Friday, 13 October 2017

Anything You Do Say Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Anything You Do Say blog tour! I'm thrilled to have a brilliant Q&A with Gillian McAllister to share with you today on writing, what to expect from her latest book and how her life has changed since becoming a Sunday Times bestselling author.


1.) Hi Gillian, welcome to the blog! How has your life changed since becoming a bestselling author after the release of your debut novel Everything but the Truth?
Wow, what an interesting question. It’s quite strange and paradoxical. It’s changed in loads of ways and hasn’t changed at all: both are true at once. I still live in the same house, have the same boyfriend, friends, job (I’m a lawyer).

On the other hand… I now work part time. That’s been a big change. I see my book in a lot of places – it’s still in all bookshops and was in the supermarkets for ages, too. I get a lot of messages from readers and strangers – several a day. I get a lot of proofs sent to my house to read in advance of their publication (which is awesome). At anything social that’s outside my immediate inner circle, I get a lot of questions about being an author (and being a bestseller), some of which can be slightly awkward and personal or financial in nature… One of the most peculiar things, I think, is having a reputation that precedes you. Not that strangers know who I am when I walk into a room – of course not – but friends of friends and acquaintances often are aware that I am an author when I know nothing about them.

 2.) What’s been your best moment as an author so far?
God, another great question! I have two: the moment my agent left me a voicemail in February 2016 saying that I should call her. I did, and Penguin had pre-empted my novel. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life; it’s not often you feel so very far from achieving a life ambition, and then, one voicemail later, you achieve it. It was very special.
The second is really in the every day nuts and bolts of it: the writing. Sitting in a Starbucks and making things up and knowing it’s my job. Feeling totally in love with a work-in-progress as it nears completion. The dynamite feeling of an idea arriving while you’re brushing your teeth. All of that.

 3.) What can fans of Everything but the Truth expect from Anything You Do Say? In what ways are they similar or different?
I would say that Anything You Do Say is more of a thriller than Everything but the Truth. While the relationship takes centre-stage in both of them, Anything You Do Say has a denouement and a resolution that stands apart from the marriage between my main protagonists.
They both explore morally grey areas, guilt, lies and relationships in turmoil. Both also have medical and legal elements.
Anything You Do Say is definitely more ambitious – it is two books in one and an unusual structure.

 4.) What sparked the idea for Anything You Do Say and what made you decide to tell it in a Sliding Doors narrative structure?
I had wanted to write a Sliding Doors novel for ages and had been toying with ideas. I thought about having a woman in an unhappy marriage whose husband does/doesn’t die on the way home from work in a car crash, and exploring both strands, but really, I’m a crime writer and I wanted to write novels with that interesting criminal/legal element.

I had been trying to think around the idea of a Sliding Doors novel. I was putting the bins out one night and, and I reached down to pick up a piece of rubbish that had rolled out of the bin bag, I thought: Sliding Doors plus crime. I left that thought alone and, the next night – in the middle of the night – I woke up and thought about a woman who hands herself in and leaves the scene of a crime. Anything You Do Say was born at half past two in the morning.

 5.) If you were your main character Joanna which path would you choose?
Definitely Reveal. I am very law-abiding. Waiting to get caught would actually be worse than getting caught, for me.

 6.) Was writing a second novel harder or easier than writing the first?
Both. It was easier because I knew I knew how to do it. It was harder because Anything You Do Say was so ambitious – it is the longest novel I have ever written, and what I didn’t realise when I had the initial idea was that there would be double the character development. In each strand, Joanna’s husband, best friend, brother and parents have totally different character arcs. At one point it felt out of control and sprawling. Luckily, I wrote it before my first novel was published, so I never felt the weight of the readership (that came later).

 7.) Do you have any advice for aspiring thriller writers?
Finish a draft. It’s as simple – and as difficult – as that. Sit on the chair, most days, until it’s done. This is the biggest hurdle - I have observed - that aspiring writers fall at. I did, too - for years.

 8.) What books would you recommend to fans looking for similar stories to your own?
Interesting question. Imran Mahmood writes in the crime sphere, though is more literary than me. Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty both occupy (brilliantly) the Venn diagram where women’s fiction meets crime.

9.) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?
Of course. I have just delivered my third novel, No Further Questions. It’s about a woman who looks after her sister’s eight week old baby overnight. The baby dies, in somewhat suspicious circumstances, and she’s accused of manslaughter. It’s a courtroom drama, and it was an absolute joy to write.

10.) And finally, what three words best describe Anything You Do Say?
Tense. Edgy. Sad.

 Thank you for stopping by the blog today Gillian! 

For more fantastic posts don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Shiver of Snow and Sky Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the A Shiver of Snow and Sky blog tour! I had the pleasure of reading this magical book the other week and I absolutely loved it. Lisa Lueddecke's writing completely sweeps you away to an icy land where warnings are painted red in the skies so I'm very excited to be hosting a fantastic guest post from Lisa on magical world-building today and I have 3 copies of the book to give away to three of my lucky readers over on Twitter!


Magical World-Building by Lisa Lueddecke

If there is one part of writing I am here for, it’s the world-building. With A Shiver of Snow and Sky, I had elements of the world long before any of the story came to me, but because the world was so concrete and realized, the story fell seamlessly into place. I always knew that the northern lights would play a huge role, and I always knew that I wanted the sky to speak to those on the island, and so the rest of the story just followed, like it had existed all along and was just waiting for me to find it. That was very much the sense I got while writing this story: that I was discovering something that had always existed in my mind, and it was very exciting.

