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REVIEW - ARE WE ALL LEMMINGS AND SNOWFLAKES? by Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne's book are always my most anticipated, as soon as finished the latest from her, I'm craving for more. I was so excited when it came through the door from Usborne, I really am so very lucky. It's not unknown that she is my favourite author.

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
by Holly Bourne
Publisher - Usborne Publishing
Release Date - August 9th 2018
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?




There is no need for an introduction for this author. Holly Bourne is the leading lady of UKYA and her latest book honestly doesn't compare to her others, it's truly her best. I don't say that lightly, I mean yes I say that about every book she writes but Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? has combined the greats of her collection of books in her latest novel. 

Olive doesn’t want to be Nothing or Everything in her world. Her emotions goes from one extreme to another and her crazy brain and she calls it can’t find the middle. It doesn’t know balance and that’s what Olive needs! She doesn’t like labels. She lives life through emotions and highs or lows, she either sleep all day or she doesn’t at all. So after stopping herself from being suicidal she is sent to Camp Reset, a government-led treatment trial. There will be others like her but it’s the hope of finally being able to mend herself, to not be like this again that drives within her.

Olive is a brave and sensational young woman. Sometimes you don't really know how to take Olive at first, she loves photography though, seeing her through a camera lens lens and developing them calms her. She's an emotional rollercoater - the way she uses humour and jokes to cover how she feels.  She's unable to stand still, she's like one of those po-go sticks, pulsing with energy. Oh and she hates labels and she thinks she's a failure. Living with mental health is one things, figuring out what she may have is another, so she just knows she has a strange brain and needs support to help it, to understand it. What I loved was that, Olive is the catalyst of the novel, she's the main character, the main instigator in starting a revolution and that's why she is an inspiration to young people and readers everywhere. 

Who I really loved was Olive's friends like Ally, her best and only friend who was always there for her and who is unafraid of telling it how it is and that's why Olive loves her. Then you have others Olive met at Camp Reset, I won't go though all the characters but there are some that really shined like Sophie who just lifted my heart, her vulnerability to life but the camp and her friends like Olive let her overcome her mental illness in small steps. Her confidence and strength grew and grew, it really made the novel. Then you have Lewis, Jamie and the rest of The Prime Numbers, each with their own vulnerabilities, their persona that it's hard to grow attached to them. The Prime Numbers defines the book. 

The representation of mental health in Holly's book's is very impressive. What I find is that Holly's writing and narrative of her characterization of Olive was very moving and the impact of metal health on individuals and the world just makes it more intense at times. The emotional attachment you have with Olive and also The Prime Numbers but also more than that the joy you experience as it comes to an end. This book is more than just mental health, it's about being kind to yourself, it's about having some hope in this very complicated and sometimes dark world, it's about appreciating and spreading the love and happiness you feel that others don't feel so alone. 

I'm a reader entranced by Holly's stories she writes, to me it's more of an understanding of mental health, it's makes me realise that this is the world we are living in and we all need to help, to support younger people more. Working with young people every day as a librarian has opened my eyes to so much with what they go through and knowing that Holly's books has not only found a place in my heart but also a place for others to resonate, a story for them to relate too gives me hope, that the world is a much kinder place to have Holly representing it in YA. She’s opened up YA to everyone. It was like we didn’t think to talk about mental health, friendships, reality until Holly came around. 

I LOVE Holly's writing. There's something about it that just sings to your soul. Holly brings out all the emotion from page 1, her writing style is singular and unique. No one I've read, writes with such insight and sincerity and then BAM - insert the humour. It cracks me up every time but it just makes the it that more realistic and more human to read. With each of Holly's book there's always a moral to live by and which stays with you after finishing this book. This one is powerful and life affirming and changing is sharing kindness and it starts with yourself. 

Holly Bourne is waiting at the top of the avalanche waiting for us to join her. This book truly moved me in a way that Holly’s books haven’t before. This is her greatest achievement and it’s shines with hope, friendship, kindness and strength. This book defines Holly Bourne at her best! 

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Don't forget to join in in the #KindnessIsContagious virus on Twitter.

Thank you to Usborne and Holly for a copy in exchange for an honest review.



