Sunday, 28 May 2017

10 Things I Love About Summer


1. It's lighter for longer, so I can get Domino's at 10pm if I want to without having to worry about losing my life in The Void. Driving in the dark freaks me out - I live in the sticks, where the council helpfully DOESN'T USE ENOUGH STREETLIGHTS, so it's pitch black in places. In fact, it's worse than pitch black - it's vantablack, aka the darkest pigment to ever exist. Fun fact for you there. One bit in particular freaks me out, where it's so dark that I've always called it - you guessed it - The Void. But it's summer, so I don't have to worry about that for a few months.

2. The weather. Here in the UK, our winter doesn't get as cold as, like, Canada, but it's still that level of cold where you shiver so much that it physically exhausts you. You're tense, you're shivering, your teeth hurt because they're sensitive to cold and you're scared of the dentist... maybe the last one's just me. Also, I'm pretty sure I got SAD last year. Soooo, no to winter, yes to summer.

3. The burst of motivation. You know on New Year's Eve when you think of the year ahead and all the things you're going to do? I get that in the run-up to summer, too. There's just so much more you can do in summer...

4. ...like chips by the river; trips to the beach; pub gardens; working outside; walks in the forest; travelling (or dreaming about it); visiting the zoo; general chilling outside without actually chilling...


5. And summer brings so many pleasing things: bright yellow fields; the sound of lawnmowers and the smell of freshly mown grass; Magnums and Ben and Jerry's; the smell of sun cream; happier people; driving with the windows down; bright blue skies; time; flowers in bloom and vegetables ready for picking; shorts; in-season strawberries; sitting outside late at night and not dying from hypothermia; not having to lug a coat around with you everywhere...

6. The sense of possibility. Even if you're not in education anymore, I think the sense of freedom sticks with you. Unless you're in work, maybe... but yeah. I have so many books about creative writing, and a work-in-progress of 60K words which I'm ready to tackle. BRING IT.

7. In addition to my fear of driving in the dark, I'm also kind of scared of car washes, so I mostly wash the car/s (I'm the family car washer because I'm a golden citizen) by hand. Which is really annoying at any time other than summer. FREEZING COLD WATER. HARSH WINDS. I'm not about that life until the daily temperature is at least 24C.

8. Holidays. We used to go away every year - not out of the UK, don't overestimate my bank account/ability to get in a flying metal death machine plane -  but due to ongoing family illness (always me or someone else) we're not really able to do the loooong drive to Cornwall anymore. I MISS IT. I'm crossing my fingers sosososo hard that we go this year. I don't even mind the drive that much, mainly because 1) I'm not driving, thank god, and 2) because for 14 hours I get to eat at all my favourite places that I only get to go to when I'm travelling: Costa, Starbucks, Burger King, McDonald's... for 14 hours. It gets expensive (service station prices) but I'm not paying and there's literally no other option, which is WHAT I LIKE TO SEE. Also, the sea is bright blue. Over here on the east coast, our sea is brown. Ew. BUT BACK TO THE POINT: HOLIDAYS. I LIKE HOLIDAYS.

(Subtlety is my strong point, don't know if you could tell.)

9. Taking pretty photos for future blog posts. Everything looks so much nicer and more photogenic in summer. I love the top photo, a field of rapeseed, taken last summer. I've been waiting for an excuse to use it in a blog post, and now here we are...

10. I love summery reads and, strangely enough, most of them are released in or around summer... not only that, but during summer I have more time to pick up a book. It's a win/win situation. (Here's my TBR for the next few weeks!)


What do you love about summer?

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lord of Shadows
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: 23rd May 2017
Pages: 699
Genres: YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter's life is bound by duty. Constrained by honour. The world of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners - sworn to fight together, die together, but to never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn't just forbidden - it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from him. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Christina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and 'unsuitable' Nephilim. They'll do anything in their power to expose Julain's screts and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows - the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devices a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod, it's only that book I've been awaiting like mad for over a year... That's right, it's the second book in Cassandra Clare's latest trilogy, The Dark Artifices - and the first book, Lady Midnight, ripped out my heart and trampled all over it. Repeatedly.

Lord of Shadows is no different. Strap in, kids, because this is an emotional roller coaster and a half... although I'm not sure why anyone would expect any different from the Shadowhunter world. Once again, Clare astounds me with how believable it is, this world that has so many layers to it, so much depth and history. I was once again reminded of how intensely her writing draws me in, and how every single emotion felt by any of the characters can immediately be felt by the reader.

This book may even change how you previously felt about characters in Lady Midnight. In the first instalment, I wasn't that bothered about Mark, Kit or Kieran. I don't know what else to say except I just wasn't that drawn to them. Cristina was cool, but I think in Lady Midnight, my focus was definitely on Emma and Julian.

However, in Lord of Shadows, my opinion completely changed. I came to love Kit, who in this instalment is getting to grips with being not just any Shadowhunter, but a Herondale, and the nostalgia was real as I recognised bits of Jace (The Mortal Instruments) and Will (The Infernal Devices) in him. Mark, Kieran and Cristina piqued my interest much more this time round, too, likely because they had more going on this time.

That's another thing - if you thought Lady Midnight was action-packed, you haven't seen anything yet. Lord of Shadows switches between Los Angeles, London, and Cornwall, and the contrast of these awesome settings not only kept me interested for the entire 700-page novel, but also provided insight into different Shadowhunter locations around the world. It was especially interesting to see this new generation of Shadowhunters stay at the London Institute, the setting for one of Clare's other series, The Infernal Devices. As you'd hope and expect, it's full of sneaky references...

Something else which struck me was the amount of parallels with our current political climate. We don't appear to live in the most tolerant or open-minded world at the moment, and as it turns out, neither do Shadowhunters or Downworlders. Offensive views are challenged by a few characters in Lord of Shadows, hitting the nail on the head each time. It's subtle enough to still provide escapism whilst obvious enough to make you want to do lots of mini fist-pumps.