When I’m creating a fantasy world, I tend to picture landscapes, settings, and jot down notes on the imagery. Sometimes I scroll through pages and pages of pins on Pinterest, or do image searches for relevant words, or just free write in a notebook for a while to brainstorm ideas. For A Shiver of Snow and Sky, I wrote down a list of words that would complement the world (and I still have the list.) This was what I wrote down.

 Barren 
Biting 
Bleak 
Crackling 
Crisp 
Crunchy 
Fluffy 
Foggy 
Frosty 
Gray 
Isolated 
Leafless 
Lonely 
Misty 
Nippy 
Numb 
Overcast 
Evergreen 
Mittens 
Gust 
Shawl 
Quilt 
Layers 
Tea 
Knit 
Bundled 
Bare 
Spice 
Blue 

I knew early on that the world the book was set in would be every bit as big a character as the actual characters, and it would be the first one I’d need to fully understand before I could move on. I think the setting-as-a-character thing is true of all fantasy, if not all books! If readers can’t believe in the world you’ve created, it leaves room for them to not believe in your book. Writing down that list of random, wintry words helped me to set the tone for the book I wanted to write, even if I didn’t expressly use them in the story. It’s also very important to fully understand the parameters of the world you’re creating, because it will set the standard by which you mean to continue. If your world has rules regarding magic, for example, you need to either remember not to break those rules, or understand how those rules can be broken. (Breaking those rules does not have to ruin anything; it can be an important plot point, if you have a firm understanding of how to pull it off!)

Magic in world-building does not limit itself to books with systems for using magic, such as Harry Potter, but worlds that contain magical or fantasy elements that need to be outlined and understood. Without going into too much detail for those who haven’t read the book yet, much of that for me was based around my use of the northern lights as a voice of the Goddess, whereas much of the day to day world in which the characters lived could be explained away as an old Norse village, or similar. The most important thing for me to get right in writing this book, and which I sincerely hope I did, was to create a world in which, while daily life might seem simple and normal, there was the idea that anything could happen, and anything was possible. Whether that was through references to their superstitions or campfire tales, I wanted the world to feel richer than what they saw and lived every day, because as a reader, having that feeling that anything can happen is something that keeps me turning the pages of any book. If there’s more than meets the eye, more to discover, and more to learn, you will have my undivided attention!

In closing, I believe that building a magical world is all about layering: start with something simple, like a basic setting, and add to that slowly, fleshing out the bones. I started with the idea of a wintry island, then layered in the idea of the northern lights, the villagers’ superstitions, stories about the mountains, and I just kept going until I had a whole world (and I’m still building it!) I think I’ll always feel like I have more to add to the world, but I’m happy with what I’ve done so far, and I’m so excited to be back on the island working on the next book.

For your chance to win a copy of A Shiver of Snow and Sky head on over to Twitter to enter! 


Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Harry Potter Book Tag!

Hi guys, I've loved reading everybody's answers for the Harry Potter Book Tag recently so when my lovely friend Faye did the tag earlier today and opened it up to everyone I knew I just had to do it because who doesn't love talking about Harry Potter right!?


What house are you in? 
Hufflepuff! Although I definitely have some strong Ravenclaw traits too, especially when it comes to books.

What is your patronus? 
A white stallion - he's super pretty and I couldn't be happier.

What is your wand? 
Rowan wood with a Unicorn hair core 11" and Quite Bendy flexibility. I love that I've got rowan wood because according to Pottermore it is "reputed to be more protective than any other, and in my experience renders all manner of defensive charms especially strong and difficult to break. It is commonly stated that no dark witch or wizard ever owned a rowan wand, and I cannot recall a single instance where one of my own rowan wands has gone on to do evil in the world." So I think my wand paired with the fact that I'm a Hufflepuff means that it's very unlikely that I'll ever go dark!

What would your boggart be? 
Probably somebody that I love in pain or hurting.

What position would you play in Quidditch? 
Lololol me? Sport? I'll be in the kitchens smuggling snacks for everyone after the match.

Would you be a pure blood, half blood or muggle born?
Muggle born as neither of my parents have read Harry Potter. 

What job would you want to have after graduating Hogwarts? 
I'd love to be a Magizoologist possibly specializing in dragons.

Which of the deathly hallows would you choose? 
The Invisibility Cloak I'd love to be able to sneak around undetected.

Favourite book?
Goblet of Fire for sure! It has the Yule Ball, Dragons and Cedric Diggory what more could you want?

Least favourite book?
Order of the Phoenix. I just remember finding it overly long and boring at times but honestly I love them all!

Favourite film? 
Deathly Hallows Part 2 - there's so much action and it gives me all of the feels!

Least favourite film? 
Same as the books, Order of the Phoenix.

Favourite character? 
It alternates between Hermione, Luna and Neville depending on the day.

Least favourite/most hated character? 
Umbridge, obviously.

Favourite teacher at Hogwarts? 
Remus Lupin I love him so much and find his opinions on chocolate to be spot on.

Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts? 
Either Umbridge or the Carrows *shudders*

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series? 
I don't think so...

If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?
Oh god this question is just MEAN for making me choose, but probably Lupin because he's one of my favourite characters and also because then at least poor Teddy can grow up with a parent.

END


That was so much fun! 
If you'd like to take part then consider yourself TAGGED!

Friday, 22 September 2017

My Most Anticipated Autumn Releases

Hello everyone and happy autumn! I'm so excited that my favourite season has officially begun. Autumn is the season for fuzzy socks, hot chocolate, warm blankets and reading so today I wanted to share with you my most anticipated autumn releases!

It Only Happens in the Movies 
by Holly Bourne 
Publication Date: 5th October 2017 
Synopsis: "Audrey is over romance. Since her parents' relationship imploded her mother's been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn't mean things are easy. Because real love isn't like the movies...

