BLOG TOUR REVIEW: OTHERWORLD by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

Otherworld (Otherworld #1)
by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
Publisher - Oneworld Publications
Release Date - October 31st 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

The Company Welcomes you To
The new generation of gaming.

Welcome to real life 2.0.
Are you ready to play?

There are no screens. There are no controls.
You don’t just see and hear it—you taste, smell, and touch it too.
In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break.
You can indulge your every desire.
Why would you ever want to leave?
Step into Otherworld.
Leave your body behind.

Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have created a brilliant and terrifying view of a possible future that’s not far away. OTHERWORLD asks the question we’ll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?

My Review
"An absolutely amazing book! Unique and original take on virtual reality and gaming! A new generation of sci-fi."

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this book.  If I'm completely honest I was totally outside of my comfort zone with this book and that is the beauty of it because this book has to be one of the best Science-Fiction book I've read this year. I didn't even know legendary Marshall of How I Met Your Mother was an author, so you can tell the shock when I got it through the post and saw it on the dust jacket. 

Otherworld, was born a millennia ago, but it didn't survive, it became obsolete. Then Milo Yolkin brought it back from the dead, spending billions of pounds to make this game into the ultimate game. Taking AI further than ever. Just imagine being part of world that is exactly like reality, touch, smell, and taste - every desire you ever wanted, right there for you to live in the world of Otherworld. Why wouldn't you want to leave?

Simon isn't stupid, he's clever, resourceful, funny and caring. He parents may think he's a troublemaker - especially when his arse is in full view of his parents - instantly you want to laugh because you know it's totally going to wind his parents up and their perfectly manicured lives. Simon cares more than you know too - so when he kept pushing the boundaries between himself and his parents, going against the rules of his probation officer and getting kicked out of boarding school for hacking - which he didn't do - he didn't to protect people, like Kat. Kat was obviously the victim of the story but from I knew of her and the way Simon describes you can tell that she's strong, brave and in a way the perfect match for Simon. There is such a range of characters in Otherworld, split between real world and the game, good vs evil, allies and enemies it's truly as if you are immersed in the games yourself. That your not Simon but your another avatar with him in the game.

Otherworld is one skilled piece of writing, it's addictive, pulse racing, enticing, almost surreal. It will hook you in on the first page and you won't be able to escape it. The style of writing keeps you hooked. I've never read anything like this.What I loved about Otherworld makes you think, it makes you reflect on your own reality. It's scary as hell and that's why I love this book because in it's own way it's so relatable to today. I mean we already have Headgear with Samsung, we have robots that look like us and work in medical... AI is very real - what's to stop Xbox games becoming like OtherworldOtherworld kind of plays of the fears of the real world, whilst encompassing our desires - it's addictive and that's the beauty of it. It's designed like that and that's what Simon and Kat thought too.

Otherworld is beyond this world... it's in a dimension of its own and you will never forget this book. You'll keep subconsciously thinking about it even when your not reading it. The book becomes the headgear - you can't get out it until you've read till the very last page - but then you'll get the worst book hangover of the century. Have I sold it to you? Do you dare enter Otherworld... you won't be the same after!

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


It Only Happens in the Movies
by Holly Bourne
Publisher - Usborne Publising
Release Date - October 1st 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

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 clichΓ©s. Oh, and zombies... YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

My Review

If you don't already know about this book then you need to drop everything, grab your phone and order this book straight away. DO IT NOW! 
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Holly's, I'm lucky and truly honored to be quoted in them. But that's not the reason why I love her books and why this book has been the most anticipated book since finishing ...And a Happy New Year last year. It was sad to leave the Spinster Girls behind but It Only Happens in the Movies, is Holly's best one yet. Simple as that. Be prepared though you'll need lots of tissues. 

Audrey is sooo over love. She's anti-love, anti-guy and anti-romance altogether. You probably think she's a cynic but that's not a bad thing is it?! She has a reason to be, her parents marriage fell apart because her father chose to love someone else. She fell in love with a guy called Milo in her drama club, but he dumped her right after the night they slept with each other. With love, comes sacrifices, and breaking up means that she's been distant from her closest friends and to a point her family too. Audrey's life has been nothing but the hurt that comes from being love, how it ruins your own happiness. Working at a local cinema, she finds herself intrigued by zombie film maker Harry, no matter 'he's trouble' warnings she's got, becoming a feminist zombie bride in the movies and trying very hard not to fall in love. 

You will find it hard not to compare Audrey to Lottie, Evie and Amber of the Spinster Girls, I mean I did. But when you really get into the story into Audrey's character she is so much more stronger, individual and one not to mess with. She isn't afraid of being opinionated, she's isn't afraid to fight and actually own who she is and what she believes in. She is a superior feminist and not afraid to be honest with anyone, even if that means frightening boys with all of our emotions including the ugly ones. You go Audrey! 

Harry is you classic cliche of the guy in the romance movie, who has trouble written over them, and Audrey falls for him, she peels each of his layers, one by one, to unearth his true character. She doesn't want to be with the guy that feeds her his pick up lines or goes to the places where he always pulls the girls. She wants real love... she doesn't want to be hurt again. Can you blame her. 

