Thursday, 28 September 2017

BATH CHILDREN'S LITERATURE FESTIVAL: The Events I'm Attending!


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IT'S MY FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR. Not because it's autumn, or because it's nearly Halloween and therefore nearly Christmas...but because it's time for the Bath Children's Literature Festival! 

I feel like this post is kind of déjà vu because I was prepping for the Bath festival last year and I had The Call by Peadar O'Guilin checked out the library and look, it's the exact same thing now! (I'm loving The Call, by the way. SUCH A GOOD BOOK). Not a bad thing to have repeated in one's life, methinks.

There's a BRILLIANT line up at the festival this year and I'm SO excited to meet all the fantastic authors and listen to their talks. Thanks to Bath Festivals and my library's YA book group, I have free tickets to some of the YA events which I'm so grateful for! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'll be blogging about the events and I hope you'll enjoy reading about them! If you're interested in any of the events, you can check out the banner below for more information! Here is the list of all the authors speaking at the festival: http://bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature/ SUCH A FANTASTIC LINEUP. 

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LARA WILLIAMSON: I read The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair last year and I absolutely loved it! I adore middle-grade novels that are emotional and hard-hitting and TBWSTOIAA is definitely one of those books! I have her two others book on my shelf so I'm hoping to read them before the event (not sure if I'll be able to). 


MAGGIE ADERIN-POCOCK: I'm so excited to meet Maggie! She's a space scientist, author and BBC SKY at Night presenter - if that isn't goals, I'm not sure what is! I'm so excited to meet her and listen to her talk. As an aspiring astrophysicist, I'm really looking to that event!

JESS BUTTERWORTH, SARAH DRIVER AND AMY WILSON: I've only read Amy's A Girl Called Owl and I'm dying to read the other two authors' books! They'll be talking about learning how to write for children and teens and publishing deals etc. MUCH EXCITEMENT.

EMILY BARR: I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS! I absolutely adored The One Memory of Flora Banks and I can't wait to meet the author. The event is titled "Creative Writing Masterclass for Teens" and I believe Barr will be discussing the elements you can use to create a gripping story. I will definitely take her advice because The One Memory of Flora Banks was very thrilling and incredibly gripping!


LAUREN JAMES, TOM ELLEN AND LUCY IVISON: I haven't read any books by these authors but I've ordered a copy of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe which sounds AMAZING and I'm so excited to read it! I also really want to speak to Lauren James because she studied physics and chemistry AND sold her book at 21 - actual inspiration, right there. I want to try to get me a copy of Freshers at the event as I've heard so many good things about it and I can't wait to read it and meet the authors. 

HOLLY SMALE: I absolutely love Holly Smale's books! I haven't read the last two books (GOSH, KYRA. Get with it) so I hope there won't be any spoilers but I'd love to go to the talk as I love Holly's books! I have met her before and she's so sweet!



I'm so excited to meet all these amazing authors, listen what they have to say and get my books signed! 

Have you attended many author events? What has been your favourite author event you've ever attended? LET'S TALK!
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Hello, Autumn...here are the books I'm hoping to get to as the leaves turn orange, the air gets chilly and hot chocolate becomes my staple drink


IT'S OFFICIALLY AUTUMN AND I AM READY.

It's quite funny, autumn used to be my most dreaded month, but the past two years I've fallen in love with it. The chill in the air, the cosy blankets and the knitted sweaters, the hot chocolate and the blazing leaves, the feeling that there's something magical in the air...it's truly a wonderful season and I'm so excited for it!

In autumn, I wave goodbye to contemporary books that are my main source of literature in the warmer months and I turn to fantasy, science fiction, classics and an odd thriller here and there. There's something to utterly wonderful about sitting in front of a fire with hot chocolate in hand and reading a fantasy or a dystopia as the rain patters and the leaves fall. It makes me so happy, DOESN'T IT MAKE YOU SO HAPPY?! I'm already beginning to plan my autumn Instagram feed and I am excited, y'all.

In my autumn TBR, there will be seven e-arcs I'm hoping to get to this autumn, seven review copies, seven of the library books I currently have out and seven books I've bought that are occupying my shelf, waiting to be read. I'm so excited to fall in love with these stories and whittle down my TBR pile in the process!

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)Firefight (Reckoners #2)Calamity (Reckoners, #3)

Once I've finished my two current reads, I'm going to dive into the Steelheart trilogy. I've been meaning to read these for awhile and I feel like now is the perfect time to. It's got Epics, ruthless humans with extraordinary powers, shadowy groups, and revenge – doesn't that sound like the perfect autumn, halloween kind of read?