BLOG TOUR: REVIEW - JINXED by Amy McCulloch

Hi guys, I'm so excited to be part of this tour. It was this time last that I began reading The Potion Diaries, and it was one of my highlighted series of the year. I loved just being transported somewhere magical and I couldn't wait to read more from Amy. Today I share my review of Jinxed. All I can say at this point is that you need to buy it, because it's a cracker. 


Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the "baku" - a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn't been accepted into Profectus - the elite academy for cutting edge tech - it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems ... real.

I have the worst habit which I'm sure all readers do, they compare the authors previous series or book to their latest. It's a curse I think. Ha. When I first started reading Jinxed, I guess you could say I was disorientated because it is so different to The Potion Diaries, and I adored that series. That is no way a bad thing I promise, I guess it shows just how much I love this author and how that series has stayed with me. What was funny was that this time last year, I discovered Amy Alward for the first and I can say that she is becoming one of my favourite authors.

Jinxed, follows a very talented and sassy girl called Lacey. She's been brought up with the inspiration of Monica... and her creation of the baku. A baku is the perfect companion, with real-time apps, texts, phone calls, directions. It's you Apple product as a pet and the best thing if you have allergies it won't effect you. How genius is that? Lacey has finished school and wants to start at Profectus the school that Monica envision creating like-minded individuals like her that want to create and mold their own vision of a baku as they morph with the future. But disappoint strikes when she receives an email. She worked so hard, her stats and exams are the highest, her future of giving her mum a better place than her condo and giving her mum a break is ruined. She doesn't understand until she stumbles on a piece of junk that becomes the best things that ever happened to her...Jinx.

Lacey Chu is an inspiring character, she reminded me of me a little, her determination, her perseverance of not giving up. But also when she works on her companioneering with baku, mending and fixing them, it's like a light is glowing all around her as she immersed in what she loves doing. The rush is like a mystery that needs unfolding until it's solved. That's why she feels she belongs at Profectus because that is where her talent is going to be recognised and challenged and she can't wait. I loved how Amy really touched upon feelings of being a teenager, with her mum that strong relationship she has for her, wanting to protect and make her mum's life ever since her dad left better. That relationship really struck something within me and my relationship with my mum. Her frenships not only with best friend Ally who is just amazing, no matter what she was always there for her. Those of baku team and how they valued her.

Set in a new-agey, near futuristic reality, Amy undoubtedly is a phenomenal writer and her world-building really is quite something. It was a mix between Divergent and Pokemon especially with the baku battles. I have to say I found I was quite jealous of this world, because I would love a baku especially as I have allergies and can't have a pet so having a dog preferably as my companion would be just surreal but that feeling of your not alone. Jinx really made this book, he needs to have a series of his won adventures I think. He's something new but also old, he's got character, humour and sassy-ness.

I really loved this new era of Amy's writing, like I said this is totally different from The Potion Diaries. It's fun, STEM-fueled, addictive, and adrenaline-juiced first novel in this series and really ADDICTIVE should be underlined, because it's a book that is unputtadownable and I really need Book 2 now. Much like Baku's, Jinxed will be your reading companion for life.

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Thank you to Simon and Schuster Children's for providing a copy in exchange for a honest review. 




About Amy McCulloch

Amy McCulloch is the author of The Potion Diaries series (under the name Amy Alward) which has sold in eight languages around the world and was a Zoella Book Club pick in 2016. Her current sci-fi series, JINXED, is out from Simon & Schuster UK in August 2018.

Before becoming a full-time writer and freelance editor, Amy was editorial director for Penguin Random House Children’s Books, where she worked with many YA and MG authors and published the #1 international bestseller GIRL ONLINE by Youtube sensation Zoe Sugg, and its follow-ups GIRL ONLINE: ON TOUR & GIRL ONLINE: GOING SOLO. Previously she was also commissioning editor for HarperVoyager, where she worked with some of the top SF&F authors in the world. In 2013, she was named one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars of publishing.

An adrenaline junkie with a love of adventure travel, she’s never in the same place for long. Other addictions include coffee, ramen and really great books.

BLOG TOUR: MEET FIRE&LIGHTS from SONGS ABOUT A BOY by Chris Russell

Right now I'm sitting by the beach reading this very book and when I received it my life was complete. I'd been waiting for it for so long. Chris Russell's book are feel good, addictive, romance with a hint of bad boy boy-bands and photography what more could you ask for from an author who tours and sings a band himself. I met him at YAShot this year and he is so nice. Today I'm really excited to be sharing Fire&Lights: Band Member Profiles. But before that here is a little bit more about Songs About A Boy the final book in the Songs About A Girl series.