The greatest love story ever told doesn't feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies... YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I really don't need to explain this one do I? You guys know that I've adored Holly Bourne ever since I read an early proof of her debut novel Soulmates and I always eagerly anticipate her next book!

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns 
by Julie C. Dao 
Publication Date: 10th October 2017 
Synopsis: "An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny. 

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? 

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - Literally everybody on my Goodreads friend list who has read this book early has given it a 5 star rating. I love stories from the villain's point of view looking at how they ended up that way. Throw into the mix the fact that I am in a massive fantasy mood right now and the 10th October can not come fast enough!

Anything You Do Say 
by Gillian McAllister 
Publication Date: 19th October 2017 (on Kindle) 
Synopsis: "Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly. 

But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it's him; the man from the bar who wouldn't leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor.

Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most - make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?"

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - October for me is the month for thrillers and after loving Gillian's debut Everything But The Truth, my proof copy of Anything You Do Say is high on my TBR.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 
Publication Date: 10th October 2017 
Synopsis: " Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett's son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I absolutely adore John Green, I was a hardcore fan of The Fault in Our Stars and I've been waiting for a new book from him ever since but even if John hadn't written this book I'd still be all over it because it features a main character who has OCD, an illness that I myself have. My expectations for this book are sky high and I have everything crossed that this book lives up to them.

There's Someone Inside Your House 
by Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: 5th October 2017 
Synopsis: "Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She's made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget.

And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders. Makani doesn't know who's next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally.

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins will have you swooning with fear and romance, and is the perfect page-turner for fans of Scream Queens and I Know What You Did Last Summer."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - Stephanie Perkins is one of my favourite contemporary authors and I'm so excited to see what she does with the thriller genre! I already have a proof of this sitting waiting for October to roll around.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed 
Publication Date: 5th October 2017 
Synopsis: "Who are the Nowhere Girls? They're every girl. But they start with just three: Grace, the preacher's daughter who unwittingly moved into the old house of a victim whose pain adorns the walls. Bold Rosina, whose heart has become hardened by all of the straight girls who broke it. And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people.

They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of a girl they had never met, Lucy Moynihan, the victim of a sexual assault who was victimised further by people who found it easier to believe she had cried wolf than to confront what had really happened to her. A girl who, through the course of one evening, went from an excited teenager who felt wanted by a boy for the first time, to someone else entirely, with 'a voice in the darkness, giving her a new name: Slut'. Together, they form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I first heard about this book from Zoe after reading her amazing review and I knew I just had to have this book. I love feminist, hard hitting reads and I have a feeling I'm going to love this one!

The Treatment by C.L. Taylor 
Publication Date: 19th October 2017 
Synopsis: "“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.

Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets. Before it’s too late."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - I've read and loved all of C.L. Taylor's adult thrillers so I have every faith that her venture into YA will be just as good! I was lucky enough to receive a proof of this and although it's firmly on my October TBR I have had a sneaky read of the first few pages and the writing is predictably gripping pulling you in right away!

The Foster Child by Jenny Blackhurst 
Publication Date: 16th November 2017 
Synopsis: "When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she's just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie's foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger..."

Why I Can't Wait to Read it - Jenny Blackhurst is another writer whose thrillers I absolutely love so when I saw a proof of this up for review on Amazon Vine I snatched it up! I've heard lots of great things from early reviews and I can't wait to get to it soon.


 What new releases can you not wait to snuggle down with this Autumn?

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

99 Red Balloons Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the 99 Red Balloons blog tour! Today I have a guest post from the author Elisabeth Carpenter sharing her typical writing day.


My Writing Day by Elisabeth Carpenter 

Before I ever started writing, I imagined a writer’s daily routine consisted of walks in the park dreaming-up ideas, then writing furiously in a steamy café. I’d picture said writer spending evenings tearing up bits of paper in frustration, drinking whiskey and contemplating the unfairness of having such a tortured soul.

The reality – or rather, my reality – couldn’t be more different.

I’m writing this post in the summer holidays and, as a mother of a very lively six-year-old, there’s currently no fixed writing routine. I write when he’s quiet (this might be for five or forty-five minutes), or if he’s asleep. So I’ll share with you my usual writing day, which will commence when normality has been resumed in September!

After dropping my son off at school, I’ll usually catch up on Twitter and Facebook. At about nine thirty, I’ll fire up the laptop either at my desk or in the living room. I’ve been working from home since my youngest son was born. My partner, Dom, is also based at home, so I have to close the door if I don’t want to be interrupted! I dream of having a summer house in the garden to work in and have already chosen the furniture in my head.

I usually start with a basic idea for a manuscript, which is usually just a few lines. I keep ideas on scraps of paper, on my phone or in notebooks. As I’ve about thirty notebooks, sometimes locating these ideas can be a bit tricky. I’ve given up trying to keep them in my head – after a day it’s gone!

I don’t have a set amount of words to aim for, but I’ll be happy with 1000-2000 a day. If I have a deadline looming, however, it could be double that. Ideally, I’d allocate a month or two to edit my manuscripts after a first draft of a novel. I don’t edit as I go along, else I might never finish it. I like to keep the momentum going, but it does make the editing stage quite intense; sometimes the plot has changed or characters have evolved. This usually means I need to re-write the first few chapters. 

Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate if I’ve ‘lost the plot’. If this happens, I’ll either go for a walk with an audio book, read, or put on Netflix. It takes a lot of self-control to not watch too many episodes! At the moment, though, I’m editing Book Two, which has to be with my editor at the end of August. I finished the first draft before the start of the school holidays, so I still have a couple of weeks to work on it. Before sending it to my beta readers, I’ll print the whole thing and go through it again (for the fiftieth time, probably!).

