Browsing Category

Blog Tour

Blog Tour

Ella’s Tips to Being a Good Friend | Perfectly Ella Blog Tour

Ella’s Tips to Being a Good Friend

Perfectly Ella blog tour bannerAlways be supportive

My best friend, Kayleigh, loves horses. When a horse pulls back his lips and shows you his teeth, Kayleigh thinks he’s giving you a horsey smile. I think it looks like he’s about to make a horsey snack of your head. But I still support Kayleigh’s riding. I listen to her chatting about mucking out, and sometimes I go and watch her do jumping. Kayleigh is important to me so I’m interested in the things that are important to her – even if they’re not my favourite things. BUT if someone is going on and on about their stuff and never listening to you, then it’s okay to tell them that’s not fair. I learnt that from my sister, Chloe; when her friend wouldn’t stop talking about his ferrets she sat on him and made him listen to her playing the recorder (which isn’t one of her hobbies, she’s terrible at playing the recorder, she just wanted him to suffer).

Always be kind to each other

There are lots of ways to be kind to your friends. Things like sharing chocolate, inviting them to your party, or telling them you like their new trainers are quite easy. Other things can be much more difficult. It’s hard to know what is a kind thing say or do when someone is really sad, or when they’re in trouble at school, or if they’ve had a haircut that makes them look like they’ve forgotten to take their cycle helmet off, but it’s really important to try to be kind because even though words can’t change things for your friend they can make them feel much better.

Sometimes it’s okay to have disagreements

I used to think that if I had a fight with my best friends that they wouldn’t want to be friends with me anymore, but a row isn’t the end of the world. A disagreement doesn’t have to get horrible if you stick to saying how you feel and don’t be like my little sister, Lucy, who forgets what an argument is even about and starts telling people what a big bottom they’ve got. And you need to listen hard and try to see the other person’s point of view because that’s how you work things out.

Sometimes you have to compromise

Some people think that being nice means always letting other people have their way. (I used to think that.) But actually my Step-mum showed me that if you want your friends and you to all be happy, then really you should share the decisions. Chloe, and her friend, Thunder, have burping competitions to see who gets to decide what computer game to play. If you’re less gross than that, you could just take it in turns to choose things.

Never pretend to be someone that you’re not

My sisters are quite exciting people. They do things and shout things and paint things purple in a way that quite often makes people stare at them. I’m not like that. But I did start to think that if I could be like my sisters that people at my new school might like me. (I also thought that maybe my dad would notice me more.) But it was a bad idea. Pretending to be someone else is a bit like wearing a dinosaur costume; it’s fun for a bit, but it gets really uncomfortable if you do it all the time. If you can be just be yourself then you will find friends who think you’re cool the way you are and those are the best friends to have.

Never let your friends make your decisions

It’s important to decide things together with your friends, but you shouldn’t ever let anyone else run your life. You don’t have to do things that make you unhappy or that you think are wrong just because someone tells you to. That’s why my mum won’t let Chloe blame it on Thunder every time she comes home with frogspawn in her hair.


Thank you to Candy Harper for writing such a fabulous blog post!

Blog Tour Guest Post UKYA Uncategorized

Keren David on UKYA Extravaganza | Guest Post

Blog Tour Button Picture

First it was a conversation on Twitter about why American YA books were higher profile than British ones. A hashtag was born – #UKYA. A website followed, and then the magnificent bloggers got on board.  #UKYAchat (thank you Lucy!) trended on Twitter.

There were new blogs, count downs, special projects. Last year there was YALC, which wasn’t strictly UKYA, but featured many British authors. The Bookseller has set up a new prize to celebrate UK (and Irish) YA and I am completely over-excited to be on the shortlist.  There’s a YA event for schools in Scotland, organised by author Kirkland Ciccone.

And NOW there is a new thing. An exciting thing. A thing for all of us. All the inclusiveness and friendliness and, who knows, maybe one day even Patrick Ness (see what I did there) of UKYA is coming to a bookshop near you.

Of course I’m talking about the UKYA Extravaganza. The brainwave of authors Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass (you are superstars) and the wonderful events manager at Waterstones Birmingham High Street it’s an afternoon of readings and signings and much socialising on February 28th. I’m very excited to be taking part, alongside 34 other authors.

The event sold out in just a few hours – wow! –  but don’t worry. I’m pretty certain this is just a beginning. I’m already hearing plans to stage UKYA Extravaganzas all over the UK.

We need events like these, because UKYA still doesn’t get the attention it needs in order to thrive. In the US, YA gets reviewed and read by adults as well as teenagers. Here, all too often, YA is labelled as ‘children’s books’ and hidden away in a dusty corner.  UKYA needs to be visible and mainstream, and appeal beyond a narrow age-banded market. Events like the Extravaganza help to do that.