And... this wouldn't be a sufficient review without mentioning Emma and Julian, would it? I'm not going to go into detail about them because fans will know that their relationship is a complicated one, and there are lots of things to spoil that I'm not going to. Just let it be known that they remain my ultimate OTP and they DESERVE HAPPINESS, DAMMIT.

Anyway. The third and final book isn't out for two years. I'll be nearly 21?! Like, I'm an adult, but 21 is a proper adult... so that'll be weird. Not sure I can wait that long for the next book, but I'll have to, won't I? And it'll give my heart some time to recover from this one. This is an author whose books you need to read, people. I've never been more invested in another book than I am in anything Clare writes, and I read a lot, so that's saying something. Come on, get your heart smashed into pieces. Join the club. You know you want to...

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green

Title: Noah Can't Even
Author: Simon James Green
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 4th May 2017
Pages: 365
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/LGBT/Humour
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


Poor Noah Grimes!

His dad disappeared years ago, his mother's Beyoncé tribute act is a totally unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran isn't herself anymore. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is... Well, it's pure HELL.

Why can't Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a relationship with someone - maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely - he'd be seen in a different light?

But Noah's plans for romance are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. And that's when things go from bad to worse utter chaos.

If you're like me and you're fast approaching the dreaded exam season, chances are that you're currently dealing with two things: stress, and less time to read. Like, much less time to read. And whenever you pick up a book, you immediately feel guilty that you're doing something for pleasure rather than revising. (Or maybe that's just me?...) I've read hardly anything lately, unless you count my Death of a Salesman textbook, which I don't. But, picking up Noah Can't Even and only intending to read the first couple of pages for the time being, I found that once I started, I couldn't put it down.

Readers, this is the perfect book to read during exam season! Give yourself permission to tear yourself away from your work, because Noah Can't Even is quite possibly the funniest book you will read this year. Seriously, it is constantly and consistently hilarious - I loved Noah and his quirks, and the awkward situations in which he often found himself.


In addition to being bloody funny - and, at times, painfully awkward and relatable - it also touches on important topics such as homosexuality and bullying. I don't think LGBT issues are prevalent enough in YA in general, but especially in UK YA. Have I ever read an LGBT book where the main characters are in their mid-teens? Uh... one, yeah. This one.

That's not all - there are so many clever twists and sub-plots weaved together in a way I very much envy, and it was clearly done well, because I haven't devoured a book so quickly for longer than I'd like to admit. Needless to say, I cannot wait for whatever's next from Green. The Inbetweeners meets Geekhood, Noah Can't Even is a wonderfully awkward and important book that will have you in stitches from start to finish.
Watch my videos with Simon below! The first is an interview, and the second is a game of Heads Up...



Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd

Title: The Pavee and the Buffer Girl
Author: Siobhan Dowd
Published by: The Bucket List
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 112
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


When Jim's family halt at Dundray, the town is an unfriendly place. Bullying, name-calling, and a new school to navigate without a word of reading.

Then Jim meets Kit, who takes him under her wing and shows him how to survive. But everyday prejudice and mindless violence threaten to uproot all their lives.

When this book was given to me by the lovely Nina at Sophia Bennett's book launch in March, I was so happy. I talk about it a bit in this video, but basically: this book, along with Non Pratt's Unboxed, was pretty much all anyone could talk about at last year's YALC. The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is important, and of course author Siobhan Dowd established the Siobhan Dowd Trust, which works tirelessly to get the love of reading to young people who need it. Honestly, if you're not at least intrigued by it from that paragraph, I'm kind of surprised, because it's a special one (as all of Barrington Stoke's/The Bucket List's titles seem to be?!)

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl tells the story of Jim, who has just arrived in Dundray with his family and is starting an unfriendly new school with his cousins, and Kit, a girl who takes him under her wing. The townspeople don't take too kindly to travellers, and Jim has to deal with bullying and name-calling as well as the possibility that they'll move along again before he can have a chance to get the education he wants.

For people unfamiliar with the terms in the book's title, as I was, 'Pavee' is a term a person may use to describe themselves, but may object to if used by people outside of their community and on the grid, people known as 'Buffers'. I appreciated the opportunity to read about a topic from someone who knows what they're talking about, especially as here in England these communities are only ever spoken of in a negative or satirical light.

The illustrations are of equal brilliance to the words within. Can we have more YA with illustrations, please? Once again - and I know I've said this on the blog three or four times now - Barrington Stoke and The Bucket List get things right. As a publisher (not gonna lie, I get really confused with publishers and their imprints - can you tell?) they are consistently pioneering and definitely one (ONES???) to watch.

The reason I've given this book four stars isn't because there's anything wrong with it, but simply because I didn't love it as much as books I've given five stars to. The Pavee and the Buffer Girl is essential reading, especially during this time of global intolerance towards anyone branded as 'other', and will make a delightful addition to your shelves.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Perfectionism, Asymmetrical Eyeliner, and Parking Like a Prat

Before we begin this blog post, I need to tell you something really bloody cool... yesterday I woke up to the news that I'd been shortlisted for Book Blogger of the Year in the Blogosphere Blog Awards 2017, hosted by the only magazine I bother reading, Blogosphere Magazine. (I reviewed it ages ago, it's proper nice.)

I don't think I knew these awards were a thing, or if I did, I didn't realise they had a book blog category. I certainly didn't expect to be shortlisted - and hey, I doubt I'll win, but it would mean more than you know if you could vote for me!

Click here to go to the voting page. You'll have to put in your email address and vote in every category (mine is towards the bottom) and don't forget to click 'submit'. Thank you!!

Anyway, the reason you're all here...

Print from sighh.co

I've always been a perfectionist. I rarely coloured outside the lines, I've given up on a few potential hobbies because I wasn't immediately 'good enough', and I've been known to give up on filming a YouTube video because my hair wasn't how I wanted it to be. I keep to 99% of deadlines I receive, I always have blog posts scheduled, and I hated booking my theory and practical tests because I didn't think I was at a high enough driving standard to pass, even though I was. (Might've had some issues since then, though... the story's in this video. Brb, dying of embarrassment.) I did triple the amount of work I was asked to do for my Media Studies coursework this year and last year, and I'm never late to anything. Ever.

