Ice Cream Tag

Monday, 31 July 2017


I was tagged by the lovely Charlotte from Charlotte Somewhere to do a new tag called the Ice Lolly Book Tag. The idea came from the Charlotte, Amy from Golden Books Girl and Louise from Book Murmuration. I thought this was a really unique sounding tag and it gives you a chance to talk about a lot of different books. 

I'll be tagging four lovely bloggers at the end but if anyone wants to do this tag then take note of the questions (ice lollies) and let me know what books you would pick! 

Orbiting Jupiter Review

Saturday, 29 July 2017


By: Gary D. Schmidt
Rating: 3/5
Source: W H Smith Bundle

Jack meets his new foster bother, he already know three things about him. 
Joseph almost killed a teacher. 
He was incarcerated called Stone Mountain. 
He has a daughter, her name is Jupiter and he has never seen her. 
What Jack doesn't know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl. Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help. But the past can't be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda Review

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


by Becky Albertalli
Rating: 5/5
Source: Amazon


Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Grad Life Chapter 1 - How Do You Measure Success?

Monday, 24 July 2017

This isn't the post that I thought I'd be writing so soon after one of the best days of my life. Two weeks have passed since I through my cap into the air, collected my certificate and celebrated three years of hard work with my family. I've left education firmly behind me but there's just one problem. 

I'm still unemployed...


The Start of Me and You Review

Saturday, 22 July 2017


By: Emery Lord
Rating: 5/5
Source: W H Smith book bundle
Can you plan happiness? 
It's been a year since Paige's first boyfriend died in a swimming accident and it's time she rejoined the real world. So she makes a plan: 
1. Date a boy (long-standing crush Ryan Chase seems like the perfect choice. 
2. Attend parties (with best friends by your side: doable) 
3. Join a club (simple enough, right?)
 4. Travel (might as well dream big) 
5. Swim (terrifying, impossible). 
But when she meets Ryan's sweet (but so nerdy) cousin, Max, he opens her world and Paige's plans start to change... Is it too late for a second chance at life? 

Unboxed Review

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


By: Non Pratt
Rating: 5/5
Source: Waterstones

Unboxed is about four teenagers who come together after several months apart. In previous years, they had put together a time capsule about their best summer with a friend who was dying. Now that their friend has passed, they reunite to open the box.

Blogger Recognition Award

Monday, 17 July 2017

The amazing Jenny from Jenny In Neverland, tagged me in this Blogger Recognition award. I've seen this floating around have always wanted to take part! As a new blogger I wanted to use this as an opportunity to tag other new bloggers and some people who have made me feel so welcome, so make sure to share the love. Here are the rules of the post: 


1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

2. Write a post to show your award.

3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.

6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.

Moxie Review

Saturday, 15 July 2017


Rating: 5/5
Source: W H Smith Bundle
MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot! 

The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters Review - Blog Tour + Giveaway

Tuesday, 11 July 2017


Rating: 4/5
Source: ARC from publisher as part of a blog tour

Where dreams come true…?

Wendy Clayton stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago. Instead, she has a ‘nice’ life. Nice job. Nice flat. Absolutely no men. Until her life is turned upside-down when her elderly neighbour, Eulalie, passes away and leaves her the Château of Happily Ever Afters!
But there’s a catch: she must share the sprawling French castle with Eulalie’s long-lost nephew, Julian. And no matter how gorgeous he is, or how easily she finds herself falling head over heels, Wendy needs to find a way to get rid of him…
Because surely happily ever afters don’t happen in real life?

Escape to beautiful France this summer with this uplifting romantic comedy. Perfect for fans of Kat French, Caroline Roberts, and Holly Martin.

Thank You

Sunday, 9 July 2017

I'm sure by the time this goes up I'll be half asleep and ready for bed, but I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has taken part in the readathon.

A thank you to Zoe for allowing me to join her in this readathon, I already know she is going to be my rock throughout, so an extra big thank you for helping me to the end.

A thank you to Danielle Ramsay for pointing me in the direction of this amazing Charity. SomeOne Cares do really amazing things for people who've had such a tough time that they deserve infinitely more than I can raise for them.

So to everyone who works at or with SomeOne Cares, I say thank you as well. Thank you for doing what you do and helping the people who need you.

This has been a real learning curve for me as a person and a blogger. I don't think this will be the last charity event that I take on, I've been well and truly bitten by the bug and I never thought I could be accepted into the blogging community so completely like I have been over the last month and a half.

Thank you to everyone who is still following these posts after 24 hours, I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did and I hope you show the authors and bloggers some love, they deserve it!

This post has been written as a part of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

In five years time...


Where do I want to be in 5 years? 5 years is a long time. In 5 years, I'll be 28 years old. Now that is a scary thought. I feel that's an age where you're not a young adult anymore, but you're still not quite a fully fledged adult. Maybe you are and I'm just too terrified at the prospect of finally losing the term "young" and just referring to myself as an adult.