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

I've been going to my library for a year and only recently has my library finally acquired all the books in the Graceling trilogy. This fantasy series sounds absolutely incredible, so unique and I'm beyond excited to marathon these books as soon as I'm done reading Steelheart!

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

I've heard a lot of good things about Scythe (I think I first heard about Scythe on Shannon's blog, It Starts at Midnight) and it wasn't a book I was going to read, initially, but the reviews are great and it has such a unique concept, how could I not read it? I've heard it also raises a lot of important questions about life, death, and humanity. It looks dark and unlike anything I've read before so I'm hoping I'll love this!

Anne of Green GablesDraculaI Capture the CastleThe TreatmentIt Only Happens in the MoviesThe Murderer's ApeDarkmouth #2: Worlds Explode

AH I'M SO EXCITED TO READ THESE. Alma Publishers sent me a gorgeous edition of Anne of Green Gables and I'm so excited to read it! It will be my third time reading it, but this will be the first time reading from my own copy and it's the first copy of it I've ever owned! I've also had Dracula on my physical TBR since last year and I MUST get to it this autumn. I'll probably read this in the last week of October because it's probably the perfect time to read it, right? 

Penguin sent me a gorgeous copy of I Capture the Castle this week and I'm so excited to read it! As soon as I've finished the Steelheart and Graceling trilogy, you can bet I'm going to read that afterward!


When Harper Collins contacted me to review The Treatment, I jumped at the chance! I don't usually read thrillers but this sounds SO GOOD. A "school" that's brainwashing their pupils and a girl infiltrating the academy to discover all its dark secrets? DOES THAT NOT SOUND LIKE THE PERFECT AUTUMN READ?!

I GOT A COPY OF IT ONLY HAPPENS IN THE MOVIES AND I'M DYING OF EXCITEMENT. Holly Bourne is one of my all-time favourite authors and I can't wait to read her latest book. It sounds incredible and I'm 99.9% sure I'm going to love it! 

The Murderer's Ape sounds so intriguing and it's also an utterly BEAUTIFUL book. It sounds adorable and heartwarming and I'M READY FOR IT.

I also want to finish the Darkmouth series this autumn! I absolutely LOVED the first book, so I'll definitely try to power my way through the next three books. Name a more perfect time to read about monsters than in the autumn period, I dare you.

InvictusThis Mortal CoilI am TraitorBatwoman: Rebirth (2017) #1
The Truth and Lies of Ella BlackUndercover Princess (The Rosewood Chronicles, #1)Kat and Meg Conquer the World

Invictus sounds so fascinating and I may have squealed super loudly. It's got time-travelling in, black market time travelling expeditions, a heist on board the Titanic...it sounds fascinating and I NEED TO READ IT NOW. 

I found out that the author of This Mortal Coil is an astrophysicist?! SHE'S MY NEW INSPIRATION. I want to be an astrophysicist and publish a YA book at some point, so thank you, author, for inspiring me! This Mortal Coil features a female coder/hacker (YAY for female characters interested in coding/STEM subjects), a plague that has caused humanity to become nearly extinct, shadowy organisations, kidnapped fathers and many lies and secrets. IT SOUNDS EPIC AND I'M SO READY. 

I Am Traitor has alien invasions and pipes that suck people up into the alien world, leaving them to face a devastating landscape. The main character has to fight the alien species and try to save the government and the world, basically. ALIEN INVASIONS ARE ALWAYS FUN (to read about, that is). 

BATWOMAN REBIRTH, THAT IS ALL.

I absolutely loved The One Memory of Flora Banks so I'm SUPER excited to read Emily Barr's new novel! The main character's lives a life envied by many but then her whole life turns out to be a lie, leading her to run away in order to find out who she really is and where she really comes from and AH IT JUST SOUNDS SO AMAZING.

Undercover Princess sounds so cute! I absolutely adore books that have a fairy telling theme and books that have princesses, politics and glamorous parties. This sounds so adorable and I'm so excited to read it!



GUYS GUYS GUYS, I'M SO STOKED FOR THIS BOOK!!! It's got two female main characters. One has an anxiety disorder #relatable and the other one has ADHD. They're both into gaming and they're both thrown together for a year-long science project! Science, gaming, mental health rep...what more could you ask for?!
 City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (Updated edition)The Light Between Oceans

Yes, that is correct, I still haven't read City of Heavenly Fire, something my best friend chides me for. I NEED to finish this series this year, IT'S GETTING RIDICULOUS NOW. 

Rick Riordan has brought out so many books and I'm so behind on pretty much all of them. The Trials of Apollo sounds so incredible and I absolutely adore Rick Riordan's books so I'm REALLY EXCITED to get to these! 