It can be kind of stressful, but lately I've noticed that I'm stressing less and less about the small things. (I'm not some wondrous relaxed goddess - I am generally quite a stressed person, most of the time. I'm just talking about the small stuff.) I don't know why - maybe I'm in a good patch, anxiety-wise? (Is that even where my perfectionism comes from? Who knows. #Deep.) Or maybe I'm tired from revising all the time, and therefore lazy. Whatever the reason, I kind of like it. And the more I notice it, the more I realise that some forms of perfectionism are stupid. For example, whenever I used to screw up my eyeliner, I'd wipe it off and do it again. And again. And again. I didn't like doing it, especially if I happened to be in a rush, but I also didn't want to look like a raccoon with poor motor skills, y'know?

And if I parked badly, I'd spend ages correcting myself. I hate parking, not helped by the fact that that's how the incident happened that I mentioned earlier. It's... yeah. MOVING ON.

Now I'll happily leave the house with slightly asymmetrical winged eyeliner, and if I park badly, I just leave it (as long as it's in the lines, obviously - I'm not that person who ends up with several notes on their windscreen telling them they're a prat. I'm not at that level of bad parking, I'll have you know.) What a rebel, right? I've even requested a couple of late hand-ins for homework this year, whereas before I would have stayed up until the early hours of the morning, trying to finish an essay whilst bleary eyed and sleep deprived; not the most efficient way of working, I'm sure you'll agree.

I'm still a perfectionist in a lot of ways; I've subconsciously kept the perfectionist aspects I appreciate, like the perfectionist in me that gets me good grades, and on time to places I need to be, and the perfectionist in me that keeps my room pretty. But the meaningless things, the things you might complain about only to be told life's too short, are on their way out. Because, really - who EVER looks that closely at anyone else's eyeliner unless they've uploaded a photo of it because they did a good job? And when I park badly, but within the lines, AM I GOING TO DIE? The answer to that is no. Might get judged a bit, but it's not the end of the world.

The moral of this blog post is that life's too short to sweat the small stuff. Do extra work if you want to, get to places on time, and keep your house tidy; they're pretty good habits to have. But if you're not immediately good at something... who is? If your makeup isn't at a Kardashian level... who's going to care? If you have a reading schedule and you haven't kept to it... is anyone going to die? Are you officially the person responsible for ending the world? Is everything on fire? As punishment for not handing in your homework on time, have you magically but unfortunately swapped bodies with Nigel Farage?

Lots of perfectionists want to stop being perfectionists, but like most things, it has its bad points and its good points; the key is to chill out and gradually work on the bad ones, whilst keeping the good. So, yeah, some thoughts. It sounds obvious, and maybe most people have that figured out already, but hey - here's me chilling out and lessening the perfectionism by posting it anyway, obvious old news or not.

Are you a perfectionist? What do you love and hate about it?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

A Guide to Voting in the General Election for 18-25 Year Olds


Discussion surrounding bloggers and their responsibilities comes around time and time again. Do bloggers have a responsibility to educate their readers as opposed to simply entertaining them? Do bloggers have a responsibility to promote a healthy lifestyle, especially those with a younger audience? Do bloggers have a responsibility to use their platform to speak up about the big issues such as sexism, racism, and homophobia?

I don't think 'responsibility' is quite the right word. However, if you have a platform of any size, I do think you might as well use it for good whenever you can. That's what I'm doing today.

So, there's going to be a General Election on 8th June 2017. At a time of huge uncertainty and national anxiety (thanks, Brexit) this election is going to have a big impact not only on our government for the next few years, but also on how and when we leave the EU - that's if we leave at all, because you never know. Like I said... uncertain times.

Our last General Election in 2015 saw, well, not much from 18-25 year olds in terms of voting. It was a low turnout. Only 6 out of every 10 young people turned up to vote, and our age-group had the lowest percentage of participants. Statistics show that if more 18-25 year olds had voted, things would be very, very different now. Whether you're happy with the government we ended up having or not, it just goes to show how important voting is.

We need to learn from our mistakes and make up for it on 8th June. This is our chance to have our say and make a change at a time when the voices of 18-25 year olds aren't listened to or taken seriously.

You can register to vote from the age of sixteen. You can't actually vote at sixteen (I wish) but as soon as you hit that number, you might as well register and be prepared, right? And if you turn eighteen a few days before the election, or even on the day itself... it doesn't matter. You can still register to vote right now. You don't have to miss out.

Seriously, if you haven't registered to vote yet, and you're able to, do it now. Click here. I'll wait.

...

Done? I'll be annoyed if you haven't bothered. Just saying.

Those of us who have registered to vote... this is a really strange election. Like, really strange. It's not a normal one where you vote for your favourite party and leave it at that. With this one, you have to vote strategically otherwise you're basically wasting your vote (sorry). I always said that as soon as I was able to vote, I would be voting for a certain party, but now, with this mess as my first election, I won't be voting for them. I can't. If you're against the Conservatives, you have to vote Labour or Lib Dem (probably just Labour, really, but many are waiting to see each party's campaign) and if you're a Conservative, well... whatever. Vote for them, then. I'm not here to influence who you vote for, I'm just here to encourage you to vote in the first place.

Got exams around the time of the election? Got one, or even two, on that very day? Vote anyway. It takes hardly any time at all. If you've ever gone out to lunch after an exam, or met up with a friend, or gone to the gym, or chilled in the park, or even just gone to the supermarket for a pint of milk - why is this any different? If you've got time to do that, then you've got time to vote. And if you really, really don't want to vote in person, you can register to vote via post. You don't need to give a reason. The same goes for if you're ill and/or disabled, or if you'll be on holiday, or if you simply won't be around that day. You can also apply to vote by proxy. There are so many options!