My Book Wishlist

Here are just a few books that I'd like to read/own during the month of July 2017 and the beginning of August 2017.

MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with an administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME by ADAM SILVERA

OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means.

YOU DON'T KNOW ME by IMRAN MAHMOOD

It's easy to judge between right and wrong - isn't it?.
Not until you hear a convincing truth.
Now it's up to you to decide...

WILDE LIKE ME by LOUISE PENTLAND

Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine.

THE LYING GAME (BOOK 1) by SARA SHEPARD

Sutton Mercer had a life anyone would kill for – and someone did. But thanks to a view from the afterlife and Emma Paxton, her long-lost twin sister, Sutton has a chance to solve her own murder. Emma slips into Sutton’s old life to piece together her disappearance. But can Emma keep up the charade long enough to discover what really happened to Sutton…or will she become the next victim?

FANGIRL by RAINBOW ROWELL

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.

by Sam (@ b0oksarefun) from Books Are Fun

This  post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

My bucket list

Saturday, 8 July 2017

I'm going to talk about my bucket list, both blog related and personal. 

1. Getting my own domain name. I am currently in the process of trying to sort this out so hopefully I can tick this one off very soon!
2. Read 50 books in 2017. I got to June and realised I had only read about 3 books and I was do annoyed with myself. I am currently on my 7 book of the year, so we'll see how far I get with this
3. Reach 1000 Twitter followers by the end of the year. I have planned an amazing giveaway for when I hit 1000 and I am so excited.
4. Travel to New York. This is a once in a lifetime bucket list goal. I have always wanted to go to New York more than anywhere in the world.
5. Make new blogging friends. I'd love to feel comfortable going to events and things on my own in order to make new friends.
6. Get a mortgage. I have always wanted to own my own house. I currently live in a top floor flat but I really want a garden.
7. Buy a turquoise mini cooper car. Ever since I passed my test, this is the car I have wanted. I pass one at the Mini garage near me every time I drive to my Sister's house and I fall in love with it every single time.
8. Go to Disneyland. Nope, I have never been to Disney before!

Thank you to Rebecca for letting me take part in her Readathon today!😊

by Louise (@ louisebodle) from Louise Bodle

This  post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

Volunteering

What comes to mind when you think of volunteering?

Every person I’ve told have automatically assumed that I do all the jobs that no one else wants to do, like cleaning and carrying boxes but that’s not all I do (okay, maybe I did last weekend but the rest of the day I was working on stage).

For the last seven years I’ve volunteered in so many places and met so many different people from all stages of life. Last week I worked at LAGC and met a group of people that I know I want to be friends with for the years to come. One introduced me to K-pop, music I now listen to almost daily and plan to see live with her at some point soon, and another showed me that just because I prefer board games over dancing, doesn’t make me as dweeby as I thought. Although I finished my weekend playing a game called Battle Sheep, I still experienced my first rave and found it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!

As well as working in an Oxfam book shop (who can resist working with books and getting them cheap while helping a charity?!), I work every week in London Zoo and recently celebrated with my whole team that one of our co-workers is now one hundred percent cancer free, while another reached over twenty years at the zoo and her eighty fifth birthday. Working in all these different environments means that I get to witness all of these milestones in people’s lives.

So if someone asked whether it was worth volunteering: yes! You don’t know who you’ll meet or what you’ll get to experience so go for it. You don’t know who you’ll be helping or making smile along the way.

Thank you so much Rebecca for allowing me to guest post on your blog and I hope anyone reading this can donate to her 24 Hour Readathon!

by Amy (@ itsamazingamy)

This post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

My blogging journey


Hello lovelies. This is Zoe from nosaferplace and I have been a blogger for two years now. I really struggled with my blog in the beginning and it took me almost a year to realise, that I actually had to put a lot of time and effort in to make my blog work (who knew!).

I'd seen many well-known bloggers and assumed it would be easy to write a few posts and sail off into the sunset in my new found glory. Let me tell you: it isn't easy. My journey as a blogger has been almost like a rollercoaster, there have been times where I've cruised along and not much has changed, times where I've zoomed up and had bucket loads of motivation, times where I've crashed down and not blogged for months and times where I've looped a loop and my world seems to have been turned upside down (in a good way!). 

After my first year of blogging, I was only posting once every few weeks, I wasn't talking to many people online, I wasn't promoting myself or talking to authors, I felt like a failure and stopped blogging for about 6 months. I'd forgotten why I blogged and how good it used to make me feel.
It was around June last year that I bought myself a new laptop (with a webcam) and decided to give YouTube a go. I look back at my first video and the quality was awful, I cringe inwardly at my "posh" voice I put on in the beginning, but it got views and gave me the confidence I needed to get back into the blogging world.

