Monday, 30 May 2016

My Month in Favourites – May 2016



I'm currently in the Netherlands enjoying some of my favourites things in life; my family, all of the cheese, Dutch shops and oranjekoek (an orange cookie-cake hybrid my mum saved for me from King's Day) and I can pretty much write a whole favourites post just about my time here. But since it's only been 2.5 days out of the whole month I won't, and instead my favourites consist of some clothes, a book (surprise, surprise), a great restaurant I ate at in the past month, and hand soaps I'm absolutely addicted to.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Book review: London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning




I was lucky to attend the Hot Key Books Spring/Summer Highlights event a few weeks ago and speak to the one and only Sarra Manning. I was already super excited to read London Belongs to Us after seeing it being described as a "galloping, giddy romp about empowerment and staying out until the sun rises" by author Holly Bourne (Am I Normal Yet?), and after having had the chance to chat to Sarra about the story and London I immediately bumped it up to the top of my to-read pile, it sounded that good. And while I didn't think it was possible, it was actually even better than I expected it to be. This book deserves ALL of the stars, and then some!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Top 5 Upcoming Releases From Headline and Quercus



Headline and Quercus recently presented some of their most anticipated titles of the second half of 2016 and early 2017 to press and bloggers, and while I wasn't able to attend the event they were kind enough to send me a goodie bag with proofs and information on the titles they talked about on the night. There are some incredible books being released by these two publishers, including Enid Blyton For Grown-Ups and The Girl Before, and I wanted to share the highlights with you guys below so we can all camp outside the bookshops together on publication day!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Book review: The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling



At the recent Books With a Bite Blogger Evening a number of intriguing and exciting new titles were presented and the one that stood out to me the most from the piles of glorious proofs we were allowed to dive into was The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling. And when later on in the evening I had the privilege to chat to the author and her editor about the book and the story behind it I was even more interested, and so I bumped this sci-fi romance straight to the top of my to-read pile.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Book review: Unrivalled by Alyson Noël



When I saw Unrivalled described as Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars, my interest was piqued as they are two of my absolute favourite guilty-pleasure series. And with both having run their course a while back, I was in the market for a new young adult series filled with scandal and intrigue to fill that hole in my life. While the first instalment in the Beautiful Idols series is less preppy than Gossip Girl and the body count doesn't come anywhere near Pretty Little Liars (yet), it is filled with a diverse cast of backstabbing characters and I am most definitely hooked.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Me Before You preview screening + Jojo Moyes Q&A



Ever since I read the hauntingly beautiful The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, she has been one of my favourite authors. While this was the novel that made me fall in love with her writing, it is the more recent Me Before You which has taken the world by storm. The story of the young Will Traynor who becomes a quadriplegic and no longer sees the point in living, and the bubbly Louise Clarke who is hired to be his companion, is bittersweet and heartbreaking. It's an emotional roller-coaster and the incredible story has now made it to the big screen as well. I was fortunate enough to attend a preview screening last week, preceded by a Q&A with Jojo Moyes, and I wanted to share the highlights with you below (no spoilers).

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Book review: Curtain Call – A Year Backstage in London Theatre by Matt Humphrey and John Schwab



My two biggest passions are books and theatre, hence the name of the blog. It doesn't happen often though that those two come together, but the gorgeous new Curtain Call – A Year Backstage in London Theatre coffee table book by photographer Matt Humphrey and actor/director John Schwab is a marriage made in heaven. Filled to the brim with an incredible collection of behind-the-scenes photographs as well as insights and stories chronicling a year in West End theatre, this is a true treat for theatre geeks and casual theatre-goers alike.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Dinner at Royal China Baker Street in London



It's been a while since I have highlighted an eatery on my blog as there is so much to see and do in London and it's impossible to cover it all by myself. However, I was recently invited to visit one of the Royal China Group restaurants and their menu looked so enticing that I was definitely keen to check it out. We went to the Baker Street location, which is situated between Bond Street and Baker Street stations, and the perfect after-work location for those who work in or near Mayfair, Marylebone or the West End.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Book review: This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell



Hi, my name is Zarina and up until a few weeks ago I had never read a Maggie O'Farrell novel. Crazy, I know. I've heard unanimously positive things about her writing yet somehow it wasn't until her brand-new book, This Must Be the Place, was taking over my Twitter timeline that I finally discovered her stories for myself. It was a wonderful experience and it made me kick myself for leaving it so long. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Book review: Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman



At the recent Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast, Lying About Last Summer was described as 13 Reasons Why meets We Were Liars. I'd read the former but not the latter, however I have heard nothing but great things about the E. Lockhart novel and so I was instantly intrigued by Sue Wallman's debut. And when it turned out that we were in the same quiz team later that afternoon, and I had the chance to ask her a little more about her story, I was definitely, completely sold.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Hot Key Books Spring/Summer Highlights



You all know I love Hot Key Books (part of Bonnier publishing house), which is without a doubt one of the best young adult publishers in the UK right now. Last year's blogger brunch was one of my bookish highlights of 2015 and I've read some incredible novels from them since, including The Girl From Everywhere, The Good Girls, Only We Know and Paperweight. So to have the opportunity to attend their spring/summer highlights party last week, with librarians, booksellers and other industry influencers was an utter joy.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Book review: Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman



While I only discovered author Fredrik Backman's much hyped about novel A Man Called Ove about a year ago, I was instantly sold. His second book translated into English, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises, even ended up talking the top spot on my list of favourite books of 2015. So when a spin-off with with one of the chararacters from his latest novel was announced, I knew this was a title I had to get my eager hands on as soon as possible. Britt-Marie was actually my least favourite character from the original book, but in true Backman form the story was a heartwarming eye-opener and it completely turned my opinion of her around.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Show Boat at the New London Theatre



Credit: Johan Persson

Based on the book of the same name by Edna Ferber, Show Boat is a 1920s musical spanning three generations on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat. Adapted for the stage by Jeremy Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, it is one of the earliest examples of shows as we know them today rather than the Vaudeville variety that was the more common form of entertainment on Broadway at that time.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Books With a Bite Blogger Evening



Books With a Bite is the online persona of the YA division of Hachette Children's Group, the new publishing powerhouse formed through the merger of the children's departments in the Hachette Group, including Quercus, Orion, Hodder and Little, Brown. The result is a varied list of books, from contemporary to sci-fi, and one I've particularly fallen in love with after discovering the amazingness that is Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. So when my lovely friend Laura invited me to be her plus one to the Books With a Bite Blogger Evening I of course didn't have to think twice. It was a brilliant night filled with books (and bites), and below you'll find highlights of their upcoming releases.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

My Month in Favourites – April 2016



April was a crazy whirlwind of a month, mostly consumed by work. Though I did also rub elbows with Sir Ian McKellen at the theatre, made a big dent in my to-be-read pile, and started to properly plan my two-week holiday in Canada in October (I can't wait!). But what were April's favourites, I hear you ask. They are mostly of the theatrical and literary variety this time around, with a visit to Sunset Boulevard and a shout-out for publishing Twitter account Bad Tote Bag, but there are also a few other highlights, including Instagram, Captain America: Civil War and Just Bee Drinks.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The World of Lewis Carroll exhibition & sale at Peter Harrington Books



150 year after its first publication, the wondrous Alice in Wonderland is still hugely popular with countless reprints in different formats, novels inspired by the true story of Alice Liddell, memorabilia for all ages, and even a recent exhibition at the British Library. And with a new Disney live action film to be released at the end of this month, the sale of a unique collection of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) works by rare booksellers Peter Harrington in Mayfair couldn't be more timely. It includes rare items such as Carroll's own copy of the first published edition from 1866, and the only book (Rhyme? And Reason?) inscribed by Carroll to Alice in Wonderland illustrator John Tenniel.