It doesn't matter in which way you vote, just make sure you use it. Voting is a privilege, and it's important. Don't be put off by the fact that this election is a little trickier than others in terms of deciding who to vote for. Here are some resources that will help you:

WTF is going on?

This piece on the BBC website gives an unbiased run-down on everything going on at the moment. What is Brexit? Why are we leaving the EU? Why is Theresa May calling a General Election? It's all here.

What each party stands for:


Who to support:

This quiz is very thorough and, even though I wouldn't recommend automatically voting for whichever result you're given, it will give you an idea of which parties you side with most and where you stand politically.

Voting Counts is an unbiased political resource created by young adults, for young adults. You can find quick guides on the main political parties in the UK, as well as reasons you should vote and other ways you can get involved if you want to do more or if you're under 18.

If you're not into the Conservatives sticking around for the next government, pop in your postcode and it'll let you know who to vote for to kick them out, based on where you live.


The process of voting:

If you're not sure how to physically place your vote in the first place, this article from the Electoral Commission will help you out.

Enter your postcode to find your nearest polling station/s.

This article on The Debrief explains what it is, how it works, and how to do it if you're a student living away from home.


Other political resources:

Make your political demands and decide your own future instead of having it decided for you.


This seems as good a time as any to remind you about the book of essays, Rife, which I'm part of! My essay is about why sixteen-year-olds should be allowed to vote. There are 21 other essays on topics such as mental health, equality, sex, education, money, and more. You can get your copy by clicking here (please do!) and there's even a special discount for under-24s. The book will be out next year!

So, yes - register to vote before 22nd May (you can still do this even if you don't turn 18 until after that date!) and have your say. It's one of the most important things you will ever do, and I for one can't wait to turn up at the polling booth for the first time during a General Election.

Will you be voting in the General Election?

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Penguin Random House Children's Media Presentation 2017

I was in London on Tuesday at the 2017 media presentation for Penguin Random House Children's. Last year's presentation was brilliant - you can read about that here - and this one was no different.

The evening began with a goody bag (of course) and a browse of all the books piled around the room for people to take. I met Jim from YAYeahYeah and we chatted to Tom Fletcher - author and, y'know, member of McFly. He's just read Kiran Millwood Hargrave's The Girl of Ink and Stars, for anyone interested! (I haven't read it yet, despite all the hype. I should probably do that soon.) He was lovely, and if that wasn't enough, Dame Jacqueline Wilson was right behind him talking to someone else for the entire time?! Basically my entire childhood was in that room. It was a bit cool...

With eight Penguin authors in attendance, the first half took to the stage. First up was Ed Vere, author and illustrator of the fabulously funny Grumpy Frog. The grumpy frog is not grumpy, though; Ed assured us that he only dislikes a few things, like tight shoes, Brexit, and...


One of the many reasons I love children's publishing.

Taking to the stage after Ed Vere were sisters Natalia and Lauren O'Hara, who together made Hortense and the Shadow - Natalia writing, and Lauren illustrating. The book is about a girl who tries to get rid of her shadow, and is released in October. The book sounds (and looks!) gorgeous, and the sisters seemed so lovely, so I can't wait to read this when it comes out.


Adrian Edmondson was next with his new children's book, Tilly and the Time Machine. The book was inspired by the children of his friends who moved next door. Being an actor, he loved reading to them, but they'd already been read all of the classics... so, taking the daughter of his friends for inspiration, he created a new children's book. Oh, and it was also inspired by death.


The final author of the first half was Robin Stevens, bestselling author who has taken on the huge task of writing the second book in the late Siobhan Dowd's mystery series, which began with The London Eye Mystery. Robin has written The Guggenheim Mystery, and told us about her own visit to the Guggenheim Museum.


And then we had a break, in which I met someone who helped to shape the bookworm I am today, and whose books I always begged various family members to buy me... Jacqueline Wilson! Funnily enough, I'd heard her talk at Cambridge Lit Fest a few days before, but it wasn't a signing so I didn't meet her then. I believe she's just finished her 107th book, can you believe it?! She signed my copy of her latest book, Wave Me Goodbye (thanks to Jim for letting me have his copy when it didn't look like there were any left!) and we took a selfie. From maybe 5-11 years old, I loved Jacqueline Wilson. She did a signing fairly locally once, and I swear everyone at school went... except me. I was devastated. Another time, I started writing her a fan letter - with a pen and paper, and everything! - but it was never sent because I felt self-conscious about seven-year-old me's spelling mistakes, and I wasn't sure what to say. And now I've had a conversation with her in person (and Tom Fletcher). This week has basically been about fulfilling my childhood dreams.


If you're wondering why my badge is so high up, I literally had nowhere else to clip it. Like, I could've pinned it, but the top I was wearing is a thin one that could rip very easily. I've had lots of near-misses already, and I've seen far too many comedies and read far too many wardrobe-malfunction scenes in books to be that silly. Let's just call it a fashion statement (and hey, it meant Jacqueline referred to me by name, which is a moment I shall treasure forever.)

The final bunch of authors took to the stage: Tom Fletcher, Jacqueline Wilson, and Emily Barr. Tom read from his new middle-grade book, The Creakers, which will be out in October, and Jacqueline read from the book I mentioned earlier, Wave Me Goodbye. She also talked a bit about the inspiration behind it, as it's set during the war and is about a little evacuee who is a huge bookworm but is only allowed to take one book with her... Let's hope that never happens again.

Emily Barr, widely known for her adult psychological thrillers but more recently her YA debut, The One Memory of Flora Banks, spoke about her new book which I am very excited about. I hoped she would write another YA, and she has! It's called The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, which is an excellent title. I cannot wait to get my hands on it.


And then I got a selfie with Tom, in which I look homeless, but I'm used to it. We've got a new band now, anyway; not chosen a name yet but we'll get there, I'm sure. We'll get really big and then I'll be able to pay someone to carry all my bags, because carrying three very heavy bags of books and camera equipment across London when you're alone and 5"2' is really hard. #firstworldproblems.