Best-selling adult author Robert Harris called for more coverage of books on TV, this week, attacking the BBC for its poor coverage of books. A UKYA books programme on a mainstream channel is probably too much to hope for, but I’m already excited about the book bloggers taking to YouTube, and I predict we’ll see more YouTube action this year. Maybe someone could make a film about the UKYA Extravaganza?

Today Birmingham, tomorrow….you tell me!

Will you be attending UKYA Extravaganza in Birmingham?

Blog Tour

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle – An Infographic



At the end of 2014, I read Vendetta and I loved it. I thought, as part of the blog tour running at the moment, that I’d create this review infographic because it really is amazing. Read it, read it, read it!

You can read my full review here.

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House). Find out more about the author at and

Blog Tour UKYA Uncategorized

Life Lessons from Suzy P | Suzy P Blog Tour

Hi everyone! I’m Suzy Puttock, and I’m back in the third book in the Suzy P series, Suzy P, Forever Me. And, guess what, I’ve put my foot in it yet again… because I’ve made a promise I can’t keep. Kind of a big promise. To my entire school!

Why, oh why, did I say The Drifting would be performing at the Collinsbrooke fundraiser? As if trying to sort out that mess wasn’t enough, I also need to make sure Dad’s birthday bash isn’t a total disaster – especially as he’s already showing signs of a mid-life crisis…

Even with my best mates helping out, will I be able to pull off TWO parties of a lifetime?

It’s certainly not going to be easy…

Somehow these things just keep happening to me – if you’ve ever read the other Suzy P books you’ll understand. So here, without further ado, are some lessons I’ve learned in my life, which will hopefully stop you embarrassing yourself as much as I do on a daily basis. Cringe.

1. Think before you speak. Always engage brain before mouth. Don’t, for example, promise world famous bands at your school party, when it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to make it happen. That would be a seriously stupid thing to do.

2. Never cartwheel near a canal.


3. Don’t run in public. Especially near football players – you could fall over, pull someone’s shorts down, and reveal their Bart Simpson pants to the whole school.

4. Avoid camping holidays like the plague.

5. Always make sure you’re fully dressed when a fire alarm goes off.

6. No good can come of a date in a seafood restaurant.


7. A good hair serum is a must if you have out-of-control-wild curly hair. This may take some time to find

8. Never been seen in public in a bridesmaid’s dress.

9. Avoid mean girls with camera phones.

10. Most problems can be helped with hot chocolate with marshmallows. And/or cake.

Suzy P, Forever Me; Suzy P and the Trouble With Three and Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders are available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about the books or the author, do visit Karen online at, ‘like’ her on Facebook at or follow Karen on Twitter @writingkaren. Suzy tweets too, @suzyputtock, so don’t forget to follow her, too!

Blog Tour Book Review UKYA

REVIEW: Fashion Assassin by Sarah Sky


I was a HUGE fan of Sky’s debut novel, Code Red Lipstick, and so I was delighted to read the second instalment, Fashion Assassin.

In Fashion Assassin, the stakes are even higher as Jessica Cole works to discover Vectra with the setting of Monaco as a backdrop. With bratty models to guard and a deadly mission, Jessica truly is back with even more action.


Kickass Protagonist

I love Jessica so much! She’s so much fun to read about, and she’s such a refreshing protagonist.

Gripping Action

Sky’s books are SO awesome. I was gripped for two days and found it incredibly hard to put down. All I wanted to do was read, read, read! There’s always something massive happening that means you HAVE to know what will become of the characters.

Amazing Setting

One of my favourite things about the series is the diverse range of settings. The first book was set in Paris, and the second in Monaco! It’s so exciting to read about such interesting cultures that are different to many others written about in UKYA. Sky also writes them incredibly well, so that I feel like I’m actually there.


The third book in the Jessica Cole Model Spy series cannot come sooner. I need to know what happens immediately!

Blog Tour

Life in the 1950’s – Helpful Tips and Tricks by Robin Talley, Author of Lies We Tell Ourselves

My first book, Lies We Tell Ourselves, is set in 1959 Virginia. Since the book focuses on the school integration movement, I had to do a LOT of research to write it.

I read memoirs and watched recordings of oral histories. I dug up old newspaper articles and magazine coverage. I spent every Saturday for many weeks in the Virginia history room of a nearby library.

But in addition to learning the details of school integration, I also needed to know general background information on what life was like for teenagers in the late 1950s. So I read teen novels from the period, watched popular movies from 1959, and visited the Library of Congress to read vintage copies of Seventeen magazine.

I also poked around on YouTube for videos from the time. I was amazed to discover that YouTube is full of uploads of 1950s short videos that were produced by textbook companies. I assume these videos were shown in schools on film strips when the teachers wanted a break. (Which I would definitely want, if I had to teach kids who were anything like the ones in these videos.)