I’ll write until three o’clock in the afternoon and pick up my son from school. No writing can be done until he goes to bed, as I can’t write with Topsy and Tim chattering away in the background. But it’s a great time right now – I still can’t believe my book is going to be published! It’s a dream come true.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Things A Bright Girl Can Do Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Things A Bright Girl Can Do blog tour. Today I have an epic giveaway for you! One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Things A Bright Girl Can Do, plus a china Votes for Women mug, poster, badge and postcard. But first, in case this book isn't on your radar yet here's a little bit more about it...


"Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote. 

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom. 

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place. 

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?" 

 For your chance to win this fab prize head on over to Twitter to enter!


Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Lemon Tree Café Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The Lemon Tree Café blog tour! Today I have the lovely Cathy Bramley answering some of my questions on her writing process, Italy, and what she's working on next.


The Lemon Tree Café Q&A 

1.) Hi Cathy, welcome to the blog! The Lemon Tree Café was originally published as a four-part serial eBook, how is writing a story in parts different to writing a full-length novel?
Hi Jess, thank you for having me on your blog! I liken my writing process to television and film writing. If I’m writing a series, I tackle it as if it’s a four-part TV drama. I have a small celebration after finishing each part. For a full length novel which is not going to be serialised, I write it as if it was a film, with the drama building towards the end.

2.) What sparked the idea behind The Lemon Tree Café? 
When I was writing The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, I introduced a character called Rosie, who was the main character, Verity’s, housemate. I fell in love with her instantly and knew I wanted her to have her own book. She was from an Italian family and I knew her ‘nonna’ would be great fun to write too.

3.) Did you do any research for this book? What’s your writing process like?
I had to go to Italy to research part of the book – poor me! Rosie takes her nonna back to her home town to lay some ghosts to rest. I could have tried to do it using Google maps, but I wanted it to feel authentic. I went on my own in January for three days and packed some sun cream, when I got there it snowed!

I plan my books in detail before I start and then I write every day until it’s finished.

4.) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Be resilient, don’t expect to write a perfect novel in the first draft and read, read, read.

5.) What was the last great book that you read?
I read two corkers on holiday recently: The Widow by Fiona Barton. I was totally gripped and raced through it. And Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell. I am a massive Jill fan and this, I think, is her best yet. I adored it.

6.) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?
I’m editing a new four-part serial at the moment. It’s called A Match Made In Devon and I’m really excited about it. It’s about an actress called Nina and her quest for fame, which inadvertently leads her to the sleepiest seaside village in Devon called Brightside Cove. It’s a story about letting go of what you think your life should be like and celebrating what you have. Also includes mermaids…

7.) And finally, what three words best describe The Lemon Tree Café? 
Un-put-downable, feel-good, fun!

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Freshers Blog Tour: Q&A with Tom and Lucy

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Freshers blog tour! I'm a huge fan of Tom and Lucy's books so I'm incredibly excited to be hosting a Q&A with them today all about writing together, uni advice and what they're working on next. Freshers is one of my favourite reads of this summer and you can find out my full thoughts on the book in my review here.


Freshers Q&A with Tom and Lucy


1.) Hi Tom and Lucy, welcome to the blog! As collaborative authors what is your writing process like? Do you always know what the other is going to write or do you surprise each other? 

Thanks for having us! Basically, the way we write is a bit like an over-elaborate game of Consequences - so one of us will write a chapter, then send to the other, then the other continues the story, and so on. We set out a few basic plot points before we start writing, but aside from that we basically just take it where we want to go, and the other person has to deal with that. So there are constant surprises along the way, but hopefully that's a good thing, as the reader will feel the same surprise we felt while writing it! Right from the start on FRESHERS we were surprising each other - there's a bit at the end of the very first chapter where the male protagonist (Luke) breaks down in tears - Lucy wrote that bit, and Tom thought it came completely out of left-field, but once he kept writing, it took the story in a really interesting and different direction. So, most of the time, the method works!

2.) What’s the best and worst thing about writing with another person? 

TOM: Best thing for me is the second and third draft, where we sit in the room together, reading through it all out loud, and try to make the jokes better, or the dialogue stronger. We do a thing where, if we come to a line we think could be funnier, we each go away for five minutes and write three alternatives. Then we come back and 'pitch' each other our three ideas, and the one that makes us both laugh most gets into the book. So that's very fun. In terms of the WORST thing, it's definitely that Lucy uses me as a human spelling and grammar check. So rather than simply hitting 'spelling and grammar' on her computer, she just sends me wild, typo-strewn chapters and expects me to clean them up. I constantly tell her how much that annoys me, and to be honest I think it just makes her do it more regularly.

LUCY: I agree about the second and third drafts. We spend ages thinking about what is intrinsically funnier about certain words… like how monster munch is just a naturally funnier crisp than say, walkers salt and vinegar. We sometimes spend whole afternoons just trying to make each other laugh and those times make all the other times we are finding it hard, worth it. Tom is always early to everything and then gets angry and makes out you are late, when you're actually just there at the agreed time, and that makes me hate him.

3.) What’s been your favourite author moment so far?

TOM: There have been lots of amazing moments. Maybe the most scary and exciting was last year, when we went to Holland to speak at a big Dutch YA festival, alongside people like Stephanie Perkins and Ransom Riggs and Becky Albertalli. There were more than 400 people in the audience - by far the biggest crowd we've ever spoken in front of us - and that definitely made us feel like superstar authors (for about an hour!)

LUCY: Mine was when someone came up to us at YALC and said that Negin in Freshers, who is muslim and so doesn’t drink, made them feel more confident about going to uni and not drinking. When moments like that happen, it’s amazing.

