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The Map of Bones Paperback Release | Extract

Related Posts: Book Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Tomorrow, The Map of Bones is being released in Paperback! It’s the thrilling sequel to The Fire Sermon, a fantastic fantasy debut I enjoyed a while back. To celebrate the second book’s paperback release, here’s a sneak peek inside the book if you haven’t delved into it yet – an extract I posted last year for the blog tour.


Spoilers for Book One

Piper and I sat near the entrance to the cave, watching the sun shrug off the night. More than a month earlier, on the way to the silo, we’d slept in the same hidden cave, and perched on the same flat rock. Next to my knee, the stone still bore the scuff-marks from where Piper had sharpened his knife all those weeks ago.

I looked at Piper. The slash on his single arm had healed to a pink streak, the scar tissue raised and waxy, puckered where stitches had held the wound closed. At my neck, the wound from The  Confessor’s knife had finally healed, too.

26174866In the deadlands, it had been an open wound, edged with ash. Was the ash still there, inside me, specks of black sealed beneath the scar’s carapace?

Piper held out a piece of rabbit meat skewered on the blade of his knife. It was left over from the night before, coated with cold fat, congealed into grey strings. I shook my head and turned away.

‘You need to eat,’ he said. ‘It’ll take us three more weeks to get to the Sunken Shore. Even longer to get to the west coast, if we’re going to search for the ships.’

All of our conversations began and ended at the ships. Their names had become like charms: The Rosalind. The Evelyn. And if the hazards of the unknown seas didn’t sink the ships, then sometimes I felt that the weight of our expectations would. They were everything, now. We’d managed to rid the Council of The Confessor, and of the machine that she was using to keep track of all Omegas – but it wasn’t enough, especially after the massacre on the island. We might have slowed down the Council, and cost them two of their most powerful weapons, but the tanks were patient. I’d seen them myself, in visions and in the awful solidity of reality. Row after row of glass tanks, each one a pristine hell.

That was the Council’s plan for all of us. And if we didn’t have a plan of our own, a goal to work for, then we were justImage result for the fire sermon scrapping in the dust, and there’d be no end to it. We might forestall the tanks for a while, but no better than that. Once, the island had been our destination. That had ended in blood and smoke. So now we were seeking the ships that Piper had sent out from the island, months  before, in search of Elsewhere.

There were times when it felt more like a wish than a plan.

It would be four months at the next full moon since the ships sailed. ‘It’s a hell of a long time to be at sea,’ Piper said as we sat on the rock.

I had no reassurance to offer him, so I stayed silent. It wasn’t just a question of whether or not Elsewhere was out there. The real question was what it could offer us, if it existed. What its inhabitants might know, or do, that we couldn’t. Elsewhere couldn’t just be another island, just place to hide from the Council. That might offer us a respite, but it would be no solution, any more than the island was.

There had to be more than that: a real alternative.


The Map of Bones paperback edition is released tomorrow (January 26th) from Harper Voyager.

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2016 Favourites | What I’ve been loving this year

Hello again, for the last post of the year 🙂

Last year, I did a post called “15 in 15” because considering it was 2015, the number worked. I thought I’d do a follow up “16 in 16” but… I think I’ll be sticking to fifteen because if I keep that up every year, these lists are going to keep getting longer!

Read on to see what were my favourite books of the year, as well as my top picks of music, film and TV. The majority of titles in all three categories were released in 2016, but some are slightly older things that I’ve discovered.

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Last year I read something like 190 books, and this year, I’ve only read just over 50! I wouldn’t say this has been my best year for reading, but I have discovered some fantastic books. Unboxed by Non Pratt was unexpectedly poignant and Everything Leads to You has become one of my favourite books of all time.

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After my GCSEs ended, I spent a month in bed, on our newly-purchased Netflix, binge watching a gazillion tv shows. I adored How to Get Away With Murder and The Get Down, two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the year, but I’m now a massive fan of. Movie wise, the Ghostbusters reboot has to be one of the best things to have happened this year. Bless Kate Mckinnon. Rogue One was pretty fantastic too.