I really resonated and envied with Audrey's character, but also with this book as a whole. As part of her media coursework, Audrey picked how romance films are 'unhelpful lies', that love is much harder and emotional than in fiction. - I couldn't agree more. I love a good romance movie, like anyone does. You can't not say you haven't fantasied about your own romance being something like that - I did. But there's certain elements of romance movies that are untrue and I feel we really do idolise these movies too much. We feed off them. 

There's something about Holly's writing that is just star quality. It gets me every time! She isn't afraid to rant in her books and the way she writes that is powerful. It's a message but a way to really get through to people in the most genuine but hilarious way possible. Holly has a way with words especially when she describes things with metaphors they are accurate that you can't help but pee your pants with laughter. 

Holly Bourne is the realest voice of YA you'll ever read! It Only Happens in the Movies brings true romance at it's core, with it's ugliness, its hurting, it's raging hormones and still falling head over heels in love. You'll learn to love not just this book, but yourself too. To love yourself, that's you romance story right there. If you do that, you'll have your happy ever after. Rants, romance and feminist zombie brides, it's Holly Bourne's best one yet!

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

REVIEW - INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin

by Ryan Graudin
Publisher - Orion Children's Books
Release Date - September 21st 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

My Review! 
I've read some books this year but nothing like this, not in a loooong time. This book needs to have the television or film rights to it, because this should be seen in all media. It's absolutely truly mesmerising and totally addictive. I couldn't put it down! 

In 95 AD, Recorder Empra McCarthy fell in love with a gladiator, she's been a part of this time for over 9 months, she is about to give birth to his child. Leaving her love was the hardest thing to do but right now the baby inside of her is coming out... born out of time on the ship Ab Aeterno lives a boy, a soon-to-be cadet and future Recorder Faraway McCarthy. In present time (at the moment), 2354, Far wants to travel, explore time, record history first hand, but when a Maria Antoinette, winks at him, he fails his right to even graduate as a Recorder and be captain on an Academy vessel. He gets a second chance and becomes captain of his ship, the Invictus, with his cousin historian, chai tea extraordinaire, Tetris nerd he couldn't be more at home in the stars. But his story both begins and ends with him. Time as we know it is about to be erased, Far's existence has defied the laws of nature, and now he needs to fix it against the Fade. 

This book people, it blows your mind! I completely at the mercy of Ryan writing, it's pure genius and it won't be the last compliment I will be giving her. What I loved about it is that Invictus is a journey, a journey of characters, of time, of history, and more importantly of self discovery. I was enthralled and fascinated by the world of this novel with the imagination, accuracy and history. How although primarily Faraway and his crew record time, it's like your part of that time with them and they were recording you with Maria Antoinette or next to the band on the Titanic, or in tunic in 95 AD. It's totally surreal but that's just how amazing Ryan is in her writing style, the imagination and creation of that within the book. I adored it!

Told is alternate characters of the crew, you really have a bag of different characters. My favourite being Faraway's cousin, Imogen, she chalks the ends of her hair everyday, she bright, wonderful and always full of happiness and optimism. Her persona is just totally infectious, sweet and just makes me laugh. There was also some very untold chemistry upon the vessel too, I loved the romantic aspect between Faraway and Priya and also the sweetness of Gram and Imogen, that relationship was particularly adorable and frustrating. You just wanted them to bang each others heads together. Although I admit, I would have loved to have seen more of a development of the their relationships from the beginning. But I'm totally nit picking. At the end of the day, they have each other's backs throughout time and whatever happens, these characters are a family and you completely fall in love with them all.  

This is my first venture into Ryan's novels, and her writing is golden, powerful and completely addictive. As soon as you start the book it's action from the word go, it's fast-paced, full of adventure you really can't put it down. The MatrixDoctor Who and Star Trek, it combines the greatness of the time-travelling genre in one book. A sci-fi time travel novel in YA is very hard to come by these days, the last one I read was probably a good couple of years ago. But I have to say that Invictus really hits the sci-fi nerd in me.

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Today is the release day of this very stunning book and I have to say that this is on my favourite books of 2017, it's just hazes brilliant and I'm so excited that this book is out in the world today! I have also got a Twitter Giveaway for 3 signed copies so make sure you head over to my Twitter @nverjudgeabook ASAP! But before I share my post with you, here is a little more about INVICTUS.

Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.
This book really resonated with, I felt I was part of the book, part of every time that Far and his crew visited, so I asked Ryan, her publishers, and people on Twitter this:

If you could travel back in time, anywhere and record it, be part of it, where and when would you go?

Image result for ryan graudin
Ryan Graudin
"If I could travel back in time, I would choose Paris in the 1920s. Not simply because of the dresses mind you, but because of the culture of arts that was blooming in the city in the wake of World War One. Many famous writers flocked to the city. I think it would be amazing to travel back and attend one of Gertrude Stein's salons, and party with the likes of Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. (If you've ever seen the movie Midnight in Paris, that is what I want, with pretty flapper dresses.)"
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Naomi – Team BKMRK

"I’m terrible with dates, but my dream would be to travel back to a time when evening entertainment consisted of parlour music. I can think of nothing more delightful than finishing dinner and then adjourning to the parlour and playing/singing away the hours."

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Steph – Team BKMRK

"If I could travel back in time, I’d have to go to either the Georgian or Victorian period. I’d love to see what inspired some of my favourite classic writers; from the balls and romance of Jane Austen to the colourful characters and busy streets of Charles Dickens. I know it’s not all rosy in those eras, but the writing of these authors captures so many vivid moments including small female acts of rebellion to the raw passion of the poorer classes and I’d love to see what they saw."

