Uncategorized

HELLO AGAIN BLOG I’VE MISSED YOU

Uncategorized

THE MAP OF BONES Blog Tour: Teaser Extract

Heyo internet! This week I’m very excited to share with you an extract from The Map of Bones, the sequel to Francesca Haig’s explosive fantasy dĂ©but, The Fire Sermon.

2384965226080189

I cannot wait to read The Map of Bones as it sounds so far like a thrilling sequel – and I’ve been aching to read more about the characters since I finished book one, which ended on quite a cliffhanger. So, if you’re as excited as I am, do read below for a short extract from the next book!

warning – contains 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.

In 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 just 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.

Sound exciting? The Map of Bones is out now in book stores, from HarperVoyager!

Book Review · Uncategorized

Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Published 21st April 2016 by Orion.

28016325Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone thought we were dead. What else could they think?

One summer, nearly twenty years ago, two twelve year olds
were abducted and kept captive in the forest.

There they formed a bond that could never be broken.

What really happened in the woods that summer?

My Review: When this book came in the post, it looked like a really good read, and the ARC cover was fantastic. I picked it up on a whim, as just something to read between work. The premise sounded quite similar to lots of books I’ve seen before – I didn’t expect to be as blown away as I was! Pretty Is is a stunning, inventive novel, and I’m certain it’s going to be the big dĂ©but of the year.

The plot is intricate and very well written. I became completely absorbed in the events of the book – it was so haunting and engaging. So many events spiral from the mysterious summer Carly May and Lois are kept in the woods – and all of these different stories come together two decades later incredibly cleverly. I had no idea where the plot could possibly be going from the opening pages right to the ending!

I adored how much time the story takes to delve into the lives of the main characters, and the psychological imprints their abduction left on them. It was incredibly chilling to read about, but also morbidly fascinating.  The book is split into two narratives, Carly May’s and Lois’s. They both had incredibly strong and engaging voices, and seeing how differently they develop was really interesting.

Maggie Mitchell weaves mystery into her novel expertly. Pretty Is is so haunting and unpredictable. I loved how intricate the plot was – it’s such a classic-feeling crime story yet it’s written in such a complex, outstanding way. I finished it feeling like I still wanted to know a bit more about some aspects of the story, but overall, I was truly mesmerised by how powerful of a dĂ©but Pretty Is was.

Overall, I really highly recommend Pretty Is to those who love chilling and psychological stories. Compelling, dark and addictive, it’s an incredible dĂ©but novel from a very talented writer. I’m really looking forward to reading more by Mitchell in the future!

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Pretty Is from the publisher. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Uncategorized

New Year, New Look!

Happy new year, everyone!

As you can probably tell – I don’t really need to make a blog post about this, really – there’s been some changes! They’ve kinda been a long time coming.

I stuck with my old theme for a really long time – longer than any other theme I’d had. So, inevitably, it’s a little sad for me to see my old little blog banner go… But I am loving this new look.cropped-the-bibliomaniac-header21.jpg

I’m in year eleven, and I’m not great at managing my time, which is not going to be useful in the coming months. Whilst I was planning and scheduling blog posts through December, I realised I was going to need some more motivation to blog. Since September last year, I’ve been in some sort of blogging slump (I wrote about two posts in three months – I’d just scheduled things previously so you couldn’t tell). I realised I’d been slowly losing my love for blogging, the deeper I got into year eleven.

So, my plan is… If I change things up a bit, and start this year with a shiny new look, I’ll be more motivated to post!PicMonkey Collage

It’s been working so far, actually – picking out a new theme and designing a new header weirdly pulled me out of my reading and blogging slump. So, fingers crossed I’ll be able to balance school work and blogging up until Summer – because without this part of my life, I think I’ll go a bit insane!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the changes I’ve made! Do you like them?

(Personally, I’m really into my new header. It’s looking less cluttered, and it was pretty fun to splash some paint around IRL and fiddle around in Photoshop:) )

Uncategorized

2015: in Words and Pictures

It doesn’t feel right to be sitting down at my laptop right now, condensing all the great things that have happened this year into one blog post. This year has been one of the most important ones of my life so far, and so many great things have happened. It’s all flown by!

Here’s a few highlights of my year, bookish and non-bookish. I did a similar post last year and would like to make it an annual thing, as it’ll be nice (or embarrassing? I always laugh at my old posts) to look back on these in the future.

MARCH

One of my favourite bookish events happened in this month – I was lucky enough to get tickets to a talk by Gayle Forman at Foyles when she visited the UK promoting I Was Here. I really admire Gayle’s books so it was a fantastic opportunity to meet her.10999351_10206172150529216_5384210458056684139_nMAY

I took early entry exams in this month in science, PE and ICT. I was freaking out about them for months (except for PE, which I had… a week’s notice for. Thanks school) and all but one of the five exams were in one week. It was terrifying, considering this wasn’t near as many GCSEs as I’ll be doing next year. However, I’m really glad I took them early and got passing grades in them.