A year later and I am now a full-time blogger and YouTuber. Blogging has started taking precedence over YouTube now, which is something I never thought I'd say. And the main advice I would give? Don't put pressure on yourself, living up to your own expectations is setting yourself up for failure. As soon as I cared less about views, followers, comments etc, things started to progress for me, at a very rapid rate. 

I started blogging for WHSmith, publishers started to send me books, authors started talking to me, I was invited to events, my social media engagement was growing and a lot of you now will say how "lucky" I am but it isn't luck, it's hard work and lots of it. I'm definitely not complaining, I love my job and I wouldn't change it for the world but it's currently 7am and I've already started writing and there are days where I'll sit at my desk reading/writing until 6pm to try and stay on top of everything I've got going on.

My Top Tips:

  • Don't take on too much work. I know it's exciting when things start taking off but you'll just end up letting people down; after all, you're only human.
  • Interact with other bloggers. I want to shout this from the rooftops. I only started doing this around 6 months ago, when Rebecca started blogging, we got chatting, and I realised the difference it made having blogger friends. The support and encouragement you'll get from the blogging community is overwhelming.
  • Don't be scared to talk to new people. I know how frightening it is to talk to well-known bloggers but as I said earlier, we're all just humans...and usually lovely ones.
  • Build up a relationship with authors and publishers. DON'T go straight in there asking for books and interviews etc. Start to chat with them, like their tweets, make yourself known. There's a fantastic new blogger called Amy (GoldenBooksGirl) who does this perfectly, so go and check out her Twitter for tips.
  • Sign up to sites like NetGalley and BookBridgr, they are both great for requesting new books when you're just starting out and also a great way to get involved in blog tours. Blog tours will boost your audience significantly.
  • Join in with online chats and attend bookish events if you can, they are all great ways to build your blog and make friends along the way.
  • Finally, just be yourself. I tried to "be" like other bloggers for a while because they were doing so well but don't try and be like other people, there's no one better than yourself.

I am definitely not a super successful blogger but I'm so proud of where I am at the moment and how much things I've changed have for me. I'm definitely not on a rollercoaster anymore, the only way for me is up...and my journey's only just begun. 

by Zoe (@ zcollins1994) from No Safer Place

This  post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!



Dear female authors...

In April this year, the #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear hashtag took off on Twitter after author, Joanne Harris, talked about how women are essentially demonised for taking time out of their family life to write. What followed was the writers’ equivalent of the Everyday Sexism Project, with authors as well-known as V E Schwab revealing that she was told “I'm so glad I didn't know you were a woman. I never would have picked up your book."

Similarly, J K Rowling was encouraged to use her initials to avoid boys being put off reading her work. There’s no way of knowing whether Joanne Rowling’s Harry Potter books would have sold 400 million copies – but it’s a shame we live in a world where it was too much of a marketing risk to find out.

What I personally find the saddest of all is the female writers of the past who will never know how much their work was adored even when a female name was attached to it *gasp*. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Brontë sisters, who were all published under male names. Charlotte Brontë, author of the much-adapted Jane Eyre, was once told by poet laureate Robert Southey that “literature cannot be the business of a woman's life”.

But it’s not just the name that goes on the cover that is affected by the, let’s say lacklustre, attitude to female authors – it’s bank balances, too. An article posted online by The Guardian in April 2015 discussed the findings of a study by Queen Mary University of London, revealing exactly how badly women are missing out. The study found that professional female writers – ‘professional’ meaning that they spend “more than half their working life on self-employed writing” – earn just 80% of what their male counterparts are cashing in.

Another issue female writers face is the endless hurling of accusations at us on Twitter, writing forums, and real-life conversations with people who should know better. ‘Women aren’t good at writing anything scary or violent’ (so why did Sarah J Maas turn Cinderella into an assassin for Throne of Glass?), ‘Women can’t write male characters’ (sorry, Harry Potter, Just William, and Frankenstein), and ‘Women only want to read and write romance’ (um, what exactly is romantic about any of Gillian Flynn’s novels?).

So, is it all doom and gloom for female authors?

Well, things are starting to look up: this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 list included two authors, both of whom are female, with their profiles highlighting their critical and financial success. This follows a 2015 list in which Veronica Roth was the only author honoured (the 2016 list did not include any authors).

The New York Times bestseller list also shows improvement, as 48% of authors on the list in 2016 were female. This is up from a shocking low of 14% in 1975, although the figure hasn’t dropped below 43% since 1998, proving that attitudes are changing – if somewhat slowly.

For aspiring female authors today, there are many great examples of women writing with extreme success. In the world of YA, for example, Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass has been optioned for a hotly-anticipated TV show called Queen of Shadows, while Nicola Yoon managed to have two of her novels on the New York Times bestseller list at once.