4.) What sparked the idea behind Freshers? Are any scenes in the book inspired by your own time as students?

We had the idea to write something about the first term of university from very early on. Our first book, LOBSTERS, is about the summer between finishing A-Levels and starting uni, and we always wanted to write a kind-of sequel (with different characters) about the term that follows that summer. We came up with the basic plot one morning when Tom was helping Lucy set up a baby shower for her best friend. We drove across London - from west to east - and in that hour or so in the car, we mapped out pretty much the skeleton for FRESHERS. And yep, plenty of the characters are based on real people we were at university with, and there are lots of bits in there inspired by real-life events. There's a bit where the girl protagonist (Phoebe) is sitting opposite the boy she fancies (Luke) in a seminar, and writes a text to her friend saying 'LUKE TAYLOR IS THE HOTTEST BOY IN THE WORLD'. And then - to her immense horror - she accidentally sends it... to Luke Taylor. And that same thing happened to one of Tom's friends at university. It's been 12 years, and the memory of it still haunts her...

5.) Is there any advice that you would give to somebody about to start uni? 

TOM: Apart from 'Have fun!', I would say it's important to remember that everyone else is just as nervous (and excited) as you are. So, even if it looks like everyone is immediately fitting in and having the best time ever, they may not be. Don't panic if you don't instantly feel this is the greatest period of your life - everyone talks about how amazing freshers' term is, but in my experience, I had the most fun - and made my closest friends - during second year, when I had settled in a bit more.

LUCY: Don’t feel like you have to decide who you are going to move in with in the first term. The pressure is real but you do not have to succumb to it! If you are not sure you want to move in with the people who ask you first, then don’t just say yes out of panic or to be polite.

6.) What books would you recommend to fans looking for similar stories to your own?

TOM: Anyone from the UKYA community writing funny, realistic teen stuff - so people like Holly Bourne, Juno Dawson, Non Pratt, Lisa Williamson. Also, in terms of campus-set books, Fangirl is obviously very good, and David Nicholls' first novel Starter For Ten is really great, too.

LUCY: For more classic stuff I think Nancy Mitford is hilarious. I just read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and whilst it is totally totally different to our stuff, it really gets mixing the dark with the comic and I absolutely love that.

7.) Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next? 

TOM: I am trying to start writing something on my own, but me and Lucy also have another co-written book we want to have a go at pretty soon. It's dual narrative, but a bit darker and more dramatic, and set in the 90’s.

LUCY: I am finally writing the historical middle grade novel I have been banging about doing for ages. And also excited for our 90’s book too. It’s more ambitious than our other books, so will be a challenge but I think it will be fun too.

8.) And finally, what three words best describe Freshers

TOM: I'm stealing this wholesale from the back of the book, but... HONEST, FUNNY, MESSY!

LUCY: BRITISH, CRINGE, REAL.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Editing Emma Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Editing Emma blog tour! Today I have a brilliant guest post from Chloe Seager on growing up online and I'm giving 3 of my lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the book over on Twitter.


Online Pressures For This Generation by Chloe Seager

When I was a teenager, I don’t think I realised just how new or strange a thing social media really was. I was part of the first generation who grew up with it, and everything in my life being public seemed pretty normal to me. I remember my Mum being totally scandalised by pictures of me and my friends in bikinis ‘on the internet?!’ and shaking her head at our constant selfie-sharing. But looking back, I think I’ve gained some perspective on what a strange thing it actually can be, and what kind of additional pressures social media put on my teenage years. 

Genuinely, I went through a phase where I almost felt like things weren’t real unless they were put online. Like, if we didn’t get a photo of our evening out…did it even happen? I also went through a phase where if I had a terrible time, I would think to myself, ‘it’s ok, at least I got some pictures that look like I’m having a good time.’ Looking back, these aren’t particularly healthy thoughts for a young person to be having. What kind of value system is that? One where I comfort my lonely, sad self with the image of myself seeming happy and fulfilled? In many ways, I think I could even look at pictures of times that were truly awful and convince myself I was having fun…which is even more bizarre than convincing other people.

Thinking about it, though, it’s not all that surprising. When you’re fourteen years old and everything in your life starts getting uploaded, to start defining yourself by that content almost seems inevitable… or at least, for the lines to blur. Even if I knew logically that other people weren’t always as they appeared in their content - I got told it time and time again, and I knew that I myself wasn’t always completely truthful - all these smiling, shining pictures of other people did (and still do) make it hard sometimes. And probably for some people more than me, who was lucky enough to have a decent group of pals. A friend I met in adult life said before social media came along, she might have been at home alone on a Friday night…but no one would know about it. She knew on a vague level that other people were probably out having fun, but didn’t have to get smacked in the face with it. But once Facebook happened, not only did she know for sure that she was never invited to parties, but it was also suddenly like everyone else could see her own lack of social life. ‘Why are there never any pictures of you?’ they would ask. It highlighted how left out she was at school in a very public domain, to the point where she considered taking dressed-up selfies that made her look like she was going out. (She didn’t do this in the end, and deleted her social media instead).

I think it must be even worse for teenagers now than it was for my generation. I did definitely think about how I was coming off - what with reams of embarrassing photos being uploaded against my will, and thinking ‘I look so ugly there’ and ‘how dare they upload this,’ and obviously using it to look a certain way (a la Emma) e.g. wanting to look like I was having tons of fun even if I wasn’t, or wanting to seem like I was SUPER HAPPY AND FINE to spite an ex boyfriend or a mate I was fighting with. But I do think it’s even more extreme now. Probably the most creative choice I’d ever made on social media was what song to choose for my MySpace profile, and now each and every photo that gets uploaded has a zillion filter choices. It’s a whole different world than it was ten years ago and in general I think the emphasis is now on quality over quantity, which in many ways puts way more focus onto one’s image.