A Court of Mist and Fury is a book that I feel as if everyone has read...except for me. I have read the first book and I really enjoyed it at the time, as time has passed I realised it didn't leave such a lasting impression on me and I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I'm hoping to marathon this trilogy during the October holidays or the December holidays! 

I bought this book from my library's sale and after flicking through it, I'm pretty sure I'm going to love this book. It also has super high ratings on Goodreads which I find quite rare for a lot of paranormal romances! It also has werewolves in and I've read practically no werewolf books! YAY, MUCH EXCITEMENT. 

My friend bought me this beautiful new edition of A Brief History of Time for my birthday and, as I'm trying to read more physics books, I definitely want to get to this as soon as possible. It's one of the most iconic physics books I'm not particularly sure why I haven't read it yet. 

I've been meaning to read this book for ages after a) one of my best friends loving it and b) watching the trailer for the movie (which looks so good). My other friend's mom said to me the other day that it's one of the best books she's ever read, so THE HYPE IS REAL, people. I hope I love it. I really, really want to love it. 

These are the books that I'm hoping to get to this autumn! I'm so excited to read them! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are there any of these you think that I should prioritise?
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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

BLOG TOUR: A Dangerous Year by Kes Trester was a feisty, fun teenage espionage novel!


A Dangerous Year (Riley Collins, #1)
Title: A Dangerous Year
Series: Riley Collins #1
Author: Kes Trester
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Espionage
Publication: 26th September 2017, Curiosity Quills
Pages: 255 Pages, Ebook
Rating: 4/5 cupcakes
Source: Thank you to Curiosity Quills and Sparkpoint Studio for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar. Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers. 


If you're looking for a book that is heart-stopping, fast-paced, filled with a cast of dynamic characters and outrageously fun...you need A Dangerous Year in your life. It's no secret that I adore espionage novels, especially ones where a teenage agent has to go undercover and disguise themselves as your typical high school teenager...and this book most definitely didn't disappoint. It had me gasping, laughing, swooning and biting my nails. A Dangerous Year kicked my adrenaline into gear and I loved every second of it.

A Dangerous Year is about Riley Collins. Daughter of an ambassador father and student of the defensive chief (and voluntary second father), Benson. After Riley rescues a girl from death in a bustling Pakistan market – and ends up injuring her attackers in the process – there's a price on her head and her potential demise is lurking in the cutthroat streets. After the incident, her father decides it's best to get her as far away from the danger as possible: he sends her to an elite, prestigious American high school...with a mission. What is that mission, exactly? To keep an eye on, and protect, Hayden Frasier, daughter of a billionaire whose software program is racking up a large mass of enemies. It should be fairly easy, right? However, as Riley navigates her new school, she soon finds that not everyone is who they first appear to be. Throw into the mix towering piles of homework, dreaded equestrian lessons and two boys vying for her attention, Riley has her work cut out for her. Shots will be fired, hearts will be broken and trust will be killed.

Okay so, I loved this book and I had an incredibly fun time reading it. Why don't I provide you with a list of all the things I loved about this book, because who doesn't like lists?

1) The Plot
As I said, if you mention teen espionage stories, I am there. I absolutely loved this book's storyline. An ambassador's daughter who has lived in several countries but never truly belonged, who has been trained in various martial arts and is incredibly smart, who then has to slot into life as your typical rich American teenager whilst trying to keep a billionaire's daughter alive. I'M SOLD. I adored all the spy elements that were included in this book. The software, the weapons, the gadgets – it's YA version of Kim Possible and I loved it. There were plot twists that had my jaw slack, there were moments where my heart was racing and I was practically biting my fingernails and there were moments where this read as your typical high school drama, complete with backstabbing, complicated love triangles and all the other obstacles high school throws at you. I loved how this book balanced Riley's double lives. Both aspects were incredibly interesting and her agent life, as well as her regular teenage life, were done superbly. ALSO, CAN WE TALK ABOUT THAT ENDING? I was clicking my kindle's button furiously, praying that that wasn't how it ended...but it was. Can I get the next one now? Pretty please? A Dangerous Year was intriguing, it was absorbing and it was fast-paced – what more could you want?

2) The characters
I LOVED THE CHARACTERS. I adored Riley. She's clever (I love it when books feature smart girls, we need more girls interested in tech in YA!), she's incredibly sassy, she's a chess champion, she's kind and brave but there's also something so likable and relatable about her. Perhaps it's the fact that she prefers reading a book and sitting on the couch stuffing her face with oreos on a Friday night than going out. Me too, girl, me too. I also love that she's not afraid to show the guys who's boss, she's not afraid to challenge them to wrestling matches (this girl's strength makes me want to hit the gym as soon as possible) and she's not afraid to challenge those in authority, if their motives begin to appear sinister. I absolutely loved Riley and I can definitely see her becoming one of my favourite protagonists!

