The Island by Olivia Levez

Posted on 16 November, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment

The Island by Olivia Levez

the-islandTitle: The Island
Author: Olivia Levez
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Published: 3rd March 2016
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source:: Borrowed Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository

Summary:
Frances is alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. She has to find water and food. She has to survive. And when she is there she also thinks about the past. The things that she did before. The things that made her a monster. Nothing is easy. Survival is hard and so is being honest about the past. Frances is a survivor however, and with the help of the only other crash survivor, she sees that the future is worth fighting for.

The Island is a gripping and thoughtful story about a girl who didn’t ask to be the person she is but is also determined to make herself the person she wants to be.


How Do

I’d heard a lot of things about this book before I dived into it but I pushed it all out of my head to give this book a fresh start. But I didn’t need to because this book lived up to its expectations. It was unique, different, emotional and very compelling. Everything that I absolutely love about books. The narrative was so different to anything I’d read before and I found that really affected how I connected with the book and the characters.

You Survive

One of the most interesting things about this book is how it all comes together. The book follows Frances as she flies into the wilderness to help the local community and to grow as a person. We witness as this doesn’t happen and instead she is castaway on a desert island. Meanwhile we’re given flashbacks explaining how she became who she is and how she ended up where she did. It was so fascinating and such an interesting way to understand her character.

When You

At first I wasn’t that keen on Frances, to be honest. She was annoying and troubled and I just found it really difficult to understand her. But then I soon fell in love with her and everything that she’d been through. I understood her completely and I just wanted everything to fall into place for her. It was incredible how this happened and shows how complex human beings are. Olivia Levez has done a brilliant job of really shining a light on all the characters in her book. I found them all to be very compelling and intriguing.

Have Nothing

All in all, I really liked this book. I found myself hooked and turning the pages faster and faster to find out what was happening and what would happen next. It was incredible how a book with only one protagonist for other half a book could really draw you in but Olivia really managed it. I would highly recommend this book to others, especially if you’re looking for a character driven and emotional story that will open your eyes in ways you never expected.

Four Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 16 November, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment


Throne of Glass Colouring Book

Posted on 10 November, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Throne of Glass Colouring Book

You’ve all seen the adult colouring book craze, right? There used to only be a few and now there are loads? Including Harry Potter ones! (Which is awesome, right?)

So hopefully my book today doesn’t need that kind of introduction! I think we all, hopefully get the gist of the adult colouring book. So… without further ado…

Here are my thoughts on the Throne of Glass Colouring Book!.


About the Book

For the first time, fans of Sarah J. Maas’s sweeping New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass saga can experience the vivid imagery of her expansive world. Celaena battling the ridderak in the catacombs, Chaol in the gardens of the glass castle, Manon riding her wyvern through the Crossing, and many other favorite moments, characters, and objects come to life as readers explore the vibrantly detailed realm of Throne of Glass. Stunning original black-and-white drawings will bring fans deeper into the series than ever before-making this a must-have companion to Sarah J. Maas’s beloved books.

Goodreads. Amazon UK. The Book Depsitory.


My Review

When I first received this book for review I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to review it. I mean… it’s just a colouring book. But then I realised that it actually wasn’t.

And what I mean by that is…

As well as pictures to colour in, this book also has phrases…

quotes…

wonderful, wonderful words taken from the very brilliant and fantastic Throne of Glass book. (And the four novellas too!)

And the words correlate to the pictures you’re about to colour in too.

And I have to admit that I loved that. It made me itching to re-read the entire series again as I once again got transported into this different world that Sarah J Maas has so brilliantly created for us all.

But on top of all of that, I have to tell you all that the illustrations in this book are absolutely divine. Honestly. I could stare at them all day because even without colour they are incredible and I want to shake hands with the illustrator and thank her for making such a wonderful book.

No, really.

20161029_180811

The illustrations are so wonderful that it makes my colouring look decent. My colouring makes the illustrations of the book stand out and become even more vibrant and beautiful and that makes this book one hell of an awesome book to colour.

And thus, I have to admit it might even be high up on the list of my favourites!


Have you seen this colouring book yet?

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Posted on 10 November, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Posted on 7 November, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last WordTitle: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published: 16th June 2015
Pages: 368
Format: Hardback
Source:: Netgalley Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK

Summary:
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.


