Saturday, 21 May 2016

102 (Mostly) YA Book Recommendations

A couple of months ago, I decided to jump on the '1 Like = 1 Book' trend that was doing the rounds on Twitter. Basically, for each 'like' I got on my tweet, I would give a book recommendation... and, um, I got over a hundred.

So, if you were lucky enough to miss me blessing spamming your timeline with amazing books, don't you worry because I've put the whole list here. In the end, I tweeted 102 book recommendations! It's pretty varied with books of all genres and for all ages, so there should be something for everyone.

There are lots more I could have added (MatildaDivergent and When We Collided to name a few) but I had to stop at some point and it was rather time consuming. Fun, though!

Have you read any of the books on my list? What would you add?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

BLOG TOUR: Where the Crime Club Writes...

Earlier this month Mystery & Mayhem, a children's anthology of crime and mystery stories, was published. It boasts amazing authors such as Katherine Woodfine, Susie Day, Frances Hardinge and Robin Stevens to name a few, and I'm so excited to get reading! So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce some of the authors to create some mayhem on The Mile Long Bookshelf today. Let's see where they write!

Twelve mysteries.

Twelve authors.

One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?

These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children's crime writers writing today.

These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for fans of crime fiction and detection, especially the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, The Roman Mysteries and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.

Sally Nicholls: At the moment, I have a seven-month-old son, who is lovely, but very difficult to write around. So mostly I wait until he's asleep, grab my laptop, and type furiously until he wakes up. (He is asleep now by my feet in a Moses basket. It's very cute.) Sometimes I write in coffee shops, which has the advantage that sometimes you can send him back to sleep by rocking the pram and thus get a bit longer, but the disadvantage that sometimes he wakes up as soon as you park, and then you're sat there with your laptop glaring unopened at you, trying to persuade your little boy not to knock your overpriced coffee over.

I do quite a lot of work in the café at my local leisure centre, after I've exhausted him with swimming lessons. Sure, it means writing surrounded by thirty noisy primary school children who've just had a swimming lesson, but at least I'm allowed to ignore them. I get most work done when nice people take him away for a walk, and next term I'm hoping my husband will be around a bit more and able to help with childcare. Click here to check out Sally's books!

Susie Day: I work in a boarding school, looking after older teenagers when they're not in class; it's useful if I'm around during the day, so I usually write at home in my living room. If you're picturing Malory Towers, stop now. My view is... bins. (I like to think of it as an anti-distraction. Whatever is happening on the page has to be more interesting to look at than that.) Click here to check out Susie's books!

Frances Hardinge: I usually write in my study at home. It doubles as a storeroom, so there are lots of boxes of books, rolls of wrapping paper and general clutter, but it does have a nice view down onto a little local park. Click here to check out Frances' books!

Clementine Beauvais: Where do I write... wherever I am when I've got time!  At the moment, it's mostly on my sofa in my new house. But I wrote my mystery story for this book in my old flat - see picture! The most important thing, even more than a place to sit, is coffee, and Radio 3... Click here to check out Clementine's books!

I don't know about you but I love seeing where authors write! Big thank you to Sally Nicholls, Susie Day, Frances Hardinge and Clementine Beauvais for letting us have a nose around. 

Look out for my review of Mystery & Mayhem coming soon!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 7th April 2016
Pages: 337
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Mental Health
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought.

Seventeen-year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life and only one thing has changed: his father used to be alive, and now he's not. Reeling from the tragedy, Jonah must take care of his family.

Enter Vivi Alexander, new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. A gorgeous, unfiltered hurricane of thoughts and feelings, she transforms Jonah's family and changes his life.

But there are always consequences when worlds collide...

In the months before I finally caved in and bought myself a copy of When We Collided by Emery Lord, I saw SO many positive reviews for it. I knew it would be good. After all, loads of bloggers I love had said it was amazing, so it had to be, right? But I didn't know it would be that good, the kind of good that can end a few bad weeks and make me think, y'know, maybe things will get better after all. And it takes a rare, special kind of book to do that.

You might be thinking something along the lines of: Amber, no offence, but this sounds pretty cliche, are you sure this is actually, like, good? I see where you're coming from. The reason it took me so long to buy a copy is because, despite all of those glowing reviews, it seemed like yet another one of those books where the protagonist is mentally ill but then along comes a Love Interest and they're Instantly Cured. Yes, this book contains romance and mental health, but it's well balanced and doesn't romanticise mental illness at all, I'm happy to say. In fact, this is one of the best and most hopeful representations of mental illness I've seen in YA. It's truly special and beautifully done.

I loved Vivi and Jonah SO MUCH. They were there for each other through everything and neither of them ran away from the other's problems. They held each other up and went above and beyond to make the other one happy. Jonah's family was pretty great, too. I loved his backstory and how real and believable it all was. I just.. gah. *jumps up and down*

As much as I want to talk about this wonderful story forever, can we talk about the outside of it for a second? I want the cover as art on my wall. It's so pretty and captures the essence of the book so well. I can't seem to find the rather talented designer but if somehow you're reading this, gold star for you. That cover is just as stunning as the writing inside. (Kind of gutted I missed out on the pre-order offer they had going on where you could get QUOTES on BEAUTIFUL MATCHING POSTCARDS. I know.)

When We Collided is one of those books that I just want to press into the hands of everyone I know. I hesitate to describe any book as perfect but, for me, this is. It showed that bad times aren't forever but for a short while in a huge and wonderful life, and I think that's something we all need to be reminded of now and again. The writing is raw, unflinching and reminiscent of Jandy Nelson and Siobhan Curham. Just like with their books, seconds after I finished When We Collided I wanted to read it again. And again. I cannot tell you how much it means to see a positive book about mental health that is also written accurately. This is the first of Lord's books that I've read but I'll definitely be looking out for her others. ❤