We can also celebrate the recent phenomenon that is the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which received critical acclaim and has now been renewed for a second season. But this isn’t only an example of a female writer’s enduring success – it also provides a valuable platform for feminism in society as a whole, depicting women as the property of men in a brutal way that has really hit home for many. While the fact that the show has hit people so hard is, sadly, proof that we still identify with the issues the story raises, its’ success is a sign that audiences aren’t turning a blind eye. The world is changing – and our stories are a vital part of it.

So, my message to you, female authors, is also a message I’d give to Robert Southey: literature can and should be the business of many women’s lives. Why?

Because we’re bloody good at it.

by Alice (@ allygatorgrey) from Reading By Dragon Fire 

This post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Books Vs. Screen Adaptations

Not many people are aware that the majority of films that are released each year, are derived from books (obviously WE know that).

Hollywood has always struggled with original ideas for films - that’s why we’re currently stuck in a period of prequels, sequels and remakes.

But they can always rely on books as a source of inspiration. Sometimes they get it right, but sometimes they really screw it up. And when they do, they can always rely on their fiercest critics - fans of the books - to make their anger heard.

I’ve compared some of my favourite books with their screen adaptations, listed below as the good, the bad and the ugly. Let me know about your best/worst film adaptations by tweeting me at @DickDoesBooks

Escaping House Arrest

At the moment I'm finishing edits on my second novel, Everything Is Lies. It’s about a young architect, Sophia, who comes home to find her needy mother dead. Stunned at this inexplicable turn of events, she discovers that her mother had been in a cult in her youth, and had been about to publish an expose of her time there. Through her mother's notebooks, Sophia is drawn into the sinister and ruthless world of the Ascendants…

I write full time now, so most of Everything Is Lies and the editorial work on Dear Amy happened in this house. Writing is a solitary business by its very nature. It's lovely to do what you love, but not so great, perhaps, to be trapped too long in the house with only your own thoughts for company. Or at least to be trapped in the house with my thoughts. I can't speak for other people's.
So, without much more fanfare, here is a list of alternative places to write, to break up the monotony and perhaps get yourself out of a writing rut. After all, there is only so much avoiding the dirty dishes a girl can take over the course of a day…

1. Cafes
Cafes are the first choice for a writer - there is a chair, table, coffee and cake, which is essentially all you need to write any book ever. If you were going for the gold star experience, you can also invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and job's a good'un. Starbucks is actually a great cafe to write in - most have tables and chairs of the right height to work comfortably, free wifi, and a culture of encouraging lone laptoppers.
Indie cafes can also be good, though they require a little more consideration - as a rule they are smaller and require more table turnover to make a profit, so I try not to linger in them too long if they are more than half full.

2. Libraries
A library is perfect if you live in a noisy house and you could really do with some blessed silence to think in. Public libraries are great, but what you might not know is that if you have a university near you, you could be able to get visitor's tickets to the university library. I used to go to the University of Surrey's library in Guildford all the time and loved it. They tend to be open very late in term, which is handy if you're a night owl like me. A campus is usually designed to encourage reflection and relaxed concentration with its landscaped greenery, so they can be very pleasant places to work. Different universities have different access rules (for instance, Cambridge University Library will only let certain categories of users in) but it's always worth asking at your local university.

3.  Pubs
I'm a big believer in writing with friends - having creative playdates, as it were. You can pitch up, watch one another's stuff when the other goes to the loo, and have a chat and catch-up over lunch. My experience is that group writing encourages us all to stay focussed and makes the lonelier aspects of writing seem more communal, and I suspect it's part of why Nanowrimo events are so popular.
For years I was in a group that met twice a week in the South Bank Centre at night. There are some lovely pubs around where you can have a nice lunch, gossip about the ones that didn't show, and then crack on with work in the afternoon as the pub naturally gets quieter.

4. Hotels
Though they are hugely variable in facilities, hotels offering tea to the public can be a great place to write. Five star hotels in particular are comfortable and beautiful spaces, usually without music (there might be the risk of a bit of tinkly piano in the background, but you pays your money and takes your choice) and have excellent service, and even though that pot of Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend looks expensive, the odds are good that it will be refreshed at some point.

5. Your house, only better.
A friend of mine who writes and works from home has a daily "commute" to his job and I started doing this myself recently. Twice a day I take a walk, once before starting work, and then on finishing. During that walk you review what you hope to achieve that day, take some fresh air, and generally get your head right. It helps, I find, with the problem of separating your work and home life - when you work from home, there is a danger you are never properly at work and never properly off the clock.
By clearly demarcating what is work and what is rest, your life becomes less stressful and more manageable.