There are benefits to this, though. I asked my boyfriend recently, who never got a FB account as a teenager, but did get Insta later on. He said he didn't like the way Facebook made his whole life public in a way he couldn’t fully control, whereas with Instagram he mainly chooses what to share. In a way I totally understand that… It also gives room for you to be creative and explore your own identity, which is such a huge part of being a teenager. But imagining my teenage self with Instagram, I can see just how incredibly neurotic I would have become. It’s not just ‘here’s me on a night out,’ any more, it’s like… ‘here’s my bedroom,’ ‘here’s my plate of food,’ ‘here’s my everything’ etc etc. I think though the amount of content might have decreased, people expect to share even more aspects of their lives now than ten years ago, and naturally, the need to present oneself a certain way will become more extreme along with it.

I think social media can be wonderful but as with anything, it has its pros and cons. It’s great way for teenagers to connect, but it can also compound loneliness, and exacerbate what can already be an isolating period. It’s a great way to express yourself and be creative, and I think it allows teenagers to be more switched on and worldly than people without it would have been. But then again, figuring out who you’re supposed to be over those years is difficult enough, without doing it in public. It seems like it applies pressure for the decision to be right now, and to be fully formed. Whilst it can give you a boost, it can also make you feel low and leads people into pretending or putting up a front. In the end, I eventually figured out how to use it in a way I was happy with; everyone probably has a different relationship with it and needs to find their own balance. But I don’t envy teenagers (like Emma!) having to go through that. In hindsight, it was such a big part of my own teenage life that I knew I wanted to write about it in Editing Emma.

For your chance to win a copy of Editing Emma head over to Twitter 



Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Review for Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison 
Publisher: Chicken House
Release: 3rd August 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis:
"Uni beckons. Phoebe can't wait to be a fresher - especially since her crush from school will be there too. She'll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter ... the perfect potential girlfriend. She'll reinvent herself completely. But Luke's oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters - can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?"

Review 
I’m a massive fan of Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison’s debut novel Lobsters and am happy to confirm that with Freshers they’ve delivered another hilariously honest story on what it’s like to be a young adult.

The book is told in a dual narrative between Phoebe and Luke who went to school together and are starting their first year at the same university. Phoebe’s had a massive crush on Luke forever and she hopes that at university she’ll get the chance to come out of her shell and be the person she’s always wanted to be. Luke on the other hand had the dream high school experience as a popular jock with a beautiful long-term girlfriend. Now that he’s at uni he’s a fish out of water struggling to keep his long-distance relationship going and make new friends. As the two characters bond during freshers week we follow their relationship and the highs and lows of their lives as students.

Freshers delivered everything I was expecting from a book by Tom and Lucy. It’s funny, relatable and honestly feels like taking a peek at the lives of real teens. This book delivers all of the craziness that you’d expect from a book set during Freshers offering both painfully awkward and laugh out loud scenes. Some of my favourite moments included sexual mishaps, Phoebe and her friends standing up for the sisterhood, and Quidditch matches to name just a few.

I’d highly recommend this book about growing up, moving on and finding your place in the world. It’s an absolute must read for anyone heading off to university this year.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

July Favourites: Books, Benedict and Dragons

Hello everybody! I hope you're all doing well? Did any of you go to YALC? I was so sad to miss it this year due to anxiety but there was still plenty of things that made July a great month for me that I want to share with you all today so, *puts on best Daenerys Targaryen voice* shall we begin?

Favourite Books

   

I had a really great reading month in July and read a total of nine books but my two absolute favourites happen to both be thrillers. The first is Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, if you follow me on Instagram this will come as no surprise to you as I was raving about this book on my story. It was a solid five star read for me. If you're looking for a book that grips you from the first page and refuses to let you go then you'll devour this book just like I did. My review for Then She was Gone is already up so if you'd like to find out more you can check it out here. The second thriller I loved was The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham this is such a heartbreaking thriller following the relationship between two very complex women as they bond over being pregnant in the months leading up to their babies births. The writing style was utterly gripping and like watching a car crash, I couldn't look away as I watched these two women's lives crash and collide with devastating consequences. This was my first book by Michael Robotham and I'll definitely be looking out for more of his work.

Favourite to Watch


Game of Thrones is back and so really there is only one contender for what's been my favourite thing to watch this month! We're only three episodes in but it already feels like so much has happened! I don't want to talk about plot for anyone who hasn't watched it yet and wants to so all I'll say is I am enjoying this season a LOT and can't wait to see what else unfolds now that we're closing in on the end.

Favourite Online 

So much has been going on in the bookish community this past month from Benedict Cumberbatch witnessing Non Pratt's charity head shave at YALC (I was literally howling at the tweets, pictures and videos!) to all of the readathon's that have been taking place in July. But for my favourite online I wanted to throw some love in the direction of a new book blogger who has been making the community such a sunny place with her passion for books. This person is the lovely Amy at Golden Books Girl! I've been really enjoying her blog and chatting to her on Twitter about books so if you don't follow her yet you definitely should check her out she's such a ray of sunshine and her enthusiasm for books and the book community is so lovely to see!

Favourite Thing

Picture taken from my Instagram JessHeartsBooks

This month I finally caved and bought a few of the Beauty and the Beast Funko Pops that have been on my wishlist for ages and I'm absolutely in love with them. Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney movie and I love being able to include these Funko's in my Bookstagram pictures. I'm planning on reorganizing my bookcases soon and I can't wait for them to be on display with my beautiful books!