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2016 may have been rubbish, but the music that came out this year most certainly wasn’t. Honestly, I could write pages about every album above. I adore them! While I’ve been veering more into indie sounds, I was also introduced to Sleater-Kinney, one of the most iconic riot grrl bands, and so many songs of theirs have become hugely important to me. Tegan and Sara’s Love You To Death is literally the best thing to have ever happened, and will forever be a favourite and special album. I’ve gotten into quite a few new artists, like Shura and Lauren Aquilina, but my favourite new discovery is probably Christine and the Queens, who’s the musician everyone needs in their life.


So, there we go! That’s another whole year of stuff. 2016 was a bit rubbish in general, but at least there’s been some great media to distract us from it, eh?

And before I go… A huge THANK YOU to everybody who has been reading my blog this year. I am hugely grateful for every view, like and comment on my posts, and seeing that people enjoy my ramblings is what makes me keep blogging!

See you in 2017. ❤

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Unboxing | #MKBParty Box!

When Come Round asked me if I’d be interested in looking at their new campaign for my Kinda Book, Macmillan’s teen book imprint, I said of course. I expected a little package to arrive, with a book and maybe a leaflet about what the campaign was – and OH MY GOODNESS, THE SIZE OF THE BOX THAT ARRIVED.

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The #MKBParty is set to happen this weekend – lots of people across the country have been sent, or have applied for, one of these packs of bookish goodies. It’s such a fantastic scheme to get people talking about reading – I love the idea! Here’s a photo encompassing everything in the box (minus the lamp, obvs):

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Contents:

  • An #MKBParty Leaflet / Invite
  • Many, many postcards / bookmarks / posters
  • My Kinda Book bunting
  • Badges!!!
  • Three books – Fangirl, Beautiful Broken Things and The Lie Tree
  • Travel Mug, complete with an appropriate Fangirl quote

And six of each of these:

  • Candles with quotes from The Lie Tree
  • Love Hearts tubes
  • Galaxy hot chocolate
  • Cheek sticks
  • Hand cream
  • My Kinda Book pencils
  • Notebooks branded for Gemma Cairney’s debut book, Open

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever received such an epic parcel before! I adore it, and I can’t wait to make use of everything in here. Keep scrolling to see some of the many photos I had to take:

Join in with the party using #MKBParty!

Don’t have a party pack? Keep an eye out on Twitter – there are lots of giveaways happening and I’ll be tweeting some out soon!

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How I Blog: My Blogging Tools and Tips

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Upon brainstorming blog post ideas for the next few months, it occurred to me that I’ve never written a “behind the scenes” type post, about how I blog (or at least, I don’t think I have…) so, here we go!

I’ve thought about writing one in the past, but never felt really qualified to make a post like this – this blog has come a long way, but it’s still comparatively a very small site. However, it is over five years old, and I thought it might be a good idea to share all of the ways in which I create content.

First up, here’s the basics:
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This photo contains pretty much everything I use to blog – there’s not much more to it! I blog from my laptop, which of course is where I write, create graphics, and organise my TBR list – and my notebooks extensions of this (more on all of these things coming up). I have to listen to music whilst I’m blogging – it’s a lil’ creativity fuel 🙂

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Although I’ll blog anywhere and everywhere (mainly my bed tbh) I also use my desk a lot, when I need to get stuff done, as it feels more professional than being snuggled under a duvet while typing.  My desk is full of bookish things, so I thought I’d include it here 🙂

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I also use two notebooks at any time. The small one pictured here is my newest bullet journal; I’ve tried bullet journaling before, but this year I’d like to start doing so more seriously. This contains weekly overviews, which I fill with to-do lists – as I’m writing this post, it’s the Summer term, but when school starts it’ll fill up with homework tasks to balance with blogging.

