Empathy Inspiration

Posted on 13 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

Empathy Inspiration

Hello All!

Today I am delighted to introduce Kate Milner onto the blog. As it is Empathy Day today, she is here to tell you about the books that she finds inspires her empathy.

And before we introduce those books, let me also tell you about her book My Name is Not Refugee which is an incredible book for inspiring empathy.


About the Book

A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Empathy Inspirations

by Kate Milner

The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
This is my favourite Jacqueline Wilson book. It has stayed with me long after reading it. The heroine, Dolphin lives with her older sister and her mother who has manic depression. Her mother’s mental health problems mean she’s not really capable of looking after her daughters so Dolphin has to grow up quickly and learn to look after herself. She has to work out who she can trust. It’s a really powerful evocation of living with mental illness. There are no goodies and badies here just ordinary people with very real problems who are trying to do the right thing but failing. This is a wonderful book.

Slam by Nick Hornby
The story of 16 year old Sam who makes his girlfriend Alicia pregnant. Sam is an ordinary boy who is very far from ready for parenthood. Initially he runs away and we follow his fear, anger and denial; he is a child with some really adult problems who has to work out what he ought to do. I have never been a teenage boy in this situation but I really feel I can empathise a bit more because of going on this journey with him.

The Heart and the Bottle by Jeffers, Oliver
This is beautiful and touching book about loss. I love the subtlety and the space this book gives you to work out what is going on and what, in the end, needs to be done about it. He is so brilliant at expressing feelings in a double page spread.

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
There is not much new to be said about this brilliant book. It offers the reader an insight into the world of Christopher a boy with autism who is trying to deal with his parents failing marriage. He doesn’t understand why they do what they do, and they don’t always understand him. Being in his head while he tries to get himself across London to his mother’s new house is terrifying and exhausting. I think everyone who reads this book has to become more sympathetic and understanding towards people with autism.

Holes by Louis Sachar
This may not seem an obvious choice of a book which inspires empathy but it works for me. I have read it a number of times and every time I’m with Stanley. There is something about his plight; locked up for something he didn’t do, while mean minded adults make him perform hard, menial work which has no purpose. Anyone who has been stuck in school or work doing something meaningless and boring, knows what he feels like.

Not now, Bernard by David McKee
This is one of my favourite Picture books, a delight to read with small children. I love the rather flat quality of the illustrations and the 1970s interior of the house. It’s about being ignored, about not being listened too, getting cross about it and being eaten by a monster. We have all felt like Bernard at some time or other and this story absolutely makes you remember, as an adult, what it’s like to be a child with no power.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
The growing understanding and affection between Willie, an abused evacuee from London and Tom, a lonely old man who takes him in, is heart breaking and deeply touching. The story shows how it is the small acts of caring for one another which builds bonds. Everyone should read this book.

The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan
The Lost thing doesn’t fit anywhere and no one comes to claim him so the boy rescues it and, after taking it home, find away for the Thing to escape the city. That is a very hum drum description of what happens in this wonderful book. For me it makes you feel what it’s like to be in a huge, complicated, interesting, polluted, hard ,sunless city where your needs are not considered and you don’t fit.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
This is not a children’s book but it is short and funny and I think lots of older children would it enjoy it. I’ve included it because it is all about the effect of reading. How it can expand your view of the world and help you understand other people with different experiences. It is a delight and a manifesto for writers and illustrators everywhere.

Winnie the Pooh. by A.A. Milner
I was going to pick one story from Winnie-The-Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner to talk about how it promotes empathy. Perhaps the one where Piglet and Pooh try to cheer up the endlessly miserable Eeyore by giving him a birthday present; or perhaps the one where Piglet finds the courage to meet the terrifying Teffalump. I think it’s easy as an adult to find the charm and humour in these stories and forget how much they teach about friendship. Rabbit and Pooh and Piglet and Tiger are all rather flawed characters. If Tiger came to my house I would probably hide and pretend I wasn’t in and I would certainly loose my temper with the fuss pot Rabbit but Pooh, in his dreamy way, finds a way of rubbing along with them.


