Friday, 16 March 2018

Blog Tour: The House of Hopes and Dreams Extract and Giveaway!

Hi guys! Today I'm very excited to be hosting my blog tour stop for Trisha Ashley's brand new novel The House of Hopes and Dreams. I have an extract from the book to share with you and if it leaves you wanting to read more then you're in luck as I have 3 copies of the book available to win over on Twitter!

Intrigued? Don't miss your chance to win The House of Hopes and Dreams! 

Make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour

Friday, 23 February 2018

Blog Tour: Review for Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris and Giveaway

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris 
Publisher: HQ
Release: 8th March 2018
Genre: Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he's engaged to be married; he's happy, and his past is only a tiny part of his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She's turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his future wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their relationship becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?"

B.A. Paris is one of my favourite psychological thriller authors, she puts her characters in these impossible situations and I can never turn the pages fast enough as I’m desperate to see how the story will unfold.

This time in Bring Me Back we’re following Finn whose girlfriend Layla went missing 12 years ago whilst the couple were on holiday in France. On their journey home Finn pulls their car into a rest stop but once he returns from the bathroom Layla has vanished, never to be found.

Now in the present-day Finn is engaged to be married to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Not long after their engagement Finn comes home to find Ellen clutching a Russian doll a symbol that holds huge significance between Layla and Ellen and their past. As more Russian dolls are left for them and Finn starts to receive emails from somebody claiming to be Layla the past comes rushing back to haunt them. Is Layla still alive? And if she is what really happened to her that day in France all those years ago?

Once again B.A. Paris had me absolutely absorbed in her writing. Right from the start you know that Finn is a suspicious character and that we’re not getting the whole truth from him but you’re never sure how much he is to blame for what happened to Layla. I loved playing detective and trying to guess what happened back then and if Layla truly is alive and well in the present day.

I also loved the role that the Russian dolls had to play in this book. It gave the story a distinctly horror-esque vibe that you don’t often see in thrillers, adding another chilling piece to this complex puzzle.

I have to say that I did have some mixed feelings on the ending to this one. I found that I had to suspend belief a little too much for my liking but it’s also an ending that got me thinking and discussing the situation with my friends to see what they’d do and I love when a book leaves you thinking long after you finish it.

Overall Bring Me Back is another gripping domestic noir from B.A. Paris and I’m already eagerly anticipating her next book.

As part of the blog tour I'm giving away a copy of Bring Me Back! 
Make sure you enter over on Twitter 

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Review for I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release: 5th April 2018
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"A powerful story of empathy and friendship from the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of If I Stay.

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.

An emotionally cathartic story of losing love, finding love, and discovering the person you are meant to be, I Have Lost My Way is best­selling author Gayle Forman at her finest."

Gayle Forman is one of my very favourite contemporary YA writers so a new release from her is always cause for much excitement! It’s been three years since her last YA book and it’s safe to say that I Have Lost My Way was everything I wanted it to be, filling up the Gayle Forman shaped hole in my life.

I Have Lost My Way follows three teenagers who literally crash into each other’s lives when they each need a friend the most. We have Freya, an online singing sensation who is tipped to be the next big star, Harun the perfect Muslim son who is about to leave his home in search of a wife and Nathaniel who is visiting New York City for the very first time. Each character has recently lost something vital and is questioning their place in the world and how to move forward. As the three of them develop a friendship they help each other confront the things that they have lost and find the courage to carve a new future for themselves.

This book reminded me a lot of Just One Day, my favourite of Gayle Forman’s books. It takes place over 24 hours in New York City but instead of a romantic relationship this time Forman explores the impact that friendship can have on our lives and how just one person’s actions can change everything.

I Have Lost My Way doesn’t give up all its secrets at once. As you get to hear from each character in the present you know that something pivotal has happened in their pasts that has led them to where they are today. Of course, in true Gayle Forman style, as you learn about each character’s story your heart breaks for them and you want nothing more than for each character to find some hope and the strength to move forward. Although I loved all three characters so much my favourite was Nathaniel, his story was the one that moved me to tears.

Overall, I Have Lost My Way is another triumph for Gayle Forman. This book features a wealth of much needed representation on topics such as child carers, mental illness, suicide and coming out, to name just a few, and is handled in a compassionate manner that felt carefully researched. This short but powerful book packs an emotional punch and is one that I’d highly recommend to anybody who likes poignant writing on hard hitting topics.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Review for Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

Far From The Tree by Robin Benway 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release: 8th February 2018
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

"'Sometimes, family hurts each other. But after that’s done you bandage each other up, and you move on. Together. So you can go and think that you’re some lone wolf, but you’re not. You’ve got us now, like it or not, and we’ve got you.'

When 16 year-old Grace gives up her baby for adoption, she decides that the time has come to find out more about her own biological mother. Although her biological mum proves elusive, her search leads her to two half-siblings she never knew existed. 

Maya, 15, has been adopted by wealthy parents and seems to have the picture-perfect family – that is, if you look past her alcoholic mother and the fact that Maya stands out like a sore thumb.

Older brother Joaquin hasn’t been so lucky. At 18, he’s shuffled between foster home after foster home, always careful never to get attached to anyone or anything, because it always gets taken away. 

When these three siblings come together, they find in themselves the place they can belong, while the secrets they guard threaten to explode..."

I’ve been a huge fan of Robin Benway’s books ever since I read her debut novel Audrey, Wait! way back in 2013 so when I saw that she was releasing Far From The Tree, a new book all about adoptive families (a personal buzzword of mine) this year I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! Thanks to the publisher I didn’t have to wait for very long and I devoured my proof copy over a couple of days. 