The larger notebook was gifted to me through a blogger’s Secret Santa program (thank youuu, Holly from Books and Quills! IT’S SO PRETTY IT HAS OWLS ON THE COVER) I’m normally a spiralbound-notebook gal, but I love this notebook to bits. It’s full of all of my blog post planning in more detail – when I’m reading a book, I jot down bullet points to incorporate into reviews in this book. I also use it to plan ideas for discussion posts, and I used a few pages as calendars, which give me a clear visual as to what I’m posting each month without logging into WordPress.

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HAHA THIS PHOTO IS OLD I NO LONGER HAVE 8 INCHES OF THAT HAIR

Next up – my camera! Aside from my laptop, this is my most important blogging tool – also partially because it’s the reason I have a second, photography-based blog. Aside from book jackets in reviews, and any other credited photos, images on here were taken and edited by me. More bookish photography can be found on my Instagram, which is a sort of extension of this blog. A camera isn’t necessary for blogging – but it was a natural development for me to invest in one, given that my second hobby is photographing things 🙂

OK, onto the digital tools I use!

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For organising my TBR pile of ARCS (Advance Reader Copies) I collect all of them in one place in my room. It’s a ridiculous, incomprehensible stack, devoid of any organisation. BUT! Every time I receive a new book, I search up its information on Goodreads, and input it into a spreadsheet (above). It’s a nice visual which helps me decide what’s more logical to read next, and I also collect links to every review I do in a year on this same spreadsheet. It’s really handy, and pleases my organisation-obsessive brain.

I think most bloggers use a list of some form to help them organise ARCs! I really recommend doing it – although it can be really crazy, seeing how many books I’m sent in some months, that I haven’t been able to make time to review. I do try my best to get to everything at some point – though in the end, I’m blogging for fun and without payment – so it’s okay to relax a little! 🙂

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The penultimate thing on this list, and possibly my favourite, is Photoshop. Photoshop is my baby. I LOVE IT. Originally, I only downloaded a free trial a year ago, because it’s an incredibly expensive program – but I grew to love it, and started teaching myself how to create lots of different things on it. I ended up buying an Adobe photography package at a really affordable rate – I pay around £7 a month, and I really recommend the package if you’re interested in photography or graphic design or both!

Over this year, I think I’ve improved a lot with creating graphics, as well as photography work. I try to incorporate as much design work into my blog as possible – pretty much every graphic I’ve made has been created in Photoshop. In the screenshot above, you can see that it’s how I created my current logo, too 🙂

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And finally, the obvious one – WordPress!

If you’re reading this post and are yet to start a blog, I highly recommend WordPress as a platform. Although I’ve been blogging for a long time, I actually have very little knowledge of website building and coding. WordPress is a beautiful thing, because it’s fantastic for people who do have that knowledge, and yet it’s also beautifully simple for people like me. I love how easy it is to connect my blog to social media, and all of the brilliantly laid out functions from my sidebar to the post editing panel you can see above. It’s amazing, and I’m so glad I’ve been with it for five years!


Phew, that’s the end of this post… it was a long one!

If you’re a blogger, what tools and tips do you have? And if you’re looking to start a blog and have any questions, do leave a comment or tweet me! 🙂

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The Bibliomaniac: A Bookshelf Tour

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Every blogger and vlogger does one of these at some point, and yet in my five years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my shelves here! Admittedly I have on Twitter, a lot… but I figured a blog post would be nice. Especially as I just tidied / did a massive book cull so my shelves aren’t as cluttered so here goes!:)

MY MAIN BOOKSHELVES:

 

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These shelves are home to about half of the books that I have read and own. I’m usually incredibly obsessive and organised (as in, alphabetising everything I own, from DVDs to school books) but these shelves are in absolutely no logical order. They’re a massive rainbow, which I love sososo much even if it does show that I have way too much time on my hands. (Even the items on the shelves correspond to the colours… yep).