About the Author

Kate Milner studied illustration at Central St Martin’s before completing an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University. Her work has been published in magazines, and her illustrations and prints have been shown in London galleries and national touring exhibitions. Kate won a V&A Illustration Award in 2016 for My name is not Refugee.

What books inspire empathy in you?

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Posted on 13 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

Posted on 7 June, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

LATDblogtour_TWbanner_Jun7

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the Leopard at the Door blog tour and I’m here with a review of the book.

Here’s more info on the book first!


Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.

But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently.

Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


My Review

As soon as I heard about this book, I was drawn to it and couldn’t wait to read it. It sounded different and interesting and I was certain that I would love it. Upon opening the first page and starting to read, I realised that my premonitions on this book were correct. It hooked me from the very beginning and transported me to Africa with relative ease. Within moments I found myself engulfed by the words. Which is always what I love about reading. On this feeling alone, I would definitely recommend this book.

Jennifer has done a fantastic job with the narration and plot of this book. Everything moved smoothly and she planted background information from the main protagonists point of view into the story so subtly and it worked incredibly well. There were also little hints along the way of things to come which was great to read. But incidentally it was her attention to detail that made me love this book so much. Knowing how the atmosphere in the room felt or how a character was moving their hands really strung the emotion out of the book.

I’m sure I almost always tell you that my favourite character is the protagonist and this book is no different. Jennifer has written Rachel as a very relatable character who made me really feel so many emotions. She was strong but vulnerable, fierce but scared. The perfect balance of what humans are actually like. I was fascinated by her and she compelled me to continue reading.

This is a brilliant book to read. Immersive and interesting. It made my skin boil at points over the historical way natives of Africa were treated but that also just made the story that much more powerful. An emotional and moving story, this is a book that you won’t forget for a long time. I would highly recommend it and I am also very excited to read more work from Jennifer.


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Posted on 7 June, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


The Gender Games by Juno Dawson

Posted on 5 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson

Hello All!
Today is my stop on the Gender Games blog tour! I am here today to review this book but I have to be honest with you – I actually haven’t finished the book (shhh!). I planned to finish it yesterday but then I got caught up in #OneLoveManchester and I couldn’t look away. Thus, I will be writing a part-review today but as it’s non-fiction, I think it shows a good deal of how wonderful this book is, so I hope that’s okay with you all!


About the Book

Why we are all being messed up by gender, and what we can do about it.

‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.

Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men. From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world where what’s in your head is more important than what’s between your legs.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


My Review

I’ve been waiting to read this book ever since I first heard about it and I’m really pleased to report that it has lived up to its expectations. Juno Dawson has a real knack for writing non-fiction books and this has come to its head with The Gender Games. I’m not usually the biggest fan of non-fiction titles – but I’m trying to come around to the idea of them, slowly but surely – as I often find them boring and pointless. This is definitely not the case with Gender Games. Right from the very beginning this book had me hooked and intrigued.

One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book is that within the first few pages it really made me think. Not just about the world and how we all think about gender but also about myself and how I feel about myself. It was enlightening and I am just so thrilled that I have managed to take something away from this book that may change my entire attitude to myself.

This book is written in a very easy way. It’s all about Juno’s life but interspersed with references and very intellectual discussions which breaks up what I would coin – the difficult and boring parts of non-fiction – which is what I love about this book. It’s not a memoir or really an autobiography but it also is. It’s just a very entertaining, informative and society-breaking book that I would very much love for lots of people to read.

In my opinion, the world needs more books like this. Books that make those of us who are a little bit different feel more included but also further understood. If it allows the rest of the population to have empathy with us, to open their minds and stop thinking so rigidly then I definitely think it’s worth it. And I personally believe that The Gender Games is a book that has the power to do all of those things. In this day and age, it is time to stop focusing on the “normal” and to start celebrating the different.

** 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 5 June, 2017 by Faye - 1 Comment


#LGBTQIARead is back!