Robin Benway’s writing is so gorgeous. She has a way of getting across exactly what her characters are feeling so that you connect with them on an emotional level straight away. This book opens on our main character Grace having just given birth and putting her baby up for adoption. I was immediately thrown into Grace’s shoes and felt her loss tremendously. Being an adopted child herself, this pivotal moment puts Grace on the path of reaching out to her biological siblings Maya and Joaquin in attempts to track down their birth mother.

The book follows the perspectives of Grace, Maya and Joaquin in alternating chapters and I came to care about each sibling so much. Maya has always felt like she’s never quite fit in with her adoptive family and Joaquin has serious trust issues after spending his entire life bouncing from one foster family to another.

One of my favourite things about this book was seeing the relationship that the siblings have develop over time as they let each other in and built a support system. Having experience with adoption in my own family, I have to say that I thought that Robin Benway represented the topic really well. I love family based YA Contemporary and found it so refreshing to read a book about adoption, something that I think that the genre is severely lacking.

Far From The Tree is a beautifully written, emotionally evocative novel that looks at different types of families, sibling relationships and how sometimes home isn’t a place, it’s a person. If you’re after diverse books about modern families I can’t recommend this one enough!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Q&A With Non Pratt and Second Best Friend Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I hope you've all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend? I'm so excited to be welcoming one of my favourite UKYA authors Non Pratt onto the blog! Today we're chatting about her brand new book Second Best Friend, writing advice, and dealing with insecurity. I'm also giving one of you lucky lot the chance to win a copy of Second Best Friend over on Twitter!

Q1.) Hi Non, welcome to the blog! I absolutely loved Second Best Friend, what sparked the idea behind it? 
Friendship is a constant theme in all my books, but I’d not yet explored the concept of rivalry and the insecurity that can arise from admiring your best friend so much that you make the mistake of thinking they’re better than you. I thought it was time to write about it!

Q2.) What advice would you give to anyone who, like Jade, feels like a second best friend?
We all feel like that sometimes – don’t we? BUT if all of us feel this way, then your best friend is sitting there wishing she could be just as brilliant as you. It’s all relative! Which means that whole concept of ‘best’ is completely ridiculous in this context. Don’t strive to be the best of all people, just strive the best of yourself – it’s the only thing you can be. (And go easy on yourself if you make mistakes. That’s part of being human too.)

Q3.) What Hogwarts houses would Jade and Becky be in? 
Jade is ambitious and in this story we see a little more of her manipulative side. She’s so set on winning that she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to get there, which is a very Slytherin trait - having said that, she’s also a little rash, so there’s a splash of Gryffindor in there too. Becky’s a Ravenclaw through and through. She enjoys studying and knowledge and she works hard to achieve those ends.

Q4.) Barrington Stoke is a publisher that makes reading more accessible to young people, do you have any tips on how to get a non-reader reading?
The first thing I’d do is to try not to focus on the idea of someone being a ‘non-reader’. You don’t have to think of yourself as a reader to actually be one – maybe you read loads on online or in magazines or a computer game. We consume words outside of books too. If you want to entice someone towards books, find out what they like. If they’re into sports then an interesting autobiography or fact book might be more up their street. Cartoons? Try a graphic novel. Film and TV? Try a script. The most important thing to do isn’t to give them something you love, but something they will love. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve seen recommending Harry Potter for dyslexic readers – those books are densely typeset and have tons of unfamiliar words (spells aren’t part of our Muggle vernacular), just because you gobbled them up doesn’t automatically make them a safe bet for others.

Q5.) This is your second short story for Barrington Stoke, is writing a short story harder or easier than writing a full-length novel? 
Both. It’s easier in that I’m more focused and don’t end up writing 3 x more words than necessary, but because I’m not allowed to fart around in infinite different ways, I also get a bit bored, which can be hard to overcome!

Q6.) Do you have any advice for aspiring YA writers? 
My advice is to listen only to the advice that works for you. If you write like me then I advise you don’t worry too much about mapping out every chapter before you draft, rather that you have a good idea of where to start and where to end. You can prep all the Post-its you want, but you’ll only get to know your characters through writing about them. For YA specifically, it’s more important to develop a distinctive voice than a distinctive plot. You can write almost any storyline a million different ways, so give your reader a reason to listen to how you do it.

Q7.) What’s been your best author moment so far? 
I thought it would be the writing, or maybe finding my books in the shop, but it isn’t. On my desk there’s a letter from a librarian – not addressed to me, but to my publisher, thanking them for setting up a visit to her school. In it, she speaks of challenging students who enjoyed the talk, a new reader who was brave enough to ask a question and how Trouble is the longest book some of them have ever read to the end. Nothing has ever been better than that letter.

Q8.) What books would you recommend to fans looking for stories similar to your own? 
Maybe try Holly Bourne, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, or Lisa Williamson – I wouldn’t say our stories are similar, but I think if you like anything I’ve written, you’d like their writing too! In terms of friendship books, I love Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and I’m really looking forward to Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard.

Q9.) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next? 
The project that will have my attention this month is Floored – this is a collaborative novel that I’m working on with Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Mel Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Ellie Wood. I adore their work and it’s been brilliant drafting together and we’re just tightening everything up in the edit. The book takes six teens who’ve never met until the first chapter, when they witness an event that brings them back together, one way or another, on the same day for the next few years of their life.

Q10.) And lastly, what three words best describe Second Best Friend? 
Dangerous insecurity spiral.

Don't miss your chance to win Second Best Friend over on Twitter!
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