Often All

Sometimes when you start reading a book, it captures your soul in a way that no other book has done before. This is what happened to me when I started reading Every Last Word. It spoke to me in ways that very few books have done in recent months. There was just something so wonderful about this book that I truly related to and found exceptional. I could fully connect and appreciate the main character of the story and the journey that she finds herself on. I also feel this book would be brilliant for anyone wanting to understand just a little more about OCD and how it can affect a person’s life.

You Need

This book follows Sam as she deals with slipping away from her friends. It’s a brilliant, addictive, and stunning book that really pulls the reader in. I became enamored with the secret poet society that she stumbles across, love the way she slowly opens herself up and was absolutely floored by the ending. Tamara Ireland Stone has written a very hard-hitting and intense book that really gets down in to the dark crevices of mental health, being a teenager and learning to deal with the world, one step at a time.

Is To Believe

I cannot describe enough how much I absolutely adored all of the characters in this book but I really, really loved Sam. She was portrayed so well, written beautifully and was wonderfully flawed to boot. I loved how her confidence grew and how she learnt to open her world to other people. I admired her strength as she battled her OCD many times over and how she learnt to deal with overcoming the boundaries that her mind gives her every single day. She is a strong, inspiring and heartfelt character that I will look up to for many years to come.

In Yourself

Every Last Word was a spellbinding read that stole my heart – in case you didn’t quite get that yet. It was hard-hitting, realistic and just brilliant. I’m really trying hard not to gush too much but this book well and truly stuck in my heart like glue. It is a powerful, emotional, lovely read that just really puts forth a strong message of hope, strength, love, friendships and relationships. It is a book that I will definitely be reading again and one that I would highly recommend others read!

five stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 7 November, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

Posted on 1 November, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

Title: Gena/Finn
Author: Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
Publisher: Abrams
Published: 17th May 2016
Pages: 287
Format: Hardback
Source:: Review Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository

Summary:
The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.


How Do

I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages but just never got around to it so that when I finally did, I was kicking myself because this book was incredible. I read it quickly as I instantly became engrossed in the words on the page. I fell in love with Gena and Finn instantaneously. They were both wonderful, complex and fascinating characters that really brought the book to life.

You Know

This book follows the lives of Gena and Finn as they meet each other and how that incidentally affected the rest of their lives. I absolutely loved how this book explores fandom and the internet and how it can bring people closer together who may have never met originally. It was a wonderful way to shine a light on this new technological age and really pulled at my heartstrings. It showed how powerful and complicated relationships in any age can be.

Who You

Vibrant, unique and complicated characters enrich this book from start to finish. Both authors have created truly wonderful characters full of life and flaws to really ground this book in reality. I was blown away by both Gena and Finn and their journeys as they learn to understand who they are and who they’re meant to become. It was very intriguing to witness as their lives spiralled and intertwined throughout and where it all eventually ended.

Truly Are

Gena/Finn is not your average book. It is a book that questions things and makes you wonder about friendships and relationships and mental health. It constantly changes, drawing you further and further into its world of difficulties and love. It is a fascinating read that I gobbled up quickly and would highly recommend to others. So if you’re looking for a book that is just a little bit different, you should definitely give this book a try.

Four Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

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Posted on 1 November, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Blog Tour: Dear Charlie by N.D. Gomes

Posted on 27 October, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Dear Charlie by N.D Gomes

Hi All!
I’m here today on the blog tour for Dear Charlie and I am here with a review of this book! In all honesty I devoured this book quickly because it is incredible. But more on that later, first… here’s some info on the book!


About the Book

dear-charlie Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed.

Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

Amazon UK. Goodreads.


My Review

How Do

After reading the synopsis of this book, I was very much intrigued and curious. In my mind I thought it would be like This Is The End but instead this book dives a little further. It’s not the shooting itself that the book focuses on but the consequences that the action leaves behind. And I have to admit that I absolutely loved it. I was pulled straight into the story and connected with the main character instantly as he was incredibly well written. This story pulled me in many directions but left me feeling hopeful and full of warmth.

You Move On

What I found truly powerful about this book was the way that it reeled you in with emotions. I am one of those readers that absolutely loves character development in books and this book had character development by the shed-load. I devoured this book because of it and it meant that the plot of this book followed the journey of our main protagonist as he dealt with the consequences of his brothers’ actions and learnt to deal with it all, growing as a person as the story continued. It was wonderfully written.

After Your

There was a small handful of important characters in this book but they were all fully developed and full of personality. My favourite character was Sam. I loved how much he grew throughout the book, but I also just felt for him so much and continuously wished that I could help him. I found him to be a really strong, caring and gentle character and it would have been difficult to hate him. I also thought that his parents were portrayed really well too and you could really see and feel the struggle that they were going through. It really made this book feel more real and that much more emotional.