Since these short films were produced and written by adults who were trying to teach kids moral lessons, I doubt they actually have valuable information about authentic teen life at this time ― but they’re nonetheless pretty amazing to watch.

I expected them to be about things that I was taught in school health classes, like dental hygiene and the birds and the bees. Some of them were, but a surprising number were about how to manage one’s social life.

Like this one, about the dangers of snobbery. (Choice line: “Mother, don’t be so corny!”)

Or this one, about how having bad posture will cause you to be ostracized by everyone you love:

Or this video about how to choose a girl to ask on a date. “One thing you can consider is looks. … But it’s too bad Janet always acts so superior and boring.”

But it isn’t all fun and parties in old-school PSAs. This video from 1961, “Girls Beware,” includes the unforgettable line, “You can never find the right words to tell a mother her daughter has been murdered.”

Since the main characters of Lies We Tell Ourselves are gay, I made sure to seek out videos that discussed 1950s views on homosexuality. What I found was pretty disturbing.

Like “Boys Beware,” a public service announcement warning young kids, “You never know when a homosexual is about”:

And this chilling speech to a school auditorium full of students about how if they’re gay, they’ll get caught, “And the rest of your life will be a living hell”:

That said, these videos don’t portray heterosexuality in an especially positive light, either. This one focuses on the potential traumas of make-out parties and features a subtext-laden conversation about cucumbers:

So, what to take away from this collection, aside from the fact that teenagers in the 1950s appeared to be either eleven years old or in their mid-twenties, were exclusively Caucasian, and wore ankle-length skirts to school and prom dresses to their friends’ parties?

When I was writing Lies We Tell Ourselves, these videos helped me remember that the teenagers I was writing about had grown up in a world where videos like these were often the only information they got from authority figures about important topics like puberty and sex. I also kept in mind that preaching to teenagers about how they’re “supposed” to behave is likely to produce the opposite effect.

We’d like to think we’ve come a long way since the 1950s. In some ways we have, but that “Boys Beware” video always reminds me that there are still people today who view LGBT people first and foremost as predators. There are still people who teach girls that it’s their fault when they’re the victims of violence, too, as the narrator implies in “Girls Beware.” And it’s not as if all parents and teachers today are totally frank with their kids about everything ― many are just as likely to sugar-coat the truth and frame everything in “moral lesson” as the creators of these videos were.   

But I’m pleased to note one difference ― at least we’ve moved on from ankle-length skirts. I mean, seriously. Who can even walk in those?

Wait ― uh oh…

Blog Tour Book Review Uncategorized

10 DAYS TO GO: 5 Reasons to Read The Maze Runner


With the looming release date of the highly-anticipated movie adaptation of The Maze Runner, here are five reasons you should read the book:


The Maze Runner is action packed and will keep you up reading until the early hours. With a unique premise, it’s easy to slip into the world created by Dashner.


Reading the book before you watch the film will give you a major advantage over everyone else!


The world is so original – it even has its own dialect! This book is no pile of klunk.


There are so many dystopia novels out there at the moment, but this novel is one of the best. It’s adventurous and mysterious, with characters that you grow attached to and learn to love.


Once you’ve read The Maze Runner, you can read the rest in the series before those movies are released!

The Maze Runner is out now in paperback (£7.99) from Chicken House. 

Blog Tour Book Review UKYA

REVIEW: Water Born by Rachel Ward


It’s rather fitting that I read Water Born during summer, and an absolutely boiling British one too. Whilst The Drowning, the prelude to Water Born, dealt primarily with a dark side to water, the continuation gets darker still and tackles water and hot weather.

Set 17 years after the events of The Drowning, Nic is a passionate swimmer. In the manic clutches of a heat wave, Nicola starts to hear voices underwater, and then the drowning’s start to take place. Just what is happening, and what does it have to do with her dad’s irrational fear of the water?

It seems like so much happened in Water Born from start to finish, which made it so easy to read. Mostly, the reading experience was enjoyable. Then I became invested and towards the end I got rather emotional! The novel takes the word ‘thriller’ to a whole other level, and definitely leaves you on your toes.

Being set quite far in the future, 2030 to be precise, the one thing lacking for me was world-building hinting at a future society. I wasn’t expecting flying cars, just some indication that time had passed, other than the character ages.

Nic was wilful and vivid, which I found incredibly endearing. I’d like to see more characters like her that have depth and completeness, rather than just being known as ‘the kickass one.’ Her feelings and reactions were totally warranted throughout and she’s the type of person I think I’d like to know.

Need another reason to buy Water Born? It has the most gorgeous cover, and it’s SHINY. Paired with The Drowning, it will add total splendour to your bookcase.

Whilst I would recommend reading The Drowning before Water Born for extra comprehension, it’s not compulsory and the two can be read separately.