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!


Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

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