Brother’s Shooting

Dear Charlie is a very moving, very powerful book that I would highly recommend. I got blown away by the characters and felt every emotion that the characters felt. It was intense, heartbreaking and heart-warming all at the same time. It was interesting to view how it must feel like when one of your family members is the monster but they’re no longer around to take the blame. It was a wonderful portrayal of human emotions and a dysfunctional family. If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel and think and question, then you should definitely read this book. It was just a very, very gripping read.


About the Author

author-profile-picN.D. Gomes was born in Scotland and graduated from the University of Stirling with a BA in Media & Journalism Studies, and went on to receive her Master’s degree in Education in the US. She currently works in a public school system to increase educational opportunities for students with special needs. Previously, N.D. Gomes wrote for the London-based online student political magazine, deAlign and stage-managed student plays at the LeeStrasberg Theatre Institute in New York City where she attended for two years. She currently divides her time between the US and Scotland, but hopes to spend more time at her cottage in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Dear Charlie is her debut novel.

Twitter.


Follow the Tour

charlie_blogtour


Will You Be Reading this book?

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Posted on 27 October, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Blog Tour: Lie Kill Walk Away by Matt Dickinson

Posted on 7 October, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Lie Kill Walk Away by Matt Dickinson

Hi All!
Today I am here to share with you all a brilliant guest post by Matt Dickinson to celebrate the release of his newest book, Lie Kill Walk Away! Hope you enjoy.

But first, here’s some info on the book!


About the Book

LIE
I check the Range Rover dash. The keys are in there.
The sirens are closing in. There s a police helicopter coming over the hospital

KILL
I have to decide. Decide right now. I can keep out of trouble. Not get involved. Just run away through the park and go home and pretend none of this has happened.
Or I can help Becca.

WALK AWAY
I stare into her eyes. Those deep blue eyes. Just for a split second.
I tell her, get in the car .

Joe and Becca uncover a deadly secret. A lethal bioweapon is about to be unleashed. Millions will suffer a terrible death.

Now they are being hunted down.

And their problems have only just begun …

Amazon.


Guest Post by Matt Dickinson

BUILD A BIO-WEAPON FROM THE SAFETY OF YOUR OWN BEDROOM!? THE TERRIFYING RISE OF DIY KITS WHICH MAY UNLEASH SUPER CHARGED PATHOGENS

Imagine you have a grudge against the world. Imagine you have a pathological desire to get revenge. An agenda to spread mayhem. A burning need to harm.

This is the mindset of Jon Melzack, the antagonist in my new thriller Lie Kill Walk Away.

Melzack is a cult leader, hiding behind a wall of religious rhetoric. But behind the scenes he is working with a lab to create a deadly new bioweapon. A weaponized form of the Ebola virus which can kill in hours. He is the leader of a clandestine terror group.

He wants revenge on the western leaders who have destroyed his life.

And a superweapon may be within his grasp.

During the research for the book I discovered some truly terrifying things.

It is now possible to buy a ‘starter kit’ to mess with the DNA of certain life forms – even if you have no experience and no laboratory of your own.

One example is the CRISP-CAS9 kit which costs about £100. It’s widely available and many medical research organisations are already warning that it is potentially lethal. Google it and you’ll find out more.

You can now play God with the E.Coli bacteria in your own house, giving this potentially dangerous organism the ability to resist antibiotics, or even more dangerous scenarios, which might be completely impossible to predict.

Basically it is a gene-altering kit for a simple bacteria.

It seems harmless perhaps. The new bacteria will just die in the test tube won’t they? Maybe not. The peril is real, as explored in my thriller Lie Kill Walk Away.

The question is: where does this all end? Will it soon be possible to buy a kit to alter the structure of human DNA?

Will commercial organisations begin to market ‘do it yourself bio-terrorism kits’ on the dark net?

This is the brave new world that my two teen heroes Rebecca and Joe are plunged into. Where millions of lives may be at stake from a single vial of a brand new pathogen.

Playing God? Anyone can now do it. We have to wonder where tinkering with genetic information will end.


Follow the Tour

lkwa_main_graphic2


Will you be reading this book?

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Posted on 7 October, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


YA Shot Tour: Alice Oseman

Posted on 29 September, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment

YA Shot Tour: Alice Oseman

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the YA Shot tour and I’m here to introduce you to Alice Oseman. I’m doing something a little different today wherein I am going to persuade you to read her books!