I loved the other characters, too. There is Riley's dad who is kind, caring and offers the best advice and then there's Benson, who is the most precious, intimidating cinnamon roll ever. I know intimidating and cinnamon roll probably shouldn't be used in the same sentence, but if you read the book, I think you'll get where I'm coming from. Man, I really love Benson. He's probably my favourite character in the book. He's wise, he's hilarious, he's somewhat intimidating but he also has this sensitive, soft side that just made me love him even more. I absolutely adored the banter between the three, the wise words of wisdom they exchanged, the love and compassion and the brilliant family dynamics between the three of them. YAY FOR CLOSE FAMILIES IN YA BOOKS!

Then there are the other characters that were featured heavily in A Dangerous Year: Von, Stef, Sam and Hayden. I loved all of them. Stef quickly takes Riley under his wing in her first week of attending the academy, introducing her to the Harrington students' way of living. He's gay, has a flair for the dramatic, impeccable fashion sense and also a tendency to drown his sorrows in alcohol as the demons set loose by his wealthy, careless family dance with him. There's Hayden, who at first glance seems shallow, vain and unkind but who later reveals herself to be a lost girl with high, impenetrable walls, built from years of the betrayal and mistrust she's had to face. Then there are Von and Stef, the two love interests. DON'T GROAN about the love triangle, they're both adorable and hilarious. There's not just one guy for you to add to your book boyfriend list – but two! I loved all four these characters. By the end of the book, they all seemed quite different to how they were first introduced. I like that the author took time to peel back their layers and reveal their inner selves to the reader. 

3) The romance
The romance was subtle and it didn't feature that heavily in the book, which I know a lot of people will like. There was blatant flirting, banter that had me giggling and there were scenes where the chemistry was utterly sizzling between Riley and the boys. I loved her and Von's ease with one another but I loved watching the firework display of sparks that exploded between her and Sam...but I think I might ship her more with Von? I DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW. I LOVE THEM BOTH. I hope there will be more romance featured in the next book. I'm so ready for it.

4) The pace, the plot twists and the setting
As I mentioned earlier, the pace of this book was fantastic. You know you get those books that move super slowly or books that move so fast you feel as if you're caught in a whirlwind of activity and not in a good way? A Dangerous Year was perfectly paced. There were moments of relaxed ease as Riley settled into her surroundings, only for us to be catapulted into deadly car races and heart-stopping discoveries. I loved how the author managed the pace of this book. It was steady with charged moments of lightning-fast pace, which added a new level of thrilling to the book. I also adored the plot twists and I'm so excited to see where the author takes the characters in the next book. Like I mentioned above, after that ending, I desperately need the sequel. I also LOVED the setting. Rich boarding schools with plenty of secrets and rooms/closets filled with spy tech. THIS IS ALL I EVER WANTED

5) The dialogue
Oh, the dialogue in this book is brilliant. The flirty banter is absolutely brilliant and I whispered to myself “I ship it” more times than once due to the brilliant interaction between the characters. There were serious dialogues, wise dialogues and utterly hilarious dialogues and I loved every one of them. It felt natural and authentic and it made me love this book even more!

A Dangerous Year was utterly exhilarating and I tore through it. It's fast-paced, it has heart-stopping moments that caused adrenaline to course through my body, plot twists that caused me to slap my hand to my mouth, hilarious dialogue and a fantastic cast of characters that are so strong but simultaneously beautifully broken. It takes the elements of a high school teen drama and elements of a high-chase espionage movie and combines them to form the exhilarating and brilliantly fun A Dangerous Year. You don't want to miss this.

I give it: 4/5 cupcakes!


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Monday, 18 September 2017

Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty was monstrously magnificent and fan(g)tastically fun! (puns intended)

Title: Darkmouth
Series: Darkmouth #1
Author: Shane Hegarty
Pages: 403 Pages, Paperback
Publication: January 15th 2015, Harper Collins Children's Books
Source: Thank you to Harper Collins Children's for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 
Rating: 4/5 cupcakes!
There are towns where the border between our world and the world of monsters - properly called Legends - is thin. One of those towns is Darkmouth. 
There, our hero Finn is the son of the last remaining Legend Hunter - which means that one day soon he will be the last remaining Legend Hunter. 
Except he's a bit rubbish at it. And in a spectacularly unfortunate coincidence, the terrifying leader of the monsters is in the midst of planning an all out attack on earth... in Darkmouth.