Posted on 4 June, 2017 by Faye - 4 Comments

#LGBTQIARead is back!

lgbtqiaread

Hello All!
You may remember that for Pride last year, the wonderful George Lester and I hosted the #LGBTRead-a-thon. Well, this year we’re doing it again! Aren’t you all super excited?

As you can see the first thing that’s changed is the hashtag! We wanted to be a bit more inclusive so it is now…

#LGBTQIARead

And now for all the important information you’re dying to hear!


The Dates

This years readathon is running from 25th June – 1st July! One whole week of LGBTQIA reading goodness.

Aren’t you excited?


What A Readathon Is

Maybe I should have explained this at the beginning but I was just too excited by everything else. So, it’s here instead.

A readathon is just a period of time whereby a lot of people all read “together”. What I mean by this is that we all read similar books (in this case with an LGBTQIA theme) over a period of time (a week) and we use a hashtag (#LGBTQIA) to share what we’re reading with everyone else who is reading. It’s a fantastic way to share recs, to buddy read and ultimately to gush over books!

Sounds like great fun, right?


How to Sign Up

Signing up is super simple (I hope!). All you have to do is add your name or twitter handle to the below linky and link to your blog or twitter URL.

You do not have to shout that you’re joining us but of course if you do then more people will know about the event and more people will join in and there will be EVEN MORE GUSHING about awesome books.

So…

Here’s the linky:


What Happens Now?

Now that you’re all signed up (yay!), you can start compiling a TBR for the week which can either be for yourself or you can share it on twitter or on your blog!

We’ll start using the #LGBTQIARead hashtag from now so do make sure to add it to any tweets you make about the readathon.

Then on Sunday 25th June we all start reading!

Awesome, right?

See you then!

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Posted on 4 June, 2017 by Faye - 4 Comments


Giveaway: Defender of the Realm; Dark Age

Posted on 3 June, 2017 by Faye - 3 Comments

Defender of the Realm; Dark Age

Hi All!

Today I am here with some exciting news! I have the first two books in the Defender of the Realm series to giveaway to one lucky UK winner!

You can read my review of the first book here.

And more information about the second book is below!


About the Book

Dark Age high-res

After the great battle at King Alfie’s coronation, the nation thinks it’s seen the last of the Black Dragon, and Alfie gets busy learning what it means to fill his father’s shoes. But when a band of undead Vikings appears, Alfie, Hayley and the rest of the Yeoman Warders fear that Professor Lock is back to finish what he’s started. For the epic battle that’s brewing, Alfie will need to enlist help from abroad, as well as from a mysterious new friend who seems to be watching over him…

Goodreads. Amazon.


Giveaway!

To be in with a chance to win the first two books in this trilogy you have to do ONE thing. It’s REALLY easy.

You just need to comment below.

Finish this sentence: I would like to win this trilogy because…

It doesn’t have to be an AMAZING answer. The winner will be selected AT RANDOM. But you do need to make sure you respond to the sentence or you will be disqualified!

The competition ends on 10th June and the winner will be notified by e-mail.

GOOD LUCK!


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Posted on 3 June, 2017 by Faye - 3 Comments


Sita Brahmachari on Racism

Posted on 2 June, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Sita Brahmachari on Racism

Hi All!
I’m here today to introduce you to the ever wonderful Sita Brahmachari who is here today with a very powerful guest post on Racism. This is all to help share the news about her new book which released yesterday! More information about it below.


About the Book

Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it’s changing… can the reappearance of Nana Josie’s Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in?

A powerful chime rings through Laila’s mind, guiding her to walk the footsteps of the past on her way to discover her own future.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.


Racism

by Sita Brahmachari

Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari
‘A coming of age story for young protesters everywhere.’

Tender Earth is endorsed by Amnesty International UK because ‘it illuminates the importance of equality, friendship and solidarity, and upholds our right to protest against injustice.’