Me (Emma)

"Ancient Egypt, 18th Dynasty. I knew straright away what I was going to say, it's not very exciting but it's something that I've always loved. The way of life, the worship of Gods and Goddesses and culture. I've always been fascinated with Ancient Egypt when I was little. I had all the books and I particular loved the Howard Carter and his find of the Pharaoh, Tutankhamun. Longs I'm not mummified in the process then we are all good. Ha."

I also asked on twitter and this is what you had to say:

Thank you to everyone who participated, especially Ryan and Team BKMRK. Don't forget to head over to my Twitter for a chance to win a signed copy of INVICTUS!


Hi Everyone, I'm super excited to be part of this blog tour for Amanda's Foody's debut, Daughter of the Burning City. The book sounds incredible, as soon as I saw circus it reminded me of the elements to Lisa Heathfield's book Flight of a Starling, which I loved obviously. I got this book ready at the beginning of my week, eager to read this but sadly with being back to school and work, I read only 12 pages because I was shattered so instead of my review which I will have for you in the coming weeks, I have been a brilliant except of the beginning of the book that really sets the book up and make you want to read on...or buy it in your case. So before I share the extract here is a little more about the book.

Daughter of the Burning City
by Amanda Foody
Publisher - Harlequin
Release Date - September 7th 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

I peek from behind the tattered velvet curtains at the chat- tering audience, their mouths full of candied pineapple and kettle corn. With their pale faces flushed from excitement and the heat, they look as gullible as dandelions, much like the patrons in the past five cities. The Gomorrah Festival hasn’t been permitted to travel this far north in the Up- Mountains in over three years, and these people look like they’re attending the opera or the theater rather than our traveling carnival of debauchery.
The women wear frilly dresses in burnt golds and oranges, buckled to the point of suffocation, some with rosy-cheeked children bouncing on their laps, others with cleavage as high as their chins. The men have shoulder pads to seem broader, stilted loafers to seem taller and painted silver pocket watches to seem richer.
If buckles, stilts and paint are enough to hoodwink them, then they won’t notice that the eight ‘freaks’ of my freak show are, in fact, only one.
Tonight’s mark, Count Pomp-di-pomp—or is it Count Pomp-von-Pompa?—smokes an expensive pipe in the second row, his mustache gleaming with leftover saffron honey from the pastry he had earlier. He’s sitting too close to the front, which won’t make it easy for Jiafu to steal the count’s ring.
That’s where I come in. My job is to distract the audience so that Pomp-di-pomp doesn’t notice Jiafu’s shadow-work coaxing the sapphire ring off of his porky finger and dropping it onto the grass below.
A drum and fiddle play an entrancing Down-Mountain tune to quiet the audience’s chatter, and I let the curtain fall, blocking my view. The Gomorrah Festival Freak Show will soon begin.
This is my favorite part of the performance: the antici- pation. The drumbeats pound erratically, as if dizzy from drinking several mugs of the Festival’s spiced wine. Every- thing sticks in this humid air: the aromas of carnival food, the gray smoke that shrouds Gomorrah like a cloak and the jit- tery intakes of breath from the audience, wondering whether the freak show will prove as gruesome as the sign outside promised:
The Gomorrah Festival Freak Show. Walk the line between abnormal and monstrous. From the opposite end of the stage, behind the curtain on stage right, Nicoleta nods at me. I reach for the rope and yank down. The pulley spins and whistles, and the curtain rises.


The Potion Diaries (Potion #1)
by Amy Alward
Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date - July 2nd 2015
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in love with her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn.

Enter Samantha Kemi - an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam's family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they've fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime?

And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news.

No big deal, then.
My Review 

“There's no mistaking what kind of potion I need. Caffeine - for alertness and rejuvenation.”

Okay, so that wasn't what I was expecting at all... I know my students love these books, especially my year 7's and 8's and I guess I never really thought to read these if I'm honest. But then I received all three of them for the release of the final book Potion Diaries: Going Viral. (Thank you very much publishers) I was going on holiday I kinda knew that these would be the perfect book, light, cute, easy-read and you got to admit that the covers are gorgeous.

Princess Evelyn wanted to have a choice on her life, on love, she didn't want to be forced to marry someone, all this pressure being royal is no fun and she wants to fall for someone. Only Zain, she's been in love with for a long time, but the thought of marriage...well it may not be on the cards. So she creates a love potion - which is illegal in Kingstown. She pours it in their goblets on the evening of her birthday party. It worked, she's not only fallen head over heals in love, but it's with herself! The ...Horn brings all the best alchemists that can create the potion to counteract the potion, to cure the Princess. So when alchemist apprentice, Samantha Kemi and her Grandad are called, she knows it's the best way to try save the Kemi legacy, save the store, and a time to prove herself and to ZACorp. It becomes a race against time to find all the ingredients, meet and find untold relationships and friendship and be the best that Sam can be. The Princess is not your average royal, she is Talented, quite strongly too so when you have such a powerful potion consuming you, her power becomes uncontrollable and the fate of Kingstown is very much at risk and Sam is the only one who can save her... no pressure then. 