There are other places worth considering, and which I love to write in, but they are not free - for instance, the Member's Room at the British Museum, the top floor bar in the South Bank Centre with its fabulous views (be aware though, before you splurge on membership, that they are becoming increasingly inimical to laptops so check their regulations before you part with your money), and funnily enough, trains. When I was contracting, I spent half my life on trains and there is something about that concentrated 45 minutes that ended up being really creative.

And don't worry if one strategy works for a while and then stops - that's the nature of the beast. The important thing is to be out for a change, to be productive, and to enjoy yourself - whatever you're writing.

by Helen Callaghan (@ hecallaghan)

This post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!



Books I'm most excited for in 2017


1. The Explorer by Katherine Rundell- Every time Katherine releases a book I love it even more than the last. Her current releases are all sublime, and this one is set to be just as excellent. I haven`t seen this get anything less than 5 stars from all the people who`ve received proofs and I`m dying to get my hands on this.

2. Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison- Lobsters (the debut of these authors) is one of my favourite books, but I didn`t love their 2nd book anywhere near as much. I`ve heard amazing things about Freshers though, so I`m really hoping I`ll enjoy this.

3. Simply the Quest by Maz Evans- I loved Maz`s debut earlier in 2017, so I`m super excited to delve back into this madcap adventure series starring the Greek gods again. Also, I`m desperate to know what happens next after the cliff-hanger at the end of book one...

4. The Secrets of Supernatural Creek by Lauren St. John- I am a huge long-time fan of the Laura Marlin Mysteries so after 3 year whole years since the last book I couldn`t be more thrilled about this one coming out next month!

5. The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud- I only discovered the Lockwood and Co books last summer but I fell head over heels in love with them as soon as I read them as they have super creepy ghostly mysteries and some of the best and funniest characters you`ll ever read. I can`t wait to read the last book of the series, even though I`m devastated it`ll be over. I also need to see more of the Skull (my very favourite character of a brilliant bunch)

6. It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne- I couldn`t adore the Spinster Club series books any more than I do (they were my gateway to feminism as well as just being all round excellent books), I also enjoyed Holly`s standalones and I love the concept of this, so I`m pretty sure I`ll devour it in a single night like I have with all of Holly`s previous books.

7. Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend- Last but certainly not least is Jessica Townsend`s fantasy debut Nevermoor. I have been excited for this book since it was announced in the Bookseller last year and I`m extraordinarily jealous of everyone with proofs on Twitter, so my resolve has weakened and I am breaking my `don`t buy hardbacks` rule.

8. The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens- There are very few authors who can plot mysteries as well as Robin, and I couldn`t be more thrilled that she`s getting to write the follow up to Siobhan Dowd`s marvellous London Eye Mystery. Also- have you SEEN the beautiful cover designed by David Dean?! It would be worth reading just so you get to be in the presence of something so gorgeous, but knowing Robin and her writing I`m sure the inside will be just as special, if not more.

by Amy (@ GoldenBooksGirl) from Golden Books Girl

This post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

Top Saga Authors Most Embarrassing Moments

We all have them, don’t we? Those moments that haunt you, and every time they pop into your head, your cheeks redden, and you feel all hot and bothered as if the incident had just happened.

I asked top saga authors: Freda Lightfoot, Kate Thompson, Elaine Everest, Emma Hornby and Margaret Dickinson, to share their most embarrassing moment in a twofold way:

1. What was your most embarrassing outfit?
2. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Their answers are hilarious. Oh, and I didn’t let myself off the hook. I give you mine at the start, as is only fair, seeing that I expect others to bare all.

Jar Baby

I want to tell you all about my most favourite underrated book and character, Diana (Dee) Rickwood from Hayley Webster's book Jar Baby.


(photo by my lovely friend Linda Bell)

Jar Baby is one of my all-time favourite hidden gems. It is truly wonderful and haunting book and I loved it from the very beginning. It is one of those books you read intentionally slowly to savour every description and make sure you miss nothing. I know that I will re-read it many times and find new layers to it.

Children's books that changed me

This is an unashamedly self-indulgent and very pleasurable dip into the books that I read and loved as a child. The recent passing of the great Michael Bond made me think again on the wonderful worlds that have been created by the very best writers for children. I am shying away from some great children’s picture books and concentrating on novels – there are of course many titles that I could mention in that genre – The Tiger that Came to Tea, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, anything written and illustrated by the wonderful Edward Ardizzone, or the Ahlbergs. I love them all and spent many happy evenings reading to my daughter, as rapt as she was.
Similarly, I am not intending to cover old ground with classics – Lewis Carroll, Charles Kingsley, Tolkein, Kenneth Grahame, Roald Dahl, Michael Bond or CS Lewis. Enough has been written in praise of these great works already. I want to concentrate on a few specific books which I remember with fond nostalgia, but which are not seen quite so much these days (This may of course be a factor of my own aging – they may be as popular as ever!)
There is no order to my list, and I am sure that the moment it is posted, I will remember a few more. But these are the ones that came to mind more or less immediately.
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The Guardians by John Christopher
John Christopher is more famous for his books about the tripods – mind controlling aliens who rule the world. But this dystopian novel is for me much more believable and chilling. The division of Britain into Country and Conurbs, each of whom have a healthy disrespect of the other’s way of life could, one feels, easily happen. And alongside his series on the Tripods, I also loved “The Lotus Caves”. These were probably my first venture into science fiction, a genre which I still enjoy forty years on.