HERE WE STAND AGAINST HATE

SILENCE ABOUT RACISM IS NEVER GOLDEN

ANTI-SEMITISM, ANY RACISM, NOT IN OUR NAMES

I began writing Tender Earth three years ago because I began to see the rise of racism, and hear racially-orientated language spoken more often in public places. Following the terror attacks in Paris I wrote an article about how young people are coping with the fear and distrust that is created following these and more recent attacks, and by the language we hear in the media around immigration and the treatment of refugee people. I was so saddened to hear recently of the attack on a young refugee boy, Reker Ahmed, in Croydon, London, who was attacked by thirteen people in a suspected hate crime, leaving him horribly injured.

Since the EU referendum vote police have reported a 57% increase in hate crimes related to race and religion.

For my own children and their generation, I had hoped that racially and religiously motivated crime would be a thing of the past, sadly this is not the case for any of us today and so Laila and her friends are having to face the ugly truth about racism in Tender Earth. In this excerpt Pari Pashaei, who is the child of an Iraqi refugee family, speaks of her fears:

Pari leans in close. ‘You know what Stella was saying about people not saying what they’re really thinking? She’s right. Sometimes I get this look from strangers like they’re suspicious of me or just don’t like the look of me because I’m a Muslim. Mum thinks I should stop wearing my headscarf and she doesn’t like these,’ she points to her sparkly scarf clips, ‘- she says I’m drawing attention to myself.’
‘That’s not right! Why don’t you tell Mrs Latif?’
‘What could she do about what goes on out there? She can’t have a word with strangers like she did with Stella. People outside of school don’t have to say sorry, do they? Anyway, it’s just a feeling. No one actually says anything. But Mum thinks everything’s getting much worse for us here now. No one trusts anyone else.’

Sadly, the events that take place in Tender Earth require the characters to decide if they will take a stand against racially and religiously motivated crimes or stay silent.

Does seeing, reading about and experiencing racism and religious intolerance in this country and throughout the world trouble you as much as it does Laila, Pari and her friends? If it does, click on these links that I used during my research… and consider converting thought into action and, as soon as you are legally able, VOTE for what you believe in.

What can you do?
https://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/resources/what-you-say-matters/what-can-you-do

More books to read that stand up for human rights
https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/jan/12/books-breed-tolerance-children-read-errorist-attacks-paris

The inspiration that is Malala Yousafzai
https://www.expressandstar.com/news/2016/10/10/malala-yousafzai-and-archbishop-of-canterbury-in-dudley-watch-our-exclusive-interview/

How can a symbol be such a powerful force?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11367966/The-rising-tide-of-anti-Semitism.html

Youth Against Racism In Europe
http://www.yre.org.uk/


Where do you stand against Racism?

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Posted on 2 June, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Girlhood by Cat Clarke

Posted on 27 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Girlhood by Cat Clarke

Hello All!
Today I am here to review Cat Clarke’s newest book, Girlhood!


About the Book

Girlhood Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

Goodreads. Amazon.


My Review

What If

Upon starting this book, I instantaneously fell in love with it. It was thrilling, addictive and essentially a true page-turner. Unfortunately while this feeling continued until the very last page, I feel a little conflicted about the ending of the book. I know why the author ended the book the way she did but I also feel that it was too rushed. In my opinion, the girls forgave each other too quickly thus not allowing breathing or healing. On the other hand, it was such a hopeful and lovely ending that I just struggled to work out my own feelings on it all. Due to that, it did slightly hamper my overall feelings towards the book but I did love everything else until that moment. It was a very unique and intriguing story – also friendships were a large theme in the book and I adore books about friendships!

You Didn’t

As mentioned above, the ending didn’t really work for me but what did work was the plot of the book. I absolutely loved how everything in the book played together. It was enticing. Cat only gave you minor details as the book continued, allowing your brain to try and theorize what was happening or going to happen in the long run. She slowly raveled you into the story until you were fully immersed and were unable to stop until you got to the final conclusion. This was all very well written and really shows how important plot and narration are when it comes to thrilling and addictive reads. There was just so much mystery and conflict!