After all of the exam madness was over, I went to see Carrie the Musical in London. It was in a relatively small theatre in Elephant and Castle, and only ran for a couple of months, but it definitely deserves to come back! It was eerie and gory and fantastic.11008573_908539629187891_5813636513018271353_n
JUNE

This month was so exciting. In the first two weeks, I had my first ever work experience placement at a publishing company. I got to work with some fantastic, inspiring people and it’s helped me in starting to decide what kind of a career I want in the future.

Almost accidentally, I somehow managed to get some of the tickets to the #AskPaperTowns event in London. I went with my mum and a friend and it was such an unforgettable night – what was said to be a Q&A with John Green was unexpectedly also joined by Cara Delevingne and Natt Wolff – and hosted by Dan and Phil. It was such a surreal day and I also was able to meet Emma Blackery and LukeIsNotSexy, two YouTubers that I’ve loved for years!11253918_923387644369756_959585393825161374_n

Also this month, Sci Fi by the Sea, which is fast becoming my favourite convention, was brought back to Herne Bay for its third run. It was even bigger than the last one and there was so much cool stuff there! I love seeing this convention grow every year.IMG_4985
JULY

YALC! This second year was even bigger and better than the launch of this event last year – a new venue and almost a whole floor dedicated to YALC at this year’s London Film and Comic con meant so much was going on. I’m really thankful to have been invited to a blogger’s breakfast before events started on Sunday, and I had a great time in talks and workshops for the rest of the day, catching up with people and of course, buying books. One of my highlights of the day is actually one of my highlights of this year – after years of talking online, I finally met Siobhan Curham, author of True Face – she’s such a fantastic person and inspiration.PicMonkey Collage

At the end of July, I worked at a summer camp at my school (I did the same in 2014, but unofficially). Those two weeks were incredibly important to me, as I learned so many skills through being on the camp’s media team. I think after those two crazy weeks of photography and filmography, I’d actually like to go into a media related career!

august

I went on one of the best trips I’ve ever been on in August – to Amsterdam. It was such an unforgettable holiday and I would love to revisit the city sometime in the future. It was fascinating to see Van Gogh paintings in person and visit Anne Frank’s house. And, looking back on it, it’s quite laughable how long I dragged my family around for looking for the TFiOS Bench. There’s a bookish recap of my trip on this blog, and a photos on my photography blog here and here.PicMonkey Collage

Oh, yep, and I made a new blog! It’s called geetakesphotos and it was created when I realised I wanted a place to document my everyday happenings, and adventures, that wasn’t a neglected hard drive. I bought a DSLR with my first Saturday job wages in June and I am loving getting into photography, and sharing it all publicly on my new blog. I’d love it if you could check it out!127315229@N08_r

After Amsterdam, I spent the rest of my Summer preparing for year eleven (translation: sleeping) and volunteering at my local library for a second year. I love working there so much, as it’s so rewarding to be a part of the process that awards children for improving their reading and encouraging their love for it!
NOVEMBER

November was full of mock exams. I also took my early entry English Language GCSE. It was even scarier than all the exams I did in May put together, because it’s one of the subjects I really want an A in, especially if I’m doing English at A Level. My mock exam results for English Language were a bit up and down, so I’m just crossing my fingers until I found out how I did in January!

I also went to my first concert this month (the same day as said English exam – I’ve never been so tired, but it was worth it). Seeing Imagine Dragons and Sunset Sons live was such a cool experience, and they were fantastic first concert choice. I’m so grateful to have been able to go. There’s a recap about it on my photography blog!IMG_3644

And, finally… I started applying to Sixth Forms. That’s scary. I’m really excited for whatever place I ultimately receive, because I’ll finally be studying just the subjects I enjoy. I can’t get over how cool it’s going to be to actually learn about films and/or photography for real classes very soon!

Also, here’s a quick top five favourite blog posts I’ve written / hosted this year:

The Tour in Between Guest Post: Nancy Tucker’s Recommended Reads

Book Review: The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

Songs and Stories #2

Books About Books: An Infographic

Infographic: Autobiographies I’ve Read in 2015

Thank you, as always, to all of the publishers and authors who send me books to review and give me great advice about the industry. Although there’s been a bit of a lull in reviewing on this blog lately (year eleven madness) I’m hoping to pick up my old blogging habits again in 2016.

Watch this space next week for a similar blog post, about my top reads of the year – I’m also going to be sharing some of my other favourite discoveries of 2015.