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41zk%2ByYpi-L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Complete Short Stories Of Saki
A man of whom it was once said “He was incapable of writing a dull sentence”, HH Munro or Saki was a writer of deliciously ferocious short stories, whose life was cut tragically short in WW1 by a German sniper. We had an English teacher, who, if we had behaved, would read us a Saki story at end of the class. We always behaved! Saki has a list of quotes to compare with that of Oscar Wilde, and this is but one example :-

“The revenge of an elder sister may be long in coming, but, like a South-Eastern express, it arrives in its own good time.”
Particularly apt at present, I feel. Just sit back and luxuriate in some of the funniest writing ever.

Stig of the Dump (A Puffin Book) by [King, Clive]
Stig Of The Dump by Clive King
The tale of the cave dwelling Stig is a great adventure, and for years afterwards I went into quarries with half a hope that I would find my own there.  I loved the way that, many years before recycling became the norm, this industrious troglodyte would take items from the dump and re-use them so brilliantly. Clive King creates a totally believable character (with the minimum of conversational ability) and his friendship with the solitary Barney is most touching. I am glad to see that it has recently been republished as a classic.



The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm by [Hunter, Norman]
Professor Branestawm by Norman Hunter
I used to spend hours wondering how Norman Hunter could be both a great and witty novelist and the grim central defender of the all-conquering Leeds United team of the early 70’s. I am glad that the Prof has enjoyed something of a resurrection with Harry Hill’s TV specials, and I think these books compare well to Dr Doolittle. I liked both, and along with an old moth-eaten guide named “How to make Fireworks” which I also possessed, led me into a passion for science which I ended up studying at Cambridge and still love to this day.


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Stop The Train by Geraldine McCaughrean
This is a bit of a cheat in that I only read it a few years ago. I had not realised that it was a children’s book, but a few pages I really ceased to care. It is an engrossing novel about a small township in Oklahoma and the struggles of its inhabitants against the Railroad company. It has echoes of “The Titfield Thunderbolt” for those who enjoyed the Ealing Comedies, and traces of “Little House on the Prairie” for Ingalls Wilder fans. Simply fantastic and I couldn’t resist putting it in.



by Robert Rees
Robert was born in Berkshire and attended Eton College and Trinity Cambridge before pursuing a career in the City of London. After retiring from the City in 2007, Robert divides his time between his house in Kent and Provence writing music, novels, and plays. His book; A Season in the Sun combines cricket, crime and comedy in the beautiful surroundings of a tropical island. Similar in style to PG Wodehouse and William Boyd, it will appeal to fans of suspense and sporting pursuits alike. 
This  post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

Character aesthetic


The Wanderer

Astrid Bone is a law unto herself. She butters both sides of her toast. Says she likes it extra soft, despite burning it close to a crisp beforehand. She double knots her shoelaces. For luck, not any practical reason. She only wears yellow socks. Other colours don't feel the same when she walks. She collects things: mugs, pins, quirks.

Her mugs are all chipped, second hand things and she cradles each one in rough, sun kissed hands as she sips her tea, ignoring the way her boyfriend wishes she'd throw them out. 'They make it taste better,' she insists through a grin, tracing the floral patterns on the China with short nails. 
He just shakes his head and turns away, focuses his attention back on the map laid out before them. It's old - like everything else that she owns - and covered in mud from their last hike. The corners are bent and tattered from many a day spent buffeted by the wind. But it works. Has yet to fail them. 
She's a wanderer. She floats from place to place, drinks in their sights and sounds and then returns to her flat rich with experience and wonder. She never stays for long - home or away. 'There's too much to see,' she explains as she rifles through a drawer, searching for a pen. She likes to keep a written log of her adventures and her messy scrawl fills a shelf full of notebooks. One day, maybe, she'll make something of them.

For now, she travels. And she learns. And she yearns. To find her calling, her place in the world, the perfect sunset over the perfect mountain, the most hideous second hand tea set to make her boyfriend cringe. For now, she wishes and she waits. Lets the wanderlust settle into her bones. Breathes. 

by Charlotte (@ bookmarksblogs) from Bookmarks and Blogging

This  post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!