Know Who

Every single character in this book was different and I truly love the way that Cat has managed to bring so many vibrant and wonderful personalities together. It is a wonderful representation of real life and shows how we can all have different interests but can still form bonds despite this. However, my favourite character was Rowan. She was so full of life, sparky and wild. I just loved her personality so much. She was so sure of herself, and yet she also had her vulnerabilities and worries as well. She could be a bit snarky and sharp but she was also just vibrant and loveable. She is the kind of person that I would absolutely love to befriend!

To Trust

All in all this book was an entertaining and mysterious read that I enjoyed while reading but just felt a bit lost by the ending. It is a book that I would still recommend and I am absolutely certain that some people will have no problems with the ending. I think personally it just struck a little close to home. Cat Clarke is a strong voice in the UKYA community and her books are always interesting, hard-hitting and addictive and this book is no different. I will definitely be making sure I pick up the next book she writes and would still highly recommend this book if you want a thrilling book that centers on friendship. (Not to mention including a vastly diverse cast – yay!)

Three 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 27 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Embracing the End

Posted on 22 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Embracing the End

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Lies Within by Jane Isaac and I have a post by Jane to share with you all!

First though, here’s some information on the book!


About the Book

Be under no illusions by her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder.

Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss.

DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.

When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before she is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?

Goodreads. Amazon.


Embracing the End

by Jane Isaac

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog today!

I recently read somewhere that publishing a book is an adventure. I would argue that the adventure starts before you even put pen to page.

There’s the background reading on plot issues; the meetings with experts to establish police procedural points. Drawing characters and getting to know them requires people watching, observation of body language and traits that can take days, weeks, even months to amass. Even while the first draft is being written there are field trips – I’ll never forget the Sunday afternoon family dog walk where my daughter ran ahead and played with Bollo while hubby and I searched for suitable deposition sites for a body for The Lies Within. These are all the experiences that build the tower of paper that is later transformed into a novel.

Recently I decided to clear out my desk to make room for a new project. This is an exercise I do when every novel is complete and the final print run has been done, but equally something I seem to struggle with every time. It usually leads to an afternoon of nostalgia, where I go through all the research notes, photos and maps that formed the basis of my plans. All little pieces of the journey, tiny memories, that helped to build the story.

For The Lies Within, it was notes from my prison visit, maps of the settings of Stratford upon Avon and Market Harborough, notes from my time spent in Criminal Court Number Three at Leicester Crown Court; photos I’d printed out for context. There were early print outs of text with scribbled edits all over them, hand written notes on plotlines, potted histories for characters, basic descriptions of settings, background reading material, and receipts from lunches with dear friends who provided valuable insight into police procedure and psychological backgrounds.

Some of these, such as maps and character profiles, are retained for future reference. However, with a heavy heart, most of the pile of paper is transferred into the recycling bin. It takes me a year to write a novel, so this pile of paper represents a year of my working life. Disposing of it provides that final moment of closure; this truly is the end of the book’s journey to publication.

Strangely I’m not left with a clear desk. While this exercise marks the end of one novel, a research pile for a new project is already gathering height and I look forward to sharing many more treasured memories with this one before we reach our final destination.


About the Author

jane-isaac-photo Jane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014′ by E-thriller.com and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014′.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Website. Facebook. Twitter.


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Posted on 22 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

Posted on 20 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the Noah Can’t Even blog tour and I am here today with a fab guest post from Simon about things you need to know about Noah!

First though, look at how funny this book sounds!


About the Book

Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

Goodreads. Amazon.