Through the dual POVs of both Evelyn and Samantha, we got both ends of the story whether that Sam in the Wilds finding the ingredients or Evelyn trying to copying with being in love with Lyn, (also known as her reflection.) I personally found Evelyn's part particularly funny, I could not stop laughing, although there is obviously a seriousness to it too, I mean Kingstown is in danger because of her. That is why the love potion is illegal. But my favourite character has to be Sam, I felt that throughout her story, she grew so much, as a person, as a daughter and most importantly as an alchemist. I can't deny the fact, that she has a gift with creating potions, you can tell that by how her mind works, it truly amazing. She is indeed one special girl. 

The Potion Diaries turned out to be such a laugh and I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed it. It has everything, mythology, magic, potions, chemistry - both in the scientific and physical sense of the word, action and adventure. It's also hilarious and a totally lovable book/series. What I loved was Amy's infectious writing and simply and flawless storytelling. I loved being pulled into this world of the Talented and Ordinaries (Alchemists), magic and potions. As well as Mermaids, Abominable Snowmen, Unicorns and even some vampire bats. The only way I could describe this series is it has a sparkle of The Princess Diaries, a dash of Hunger Games and to conclude a sprinkle of Harry Potter. That is one powerful and mesmerising potion and The Potion Diaries has it.

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)
by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher - Penguin 
Release Date - 31st August 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning...

Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.

Alia is a Warbringer - a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer.

To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.

My Review 
So I wasn't really sure what to expect from this novel, apart from Amazons, a lasso and a tall heroine by the name of Diana Prince, written amazingly by the Grishaverse writer, Leigh Bardugo. I mean what is not to love about this book. I adored her writing and fantastical plot-lines of Ravka in the Grisha series you will not be disappointed by this.

“Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”
So Diana Prince is seventeen years old. She's been undermined by her part as an Amazonian because she was born of the Amazon and hasn't yet been reached her maturity to receive her powers, it doesn't help that the Queen Hippolyta is also her mother too. Diana has a lot of pressure as royalty, as a woman and as an Amazonian. So she decides to take part in the Nemeseian Games footrace that her life suddenly changes. On the track, she finds a boat on fire and a survivor to boot, she defies the Amazon laws to become one her warrior sisters, and rescues Alia, also known as a Warbringer. In legend, the Warbringer brings about catastrophes around the world, when the vessel, Alia becomes of age so does her powers bringing about the destruction of the world in an ongoing World War 3 but far worse. In order to save Alia, and also rid the world of Warbringers they must reach the spring in Greece. Diana has all this power and she wants to use it for the good, to prove to herself, to her mother, to the queen, to Tek the queen's adviser that she is an Amazonian, and saving the world from War is the only way to do it. 

This book, just wow! It took this DC Icon to whole new level, you saw a different aspect to Wonder Woman, a beginning for her that we really didn't see very much in the films. Diana isn't like any other girl, yes she's a goddess, beautiful, striking, tall and powerful than any human, but at the end of the day she is still a girl. Warbringer becomes an origin story of Wonder Woman, I loved how we got to spend some time in Themscriya, some of her family and friends that define what it is to be an Amazon. But then I felt it was about how she became Diana Prince to the mortal world and really focused on who she is and who ultimately wants to become. I loved the vast group of characters, all different and unique in their own way and how Diana saw a different type of courage and power in the mortal world with her mortal warriors of their own kind with Alia, Theo and Nim.  

So I know of Wonder Woman in the DC Universe, but I wasn't around when Lynda Carter debuted as Diana Prince in the famous TV series in the 70s. However I do love the current Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, I re-watched Batman vs Superman especially for this book just to really get the full superhero experience. Wonder Woman - Warbringer really reads like one of those films, it has the fast-paced, action and adventure that you would get from a superhero move. Leigh Bardugo's writing is once again flawless to interpret such a key DC Icon in the world of female superheros into her own style. 

I absolutely loved it from page 1 and I really really want another novel of this Wonder Woman. Please do another book Leigh it would be beyond EPIC! Wonder Woman - Warbringer is phenomenal, kickass and is worth every page of an ultimate warrior! If you love superheros, then don't delay, read it!

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to Penguin for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review. 


I'm so excited to be part of this tour guys. I mean this was my first book by Tom and Lucy, (I know right, terrible reader) but I have to say I'm glad I started with Freshers first. It totally has you wetting your pants and snorting out loud. It's pure genius. Anyways that's enough of my fangirling, you can read more of that further down the post with my review. But first I have a guest post from the lovely Tom and Lucy with pictures too. So before you read that, here is a little more about Freshers.

by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Publisher - Chicken House Books
Release Date - August 3rd 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Uni beckons. Phoebe can't wait to be a fresher - especially since her crush from school will be there too.

She'll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter ... the perfect potential girlfriend. She'll reinvent herself completely.

But Luke's oblivious: still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex.

Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters - can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?

Guest Post


Early on in our new book, FRESHERS, the two protagonists, Luke and Phoebe, do what all new students tend to do and head to the Freshers Fair. For the uninitiated, this is where you either a) sign up to lots of new and exciting sporting, cultural and political societies, or b) collect lots of free pens. Joining 'socs' was a massive part of our university experience, so we knew we wanted to make it a big part of our campus-set novel, too. 

In FRESHERS, our main characters sign up for Quidditch Soc which, unfortunately, did not exist during our time at York University (if it had, we would DEFINITELY have signed up). Back in our real life Freshers' Week, in the Early Noughties, we signed up to Yoga Soc (Lucy) and Skateboarding Soc (Tom). 