In all seriousness, it was an amazing evening and, as always, I'm so excited to see what's next from one of my favourite publishers. I'm paraphrasing, but at the beginning of the presentation, the Managing Director of PRHC said that in these times of great uncertainty, children's books are more important than ever, and I couldn't agree more.


Which books are you looking forward to this year?

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Day I Became a (Temporary) Food Blogger


Last week, I was gifted a Gousto box to review, so today I'm becoming a temporary food blogger and showing you my loot. I love food and I love post, so this was an excellent delivery to receive, especially as it arrived along with my exam timetable... *panics*

Gousto is a website founded by a group of chefs who pick a bunch of recipes each week, and from those, subscribers can pick the ones they like the sound of and have the ingredients and instructions delivered to their door. (If you're not in to take the delivery, your food won't get ruined because there's a handy cool bag in the box.) They only send the amount you need for the meal/s you've chosen, and packaging is minimal, limiting waste. That also means that you'll get cute, tiny portions of things. LOOK AT THE TINY MAYONNAISE. I can't be the only one who loves tiny versions of normal-sized things, right...?

The first meal I picked was feta and sweet potato taquitos for two:


 And the second meal was Tuscan panzanella salad with mozzarella, again for two:


How good does all of this look? Opening it felt like Christmas, despite it being a sunny spring day. I should probably add here that you can get meat dishes, too, but I'm a life-long Pescatarian, hence my choices!

I include myself in this when I say that no one in my household is very imaginative when it comes to meal ideas (they won't mind me saying that, I don't think...) so being able to pick from a range of imaginative recipes was awesome. I don't usually like cooking as I'm far too impatient, and - guilty as charged - I'm definitely all about convenience. My dyscalculia makes the measuring aspect of cooking quite difficult and stressful, too, which doesn't help. But I actually really enjoyed cooking these meals! The fact that I already had the correct quantities, along with step-by-step instructions, was very much appreciated, and I felt like I'd achieved something each time, because as I said, I'm usually the one who eats the food, not the one who makes it...

The bit you're all wondering about: the finished meals tasted lovely and, thanks to the recipe cards which come with the ingredients, I'll definitely be making them again (the second one without mozzarella, I think.) Both have become family favourites!

This box was kindly gifted to me with no obligation to post about it but, once I saw the contents, I was itching to take some photographs. And then, well... here we are! If you'd like to try Gousto, use the code TORNADO to get a £20 discount on each of your first and second orders.

So, a bit of a different post today, but I hope you liked it!

Do you like cooking? Do you have any veggie meal ideas?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

31 Books I Cannot Wait to Read This Summer


My first exam is in 29 days, and my last is in 51. That last exam will be the last exam. The last exam of my life. Unless I decide at some point that I do want to go to university, in which case... really, future Amber? You're going to put us in all that debt? Rude.

51 days, then, is how long I have to wait until I can tackle all the books I've been wanting to read for forever. We're on the home stretch, now. It's weird, though - I realised the other day that it's been close to a decade since I completely had time to myself; no homework to guilt-trip me into putting my book down, no seemingly-endless revision plans... I am very grateful to have been educated so well (and in so many different forms!) especially when so many people in other countries aren't; in fact, so many people in this country aren't. But it's weird to look back and see how much time it's taken out of your life, and how much time you'll have afterwards (well, until someone finally decides I would make an excellent employee, which I WOULD, by the way.)

Every year as it gets closer to exam time, my unread books look more and more inviting - but I resist, for the most part. Here are the books from which I'm having to restrain myself this time...


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

If you watched my January book haul, you'll know the story of how this came into my hands - and yet, as excited as I was, I still haven't had time to read it! I am no less excited, though, as this book focuses on racism and classism, and was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This was unsolicited, and usually the unsolicited review copies that end up coming through my letterbox aren't really up my street. However - this one seems to be! Described as a 'compulsively-readable romance', protagonist Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, and can't resist opening up and writing back to this 'perfect' stranger. But neither of them knows that they're not actually strangers... intriguing.

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Ah, the sequel to an amazing book, and even featured in my list of most-anticipated reads of 2017... and yet, despite my proof copy, I still haven't got to it. However - silver lining - the later I leave it, the closer it'll be to the next book in the series, meaning I won't have long to wait...

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

IT'S A ROMANTIC ROAD-TRIP THROUGH EUROPE. I DON'T THINK I NEED TO SAY ANYTHING ELSE.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

A dark Hollywood novel in which our protagonist is offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a film. But soon enough, according to the book's synopsis, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous. I seriously do not know how I haven't got to this sooner. Come on.


The Selection by Kiera Cass

This book has fallen into my hands so many times, it must be fate. The first time was years ago when it first came out in the UK and I was sent a review copy. It didn't look like my kind of thing. It somehow ended up under my bed, discovered years later and given to charity. A few months later, I wanted to do a nice thing for a friend (shout-out to you, Charli) and so I tricked her into telling me what book she was after at the time. It was this one. Of course. So I bought it for her as a surprise. THEN, everyone seemed to be freaking out over the series and how good it is, so I bought ANOTHER ONE. FOR MYSELF. AND I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT. AND NOW IT'S BEEN UNDER MY BED FOR GOD KNOWS HOW LONG, AND THE CYCLE IS REPEATING ITSELF. I will get to it one day. I will.

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

I remember seeing this on Twitter and remarking at how brilliant it sounded, and the next thing I knew, it was sliding through my letterbox from the lovely team at Bloomsbury. I was so happy! But also under a mountain of schoolwork. I cannot wait to finally read this - especially as Bloomsbury was kind enough to send it to me when I was fangirling over it.

Room by Emma Donoghue

My mum read this before it was cool. I didn't. So annoying. Before anyone even knew it was going to be a film, she read it, loved it, and recommended it to me so much that she ended up just giving me her copy. And then I didn't read it. And now it's a really popular film. Why am I like this?