First though, here’s some information about her two fantastic books!


solitaire In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Radio Silence What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Why You Should Read Her Books

Firstly you can find my review of Radio Silence by clicking here.

If you like character driven books, you should read Alice’s books.

If you like diverse books that feature a mix of sexualities and include mental health too, you should read Alice’s books.

If you like books with addictive and enthralling writing, you should read Alice’s books.

If you want to fall in love with the characters, read her books.

If you love coming of age stories, read her books.

If you’re a big contemporary fan, you should really make sure you read her books.

Really, if you just want some amazing books to read that will take your breath away, you should make sure that you pick up her books.


Have I persuaded you?

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Posted on 29 September, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment


Blog Tour: Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

Posted on 11 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

Hi Guys!
Today I have for you all a guest post by the wonderful Beth Garrod as part of her Blog Tour!

But first, here’s some info on the book!


About the Book

I, Bella Fisher, am absolutely WINNING at FAILING at life.
1. I once got my tongue stuck to a box of Calippos in a supermarket.
2. I accidentally called my geography teacher Mum. Twice. He wasn’t impressed.
3. I’m a geek. And not in a geek-chic kind of way, but in a secretly-caring-about-failing-maths-and-science way.
4. I always fail maths and science.

So it figures that when I meet the FITTEST BOY IN THE WORLD, Zac, I’m doing solo star jumps. While dressed as a cereal box.
(NOTE TO SELF, fancy dress = HE-WILL-NEVER-EVER-FANCY-ME dress.)

Now I’ve got to somehow persuade Zac to come to prom with me while avoiding my evil ex and dealing with a secret so mega-awks I want to Ctrl-Z my brain… What could go wrong?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Absolutely everything.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Top 5 Super Awkward Moments

By Beth Garrod

Have you ever had a moment that was so Super Awkward you wished you could delete the memories of people who were there at the time, and put a worldwide ban on people ever thinking – let alone mentioning – it ever again?

Ok. Well then imagine that. And then imagine writing them into a top five list for the world to see. WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

(Although thanks for asking me, I’m actually quite excited). So here goes.

  1. I’m terrible at sports (I include bowling and Jenga in this). So a school ski trip was never going to be a great idea for me. However, what I didn’t know was that the mountain wasn’t going to be my biggest nemesis – the T-bar chair lift was. But with no other option, I had to face it. So, with the whole school trip watching (and all the tiny children that were already laughing at how bad I was at skiing), I balanced myself on it, alongside my best friend. But an overly large laugh, became a wobble, became the sticky out bit of the T bar getting hooked in my ski jacket. Which soon became one entire boot and ski being yanked off as I got dragged up the entire length of the mountain (my friend laughing too much to be able to stand up). I even went through those weird bars at the top, which are meant to act as a life-sort-of toothbrush to scrape off any morsels. But this human morsel made it through. And then I had to plod the entire way back down a mountain in one ski. And one sock.
  2. One year I truly believed I’d met the World’s Sexiest Man. He was super hot and super cool, so every message I sent was a carefully crafted group-approved effort to make me seem like the kind of person who doesn’t actually sometimes accidentally-clap when she sees a dog with really good eyebrows. One particularly helpful friend had a part time job at my local supermarket. So I text him ‘When can we hang out in the freezer department of Tesco and talk about the World’s Sexiest Man?’ But I sent it to WSM. Who I then had to pretend that I’d meant to send this too, and it was a genuine date idea, based around a discussion of a fit man, who wasn’t him. We never had a second date.
  3. I’m a big believer in the ‘it gets better’ philosophy. However, in the case of me, and being awkward, this has just proved to mean I’ve got better at nailing the art of being awkward. Case in point – a big work event in Italy, a huge screen on the wall for the audience to stare out, a work laptop projecting our logo. All fine. Until I panic my phone battery is running out, plug it in, and oh guess what, NO ONE TELLS ME I’M NOW PROJECTING MY CAMERA ROLL TO THE WHOLE VENUE (or maybe they were telling me, but they were just doing it in Italian, and I thought they were asking for directions to the loo).
  4. This one’s I may have attributed to Bella – the lead character in Super Awkward. But sadly, it may, have hypothetically, been all me. And – yet again- it involves sport. Seriously – it’s bad for your health. It was the final Friday before a half-term, that was going to be full of seeing my friends, and going to parties – which was kind of a big deal when the height of my social life was normally helping my dad choose wall plugs in Homebase. But with the last lesson over, all I had to do was survive a rounders match and I’d be freeeeeee. In the safe – not much action – zone of deep field, I spent most of the match chatting to my friend. Until I heard my name being yelled and span round. Only to be whacked on my already large chin, by a rounders ball that seemed to be travelling faster than the speed of light. For all intents and purposes, the massive bruise that formed made me look I had developed an overnight beard. And it stayed the entire half term.
  5. Some words I don’t normally think of. So when my mum drove us home one day, and we popped into the local shop, it stuck in my mind when she said “Whatever you do, don’t look at the man behind the counter’s toupe’. Like a polite person, I totally didn’t, despite it being bright orange, sitting awkwardly on top of some sticky-out grey hairs. I saw other customer’s clocking it, but I was better than that. And I’d been warned. So, when I got to the counter and he asked what I wanted, it was a 100% accident when I replied clearly, loudly, calmly with ‘one toupe please’. The whole shop shut up. His wife gave me evils that melted actual skin cells. And I never – to this day – have been back to the shop.