Lucy went to Yoga Soc with the primary goal of making friends, rather than doing yoga; so when, during her first session, she met Nell (who is still now one of her best mates), she never bothered going back (hence why there are no existing photos of her doing yoga, so we'll have to make do with a pic of University Card...). 

This is the thing about university societies; you soon learn that meeting nice people is much more important than doing whatever activity you're supposed to be there to do. Tom enjoyed a slightly longer stint at Skateboarding Soc (please see embarrassing photo, below). When he went to sign up at Freshers Fair, he found that Skateboarding Soc had been slightly unfairly placed right in between Football Soc and Rugby Soc. Both these tables were crowded with people, shouting and cheering and jostling to sign up. And in the middle was Skateboarding Soc, which consisted of just one bloke, sat by himself. When he went to sign up, the bloke's first question was: "Would you be prepared to be Chairman of Skateboarding Soc next year?", which gave Tom the (correct) impression that Skateboarding Soc did NOT have many active members… 

One comment on my part - I'm disappointed that there's no Quidditch Society, I think uni goers need to start a petition. I would go to uni just for that.

My Review

So Freshers was an experience for me, why? because I never went to University. I was in the undecided path when I left 6th Form, but in a way I'm glad for it as I'm proud of what I've achieved and where I am now. But then sometimes I will always wonder what would have happened if I went to university, would I enjoy it, make friends for life, be more social, enjoy the experience? I don't know, my experience in school and 6th Form wasn't exactly great, but then people always told me that Uni is different. 

Freshers takes two very different perspectives of uni life with Phoebe and Luke, they both went to the same high school together. Phoebe has always had a crush on Luke, but I think the years between she hasn't been brave enough to be who she is, to be finally come out of her shell. Phoebe feels now that she's in university it will be different from high school. While she tries to contain her feelings for Luke, both Luke and Phoebe try to fit it, or not fit in as the case maybe, the thrills of nights out, uni societies and occasionally ride on a broomstick and striking a goal. Two weeks of Freshers begs to be the most dramatic, crazy, and compulsive ride of their life that will reveal their true selves at the end of it. 

The line ''you can be surrounded by people but be completely alone.'' by Cordelia in BTVS springs to mind with this book. University isn't all sunshine and unicorns, and it can effect everyone in different ways. Take Luke, I really loved him because he had fragility and a vulnerability to him. He was no longer the high school jock with the hot girlfriend prepared to go long distance. Luke changed, he became human, real, by noticing that living in a dorm can be difficult, that it's not home and not your family either. It's about building a life of your own, with you leading it on your own. It's daunting and scary, and freshers isn't getting any easier, it's only a taster for the next 3 years. I fell that Luke grows balls in the end. Phoebe on the other hand, grew out of her crush phase, she valued her friendship, fitting in or not fitting in on occasion, being played by guys and the reality of how ugly they can be (Damn you Will!). But what I loved about her was that she proved to herself that she can do it, she can survive, with or without love, it's focusing on yourself, whilst also embracing uni life for what it really is. 

What was thrilling was diving into the unknown of Tom and Lucy's writing. Yes you've heard it, this is my first book by these two geniuses. During the book it was full of laughing-out-loud-to-the-point-of-snorting moments, in public I might like to add. (There is one scene that to this day, still cracks me up but then scares me at the same time.) In the end... I was sad that it was over but also just simply awed by it, and I was like that for a quite a while. I believe that this book was the one that Tom and Lucy have been meaning to write, a story that they needed to write all along. Luke and Phoebe were them, you can see so much of themselves in each of their parts of the book. It felt real, like you were there with them in university, that takes great skill and you can feel the passion in their writing style and I felt that not only with this book but with Lobsters too. 

It's obvious that this book is for those who are or have been of 'Freshers age',  this is totally the book for you. But from my non Fresher perspective I got from this is that in the end its the making of who you are, coming out of your shell and learning to be the person you want to be for the rest of your life. Also Uni sounds completely bonkers! Haha. Freshers is addictive and the funniest book I've read all year.

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


One of Us is Lying
by Karen M. McManus
Publisher - Penguin Random House
Release Date - June 1st 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it's no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you'll go to protect them.

My Review 
Sometimes when you've just read one book and dive into the next, your brain has to catch up especially with how different the writing style and plot line was from my previous read. But once I got into it there was no stopping me. One of Us is Lying is one of those books you have to know what happens, it was just such a refreshing, engaging and thrilling ride from start to the end of the book. You won't want to put this one down.

When 5 students each get detention for getting caught with a phone in Mr Avery's class, they didn't realise they were being set up from the beginning. A car accident happens, outside the window of the detention, they get distracted, they all get up but then one is lying on the floor. One is having an allergic reaction, and then he's pronounced dead at the hospital. Simon is dead and it's not over yet. Those four students, Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper each have secrets and Simon had something against them, they are all suspects in Simon's death and it's only going to get worse for them.
What I found interesting was as the book progressed it didn't solely focus on the mystery. Karen very much focused on life of an senior, student identity, how social media can inflict pain and targeting people, that was very much Simon's agenda using his blog 'About That' to relay gossip to one another. 

“She's a princess and you're a jock," he says. He thrusts his chin toward Bronwyn, then at Nate. "And you're a brain. And you're a criminal. You're all walking teen-movie stereotypes.”