Top Ten Things You Need to Know About Noah Grimes

by Simon James Green

  1. Haribo or Skittles will solve everything. Honestly, he’ll roll over and play ball if you offer up these.
  2. He’s top set for everything, but his nemesis is Maths – especially mental arithmetic, which has bought him to tears before now.
  3. His middle name is a closely guarded secret because it’s ridiculous, and given to him as a joke by his mother, who took the inspiration from the Transformers movie.
  4. He doesn’t come from a wealthy family – in fact, they’re totally skint. But that doesn’t stop Noah being very grand when the mood takes him. I mean, why can’t his mum cook something worthy of a Michelin star restaurant for dinner? Fish fingers or nuggets? No, no, no. Noah wants a pan-fried duck breast on potato rösti, thank you very much.
  5. Things that really wind Noah up: Americanized language; people jabbing at the ‘open door’ buttons on trains before the driver has activated them; people claiming they are ‘gutted’ when really it’s just a very minor disappointment, not really akin to have all your intestines removed.
  6. Noah’s favourite Agatha Christie novel is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd because it’s very clever and you don’t spot who the murderer is. But don’t ask him about it because he’s terrible with spoilers.
  7. Noah is mildly asthmatic, has no upper body strength and fairly crap hand-eye co-ordination, ergo, PE is not really his forte. Nevertheless, the school unreasonably insists on his participation, something Noah considers to be in breach of his human rights. Like the right not to humiliate yourself on the football pitch… and the right not to be seen in the showers by the other boys in your year…
  8. Noah gets quite flustered and hot under the collar if you mention anything to do with… (whisper it now), s-e-x. He’s just not that comfortable talking about it – possibly because his mum is so open and in your face about everything sex related, it’s had the opposite effect on Noah.
  9. Even though he’s nearly sixteen, Noah still sometimes gets his Lego out. But he doesn’t follow any instructions to build particular things. Instead, he uses it to model designs and ideal layouts for things like airports, hospitals and shopping centres.
  10. Noah has an ardent dislike of France following an incident on a residential trip in Year 8. Want to know what that humiliating little episode was about? You’ll find out in the sequel, next year!

About the Author

Simon James GreenSimon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

Website. Twitter.


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Posted on 20 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments


Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

Posted on 16 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments

Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

Hi All!

Today is my spot on the Wishbones blog tour and I am here to share a fantastic guest post with you all!

But first, here’s more info on the book.


About the Book

Feather Tucker has two wishes:

1)To get her mum healthy again

2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships

When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.

Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?

Goodreads. Amazon.


Fictional Inspirations

by Virigina Macgregor

I have so many and continue to be inspired by new writers that I come across: for example, I’m currently reading Emery Lord’s young adult novel, When We Collided, and her ability to get into the head of a teenage girl with bipolar is incredible.

Voice and character are particularly important to me, I think that’s why I love young adult fiction so much – or adult fiction written from the point of view of children and young people: their voices are often fresh and quirky and they have a unique way of looking at the world. Emma Donoghue’s Room was a great inspiration in this, as it’s narrated by a four year old: her writing is pitch perfect and deeply moving. I gather she followed her own four year old around with a paper and pen! Having a hugely vocal three year old of my own makes me want to have a go at writing a very young narrator too.

If you know my writing you’ll also be aware that I’m an animal lover and that I can’t resist weaving including a pig or a goat or a one legged-cat in my stories. I was therefore blown away by Sara Baume’s Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither, in which the narrator gives a dog, a central character in the novel, a unique voice. Although I get close to it in my novel, The Return of Norah Wells, I haven’t yet written from the point of view of animal, but it’s definitely something I’d love to try.

Going back further, I love both Charles Dickens and Roald Dahl for their creation of wonderfully bonkers but real characters – I hope that my characters, like Feather, have a little of that in them too. Those are the people who tend to appeal to me in real life too: misfits and those who don’t quite toe the line.

I used to teach English literature so I’m a bit of a sucker for beautiful language too, which is why I love the books by Jon McGregor (no relation). I gather he was a poet before he turned his hand to writing long fiction and that certainly shows in the beauty and precision of his sentences: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is one of my favourite novels. It feels as though he is writing on the boundary between prose and fiction.

Some other young adult writers who really inspire me include Jonathan Safron Foer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close brings together all the things I love: real but quirky characters, a contemporary setting, which also feels a little magical and language which feels fresh and original.

Finally, I love writers, especially YA writers, who tackle thorny social issues and taboos. I’ve recently read Dumplin’ by Julie Murray, which takes a humorous and courageous look at a teenage girl who celebrates her excess weight – but also struggles with it.

Oh, and I’m a sucker for a bit of romance too, which makes Rainbow Rowell’s novels irresistible.


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Posted on 16 May, 2017 by Faye - No Comments