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

This has had so many good reviews, and it's about a guy who's agoraphobic, and I very much enjoy seeing how authors tackle the topic. SOON.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This will be my first Adam Silvera book! I don't know anyone who doesn't love his work, so I can't wait to read it for myself, especially as it contains themes of OCD, LGBT, and a whole lot of drama...

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Soooo... confession: I haven't read this. I know. I can't quite believe it, either. I can't wait to see what all the hype is about, though.

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Set in 1970s Alaska, four very different people come together under unlikely circumstances. The cover and title are beautiful - and, according to reviews, so are the words inside.

Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon

I've had this proof for a long time - a long, long time - and even now, my Twitter feed is often full of people tweeting their thanks to the author, and recommending it to anyone who will listen.

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

I bought this a while ago on the recommendation of @DailyJulianne on Twitter. The book is described on Goodreads as 'a fast-paced international escapade ... perfect for fans of Ally Carter', which sounds exciting! I think I got this during my GCSEs which is why I never got round to it... oops.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Okay, so I actually picked this up and read a fair amount, but then I got busy and it somehow dropped off my radar... aka I lost it. From what I read, it seemed pretty good, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck in again... although I'll have to start from the beginning.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick is one of my favourite actresses, and I find her hilarious. Like, even her tweets have me in stitches, and they're cut down to 140 characters, so... a book of full-length essays is probably going to hospitalise me. We shall see.


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

The release of its film trailer last month caused a lot of hurt to disabled people due to inaccurate and unrealistic representation. As this is a book I've wanted to read for years, I will still be reading it, but I'm glad this discussion took place as I can now go into it more critically, and aware of its issues.

The IT Girl by Katy Birchall

The IT Girl has been compared to Waiting For Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill, one of my favourite books, and seeing as I have the trilogy (thanks Egmont!) I cannot wait to give it a go. Plus, the author is lovely!

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

I think I picked this up at the Pan Macmillan blogger's brunch in December 2015 and, similarly to The IT Girl, it has been compared to a book I loved: Asking For It by Louise O'Neill. This book tackles some important subjects and I can't wait to finally read it.

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The second book by the author of Everything, Everything... interestingly, this book has been praised for its representation of POC, so perhaps this will be better. Also, I literally just found out that this is set in New York City, aka my fave. Pleasebebetterpleasebebetterpleasebebetter.

Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

Something tells me this is going to be an awesome book to kick off the summer... it's set in France and New York. I LOVE BOOKS SET IN THESE PLACES. ASDFGHJKL.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

The first thing I noticed when I received this was the strap-line, which is 'five strangers walk into detention. Only four walk out alive.' Need I say more?

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

To be honest, I don't even know when I got this. It's been that long. It sounds interesting though, set in the unusual location of a boarding school for ill teens.

The Last Beginning by Lauren E. James

I LOVED the first book in this series, The Next Together, and pined after the second instalment for ages... and then, when I got a copy, I didn't actually have time to read it; always the way. I highly recommend the first book - it's so cleverly done.

Ink by Alice Broadway

Ink is the book everyone's been talking about recently - and the cover is beautiful; you can see it in action here


This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton

From what I've heard, a girl finds herself backstage at a gig, and expects to hate it... but accidentally goes viral. I love music in YA, so I can't wait to get to this one! 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I've never read anything by Stiefvater. I know, terrible. I actually read a chapter of this AGES ago and just couldn't get into it, but lots of people have told me to persevere, so I will. It'd better be good, guys.

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Lange

Another popular author whose books I haven't read... oops. Rebel Bully Geek Pariah is said to be like The Breakfast Club rebooted, and the coming together of these four strangers will change their lives forever.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I bought this when it was reduced after the film came out, because I wanted to see if all the hype was true. Unfortunately, I haven't got round to it yet, and to be honest it's not really one of my priorities. It sounds interesting, though, and once I have time - I'll read it!


How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

I LOVE CAITLIN MORAN. Seriously, if you haven't seen her TV show Raised by Wolves (axed, sad face) you absolutely need to - I'm sure it's online somewhere. She is awesome and I cannot wait to read this (as well as Moranifesto!)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I have this rule about reading a book before seeing its film adaptation, so when I won a copy of the DVD but not the book, naturally I had to get the books. And I still really want to see the film... but I haven't read the book. @ myself: hurry up, please.

Which books will you be reading after exams? Have you read any of these, and what did you think?

Saturday, 15 April 2017

And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon

Title: And Then We Ran
Author: Katy Cannon
Published by: Stripes
Publication date: 6th April 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


Megan knows what she wants out of life and she intends to get it, whatever her parents say.

Elliott has given up on all his plans for the future - but then Megan bursts into his life with a proposal that could change it forever.

Together they embark on a road trip to escape their hometown and chase their dreams. But life is a journey and not even Megan can control where theirs will lead...

And Then We Ran is a book which intrigued and excited me the moment I pulled it from the envelope. I'm a sucker for road-trips, and this book is a road-trip both literally and metaphorically.

From the outside, Megan Hughes might be the girl whose sister died not long ago, but she is also pretty, popular, and one of those people who seems guaranteed to get the future they want. She hasn't spoken to her childhood best friend Elliot Redwood in years - he has a bad reputation due to his dad's mistakes, and the town of St Evaline hates his family. But he was also there on the night Megan's sister drowned. He couldn't save her - but maybe, with Megan's out-there proposal, they can save each other.


The premise of And Then We Ran is a crazy one, and maybe it shouldn't be believable... but it is; Cannon makes it work. Amidst the epic road-tripping, the slow-burning romance, the friendship, and typical small-town seafront life, I hugely appreciated another relevant topic which Cannon touched on: university applications. And Then We Ran perfectly captures how it feels to be left behind when your classmates are moving away to start a new chapter without you, how it feels to have your future hinging on a handful of exam results, and how money is - sadly and unfairly - a huge factor when people are deciding whether or not to go to university. The fact is that the existence of student loans doesn't always provide encouragement or relief but rather stops people from going entirely due to the debt that ensues, and this book gets that - it's a massive issue. Despite university often being mentioned in books, I've never seen UK YA do the 'pre-university' stage, never mind with such detail and accuracy. And this book gets both sides of the story: how it feels to be going, and how it can feel when you're not.