When I read the blurb for this book, I had a hunch that I was going to love it and have a heck of a time reading it...and guess what? I WAS RIGHT. Darkmouth was outrageously funny and 100% thrilling. It was filled with hilarious, lovable characters, cracking dialogue and a gripping storyline. It's monster mayhem at its finest and it had me gripped in its claws from the very first page.

Darkmouth is about twelve-year-old Finn who loves animals and wants to be a vet...but who is instead spending his time training to be a Legend Hunter in order to save his village from the monsters (Legends) that have a tendency to run rampage around his town. Between training to become a full-time Legend Hunter like his father and trying not to die in the process, making friends with the new girl Emmie who is decidedly secretive about her and her father's business in Darkmouth...Finn has his hands full. And then of course there's the small matter of the Legends plotting a war against humanity in Darkmouth itself, but no biggie, right?


OKAY, so I loved pretty much everything about this book and I'm so excited to read the rest of the series. From the very first page, I knew I was going to love it. Why is that might you ask? Well, I love the way the author writes and I have a feeling that many middle-graders, teens and adults alike will love the writing. It's inviting, it flows smoothly and it has a magical kind of characteristic about it that makes the words come to life. 

After I had been enchanted by the writing, I was enchanted by the main character and all the other varying characters that pop up throughout Darkmouth. Finn is a precious cinnamon roll that needs to be protected at all costs and I LOVE him. He's not your typical hero that falls into the So Perfect I'm Practically Not Human category that a lot of fictional heroes fall into. He's not particularly good at wielding a Desiccator and he's not the most adept at fighting off a Legend, but he does try super hard so A+ for effort, right? There's also this inward struggle that wages inside Finn which was quite touching to see and it also helped define him as a three-dimensional character. He really wants to be a vet and help animals...but he also wants to be a Legend Hunter to please his father. I think there comes a point in every child's life where they want to do a certain thing but they also want to please their parents and those two things don't always go hand-in-hand and I really enjoyed that that aspect was explored. It gave the book a tender, more personal aspect which I liked.

The other characters were wonderful as well! I loved Emmie, Finn's new-found friend. She's curious and she talks a lot (girl, same) and she's an adorable character. Her and Finn's friendship was slightly rocky in this book which is understandable given the circumstances but I'm hoping to really see their friendship develop in the next few books! I also ADORED Broonie, the one Legend that featured quite heavily in this book. He reminded me of Dobby, just sassier, and I'm hoping he'll be a part of the sequels.

Another thing I really loved about this book was that Finn's parents were alive and heavily involved in his life. YA – and some middle-grade novels – have a tendency to most have parents that are either a) dead, b) completely absent or c) utterly horrible which makes no sense to me BUT Darkmouth didn't fall into that category – small mercies! I absolutely loved Finn's mother and Finn's relationship with her. He asked his mom for advice and was inspired by her and IT WAS ADORABLE. Finn's dad could be hilarious at times but sometimes I wanted to shake him for being so disappointed in my precious Finn who is gentle and caring and not particularly agile at fighting and doing Legend Hunter things. His dad put quite a lot of pressure on him to succeed and I thought it was great that the author included this aspect into the story as it's something a lot of kids might be able to relate to. I hope that by the end of the series Finn will listen to his heart and that his dad will support him with that.


The plot in this book was non-stop fun as well! There were several twists and turns and towards the end there may have been a few instances where I was gripping the book slightly too hard because it was intense, man. I absolutely loved that this book was able to surprise me and shock me and keep me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I also adored the concept of this book. Like, monsters appearing through doorways in certain villages and needing Legend hunters to fight them off before they wreak havoc like eating people and stuff – doesn't that intrigue you?? IT INTRIGUES ME.

One last thing I absolutely LOVED about this book - and which was probably my favourite thing about Darkmouth - was the humour. Guys, I snorted and giggled so many times throughout this book. Finn was super sassy and sarcastic, his dad could be hilarious too and the banter between all the characters was utterly brilliant! One thing that I've found in a lot of the books I've read is the dialogue is often stilted and awkward but thankfully Shane Hegarty is brilliant at crafting excellent conversations between the characters. There were touching conversations, heated conversations, many hilarious conversations...and they were all done brilliantly.

Darkmouth is an incredible start to what I'm sure is going to be an incredible series! With lovable characters, hilarious one-liners, monsters and mayhem, Darkmouth contains so many marvellous elements that makes it a book that's very easy to fall in love with. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the sequels!

I give it: 4/5 cupcakes

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