Soooo, there is a tiny glimpse into the everyday danger that is being me. But I always figure that what doesn’t kill you, makes a funny story for someone else.


What are some of your super awkward moments?

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Posted on 11 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


YA Shot Tour: Maggie Harcourt

Posted on 31 August, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

YA Shot Tour: Maggie Harcourt

Hey Guys!
Today is my stop on the YA Shot Tour and I am here today with a brilliant guest post from Maggie Harcourt about her bookish inspirations!


Bookish Inspirations

by Maggie Harcourt

They say inspiration can come from anywhere, don’t they? And that’s largely true: you can find it in supermarkets, on trains, on your bedroom ceiling sometime around 3am when you’re having trouble sleeping and it’s the least convenient time imaginable to start Having An Idea… but every once in a while, it’s easier to pin down the thread of an idea. Every once in a while, it’s a book (or a film, or a television show) that starts you asking: “What if…?”
So here’s a couple of mine…

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

I don’t remember the first time I read about the Musketeers, although I have a feeling it was probably filtered through Dogtanian & the Muskehounds (because 1980s). What I do remember is that I really, really wanted to be one of them: getting into daring swordfights with the Cardinal’s Guards, carrying out extravagantly risky secret missions… and all with my best friends by my side. Because it wasn’t the swashbuckling or the intrigues (political or romantic) that really caught my imagination: it was the friendships. Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The three inseparables; the three Musketeers. All for one, and one for all. So important is their relationship that the story is even named after them; there’s not even a mention of d’Artagnan – the actual protagonist – in the title…

Doctor Who

To let you in on a little secret, I never got Doctor Who when I was growing up. It didn’t help that I largely grew up in the gap when it wasn’t a thing: I think I vaguely remember a handful of Sylvester McCoy’s episodes as the Seventh Doctor, and I definitely remember sitting down to watch Paul McCann’s feature-length outing as the Eighth (even if I don’t actually recall any of what happened in it…). But ‘new’ Who? That is very, very much a thing. I love the Doctor. I love that he can change who he is without ever quite changing it. I love that he calls himself ‘Doctor’ and that he believes in trying to solve things by being clever; fixing them instead of breaking them further like any other hero might do. I love that however angry and frustrated he might get (especially when it comes to humans), he still keeps coming back to try and make things better. Plus, you know, aliens and the TARDIS and jokes.

The Notebook

This is one of those “I really ought to read the book but I’m just going to sit here and cradle the film to me, gently weeping,” sort of choices… because there is no way – no way – that I can watch this film without dissolving into an ugly-crying, snivelling puddle. I don’t even know why: I spend half of it shouting at Allie and Noah’s choices, and the other half sighing wistfully at it. I’m not saying I particularly endorse the whole “I’m going to hang off the bottom of this Ferris wheel cab until that beautiful girl agrees to go out with me, possibly suggesting I’m a tad unhinged…” episode, but if you can make it to the end of the story without even a single tear, you might be a bit broken. Also, that kiss in the rain? Wow.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

I find it very difficult talking about this book (or the recent – brilliant – television adaptation of it) without… well, to put it bluntly, “going on a bit”. I wholeheartedly love this book. I love it – even the footnotes. Yep. (And, as I realised when I re-read it last year, if you want to find the rest of the women in the story, that’s where you look for them. Rather wittily, Clarke is making a pointed comment about the fact you’ll find many of history’s strong and powerful women hidden in the footnotes of the past.) I adore its layers: the alternate history, the scope and the prickliness of the characters… and the magic. I’m definitely a fan of the magic.