Favourite Memory 

This month my favourite memory involves my nine-year-old cousin. We went for a family meal out last weekend to celebrate two birthdays. I sat next to her and we spent so much time talking about books from what we were reading to what we wanted to read next. She's always been a huge bookworm like me and it's something I've always nurtured in her by buying her books for Christmases and birthdays. This time our usual book talk was a little different though, as she was the one giving me recommendations on books to read! It's so nice that she's now old enough that we can mutually share what books we've been enjoying lately. I persuaded my Aunt to buy her the Murder Most Unladylike series and I've added Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas a book she's currently reading to my own wishlist. I think that now she's getting older a lot of book swapping will be going on as she raids my shelves for her next read!

What were some of your favourite things in July?

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Marriage Pact Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on The Marriage Pact blog tour! Today I am giving 5 of my lucky readers the chance to win a copy of the book. In case this gripping thriller isn't on your radar yet here is a little bit about it...


"It's the perfect wedding gift. Newlyweds Jake and Alice are offered membership of a club which promises members will never divorce. Signing The Pact seems the ideal start to their marriage. Until one of them breaks the rules. Because The Pact is for life. And its members will go to any lengths to ensure nobody leaves..." 

 I'm so excited to read this book that has been praised by authors such as JP Delaney, Lisa Gardner and Gin Phillips.


 For your chance to win a copy of The Marriage Pact head over to Twitter 

 Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Feminist Fiction On My TBR

With the success of The Handmaid's Tale and in the YA community books such as Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill and Holly Bourne's Spinster Club series I've noticed more feminist fiction being published this year which makes me incredibly excited! I've read a lot of non-fiction on feminism but fiction is my preference and I love that there are more and more stories being published with the subject of feminism at its forefront.

Today I wanted to share with you some of the feminist fiction I have on my TBR pile that I want to get to over the next few months. I hope that it gives you some ideas for feminist books to add to your own reading piles!


The Power by Naomi Alderman 

Like most people, I first heard about The Power when it was nominated for The Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction this year. That and the quote from Margaret Atwood had me sold and I ordered a copy straight away. I find the premise of this one absolutely fascinating - what if the power to hurt was in women's hands? In The Power teenage girls wake up one day to find that they can inflict pain with a flick of their fingers. I've heard nothing but brilliant things about this book and since it went on to win the Bailey's Prize I know I need to get to it soon.


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 

This book has been sitting on my shelf for years unread but I started watching the TV series and absolutely adore it so it's going on pause for a while as incentive for me to finally pick up this book because I prefer to read a book before watching the adaptation. The Handmaid's Tale is a modern classic for a reason and I'm excited to finally read it soon and then get back into the show!


Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed 

This book is being pitched as being perfect for fans of The Girls by Emma Cline which was one of my favourite books of last year. It tells the story of a cult founded by ten men years ago when they colonised an island. Girls are wives in training, massively controlled and must reproduce at the first sign of puberty. I think that like The Girls this is going to be a dark and disturbing read. I currently have a giveaway for Gather the Daughters running on my Instagram so if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning go enter here.


Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin 

Moving on to some YA! I loved Virginia Bergin's The Rain series and have high hopes for this dystopian read about a world where a virus has wiped out the male population and women are in charge. The idea behind this book sounds so interesting to me and I'm excited to see what Virginia Bergin does with it.


Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls 

I think that this is one of the books I am the most excited to get to on this pile! Things a Bright Girl Can Do releases in September and follows three courageous teenage girls as they fight for equality and join the Suffragettes. I don't think I've ever read any YA historical feminist fiction and what better place to start than to read about the Suffragettes? This book also has LGBT rep and from the looks of it is going to be absolutely fantastic!


Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu 

Thanks to Zoella picking it for her 2017 book club, everybody is reading Moxie right now! This sounds like an American version of What's a Girl Gotta Do? and follows Viv who begins a girl revolution at her school. I have a feeling that I'm going to love this book as it ticks a lot of boxes for me. It's one that is at the very top of my reading pile!

Which book do you think I should start with? 
And what books are on your feminist fiction TBR pile?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Ask No Questions Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Ask No Questions blog tour! Today I have a brilliant guest post from Lisa Hartley sharing her top writing tips for all of you budding authors out there.


Lisa Hartley's Top 5 Writing Tips 

1) Sit down and write.
Sounds obvious, but for a long time, I dreamed about being about being a writer without actually doing much writing. This turned out to be not the best way to achieve that dream. You might have the perfect plot, the most amazing characters, but if they’re in your head and not on the page, you’ve no way of sharing them. Sit down and write regularly, whether you manage five minutes or 50,000 words. I’m currently working on the second book in my new series. For me, this means writing at least 600 words a day. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s achievable even on the days I have other commitments. I usually manage a lot more, but even if I don’t, I’m always making progress towards a completed first draft.

2) Read. 
Other people’s words are inspiring. Read in the genre you’re planning to write in, but also more widely. Never plagiarise, but allow the ideas and themes you read about to encourage your own ideas.

3) Ask a trusted friend or a professional to give their honest opinion of your work.
I had always enjoyed writing, but realised that didn’t mean I had any talent for it. Once I’d (eventually!) finished my first full length novel, On Laughton Moor, I had no idea if it was any good. I couldn’t ask my partner or my mum for their honest opinion, because they would feel pressured to be polite and encouraging, as would friends and other relatives. What I needed was the opinion of someone who knew the publishing industry, a person who really knew what they were talking about. If I was ever going to make writing my career, I would have to get used to receiving feedback on what worked and what I needed to change. It’s a daunting thought, terrifying even. The project you’ve spent so long working on, your “baby”, being read by someone who will pull no punches when giving their opinion. But you need to learn to accept constructive criticism if you’re ever going to improve. This might mean approaching an agent or publishers, or there are also companies which offer critiques of manuscripts and other services. If you choose that route, research them as much as you can, ask around, and choose wisely.