Book gems you might have missed

There are some books you love so much you can’t help but recommend them to everyone. Some of these are classics and bestsellers – no one is going to argue too much if you tell them it’s worth reading Pride and Prejudice or To Kill a Mockingbird. But there are other books you fall in love with that, for one reason or another, aren’t quite as famous as you’d like them to be. Here are some of mine:

Rob Sheffield – Love is a Mix Tape, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, and Turn Around Bright Eyes. 

This trilogy of books about love and loss can be tough to find in the UK, but is worth seeking out. The story of how Sheffield married young only for his wife to suddenly die, it is by turns romantic, angry, heart-breaking and hopeful – a tale of love, and loss, and finding love again, all interspersed with fascinating and funny tales of pop stars from his work as a music journalist.

Katherine Dunn – Geek Love

Nothing to do with the modern use of the word ‘geek’, this is an American classic but far less well-known in this country, though it deserves to be. An ugly, brutal yet compelling look at love and family, it’s not for everyone, but if you let it grip you it won’t ever let go.

Madeline Miller – Song of Achilles 

OK, I am cheating here, as this was an award-winning best-seller when it came out, but if you missed it then, read it now. The story of Achilles and his boyhood friend turned lover Patroclus, it’s a glorious, sweeping romance set against the backdrop of the Trojan War that will stay with you long after you’ve finished.

Joe Keenan – Blue Heaven, Putting on the Ritz, My Lucky Star

Keenan was a writer on Frasier, and it shows in this slightly camp, very witty trio of comedies about hard up musicals writer Philip and his wayward friend Gilbert, who is constantly getting him into outlandish scrapes. Full of the kind of one-liners you’d expect from a seasoned comedy writer (Keenan also worked on Desperate Housewives, and the hapless Gilbert can’t help but bring to mind Will and Grace’s Jack) these are laugh out loud misadventures that made me sad he only wrote three of them.

Maria McCann – The Wilding 

This is one of those books that I enjoyed at the time – if ‘enjoy’ is the correct word, since it’s a dark book with some truly shocking moments – but kind of read about and forgot, only to find that it kept coming back to me, haunting me. Utterly compelling.

So, those are a few of my favourites – what about yours? 

by Tracey Sinclair (@ thrifygal)

Tracey Sinclair is an author and freelance editor and writer. Her books include the romcom The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates/Cassandra Bick series, the latest of which, Angel Falls, is out now.

This  post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!



A letter to my younger self

Shannan, 

It gets better.

Okaay, the next few years have their ups and downs, and your next few years in education may seem useless at first. But there not. You are going to go on to prove all your old teachers wrong, and get that university education you wanted so much. Believe it or not, you even graduate with a 2:1. On your graduation day you are going to feel a sense of pride that you never imagined you would ever feel. You will collect your degree certificate in front of your peers and think "fuck. I've made it". You will look around at the friends that you have made over those 3 years and be so proud of them too. Your heart will be full, and you will be happy. Really, truly happy.

You may regret spending time with the wrong people. But don't. They shaped you and changed you for the better. They helped you become a greater person, a stronger person. They opened the door and lead you to form impossible friendships, friendships that have lasted double the amount of time as your friendship with the wrong crowd.

You will find what makes you happy. You will find your passion. You will travel much more than you ever imagined - America, Poland, Spain and France to name a few. You will get accepted to study second degree, this time in nursing, and you will be oh so excited.

You will still have your bad days, and you will still struggle at times. But that's okay. You are entitled to those days. You've worked incredibly hard to get to where you are now. You've got a flat, a job and you're studying again come September. And just 8 years ago you would have never believed that you would get to where you are now.

I know the world is a scary place, and at times it seems to get scarier but alongside the awful atrocities that you witness in your life time you realise how lucky you are to be where you are. You will witness the whole country coming together, standing united. And if that doesn't fill you with pride and hope, then what will?

You're even writing a blog in your spare time, and you love it. You're reading more, and you're spending time with your closest friends. Making new memories every single day. So don't give up, and keep working towards to what you believe in because even in just a few years, you will look back and realise how much you have achieved in your short time on this planet. And you will be proud.

Keep your head held high, and your heart strong because you are going to be just fine.