Additionally, Cannon nails the politics of a small town where everyone knows everyone, and the relationships were fully believable. And Then We Ran is not only an entertaining story but also a piece of writing which aspiring YA writers should look to as an example of good pacing and style - I have! I remember loving Cannon's debut, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies because it added a big dose of unpredictability to the typical YA contemporary, and this is no different. And Then We Ran is a treat to read by an author who clearly understands her readers, and it is an excellent example of genuine, unique and current YA. 100% recommend.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Book Blogger's Confessional


There are a lot of secrets in book blogging. That sounds rather ominous and far more dramatic than reality, but it's true. With stats, there are hierarchies; with cliques, there are enemies; with unsolicited review copies happily received, there are unsolicited review copies that aren't. Often shown is simply the positive side of things - book blogging is great fun, after all - but there are negatives, too, as I once discussed in my post about why you shouldn't start a book blog (ooh, controversial.)

That blog post, however, was only my opinion. And one of the great things about book blogging is that there are so many opinionated people from all kinds of different backgrounds and with all kinds of different experiences. So a while ago I decided to set up an online form where bloggers could anonymously reveal anything that irks them about book blogging... and today we're going to hear from them.

Welcome to the Book Blogger's Confessional.
'I received a book to review, and then received an email two days later from the publisher asking if I'd had a chance to read it yet. Umm... blogging isn't the only thing going on in my life. And I take longer than two days to read a book. So... thank you, but... ?!'

Relatable.
'I think self published authors are underrated and don't get the recognition they deserve. Some bloggers refuse to read them because they don't have a publisher and I think that's awful.'

*coughs awkwardly*
'A publishing company keeps sending me unsolicited review copies and it's getting out of hand. I can't shift a lot of them because many are proofs, and I can't go back to them again and again saying "PLEASE STOP SENDING ME THESE!" I am so grateful to have the opportunity to review books, because it's something I envied in other bloggers before I did it myself, but when I've explicitly told them that I despised the first book in X series, and then they continue not only to send me more from that series, but similar books too, I lose the appreciation that I once had...'

SAME. I get that it would be difficult to keep track of people's likes and dislikes, but it can get very overwhelming very quickly...
'Smaller blogs are completely underrated by both bigger blogs, as well as by publishers. As a blogger on a smaller blog I don't receive review copies of books, which is kind of crappy. Us little guys can do just as good a review!'

I only read two bigger blogs these days; the rest are smaller and newer, and they're great.
'I don't like the sense of being left out I feel in the community nowadays. I've blogged for years and there feels like a sudden shift and I'm not part of the cool kids anymore and I haven't been told why. It's like school all over again. Is it because I don't this or that or a random reason someone has invented? The good side is that I don't really care that I seem to be offered less books and invites but I just wish I knew why I was picked as one the ones to boot off the list.'

R E L A T A B L E.
'I just don't get how there is any space for any more big book bloggers. I kind of feel like I came to late. :('

It's never too late! Just keep at it.
'I hate when people send you emails for 'opportunities' and they haven't even looked at your blog, let alone actually correctly named it! Also when I'll come home and there will be a parcel, don't get me wrong I am super grateful, but if it's something that I'm completely not interested in or is completely unrelated from my blog I won't do anything with it so it'd be much appreciated if you'd let me know first or ask me if I would like it!'

YES.
'where do I even start. I love book blogging, I really do - but it frustrates me how book bloggers are the underdog in the blogging world in terms of making a (semi?) career out of it. beauty bloggers and fashion bloggers and travel bloggers and parent bloggers are flown round the world and given opportunities book bloggers could only dream of. when anyone brings up their opinion on book bloggers being paid there is outrage and that isn't fair at all.
something I've also noticed are the 'cliques' - in general pretty much all book bloggers are really lovely and welcoming towards newer/other book bloggers but some seem less so - especially if a book blogger strays too much into their 'blogging territory' in terms of the main themes they post about, or if another blogger seems to be achieving more "success" than them. GET OVER IT - you don't own a certain 'subject' of book blogging, anyone can post about it - and if you're jealous of someone else's success then keep it to yourself, don't try and turn other people against them.'

PREACH. I've blogged about book bloggers getting paid a few times, and I always get a positive response... alongside some backlash. Ask yourself why you're so against other people doing what they want to do, something that doesn't negatively affect you or anyone else. *shrug*
'I've had my blog for almost 5 months and I haven't received any books to review :('

Keep going! 5 months is a very short amount of time. And not every book blogger receives books to review. Review your own for now, and hopefully you'll get noticed. Meanwhile, there's lots of other cool stuff you can do: Twitter chats (I recommend #teenbloggerschat...), making friends, entering giveaways, interacting and generally having fun.
'I feel super guilty at how many unread review copies I have that have already released, but there's school and life and I swear I'll get to them eventually.'

Same except I don't think I'll ever get to all of them hahahahahaha help.
'Sometimes I don't have the energy to read, or write about reading, but because I'm a book blogger I feel like I'm failing if I'm not able to manage those things. There's a pressure that comes with doing this, that you don't notice is there until you can't handle it anymore, and that pressure only increases when publishers come a-knockin'. They use bloggers for such a big part of their ad campaigns nowadays and even though the author interactions and ARCs are really great, sometimes it feels like we're doing their jobs for them, only we're not getting paid for it. It honestly really worries me the extent to which publishers are now exploiting bloggers, especially the younger ones.'

Book blogging looks easy from the outside, but like many hobbies and professions, there are hidden pressures and negative aspects that you'd have no idea about until you're doing it yourself.


There we have it: what book bloggers really think. Or, should I say, what some of them think. Thanks to whoever contributed (t'was anonymous so I can't thank you personally!) and let me know your answer to the big question below...

Are you surprised at these 'confessions' or did you find yourself nodding along in agreement?

