that life can throw at you.

 

Six for Sunday: 7th October 2018

I haven’t done one of these for a while…I’m sorry! Welcome back to one of my favourite tags on the internet – Six for Sunday (you can find the prompts here!). I’m actually keeping up with Blogtober too which I am very surprised about! What an excellent topic to get back into S4S with this week with:

Best debut books

There are so many amazing debuts out there, but I will narrow it down to six which absolutely stand out for me!

1. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Still in the running for Best YA Book 2018, this amazing debut all about sirens and pirates is still getting lots of praise, and very deservedly! I LOVE IT!

2. Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton

Another fantastic debut from 2018 which is up there is this title, focusing on life and death in a warm and moving way.

3. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Always guaranteed to get me out of a reading slump is this incredible series which started as a debut author and has just gone from strength to strength. A must read for all murder mystery fans!

4. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Another one that’s in the running for Best YA Book of 2018 is this hilarious yet important title about the culture of slut shaming, feminism and just the awkwardness of being a young adult that I think everyone can relate to.

5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling

It wouldn’t be a list of the best debuts without Harry Potter featuring. It’s a phenomenon. It’s Harry Potter. I need not say more!

6. The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

I saved this until last because it’s the first book that came to mind when I saw this tag. Are you surprised to see this on here? You shouldn’t be. Without a doubt, this is one of the best debuts I’ve EVER read. 

Have you read any of these? Would you have included any other titles?

An Excellent Month in Publishing

Yesterday was Super Thursday, which saw hundreds of books released in anticipation of Christmas, all vying to be bestsellers. However, if you were to search Super Thursday, very few children’s books make it into the press as key titles to look out for, when in fact some amazing children’s books were released yesterday! Heck, the whole of October is a stellar month for children’s publishing. Here are some titles that I think you should definitely get your hands on this month!

Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens

Death in the Spotlight: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery

My Mum Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

My Mum Tracy Beaker

Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J Maas

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass)

 

 

 

 

 

Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow Book 2 (Nevermoor)

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig

The Truth Pixie

Grandma Bird – Benji Davies

Grandma Bird

 

 

 

 

 

The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty – Jessica Courtney-Tickle

The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty

Matilda at 30 – Roald Dahl

Matilda at 30: Chief Executive of the British Library

Grandpa Christmas – Michael Morpurgo, Jim Field

Grandpa Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

Skycircus – Peter Bunzl

Skycircus (The Cogheart Adventures #3)

Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief – Laura Ellen Anderson

Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief (The Amelia Fang Series)

The Train to Impossible Places – P.G. Bell

The Train to Impossible Places (Train to Impossible Places #1)

 

 

 

 

 

The Way Home for Wolf – Rachel Bright, Jim Field

The Way Home For Wolf

The Clockwork Crow – Catherine Fisher

THE CLOCKWORK CROW

 

 

 

 

 

Have you read any of these yet or are you looking forward to any of them? Have I missed any brilliant October releases?

 

An Audiobook Is Still A Book

I’ve always loved audiobooks, and used to have to listen to them every night to get to sleep. From collecting cassette tapes when I was little, to having a Walkman and taking them on the go, audiobooks have been an important part of my love of books. More recently, I have discovered Audible where I have downloaded some of my favourite titles to listen to when reading just isn’t an option.

I’ve seen a lot on Twitter about how there are people out there who don’t think that listening to audiobooks counts as reading (an important discussion that was raised by Jenn) and I could’t agree more with her about how audiobooks are just as valid! Whether it’s because you’re on the go, absolutely exhausted or have a condition such as dyslexia, listening to an audiobook can be the best option and it’s still reading!

My favourite audiobooks growing up were the abridged Enid Blyton ones – I adored (and still adore) all the boarding school and adventure stories, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Captain Beaky. I rediscovered my love of audiobooks last year with the Harry Potter series (how could you not?!) and have kept downloading since!

So, what are my top audiobook recommendations if you’re new to audiobooks, or just want to find something that you may not have listened to yet?

  • Obviously Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are both amazing narrators too (although I believe it’s only Stephen Fry on UK Audible). Plus, IT’S HARRY POTTER.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This is one of the first books I downloaded on Audible, and I couldn’t have chosen anything better; Soler is a brilliant narrator.
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, narrated by Matt Haig. Aside from being an incredible book that everyone should read or listen to, Matt Haig makes for easy listening and breathes life into his book.
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, narrated by Leon Williams. This is my latest download which I was so unbelievably excited to discover, and so far I am loving it! Williams is doing justice to an amazing book.

What do you think – do audiobooks count as reading a book? What recommendations would you make?

ALL ABOUT MIA – Lisa Williamson

5/5

One of the best UKYA contemporary releases in recent years.

All About Mia focuses on Mia as we see her develop from this self-centered teen into a more mature teen/young adult over the course of this story. What’s so likable about her is that she isn’t perfect; she’s very much her own character and she’s very real, and that is something that is so important for teens and young adults to connect with. To top off an awesome book, Lisa Williamson’s writing style is flawless and touches upon so many important/diverse topics in such a way that it isn’t thrust in your face like many other books can be – in this book there are hints of feminism, multiculturalism and relationships to name a few.

I didn’t expect to love this book quite this much, but honestly I couldn’t put it down! Mia is such a lively character who literally leaps off the page – whilst I probably have more in common with Grace, I could totally relate to Mia, and I think that everyone (whether or not they’re the middle child, or even have siblings) can understand how she’s feeling and why she acts like she does. We get to learn so much about all three sisters, who are all at different stages of their teen years and all have feelings that we can all connect with or remember from being those ages.

It’s been a fair while since I read this book, and I still think it’s a firm five star read that I would highly recommend.


Thank you to David Fickling books for my copy of this title!