It will probably become no surprise that my favourite characters are Bronwyn and Nate, Bronywn  has this uncanniness and strength of always looking on the bright side along with 'bad boy' Nate. I couldn't not love him, I'm a sucker for bad boys like anyone. They themselves can seen as the power couple of the book, they strike an unlikely romance between each other which given the circumstances becomes so much more than that. But the character I saw the most potential and grew most as a person was Addy. She was the princess at the beginning, the one who had the jock of the boyfriend and did exactly as he said. I loved how she became into herself, she cut her hair, she focused on herself and that everything else like boyfriends became second nature. Her family, her sister and getting her life back on track was more important. Cooper, sweet Cooper, a jock with the fastest hand and has a boyfriend, is the most likeable of the group, kind of adorable as well. Cooper has the trouble of his family and friends dealing with his identity and how batting for the other team, shouldn't stop him from batting on the pitch at all.  These 5 students proved to be beyond that. As their personas grew, they supported each other, they became The Murder Club but so much more than that, they became friends. 

This is Karen's debut and it's a belter! It's addictive, fast-paced and really does keep you guessing to the end. What I loved was the writing style of the book, every chapter is time-stamped, it kind of reminded me of an episode of Law and Order. Alongside the storyline of each of the suspects, they supported each other in it's own way as well as their own story outside of Bayview. Karen's writing can totally throw you off your game, ring circles around you when you think you might know who it is. I thoroughly enjoyed the unpredictability of the book, this is a cleverly crafted YA mystery thriller. 

“Things'll get worse before they get better.”

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟


SweetFreakby Sophie McKenzie
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Release Date - August 24th 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Get ready for a brand new edge-of-your-seat read from bestselling author Sophie McKenzie!

When everyone thinks you're a liar, how hard will you fight for the truth?

Carey and Amelia have been best friends forever. Then Amelia starts being trolled by SweetFreak, a mysterious and hateful online account, and Carey is accused of being behind the vicious comments and threats.

Shut out by her other friends and shunned by Amelia, Carey is determined to clear her name and find out who’s really sending the messages. But as the online attacks spill over into real life, events start spiralling out of control… Can Carey expose the real SweetFreak before it’s too late?

A gripping page-turner from the award-winning Sophie Mckenize, SweetFreak will keep you guessing until the very end…

My Review
It's been a good long while since I've read a Sophie McKenzie novel, the last had to be when I was a teenager, Six Steps to Being a Girl, I absolutely loved that one but for some unknown reason I never really continued. Sophie's latest book was offered to my book group of Year 7's and then my copy came through the post a week later. This one really has to be a favourites of mine from her's but also one of my favourites of 2017 too. 

Carey isn't afraid that she's popular at school, she gets a long with everyone and she has the lead in the play. However her best friend Amelia is getting bullied online by the alias name of SweetFreak, first it was little gags but then it got really serious with a death threat. Her family got the local police involved and accused Carey of her whereabouts of when the message was sent. Later into turned into a whirlwind of accusations and liars, and Carey at the center of it and the fact is she DIDN'T do it, and no one is listening or believing her. All the evidence is against, her friends turned against her and Amelia completely not talking to her and her mum unsupportive of her. All she has is the stranger with the mismatched trainers and her sister. 

This book was so frustrating because the fact is we, the readers know Carey is innocent and all we can do is fight her corner by keep turning the pages of the book until that culprit is finally revealed. I couldn't get there fast enough, as soon as one message by SweetFreak died down, something else has to ruin it, like the dead pigeon in Amelia's locker, the one exactly from her rubbish bin. Carey can't catch a break and chance to really find who it is. Amelia is a B*****, at first you want to pity her I guess, but then as the book goes on it's like she doesn't care anymore and she just wants the world focused on her and make Carey the enemy. Believe me there is some underlining problems there. Also keep your heart out for Blue, he is adorable...

What I loved about this book was the important topics that it addresses, the awareness of cyber bullying through how dark social media can be and also toxic friendships. Working in a school, an all girls school, constant picking at each other or where apps and smartphones have never been more the rave. I'm very aware of this, I have to promote possible social media and a calm environment.  But outside of school we have no control over it, Snap Chat the form also known as Natter Snap in SweetFreak, can ruin people lives, their friendships it can lead them to do such nasty things. 
This is a perfect book from Year 7 up, it really highlights these issues as well as reading a page turner, a thriller that we keep you guessing till the end. 

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Today I'm very excited to be part of the blog tour for Nicola's latest book, Lola Offline. It is an amazing premise and next on my list to read. I admit that I haven't read anything by her in the past but that will change. Today I have a guest post prepared, How Running helped her with life in Lola's eyes and but also in Nicola's. It's such a great piece that it makes me want to run too. But before that, here is a little more about Lola Offline

Lola Offline
by Nicola Doherty
Publisher - Orion Books
Release Date - 10th August 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

A teen romantic comedy set in Paris - perfect for fans of Holly Bourne, Sophie Kinsella and Stephanie Perkins.

Delilah Hoover has gone dark.

She's left school, changed her name and moved to Paris. It's not what she planned but there's no other choice, because she did something bad. Something nobody will forget. It made her trend on Twitter, and it's the first thing that comes up when you google her.

Paris is a new start, with new friends - like socially inept geek Ben, keyboard warrior Vee, and the impossibly perfect Tariq, but could the City of Lights offer more? Awkward dates, accidental afternoon drunkness and a perfect kiss; Delilah's life as a normal teenager is seemingly back on track, or is it?