Uncategorized

End of an Era

bet you all thought ‘end of an era’ meant i was giving up blogging hah

I went to see Mockingjay: Part 2 a few nights ago. I was blown away. Of course, at points it felt a little dragged out, as any book split into two films does. But that was okay. I didn’t really want it to end.

The Hunger Games was the first YA book I read. I was in a charity shop (I always thought this was in 2008 but it must have been 2009 at least, now I’ve done the maths), and it was on the adult shelf my dad was looking at. I picked it up because it was that cool collectible edition with the changing cover. It looked quite good. I put it back because my dad said it looked a little violent.
A girl tapped me on the shoulder when she saw me put it back. She looked about sixteen, and when I think back to it, she was actually a bit like a present version of me, with blondey-gingery hair and glasses… But anyway.
“I really recommend that book. It’s SO good. You’ll love it!” She said. I smiled at her, gave my dad a pleading look as if to say “It can’t be that violent, then!” And persuaded him to buy it.output_J4k28u

I read and reread it all the way up until the end of year six. I was so stunned by the story. It was nothing like the younger-age books I’d had access to read before. This was full of  violence, gore and rebellion, but an underlying message about how powerful it can be to act against the bad things in society. I was in love with it. I had never loved characters so much before.
My friend in primary school and I took to obsessively talking about it at every given chance, and hanging out on the Hunger Games Wiki page. (If you look hard enough on there, there’s a bunch of blog posts by Wiki users creating their own Hunger Games fanfiction. I’m so glad I’ve forgotten my username. I’m not reading through my rubbish again 😛 )

I had finished all three books a while before the movie had been announced. I was ecstatic when I found out I’d be able to see it on a big screen. This was huge, as huge as Harry Potter to me, if not an even bigger thing, because I was actually starting to communicate online with people from the fan-base, which I hadn’t been able to do when Harry Potter movies were being released. I would take over my mum’s computer every day after school to obsessively refresh Hunger Games news sites.

I went to see the first movie with two of my closest friends and I’m pretty sure they had to hold in the urge to tell me to shut up, because I was sniffling the whole way through.IMG_7421

Just before Catching Fire came out, I started to really discover fandom culture. I joined some of those fan groups on facebook for various books and films. While I was taking in all of this new fandom culture, I was also starting to ‘properly’ blog, and I was being sent increasing amounts of teen books to review. It was so exciting – I jumped from The Hunger Games to The Enemy by Charlie Higson, then to Divergent by Veronica Roth, then to a plethora of other things. I started going through the teen section of the bookstore. I was a pain in the butt to everyone I knew, because I became overexcited when anyone referenced Katniss.

It was great.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay: Part 1 were so brilliant. I’m so glad to have grown up from the ages of 9 – 15 with these films. I think it’s the perfect time for them. They introduced me to so many things.
Without The Hunger Games, I don’t think I’d be the YA reader I am today. Without The Hunger Games, I don’t think I’d really think the way I do now – the books introduced me to the idea of questioning norms and the way the media can distort things. It’s scary, how close some events in the stories are to real life. There’s serious life lessons in them.

To be honest, The Hunger Games led me to discovering so many new things online and in fiction that my visible obsessiveness died down a little. I haven’t seemed as excited about the last two films’ releases – I’ve hardly put anything on social media about them. But inside, this fictional world still bears a lot of meaning and is one of the most important things I’ve read and watched.

Mockingjay: Part 2 came out the week before my mock exam week, so I couldn’t see it for a while. When I did, it was a bit overwhelming. When the credits started to roll, I was hit by the fact that there wasn’t going to be another film next year. This was the end of them, this was it.

It feels a bit like the end of an era. It is the end of an era. I’m probably going to look back on this post in a few years and groan about how soppy I can get over this stuff, but ah, well. Because The Hunger Games really is an important series to me.

To the girl who told me to buy that book – thank you.

Infographic · Uncategorized

Infographic: Autobiographies I’ve Read in 2015

Sorry about the internet absence. There hasn’t been a post on here in three weeks. Welp. A lot of bloggers are very good at timekeeping and balancing different things in life … But it turns out I’m not very good at keeping up to date with blogging during my GCSE year. I actually wrote most of the posts you’ve seen since September during August!

I hope that over the Christmas holidays I can start scheduling for the new year, so I don’t neglect this blog too much over the next six months. As an apology for the random disappearance, here’s an infographic I’ve been working on between revision sessions. Click on it for a high res / larger version you can zoom in on, if the writing appears too small on your screen!Untitled Infographic (1)

Thank you Piktochart, aka the most fantastic infographic maker I have ever encountered, for making this infographic so beautifully easy to create (this isn’t a promo, I just love Piktochart a lot <3)

You can read slightly longer reviews of some of the books featured on this graphic here –

The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker // Tomboy by Liz Prince