But what’s fascinating is that it has a lot in common with some of my favourite contemporary YA stories: if you strip it back to its absolute core, you can read it as Jonathan Strange’s coming-of-age story (which, while he feels a bit old to be a YA protagonist to our eyes, given the historical setting and his social class it sort of works). He’s dealing with authority, finding his own place in the world, falling in love, finding out who his true friends are… finding himself. And if he happens to encounter a shed-load of fairies and the Duke of Wellington while he’s at it, well, so much the better.

The thing that made me fall for it, irredeemably and head-over-heels, though, is that it’s also about books. Not just magic and power, but books and knowledge and what they mean – and what people will do to control them.

(By the way, if you can’t face the size of the novel – or the footnotes – do track down that recent BBC adaptation. It’s as perfect an adaptation as you’ll ever find of anything, both true to the spirit of the book and entirely its own thing.)


What are you bookish inspirations?

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Posted on 31 August, 2016 by Faye - No Comments


Blog Tour: What I Couldn’t Tell You By Faye Bird

Posted on 23 August, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment

What I Couldn’t Tell You by Faye Bird

Hi All!
Today is my spot on the What I Couldn’t Tell You blog tour and I am here today to tell you my five favourite things about the book.

*Please note* I organised this blog tour but all my opinions on the book are still honest and my own.

First, here’s some information about the book!


When love turns to jealousy, when jealousy turns to rage, when rage turns to destruction…

Laura was head over heels in love with Joe. But now Laura lies in a coma and Joe has gone missing. Was he the one who attacked her?

Laura’s sister Tessie is selectively mute. She can’t talk but she can listen. And as people tell her their secrets, she thinks she’s getting close to understanding what happened on that fateful night.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Five Favourite Things About What I Couldn’t Tell You

Tessie

One of the things that really drew me into this story was our main protagonist, Tessie. As she has selective mutism, you really get a feel for her story as she struggles with words and times when she wants to speak but is effectively too afraid too. She is actually an incredibly strong character and I thought she was absolutely brilliant to read about. There were things she did that did make me want to shake her but at the same time, I understood her fears and her pain and just wanted to help make her feel okay about life. Faye Bird has done a brilliant job of creating such a powerful and vibrant character.

Family

Getting parents and family central to a plot in YA can be difficult but in What I Couldn’t Tell You, it surrounds the family unit as the main plot involves Tessie’s sister. I like that the main focus of the book was on family and family relationships, especially when we all deal with our grief in different ways. I thought it was wonderful how it showed that a family can be strong and weak all at the same time and how in times of crisis and happiness, families can often come together in ways that are completely unexpected. I thought it was a wonderful representation of a dysfunctional but functional family.

Diversity

Another aspect of this book that I loved was how diverse this book was. As well as having a main character with Selective Mutism – and not making this the main focal point of the book! – There was also a character with Depression and the book also covered anxiety and bullying as well. It was brilliant to see all of this included, especially as it is incredibly important to talk about mental health and bullying with teenagers. Definitely made me love this book all the more for the sensitive way it was all talked about too.

Addictive Story

As soon as I started reading this book, I had difficulty putting it back down again. And when it was down, I was continuously thinking about it. Not even just the plot and how it kept moving forward and where it was going, but also about what it must be like to not be able to speak when you want to. I loved that Faye Bird really draws you into the story and keeps you turning the page with her addictive writing as you live vicariously through Tessie as she tries to work out what to do to help Laura. It helped to make the book so much more intense and interesting.

The Ending

When it comes to reading, the ending of a book is generally important and it can certainly make or break a book for me. With thriller titles, the ending is, essentially, even more important. The wrong conclusion, or the wrong scenario could become catastrophic. Fortunately, What I Couldn’t Tell You has a very powerful ending which I really loved. I admitedly did see it coming but it was also shocking in how it was revealed. It definitely brought all of the tension into one place and really brought the reader to their knees. I thought it was wonderfully done, helping to make my overall enjoyment of the book that much higher. This is a truly brilliant book.


About the Author

faye bird Faye writes fiction for young adults. Before becoming a writer she worked as a literary agent representing screenwriters in film and TV. She studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University, but has otherwise always lived in London, and still does now. Her second novel, What I Couldn’t Tell You, will be published on 1 May 2016.

Website. Twitter. Instagram.


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What is your favourite bit about what I couldn’t tell you?

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Posted on 23 August, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment