Showcase Sunday #83

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you? I hope you all had a nice week. Are you looking forward to YALC? And more importantly, who’s coming? Let me know if you are so that I can say hello if I see you. :) Next week is going to be insanely busy here as I’m FINALLY moving to my new flat on Saturday (technically, my flatmate’s taking all our stuff to the new place while I’m having fun at YALC but… you know :D ). I have to pack all our stuff during the week and go furniture shopping, on top of work and – of course- YALC so it’s gonna be an interesting and exhausting week, that’s for sure. I’m really looking forward to it, though!


An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

I only got one book this week but it’s possibly my most expected novel of the year, one I’ve been waiting for since this time last year. I absolutely love Chris Carter’s work (and he is such a genuinely lovely guy too) so I can’t WAIT to pick this up. If you like thrillers and are looking for a new book to read, check out the Robert Hunter series – I really can’t recommend it enough. Many thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for the review copy!

Read more »

Melissa Hill – A Gift to Remember | Chapter Excerpt

Melissa Hill blog tour

Today I’m thrilled to be part of the official blog tour for Melissa Hill’s new novel, A Gift to Remember. To celebrate Melissa’s new release, I have a special excerpt for you – I hope you enjoy it!

About the book

Darcy Archer works in a small bookstore in Manhattan. A daydream believer, she refuses to settle for anything less than being swept off her feet by the perfect man… literally. One day, when cycling to work, Darcy accidentally crashes into a sharply dressed gentleman walking his dog. He is knocked out cold, rushed to hospital and the poor pup gets left behind. Wracked with guilt, Darcy takes the dog and makes plans to reunite him with owner, Aidan. As she discovers the mysterious stranger’s world of books, travel, adventure and all the wonderful things she’s ever dreamt about, Darcy builds a picture of this man and wonders if he could be THE ONE… But does fantasy match reality? What happens when Prince Charming wakes up? Will Aidan be the happy ever after she’s always imagined?

Read more »

Guest Post: Which Witches Should Be Making a Comeback?

Hi guys! Today I have another special guest for you. UKYA writer and author of Half Bad Sally Green stopped by the blog to share a fun post with you. I hope you enjoy it! :) Over to you, Sally.

I’m often told by journalists that witches are making a comeback in books. I’m not sure if they were ever really a dominant force (apart from Harry Potter of course), but I’m delighted if they are coming back. Perhaps they are also due to come back in film: Angelina Jolie currently plays Maleficent in Maleficent (the title of the film being that of the witch (hooray) rather than Sleeping Beauty (spit) as in the 1959 Disney version) and Meryl Streep is playing the witch in Into the Woods, due out later in 2014. This got me thinking who are the best witches in films and TV programmes, and which witches should be making a comeback? Here’s my look at some contemporary witches – and my thoughts on who I’d love to see again or otherwise. . .

Maleficent (the Disney version)


Maleficent from Walt Disney’s 1959 version of Sleeping Beauty is the archetypal Black Witch, she has it all from the clothes to the crow. Unfortunately she’s not a witch, she’s a fairy. A fairy! This perhaps explains why her spells seem to lack true horror. Maleficent performs an enchantment at Aurora’s christening which will mean death by spindle, but the enchantment is countered by another ‘good’ Fairy’s and so sleep rather than death is the result. All I can say is that I’m more impressed by Maleficent’s head gear than by her evil spells. Having said that I don’t expect I’ll be rushing to see Angelina play this part as I can’t see how Disney’s version can be improved on.

Read more »

Showcase Sunday #82

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you all? Did you have a nice week? Mine was pretty hectic as usual (but in a good way, mostly). I went to a preview screening of A Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared on Tuesday (I haven’t read the book but the film was hilarious. Slightly bonkers at times but very entertaining) and met some of you very briefly. I had a great time! Then, I went to the theatre to see The Silver Tassie on Wednesday (not as good as I expected) and on Saturday to see Wonderland, which was simply amazing. If you’re in London and have a few hours to spare, go and watch it, it’s brilliant. (You might need some tissues for the end)

My flatmate and I have also been house-hunting for the past few weeks (and I’ve been busy with my new job), hence my disappearance. The good news is, we managed to find a flat which is literally a two-minute walk away from my office, so we’re moving in in less than two weeks. *throws confetti* We still need to go and buy some furniture and start packing but at least I know I won’t have to do this again for a while.


Wool by Hugh Howey

This time last week I went to the new Foyles store with Faye and decided to pick up Wool by Hugh Howey. I’ve seen this series a lot last year but never actually got around to buying a copy and picking it up. Fingers crossed it’s as good as it sounds and it’s going to be another series I fall in love with.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I also picked up Wonder by R.J. Palacio before the theatre last night. It’s been on my wish list for over a year and (just like with Wool) I’ve heard great things about it. I managed to snatch up a copy for £2 in a charity shop and it’s pretty much brand new. Huzzah!

Read more »

YALC Readathon Guest Post: 5 Fun Facts About the Oathbreaker’s Shadow

YALC Readathon 2014

Hi guys! It’s day 5 of the YALC Readathon (where did the past couple of days go?!) and we only have two more days left – how are you all getting on? Which books have you managed to read so far and what are you planning on reading at the weekend? In case you want to take a break from reading, today’s guest is Amy McCulloch, author of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow. Amy stopped by Books, Biscuits and Tea to share five fun facts about her book with you – over to you, Amy. :)

1. I remember the exact moment the idea for The Oathbreaker’s Shadow came to me: when I was sitting in the audience at the Toronto premiere of the Lord of the Rings musical. The musical wasn’t so inspiring… but the idea stuck and never left!

2. After that moment, I wrote the first draft of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow in a blur while in my final year at university. Some of my most productive writing was done when I was supposed to be listening to lectures (oops).The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch

3. The first scene I ever wrote now begins Part 2, where Raim is lost in the desert. This was meant to be a prologue, and got re-jigged back to its rightful chronological place when I realized that prologues aren’t always the best beginning to a story.

4. I then completely ripped that draft apart and rewrote it after I went on a post-uni gap year, helped by the fact that I visited my first actual desert in Namibia. This completely changed how I wrote about Raim’s experience. I don’t always believe in the writing advice ‘write what you know’, but in this case it really did help!

5. I might be the only author in the world with my own book tie-in hand-knotted oriental carpet, thanks to my sister who designed it and my dad who owns an oriental carpet store and had the connections to get it made!

#YALCReadathon Guest Post: Marcus Sedgwick on The Shining

YALC Readathon 2014

Hi guys! As part of the YALC Readathon (a week-long readathon dedicated to reading as many books by YALC authors as possible, running from today until the 29th June), which I’m co-hosting with the lovely Jess, Carly and Michelle, UKYA author Marcus Sedgwick stopped by the blog to talk about what he thinks about Stephen King’s famous novel, The Shining – and its film adaptation. I hope you enjoy the post – and if you’d like to sign up for the readathon or find out more, you’ll find all the details here. Over to you, Marcus. :)

Since YALC is taking place inside a film festival, I thought I’d talk about the moving pictures a bit, by asking: Stanley Kubrick, what the hell were you on about?

Stanley Kubrick is one of the greatest directors of all time, and certainly one of the most influential. The other remarkable thing about him is that he made a wild variety of films, from early pieces like The Killing (which directly influenced Quentin Tarantino), to biblical epics like Spartacus, to classic war films like Full Metal Jacket, to the unquestionably best sci-fi movie ever, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Along the way there was the shock-fest of A Clockwork Orange, the dark comedy of Dr Strangelove, but the movie I’m going to talk about here is Kubrick’s contribution to the world of the horror film: The Shining.

The Shining

One of the first things you notice about Kubrick is how many of his films were based on books or short stories. He was a voracious reader, and according to his collaborators, was always on the look out for the next story that he found excited him enough to want to adapt.

And talking of books becoming films, ADAPT is the word. For the two beasts are not the same. A book is a book and a film is a film and each has things it is good at, and things it is bad at.

So Kubrick’s film of The Shining is very different from Stephen King’s original novel, and famously, King hated what Kubrick did with it. I doubt Kubrick cared very much; in fact, there’s some rather strong evidence to show that he didn’t.

If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that Jack Torrance and family drive a RED VW beetle. Kubrick was well known for the meticulous thought behind every detail in his films – if he put something in a shot, he did it for a reason. Given that he knew that King hated his intentions for the book; the car that Jack Nicholson ends up driving is a YELLOW VW beetle.

And if you’re thinking so what? Then see what exact car, of all the thousands he could have chosen from, Kubrick has crushed by an 18-wheeler in the car crash scene later in the film…

Oh, a red VW. Two fingers to you, Mr King, I’ll make my own picture.

Read more »

James Dawson’s ‘Say Her Name’ Book Launch: In Pictures

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend James Dawson’s book launch for his newest novel, Say Her Name. Being a massive fan of one of his previous books, Cruel Summer, I knew I had to be there. So, armed with my copy of CS, which I desperately wanted to get signed, I was heading to Islington to meet James and fellow book bloggers.

I met Zarina before the event and we made our way to Waterstones together. We were a tiny bit early so we had the chance to say hello to James, get our books signed AND grab a cupcake before the crowd arrived. (Mine happened to match my book’s cover. #madskillz)

My signed copy of James Dawson's Cruel Summer

Before the speeches began, we spotted Sabrina in the crowd (who has the cutest, most awesome tote bag and coin purse ever) so we had a little chat. I’ve been following her on Twitter for quite a while so it was lovely to finally meet her in the flesh. I also met the lovely Faye who, I think, is one of those few people who I’ve known pretty much since this blog exists but don’t seem to meet too often so it’s always great to see her. :)

Vicky from Books, Biscuits and Tea and Sabrina from I Have to Read That

Sabrina & me with James’ books

After we’ve been chatting and stuffing our faces with cupcakes for a while, James reappeared. Dressed as Bloody Mary, in tights, a kilt, a black wig, terrifying contact lenses and blood all over his face. And then the speeches began. I’ve never met James before last week but all I can say is, he’s such a genuinely lovely guy. He made all of us feel welcome and he was so, so funny. I’ve been to a few book launches in the past couple of months but this was definitely the most fun so far. :)

Read more »