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These are part of the ‘main,’ bookshelf, but I count them at their own little sections, as they’re not YAwhich is what the shelves above mostly consist of. Two shelves are home to all of my classic books – from Enid Blyton, to Road Dahl, to George Orwell and my favourite thing I own – a 116 year old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. A larger space is reserved for all of my graphic novels and collected comic editions! I’m definitely going to need more space on this one soon, as I’m looking to expand my series reading. Current favourites are The Runaways and The Wicked and the Divine.

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This bit is the untidiest bit D:

This is where most of the books on my to-read (or in some cases, to re-read) list live! I should really order them into some kind of logical sense, but somehow I actually remember where all of these books are placed, so, I guess it’s all good.

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Most of the rest of my TBR books are on the my windowsill (top of this left photo) and sitting on my library steps, by my desk! So many books, so little time.

I do keep many of the proofs copies I’m sent – visible at the bottom of the left photo, under my windowsill. Hot Key Books all look so lovely together. A couple of more recently sent ARCs live under my bed, as I’ve run out of room (despite culling 100 books the other day!)

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And, finally – signed books! I haven’t been to any bookstore events in a long time (GCSEs, general exhaustion, etc) but I used to go up to Waterstones Piccadilly practically every week or so, attending talks and signings. My signed books don’t live in my room – they’re on shelves at the end of the hallway. But I do like that little area at the end of the house! More rainbow-ordered books!

So, that concludes the bookshelf tour! What do you think of my chaotic order of things? How do you organise your books?

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Tales and Teapots: Fundraising for the National Literacy Trust!

I’m super excited to be sharing some information today about the National Literacy Trust’s latest fundraising campaign! The Tales and Teapots initiative is a fantastic way to promote reading and simultaneously raise some money for a really awesome cause. It’s also a good excuse to eat cake. So for all of those reasons, I very highly recommend you look into it. 😛

Share tales over tea to raise money for literacy

The National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians are calling on book lovers and baking enthusiasts to help give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed by holding a Tales and Teapots party.

The new fundraising initiative, developed by Boots Opticians colleagues, encourages friends, family and colleagues to come together and share books they’ve enjoyed over tea and cake, while raising money to support the National Literacy Trust’s work in the UK.

Sara Hook, Corporate Partnerships Manager at the National Literacy Trust says: “For many of us sitting down to enjoy a good book with a cup of tea is one of life’s simple pleasures, but for one child in seven in the UK there are no books of their own to read at home.

A Tales and Teapots party is the perfect chance to catch up with friends and share your favourite books, while helping the National Literacy Trust to spread a love of reading among children across the UK and give them a brighter future. We’re delighted to be working with our partner Boots Opticians on this exciting new initiative.”

The money raised at Tales and Teapots parties across the country will give children and young people books to keep and empower them with the literacy skills they need to improve their employability and reach their full potential.

Interested in hosting a party to help raise money? Click here to register for a FREE party pack – containing posters, invitations, balloons and decorations, plus find lots more to download from the website to help you with your fundraising! If you decide to do so (why wouldn’t you?) then do tweet me photos! 😀

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Favourite Quotes: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

YOU KNOW ME WELL

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I’ve been excited about this book for months, as I’m a huge fan of David Levithan, and recently read Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads to You, which has fast become one of my favourite books. I was delighted to find a copy in Waterstones a few days ago, not realising it was already out! I read it in one go, eager to see how two favourite writers of mine had collaborated.

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I adored the story. It’s centered around Mark and Kate, who fast become friends after a crazy coincidental encounter at a Pride party, and become involved in each other’s romantic situations. Both of the authors are ridiculously talented at crafting memorable and lovable characters.

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The story has its fair share of heartbreak and sad parts, but it’s balanced out with some really heart-warming and lovely moments and scenes. The ending was beautiful! Also – another plus was that there were multiple Tegan and Sara references by Kate. That pleased my fangirl brain.

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I picked up on a lot of really beautiful sentences in this story (as I have done in both writer’s works) and I wanted to compile a list of my favourite quotes, as little graphics. I hope you enjoyed them!

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Have you read You Know Me Well? What did you love about it? 🙂