Thursday, 31 March 2016

My Month in Favourites – March 2016



The highlight of March was, without a doubt, booking flights to Canada for October! It's been 10 years since I lived there and I am already getting excited thinking about all the people I'll see again, places I'll revisit and things I'll eat and buy. Oh Canada, I've missed you! On the bookish side this month I had the opportunity to go to the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast (one of my favourite blogger events to date), a YA evening at Waterstones, and Transworld's latest women's fiction evening. I also checked out some fab new exhibits in London and even went down to York for the long weekend (more about that soon).

With spring lingering in the air, I am making April the month I will venture more outside again (I want to give my bike a good dust off and explore some walking trails in my new area as well). But for now, have a round-up of some of my favourite non-bookish things from March, including a new restaurant discovery, an Etsy shop I've fallen in love with, some inspirational links and, quite possibly, the best hot chocolate ever.
 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Book review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine



At the height of my rekindled love for fairytales, and newfound interest in YA retellings, I came across The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine as the beautiful cover was used for the invite to the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast and my friend Laura reviewed it shortly after as well. The story is inspired by one of my all-time favourite classic creepy tales of witches and princesses (which has a horrific ending, by the way), Snow White, and so of course I had to check this one out as soon as I could.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Book review: Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate



Abrams & Chronicle is a new publisher I'm working with this year and if the first novel I read through their bloggers list (from their Amulet imprint) is anything to go by I will be in for a treat. Seven Ways We Lie is a very clever and important young adult book, covering a range of different issues facing teenagers today in an honest and engaging way, and with a fantastically gripping mystery at its core. It is one of the best contemporary novels I've read in a while and I would absolutely recommend you pick it up.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Be True to Yourself YA evening at Waterstones Piccadilly



It was a double whammy of inspirational YA lit events last week, as a few days before the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast I went to Waterstones Piccadilly for their Be True to Yourself evening. The panel consisted of authors Lisa Williamson (The Art of Being Normal), Jandy Nelson (I'll Give You the Sun, The Sky is Everywhere), Sara Barnard (Beautiful Broken Things) and Alice Oseman (Solitaire, Radio Silence), and was hosted by Katherine Webber of The Book Trust (she has her own YA debut coming out next year as well). 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast



I had the best time ever at the Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast on Saturday! The day was jam-packed with news about exciting upcoming book releases, a brilliant author panel filled with banter, fascinating insights into the editorial and design processes, a Hunger Games quiz, and the biggest book haul known to man. Needless to say there was a lot of flailing involved both at the Scholastic offices and when I unpacked my bags at home.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Q&A with writing duo Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice



Today I am kicking off the blog tour for The Night That Changed Everything, the fantastic second novel by British writing duo Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait. I met the authors at the Penguin Platform Christmas Party and again at the Transworld Rising Stars Event a few weeks ago and it was a delight to (briefly) speak to them then, so I am thrilled that for the blog tour I had the opportunity to interview Jimmy and Laura and learn a little bit more about how the two authors met, their journey to getting published, the process of writing together, and if they ever want to go solo.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Miss Atomic Bomb at St. James Theatre



Catherine Tate and Simon Lipkin. Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Miss Atomic Bomb is the latest musical offering at St. James Theatre, and while it has had predominantly nuclear reviews in the national press this week, don't let that dissuade you from watching this new piece of British theatre writing. It has all the elements for a good old-fashioned musical; a story rooted in reality but heightened for theatrical flair, over-the-top comedic moments, showstopping group numbers (jazz hands and all), and an incredibly talented cast. This show is an absolute blast.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy of Arts



One of my resolutions for this year was to attend more exhibitions again, as London has so many amazing cultural offerings yet in recent years all my spare time has gone on theatre, films and literature and I wanted to diversify that again. After visiting some excellent exhibits at the Natural History Museum and Tate Modern I ventured over to the Royal Academy of Arts last week for Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Transworld's Rising Stars Event



Transworld celebrated their women’s fiction rising stars at a special event in central London list week, at an evening filled with bookish chinwag, food and drink, and an inspirational Q&A with the guests of honour; Julie Cohen (Fallen), Anna McPartlin (Somewhere Inside of Happy), Cathy Bramley (The Plumberry School of Comfort Food), and Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice (The Night That Changed Everything)  – and what a wonderful and insightful evening it was.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Book review: Our Song by Dani Atkins



In 2013 Dani Atkins broke my heart with her debut novel Fractured, which was all sorts of amazing. It was an emotional read, yes, but also an incredibly beautiful and unique one as it detailed the two possible paths in protagonist Rachel's life and her trying to discover which one was real, and which a figment of her imagination. It shouldn't come as a surprise that in her latest novel, Our Song, Dani Atkins once more lets different stories collide in a fascinating yet devastating way.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Q&A with author Kate Thompson about Secrets of the Sewing Bee



Kate Thompson is the author of Secrets of the Singer Girls and the novel's sequel, Secrets of the Sewing Bee, is published by Pan Macmillan today! To celebrate the release I spoke to Kate about the incredible amount of interesting research she's done for her novels, her writing process and what project she's working on next.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Book review: This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang



Harper360 publishes some of my favourite young adult novels, including the incredible A Thousand Pieces of You and Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray (the third installment in the series isn't released until November and already it's my most anticipated novel of the year). I always look forward to their emails with upcoming releases, as they often include titles I wasn't familiar with yet, and This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang was one such a book.

Monday, 7 March 2016

7 YA Fairytale Retellings I REALLY Want to Read



I've always loved fairy tales. From the sugary sweet Disney retellings to the gritty originals, there is something about fantastical realms, unstoppable spells, beautiful castles and wicked witches that has always appealed to me and more than any other type of book managed to sweep me away on an adventurous journey to a faraway kingdom filled with magic and romance.

I worked my way through the majority of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson catalogue as a child, but I haven't actually ventured into the classics for a very long time. I've been itching to reread some of my favourites, but rather than diving back into the originals I've come across a host of young adult retellings that sound absolutely brilliant and I'm keen to check out instead. I've rounded up the ones that sound most interesting in my list of most-anticipated YA retellings of classic fairy tales below.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Guest post: author Catherine Lowell shares 5 things you didn’t know about Charlotte Brontë



The Madwoman Upstairs tells the story of Samantha Whipple, the last remaining descendant of the illustrious Brontë family, of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre fame. After losing her father it is up to Samantha to piece together the mysterious family inheritance lurking somewhere in her past – yet the only clues she has at her disposal are the Bronte's own novels... To celebrate the book's release this week, author Catherine Lowell has written a fascinating guest post for the blog tour on five things you might not know yet about Charlotte Brontë.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Book review: Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa



I always find it fascinating to read a novel about a piece of history I knew little about before delving into the story. And despite the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organisation protests taking place in very recent history, this was one such an occasion where my knowledge was shamefully lacking and the book served as an eyeopener to the terrible things that took place that day so close before the start of the new millennium. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist was a very uncomfortable read at times, but also a hugely powerful one – and it needed telling.