Sometimes learning to be happy with yourself is the hardest lesson of all.
How running helps me write 

In my latest book Lola Offline, the heroine Lola amazes herself by taking up running. I was similarly amazed that I got into running. Before 2009, I never, ever would have thought that I could run for more than ten minutes without collapsing. But in April that year, I joined a running club; in June I started writing a novel. In October 2009 I ran my first half marathon, and just over a year later I got my first book deal. For me, taking up running has really helped me pursue writing as a career.

Of course you don’t have to be a runner to write. Dickens never owned a pair of Asic trainers or nutrition gels. But it helps. Running gives you physical stamina, which is useful when you’ve been going for six hours and still have 10 pages to rewrite. But even more important is the mental stamina it develops – the ability to keep on going through doubts and rejections, and eventually get to where you want to be.

Here are the 5 pieces of running advice that have helped me most with writing …

1) Just do it
You can talk endlessly about form, nutrition, high-tech fabrics … but running comes down to getting out there and pounding out the miles. Similarly, you don’t need writing classes, special software or a sabbatical: just the willingness to sit and claw your way through the story, one page, paragraph or even line at a time.

2) Aim to complete, not compete
When I entered my first half marathon, I was advised not to worry about my time, but just focus on getting over the finishing line without an injury. This is great advice when you’re working on your first draft – of any work. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it doesn’t even have to be any good. You just have to finish it, and then you can improve it.

3) Get a support group
Running is highly individual and suited to people who like to be alone, but there’s also a lot of solidarity. As soon as you start running, all kinds of running fanatics will come out of the woodwork and start cheering you on. You’ll run faster with a running club than you ever would on your own. Similarly, joining a writer’s group – real or online – is a brilliant way to get feedback and encouragement.

4) Run when you’re tired
At one point, when I was rewriting my first book, I became so fed up with it that I nearly abandoned it. I felt it was pointless, and as a friend put it it felt like going back to a ‘congealed meal’. But then I remembered my running coach telling us, ‘You’ve got to learn to run when you’re tired’. It sounds brutal, but it’s true – keep going and eventually you’ll get your second wind.

5) Prepare to amaze yourself!
If, like me, you were allergic to sports in school, there’s nothing like the feeling of running (or limping) across the finishing line, having run 13.1 miles. Or maybe there is – the feeling of writing 'The End', or pressing send on a submission to an agent! Running and writing both have a way of uncovering your potential and taking you places you’d never have thought possible. Which is somewhere we all deserve to go.

About Nicola Doherty
Nicola grew up in Monkstown, Co. Dublin and went to university in Dublin and Oxford. She worked in publishing as an editor for several years before writing her first book The Out of Office Girl, which was shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in the Romantic Comedy category.

If I Could Turn Back Time and Girls on Tour are both out now from Headline, and her first young adult romance, Love and Other Man-Made Disasters, is due out in 2016 from Orion. Her books have been translated into Italian, French, German, Polish and (soon) Turkish.

She lives in Highbury, north London, with her husband and no cats (yet).


Songs About a Girl & Songs About Us (Songs About a Girl #1&2)
by Chris Russell
Publisher - Hodder Children's Books
Release Date - July 28th 2016 & July 13th 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...

Two months on from the explosive finale to book one, Charlie's life is almost back to normal again: rebuilding her relationship with her father, hanging out with best mate Melissa, and worrying about GCSEs. All the while, Gabe's revelations about her mother are never far from her mind. And neither is Gabe.

It's not long before Charlie is pulled back into the world of Fire&Lights - but the band seem different this time. But then again, so is she...

Meanwhile, tensions between Gabe and Olly continue to run high, leading to more turmoil between the band members and press than ever before. But when Gabriel and Charlie stumble upon yet another startling truth that links them together - everything they have stands to implode in front of them.

My Review(s)

"Well butter my face and call me crumpet!" - that is what I think of Songs About a Girl series. If you familiar that saying you'll know it comes from the bonkers, gorgeous and hilarious Melissa, Charlie's best friend. This is one rockin' series and I loved it!

Songs About a Girl starts off with Charlie, a girl that likes to be invisible and loves to do photography, she never dreamed that the most popular band in the world, Fire and Lights would put her in the spotlight. Olly, one of the band members used to go her school, he went on Make or Break - basically the X-Factor, then wound up with Yuki, Aiden and Gabe to live his dream as a signer and guitarist. It's not until Charlie receives an email from him, to ask to do some photography from a groupie stand point that her life suddenly changes. She didn't realise how being roped into something so glamourous could turn something so ugly. How being caught between the smoldering, and bad boy Gabe and the the thoughtful gentleman Olly could be exhausting and emotional.

 It doesn't stop there, Songs About Us, follows on, with much more mystery, that links Charlie  more intimately with one member of the group. There are secrets that bind them together yet it's ugly affairs threaten once again the bands reputation and relationship to be released to the public. Being 'with the band' can be amazing on the outside, but beneath it all, on the inside you can really see how backstage bickering can tear it apart and Charlie at the center of it.