Friday, 7 April 2017

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Title: Wing Jones
Author: Katherine Webber
Published by: Walker Books
Publication date: 5th January 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance/Sport
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. When tragedy strikes, she discovers an extraordinary talent she never knew she had. Wing's running could bring her family everything it needs. It could also keep Wing from the one thing she truly wants.

Having worked at BookTrust, and continuing to be a key part in the success of YALC, Katherine Webber has long been a pillar of the YA community - and now she's written a book!

Fifteen-year-old Wing Jones feels like she is sticking out rather than standing out like her perfect older brother Marcus. He has a beautiful girlfriend, a promising future, and shelves of sports trophies. He is the family's golden child. But when the family is hit by a wave of bad news, Wing gets her chance in the spotlight, and over several months, embarks on a journey to find out what she loves, who she is, and how strong she can really be.



In terms of race and sexuality, Wing Jones is fantastically diverse - we know this within just a couple of pages. I really appreciated the authenticity Webber could bring to the plot, having studied in various different places including Atlanta, where the book is set, and Hong Kong. In addition to this, one of the subjects Webber studied is Chinese Literature and Language, which I imagine must have influenced Wing Jones. Unfortunately, racism is a long-term issue in the publishing industry, and hopefully this - along with other brilliant and necessary books like The Good Immigrant and The Hate U Give - will show that BAME (Black and Minority Ethnicity) books do sell. To say otherwise - and the industry often does, explicitly or not - is wrong.

Further reading: This fantastic review from Joséphine at Word Revel

Now I don't know about you, but I always read a book's acknowledgements, mainly because I'm lucky enough to recognise some of the legendary people often mentioned, and also because... they're interesting! Webber's acknowledgements told me that she wrote most of Wing Jones in the British Library, which I wrote about recently after visiting for the first time. (Weirdly, I randomly plucked this book from my TBR just a few hours after writing that post, in which I dreamed of writing a book in the British Library one day...) Not only that, but Wing Jones began as a NaNoWriMo project! It's so awesome and inspiring to see NaNoWriMo novels go on to actually be published and successful.

Wing Jones would be perfect for fans of Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Stephanie Perkins, David Levithan, Jandy Nelson... it's an example of truly brilliant YA Contemporary, and needless to say, I will be pushing this novel into the hands of everyone I know; in fact, I've already started! Wing Jones is one of those books you wish you could have the experience of reading for the first time all over again; an amazing book that I am so glad exists, a book about realising that you are stronger than you think.

Monday, 3 April 2017

#AskAmber: Fear, Publishing, and Potatoes


Despite the fact that my previous #AskAmber became inundated with questions about wheelie bins, I've decided to do it again. No wheelie bins this time, you'll be glad to hear - just some deep questions including potatoes and fear (but not together, because potatoes are glorious.)


Ooh, that's tricky - I feel like they have pretty much everything covered! I'd love to see more of an emphasis on bookstagram, though. Bookstagram is basically the hugely popular bookish side of Instagram, and sometimes instead of writing a full review of a book here on the blog, I'll feature it over on my Instagram instead. It can get the same results but with a completely different audience, and I'm kind of obsessed with it.


A few years ago, I was working away on my blog, and the clock hit 3am. I was probably slightly delirious, and for some reason I decided that I needed a brand new blog logo (and an entirely new template...) there and then. No planning. No consideration. I literally just jumped right in and played around with whatever came to mind. I'm really happy with it though - I even have it on a jacket because I'm a boss woman or something. I used to change my blog logo and template every few months, but I haven't changed the current design in years, which says a lot.


I'll eat them mashed, roasted, fried, sauteed, baked... I won't eat them boiled or raw. I have taste.


This is hard because I'm equally proud of a lot of posts but for different reasons, and it's the same with posts that embarrass me. For example, I'm vaguely embarrassed about the post where I 'revealed' (for lack of a better word) my ongoing experience with anxiety and panic attacks. I was in a really bad place when I wrote it, and I was very open - like, the level of open you might be in the privacy of a therapist's office rather than the Internet. I purposefully haven't read it since I published it because I know it's a mess, but I also know it's helped people.

There are other posts, like my first ever book haul, which... I mean, why? Why did I publish that? There's literally no substance to it. At all. Go and read it, I dare you. Photos taken with a grainy Nintendo DS in artificial lighting against the background of my kitchen floor, and no mention of what I actually think of the books. Christ.

Posts I'm proud of can be found in this handy Twitter thread!


'If anything' - how optimistic of you. The paranoid part of me is like, Amber, don't reveal your fears on the interwebs, people could use them against you. But I'm annoyingly trusting so whatevs. I fear bad things happening to anyone close to me (extreme illness, death, something bad happening to anyone close to them which will then negatively effect themselves...), vomit, driving in the dark, and driving in fog. ...Does that mean I have four fears? Oh my god. I am Four from Divergent. I AM BADASS-ish.


I would never eat macarons again. I don't get to eat them that often anyway. Peel the avocado, peel the avocado...

I started book blogging because of YA author Luisa Plaja, who used to run Chicklish, one of the biggest book review sites in the UK. I contributed to that for a while, and through Chicklish I discovered an entire community of book bloggers: Sasha from The Sweet Bonjour and Ria from The Beaucoup Review are two I remember the most, but unfortunately they're not around anymore.


The first place is... Paris. I'm envisioning a delightfully bright and airy Airbnb with curtains that flow in the gentle spring breeze from the balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower.

Amsterdam is a place I've wanted to visit ever since I read Anne Frank's diary as a child. I'd love to go to her museum, in addition to the TFiOS bench (or whatever's in its place now?) and the beautiful sights in general.

My third choice is... Edinburgh. I didn't really know anything about it until Zoe Sugg vlogged her trip there a few months ago, and it looks like such an amazing place.

To be honest, though, I want to go to most places. These three are just the tip of the iceberg...

Thanks for sending in your questions, and sorry I couldn't answer them all! Click here to read the last Q&A I did.