by Shannan (@ TSDDBlog) from Twenty Something and Day Dreaming 


This post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

My writing inspiration: a battered book and an old photograph

On my writing desk sits an old, battered copy of Beloved by Toni Morrison. It is the only book that I have there and its purpose is to inspire me when I write. I wrote five DI Jack Brady books, the latest one, The Puppet Maker (2015) with Beloved within reach; always close enough so my fingers could touch it. A constant reminder of why I wanted to write. Why I wanted to be storyteller.
Published in 1987,  Beloved’s exploration of family, trauma, repressed memories and ultimately, the resilience of the human psyche to fight oppression – regardless of the personal consequences– is why this book is so inspirational. The racial themes of black/white relations founded in such an inequitable past as slavery, struck a personal chord with me as my Algerian grandfather was raised in Dundee by a white family in the early 1900s and suffered unspeakable racism throughout his life. At the age of thirty-seven he was deployed at the outbreak of the Second World War to France. Physically, as a 6’1’ black man he was a conspicuous figure; finally captured, he proceeded to escape three times during his five year imprisonment. He even survived a “death march” into Germany at the close of the war by feigning death and then made his own way home through Europe, arriving months after the end of the war. My grandfather ironically died shortly after being reunited with my grandmother from an intracranial brain tumour, believed to have been the result of trauma to the head after being beaten repeatedly by a German soldier’s rifle. My black-skinned mother grew up fatherless with no reference to her racial heritage; one which had caused her to suffer being called the “N” word (amongst other racial insults) – a slur I had heard as a child growing up in reference to her.
Morrison dedicates Beloved to the “Six Million and more” Africans and their descendants who had died during the transatlantic slave trade and pulls no punches as she asks the reader to suspend disbelief as she takes them into a world of two narratives; one set during slavery and the other after the end of the Civil War. The narrative is powerfully alluring and lyrical and at the same time, harrowing as it exposes the unspeakable insidious ills of slavery and she tells it as it was – regardless of how unpalatable. But it also speaks of human survival and resilience against adversity which is why it speaks to me of my maternal family.
However, Beloved is not the only item on my desk that inspires me as a writer. An old photograph of Harriet Ann Jacobs sits beside Beloved and was my inspiration when I wrote The Last Cut (2017) which is the first book in a new series and features DS Harri Jacobs who is the victim of a horrific attack and transfers to Newcastle from the Met in the hope of leaving her past behind. Her assailant left her alive, with the promise that one day he would be back. And she ran. But a year later, with a serial killer stalking the streets of Newcastle, horrifically altering his victims, she soon realises that he has followed her. But the hunter soon becomes the hunted as DS Harri Jacobs refuses to become his victim for a second and final time and decides that it is time to take her revenge.
The photograph so inspired me to the extent she is DS Harri Jacobs’s namesake. Harriet Ann Jacobs was an African American slave who escaped by hiding in a crawl space above a storeroom in her grandmother’s house in the summer of 1835. She remained in that “little dismal hole” for the next seven years. She went on to become an abolitionist and publicly spoke against the ills of slavery, racial and gender inequality. She then wrote an autobiographical novel, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl which was published in 1861 and exposed the horrific insidious sexual abuse inflicted upon women and girls within the confines of slavery.
However, Harri is clearly not an escaped slave, nor an African American novelist, but she is a survivor of sexual abuse and oppression who through her job fights for the freedom of other female victims. There are parallels that link my fictitious character to her namesake, such as the fact that Harriet Ann Jacobs hid in a crawl space for seven years watching and waiting before seizing her liberation. DS Harri Jacobs effectively locks herself up in a glass prison – a fifth floor warehouse apartment – where she watches and waits for her attacker to return, as promised. But both women break free from their confines, one from slavery and the other as a rape and potential murder victim – both ultimately living with the threat of being hunted down; Harriet Ann Jacobs as a fugitive slave and DS Harri Jacobs as a victim whose assailant was never caught. Both have the threat of men claiming and destroying them and yet both women are ultimately victorious warriors who chose not to live in fear.
The Last Cut deals with female victims, but instead of having them as part of a body count, I wanted them to be survivors; to transcend victimhood and metamorphose into warriors who ultimately save themselves. The abolitionist, Harriet Ann Jacobs used her novel to fight against slavery for the victims who endured its ills, and so, as a feminist and a Patron of the charity SomeOne Cares which counsels victims of rape, child abuse and domestic violence, I wanted my victims to fight back. To resist. To refuse. And if at all possible, to save themselves.
by Danielle Ramsay (@ DanielleRamsay2)
Danielle Ramsay is a proud Scot who gave up an academic career to write creatively after being shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2009 and 2010. She was then a New Writing North 2011 Read Regional author. She is the author of five DI Jack Brady books set in the North East of England and her latest book, The Last Cut which is the start of a new psychological thriller series with the female protagonist, DS Harri Jacobs was published in June and described by Martina Cole as: “A really cracking good read!”
An advocate against domestic violence for personal and political reasons, Danielle is the Patron of the charity SomeOne Cares which counsels survivors of domestic violence, rape and child abuse.
This post has been kindly written in support of #Rebeccas24HourReadathon. SomeOne Cares is a charity that helps support survivors, young and old, who have suffered of rape or some form of abuse at some point in their life. 

If you would like to get involved and help spread the word then please considering sharing this post with your friends and followers. You can donate or share the donation page directly by going to this page.

Thank you for reading!

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