I loved all the characters especially Melissa who I mentioned in the beginning. She is just the bomb, completely nuts mind you, Mel really reminds me of a young Penny from the Big Bang Theory. Melissa really lens perspective on the band but also to Charlie, being her best friend. She isn't perfect, and the beauty of her. Oh and the band, Yuki, Aiden, Olly and frontman Gabriel, if I'm honest I really loved Yuki and Aiden especially in book 2, but each them really valued Charlie even when sometimes she felt she wasn't welcomed. She became such good friends with them all and she knew she could get to the heart of them and really see them for who they really are.

Chris's writing is completely addictive, it's unputadownable. It was his take on a romance, I mean there is very few male authors that write a typical YA romance. But I think the boy band aspect really took off. Obviously Chris being in a band of his own Light Years has made this book, looking on the inside of what it can be like for them. I was certainly intrigued as to whether this really does happen in the music industry. Whilst we followed the boy band through Charlie's adventures what I felt was that their is a fragility, a vulnerability to them. We see them as huge musicians, rocking that industry, we see the blood, sweat and tears in their songs, we see them as a band and not individuals and Chris really captured that through Charlie and through the honesty of her lens. All Yuki, Aiden, Olly and Gabe really want is to be normal too.

However, I felt there was so much more to this book than 'being with the band', it highlighted so many key issues in teenage life, including Charlie's relationship with her father and how strained it's become since her mum died. How Charlie's life can turn upside down from a single post on a blog and being constantly stalked and trolled online. Also that being an instigator to main school bully. Throughout the two books, Chris really explores this as well as how Charlie has grown and changed as a character.

Songs About a Girl Series is more than being part of a band, it has everything you need in a novel, family, friendship, love, romance, music, truth, lies, and even a slice of mystery as well. Oh and so many laughs, I loved every second of it, and I need more. I recommend it for those who loved the DIMILY series Can't wait for the release of Songs About a Boy next Summer of 2018.

Rating -
Songs About a Girl - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Songs About Us - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to Hodder Children's Books and Team BKMRK for the review copies in exchange for an honest review. 


The Hawkweed Legacy (Hawkweed Prophecy #2)
by Irena Brignull
Publisher - Orchard Books
Release Date - June 1st 2017
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Poppy Hooper doesn't want to be the queen of the witches.
But some problems can't be left behind.
Some love stories can't be forgotten.
Some friendships won't be broken.
And some enemies won't stay dead…

The battle for the throne isn't over yet.

My Review 
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a fantasy series on witches, covens, clans and magic with spell books, potions and cauldrons. The Hawkweed Legacy, the sequel to The Hawkweed Prophecy (find my review here) was a startling surprise in the best way possible, it made me love this series and Irena's writing even more.

The Hawkweed Legacy follows on from Poppy's story, as a child magically switched at birth she find herself finally in the arms of her birth mother and surroundings of where she is suppose to belong. Although she feels that this huge responsibility, this prophecy of becoming Queen is beyond her. Poppy isn't ready, she may have the power and knowledge but within herself she is nothing more than a girl seeking for something else. Poppy rebels against her prophecy until she can find who she truly is and where she truly belongs.

Irena's writing was magnificent and skilled with how she created so much more to the sequel. I admit my surprise was that it didn't follow a cliche setting of Poppy's story, it led to a family of stories which made it so much more poignant and beautiful. What I loved about this sequel was that we got so much more in this story, so many more sub plots that seamlessly wove into each other. Whilst Poppy's main story weaves throughout the book, we get introduced to whole new to side to the story, with Poppy's mum, Charlock and her story alongside her best friend Betony. We also see where Leo fits in as well, and his story and how Leo and Poppy finally come together. He isn't just some outsider, he is so much more than that. Whilst also cherishing our original characters with Ember and her mum and how her life within the city has changed and inspired her so much.

 Set a duology, The Hawkweed Legacy is a quest to truly find where they belong but also what their purpose is in life. That nothing is set it stone and it can't be, because what if your will changes that, what if Poppy, Leo, Ember and Betony are meant to make something of themselves, beyond that of magic and prophecy.

Full of magic and witches comes a beautiful tale of family, friendship and love in an original and modern fantastical setting. 

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to Orchard Books from providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER: A Summer of Reading

@SummerBreak summer beach ocean sunset GIF
Oh my gosh what a year! It's gone by so quick and yet so long at the same time. Now I know why teachers and school staff need those six weeks off. Ha. So I survived my first year as a secondary school librarian, it was challenging, amazing, inspiring and I can't believe I've done it. I feel like I've done so much, I've got the library how I want it to be and it took the whole year to do it and I've never been more prouder. Managing a library is one hell of a job, and we, librarians don't have it easy, plus how the government can think we can supply literature for all children and students on the budget we have is plain bonkers. 

But enough of me ranting, I just wanted to say hello to everyone and that I know the blog has been a bit sporadic with my reviews and reading of late, but I hope to really catch up on everything as I have the time too. I have two blog tours taking place, getting some author content, and picking my reading from these glorious books. So many gorgeous titles it's hard to choose half the time. If you have any suggestions which ones first, then let me know in the comments. 

My little book corner in my room - the books I bought but mostly received from the lovely publishers. I've also got a reading list to read too for a challenge we host to our students in the new term. So lots to be done and read. If you have similar books, then I'd love to buddy read. I know I'm reading the latest Paula Stokes book with Jasprit. So it will be nice to get back into the blogging community. 

So that's it for now - do come say hi to me. It will be nice to chat all things books and catch up with you all.