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Music, boy bands, first love and heartbreak in the explosive finale to the Songs About A Girl trilogy - a modern love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of being 'with the band'. From a Zoella Book Club friend.

Just as Charlie allows herself to succumb to Gabe's charms, the explosive revelation about her mother's death threatens to pull them apart.

Meanwhile, a media circus has exploded around Olly and Fire&Lights: What made Olly walk out? And what future does this leave for the band? As Olly begins his solo career, Fire&Lights announce a US tour and a new band member. Knowing that her mother's last days were in America touring with her band, Charlie is determined to accompany the boys on tour so that she can get to the bottom of her mother's death, once and for all.

When Olly's first single clashes with Fire&Lights's latest release, a race for top of the charts begins ... and as Charlie begins to uncover the truth, will she finally be able to follow her heart?

It's time to face the music ...


FIRE&LIGHTS: Band Member Profiles


I’m not gonna lie - creating my own fictional boy band has been an absolute riot. From commissioning the amazing Alice Oseman to draw the band (and their logo!) to releasing an actual Fire&Lights single, Dance With You, it’s been so much fun bringing them to life for my readers.

F&L have had a tumultuous time throughout the Songs About a Girl trilogy, and let me tell you - it ain’t gonna get any easier in the series finale, Songs About a Boy. For the uninitiated, here’s a (spoiler-free!) character summary of each band member…


OLLY SAMSON
Olly is kind of the unspoken ‘leader’ of Fire&Lights. A former schoolmate of Charlie’s, Olly might be a global megastar, but in some ways he’s still the smiley, down-to-earth boy-next-door that once walked the corridors of Caversham High. He’s a good guy, through and through, and selfless to a fault. Olly will never let you down. He’s also, let’s face it, pretty dreamy.




YUKI HARRISON
Yuki is a lot of people’s favourite F&L boy (confession: he’s mine too). On the surface, he’s the quick-witted class clown with a pocket full of wisecracks - but scratch beneath that surface and you’ll find an intelligent, determined and incredibly loyal guy who cares deeply about his bandmates. He faces his own demons, too, throughout the trilogy, and we learn that, despite his extroverted personality, he’s not invincible. He notices very early on how smart Charlie is, and how good she can be for the group. As a result, he is extremely fond of her right from the start. (“Where have you been all my life, homie?!”)



AIDEN ROBERTS
Aiden’s the quiet one. The sweet one. He’s a bit of a reluctant popstar, but that’s partly why the fans love him so much. Wide-eyed and thoughtful, with a lilting Irish accent, throughout the series we watch Aiden grapple with the darker sides of fame; we find a sensitive teenage boy struggling to understand his own fears and desires while living under the most intense media spotlight imaginable. Just like the others, he develops his own distinct friendship with Charlie - and even, in vulnerable moments, tells her some of his most closely-guarded secrets.



GABRIEL WEST
Gabe is dark, enigmatic and fiercely talented. As a result, he has always been the most photographed, the most adored and the most hounded member of the band. The press are driven crazy by the murky childhood he refuses to discuss, and eventually this leads to some pretty dodgy practices from a certain tabloid journalist. More so than any other member of the band, Gabriel gets put through the wringer in the Songs About a Girl novels. And while he may be a moody so-and-so sometimes, he would do anything to protect his band, and Charlie, too.


So how will the story end for Gabe, Charlie, Olly and the gang? You’ll just have to read Songs About a Boy and find out…


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About Chris Russell
At the age of thirteen, Chris Russell formed pop/rock band The Lightyears with his best friends from school. Since then, The Lightyears have toured all over the world, performing everywhere from Wembley Stadium to Glastonbury, and trashing a grand total of zero hotel rooms. In 2013, after a three-month stint ghostwriting for a One Direction fan club, Chris developed an obsession with boy bands and came up with the idea for Songs About a Girl. He is currently busy writing the next book in the series, gigging with The Lightyears and fanboying in the general direction of Harry Styles. Follow Chris on Twitter at @chrisrusselluk