4) Accept that not everyone will like your work. 
This perhaps follows on from the above, but the fact is some people will not enjoy your novel. This doesn’t make it a bad book, and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a writer who should sell their computer and go and find something more worthwhile to do.

It just means this particular person didn’t like your book.

For me, this was a huge thing to accept. A negative review can feel like personal attack. The trick is to read, shrug, and get on with your life. If someone offers advice you feel you can use, then brilliant, do so. As I said above, constructive criticism is vital, but someone just saying your book is “rubbish” (or whatever) isn’t going to help you improve. This person didn’t like your book, and that’s fine. Time to move on.

I’m the worst person in the world at doing this, though. When I received my first negative review, it upset me for ages. Eventually I learnt to accept it and move on. Easier said than done, I know, but necessary to save yourself some heartache.

5) Make your own way. 
Read reviews, blogs, and interviews with writers you admire. Go to book festivals, chat on Twitter with writers and readers. In the end though, keep writing whatever it is you want to write. Listen to advice, maybe follow the “rules” of your genre to the point where you realise you’re going to have to break some to tell your story. And keep reading.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Review for Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Century
Release: 27th July 2017
Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction
Source: Copy received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review



Synopsis:
"THEN
She was fifteen, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?"

Review 
Then She Was Gone follows the disappearance of Ellie Mack, a fifteen-year-old girl who disappeared on her way to the library one day never to be seen or heard from again. Ten years later and her mum Laurel receives news of an update in the case when her daughter’s remains are found.

As Laurel tries to move forward, she meets a charming man called Floyd who finally brings some happiness back into her world, but when she’s introduced to his nine-year-old daughter Poppy alarm bells start ringing. Because Poppy looks just like Ellie and even has the same mannerisms and interests.

Just as Laurel thought the past had been put to rest, the truth about what really happened that day comes rushing to the present. Could Floyd have something to do with Ellie’s disappearance? And what exactly happened to her daughter all those years ago?

There are so many thrillers out there at the moment that after a while they can all start to feel very similar with the same tropes covered over and over again but Then She was Gone is a heart-breaking and harrowing story about a shocking situation that I haven’t read about before. Although you know roughly from the synopsis where this book is heading, it still managed to surprise me with the twists it took.

The story is broken up into different parts that jump between back when Ellie disappeared and the present day ten years later. I really enjoyed how in each section you get to hear from all the key players so that by the end of the book you have a complete picture of what happened with no bias toward one character and the way they see things.

Lisa Jewell is an author who evokes so much emotion in her writing. I could really feel for each character as I read from their perspective and the book constantly had me questioning what I would do if I found myself in their situation.

Then She Was Gone is a book that I gobbled up greedily at any spare moment I had, it’s certainly not a book you want to start if you have a lot going on! Although I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Lisa’s more recent books Then She Was Gone has to be my favourite yet. This is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Books I Want to Read Before the End of the Year

Last Wednesday, I did a post about my favourite books of 2017 so far and it got me thinking about all of the books I was so excited to be released at the start of the year that I still haven't gotten around to. So today I wanted to share the books that I really want to have read before the end of the year and I'm hoping that by putting them down in a list it'll drive me to finally pick them up!


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

"But, Jess! Wasn't Strange the Dreamer one of your most anticipated releases of 2017?" I hear you cry. Well yes friends, yes it was. A reoccurring theme with this list seems to be that they're all books that I really want to read. I think my problem is that I wait to read them under perfect circumstances, like when I'm in a good reading mood, when I have lots of time to read, when I don't really have any plans so I can dedicate a good chunk of time to the book etc but of course this perfect opportunity then never presents itself. Laini Taylor is one of my favourite authors and I'm determined to read this book before the end of the year - perfect reading moment or not!


This Love by Dani Atkins 

Our Song by Dani Atkins was one of my favourite books of last year so I'm really excited to read this latest book from her. I love the sound of it and my most trusted blogger friends have all really enjoyed this one. If it's anything like Our Song it'll have me crying buckets so I'm going to be picking this one up next time I'm in the mood for a good weepy.


A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab 

This is the final book in the Shades of Magic series, I think what's put me off so far is its size at over 600 pages and also the fact that it's the last book in a beloved trilogy. Another reoccurring theme of mine seems to be reading and loving a series but never getting around to the final book. I think in my head if I don't read it then it's not over and I don't have to say goodbye to these characters I love so much. Does anybody else do the same!?


Forever Geek by Holly Smale 

Oh, look! Another final book in a series I love that I haven't gotten around to! I just really don't want to say goodbye to Harriet and the gang okay? Especially Toby whom I love oh so very much. This series is pure feel good comfort reading for me and I have no idea what series I'm going to turn to for that once this one has finished. If you have any recommendations for what to read after Geek Girl let me know!


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

THUG is a book that I'm a little scared to read because of all the hype surrounding it. I also felt this way about When Dimple Met Rishi, which as we know has turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year so far. Everyone has fallen in love with THUG this year and I really need to read it soon!


Frostblood by Elly Blake 

When I read Caraval and sent out a tweet looking for other fantasy books like it, a lot of people came back to me recommending Frostblood with some saying that they enjoyed this book even more than Caraval! The sequel, Fireblood is out in September so I really want to read this soon ready for book two.


 Those are the books that I want to read in the second half of this year. 
Are there any books on your TBR that you want to make a priority in 2017?
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