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Reading VS Revision – How to Survive School


I don’t know about you, but I find that one of the worst feelings in the world is feeling like schoolwork is getting in the way of reading With exams looming (eek!), lots of us are starting to think about revision, but how do you revise and read at the same time without exploding?

1. Get into a routine

Revision timetables are always useful to use, but make sure you slip time to read into them. If it’s written down, you’re more likely to stick to it and it will mean you have something to look forward to. Also, reading timetables are so much more exciting than revision timetables 😉

You can also revise at the same time each day and then read for the rest of the time. I’ve got into the habit recently of reading at least a chapter of the book I’m reading before bed. It doesn’t matter what time it is, I’ll read and then I have something to look forward to at the end of each day. It’s time to de-stress, relax and get lots of words read!

2. Make reading a reward

Done twenty minutes of revision? Reward yourself with ten minutes of reading! It makes it so much fun, and you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive just so you can squeeze your reading time in.

I also like to throw chocolate rewards into the mix if I’m really struggling, but usually I end up eating the chocolate first before any revision has been done…

3. Don’t read.

Sometimes I find that if I don’t read anything, I’m more likely to read more when I finally do get around to reading. It sounds counterintuitive, but it works! Abandon books for a week and come back feeling fresh and ready to read!

4. Throw all revision out of the window and READ.

I usually try to do this at least once a month where I binge read millions of books for an entire weekend. In fact, this is usually my favourite way to read because it means I’m so engrossed that I pretty much forget to do anything else. I think other people may get annoyed with me though when I ignore them for long periods of time… It’s just you and your books and it gives you a well-deserved break too.

5. Find out what works for you

Everyone’s brain works differently, so figure out how you work best. For some people, reading is totally out of the question, but I find that if I don’t read I go just a tiny bit insane. My brain works best with words in it! Experiment, try new things out and listen to your heart.


The White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough | Bookshop Tour + Book Haul


At the weekend, I visited The White Horse Bookshop, an independent bookshop in Malborough, Wiltshire. It was the second time I’ve visited the shop and each time is just as lovely as the other – it’s such a friendly and welcoming shop.

I love exploring bookshops because each one is unique and after my time working in one during the summer, I have a greater appreciation for them. There’s nothing better than wandering into a bookshop and getting lost in the bookish atmosphere – the smell of books new and old, the feeling of eyes flicking back and forth between words on the page, and that innate sense of coming home. 


The YA section in the bookshop contains a table full of wonderful new titles and I was especially pleased to spot Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison and Deep Water by Lu Hersey. Plus, the paperback edition of The Art of Being Normal (more on that in a bit!).

It would be possible to browse the different sections of the shop for hours if I had the time and there are literally tens of thousands of books contained within the two floors. It’s a book lover’s heaven!IMG_2449IMG_2464

In the end, I decided to buy two books – The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson and an illustrated version of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Alice Pattullo.

I was extremely pleased to find out the other day that I was quoted in the new paperback of The Art of Being Normal, especially as I loved it so much when I read it at the end of 2014. I, of course, had to buy a copy after discovering that and I’d definitely recommending picking your own copy up if you haven’t read it yet because the book truly is brilliant.

I first heard about the illustrated Pride and Prejudice in Zoë’s video and thought it looked amazing – I love Pride and Prejudice so much so an illustrated version is perfection to me! It’s always nice to see classics books reimagined in different ways.

After watching (and loving!) Zoe’s video, I knew that as soon as I found a copy I would buy it, but it turned out that there either weren’t any copies in the shops I was looking in, or I wasn’t looking hard enough. But, by chance, I finally found a copy and I am IN LOVE! I can just picture myself reading this to my kids in years to come.


Which bookshops have you loved visiting recently?


Should Book Bloggers Be Paid?


This year marks my fourth year of blogging about books and I’m beginning the process of turning it into a business. However, there is a problem with this: money in the book blogging world can be a bit of a taboo subject. If you’ve been on Twitter in the past few days, you’ll have seen the conversations that us book bloggers have been having about being paid for promoting books – at the moment we get absolutely nothing in exchange for our hard work, time and huge promotion of book titles. Seriously – bloggers can make a difference between a title being a flop or a massive success. 

I’m one of the few lucky bloggers who have received payment off the back of my blog – through events. However, out of the four festivals or events I’ve spoken at, all of which have been ticketed events, I’ve received payment for only two. Not even expenses for the other two that included travel by train or car, plus the cost of car parking on top.

The majority of other blogging categories – for example, lifestyle bloggers, beauty bloggers and fashion bloggers – are paid in exchange for featuring certain products or reviewing certain products on their websites or YouTube channels. Book bloggers? It’s pretty much unheard of.

There has been debate over whether paid reviews are dishonest due to the nature of wanting to speak positively about something you’ve been paid to write about. But reviews make up only a small portion of the work that we do as bloggers. At the moment, if I was thinking about blogging full time, I wouldn’t even be able to cover the cost of website hosting – it’s not viable or sustainable. You do not have to pay for reviews; there are other content options toofeaturing books in Instagram or Tumblr pictures, reading a book as part of a book club that you’ve set up, or creating a fun challenge video on YouTube, to name a few.

The question I get most often from people when I tell them that I blog is: Do you get paid? They assume that I’m rolling in money because I live in a corner of the Internet; it’s such a common misconception that we receive payment for the hard work that we put in.

Think about it: Would you turn up for work one day, work for five hours and then expect nothing in return? Not likely. So why should bloggers do the same? For many of us, this has become more than a hobby – it’s a lifestyle. 


A Reading Record and Reflection


In previous years, I’ve always tracked what I’ve been reading on Goodreads and only Goodreads. Whilst, yes, I post reviews on my blog, I don’t review everything I read so lots goes undocumented. I decided that 2016 will be the year that I create a physical document of everything I read, including re-reads (I’m looking at you, Goodreads!).

So this is my plan: I’ve set out a notebook where I plan on keeping a list of all the books I’ve read, plus a page dedicated to a short piece of writing on each book. Then, I’ll either write up that piece on my blog or write a full review.

I think it’s so important to document everything I read because often those memories you have right after reading a book are fleeting and reading back through them helps to bring them back. I love the idea of keeping a notebook for each year and being able to look back on it in years to come, seeing what I thought on each book I read .

It will also help with my writing, by setting time to write each week. I’d like to improve my writing but I don’t do enough of it, so even writing blog posts is helping. It’s important to me that I keep using the part of my brain that loves writing, but if I sit down all day and write nothing, it’s being lazy and isn’t being worked enough.

I’ve set my goal on Goodreads to read 1 book again this year, which worked very well last year. It took all the pressure off of me to read lots and anything after the first book is a bonus (I actually ended the year on around 105 books!). I’d highly recommend doing this if you don’t like the pressure of set reading challenges because you can still track what you’ve read, but there’s no daunting number.

How do you track your reading? Are you doing anything differently this year?


A 2015 Year In Review

2015 has been an incredible, whirlwind year. I can’t believe we’re now going into 2016! I thought that it would be nice to look back on the year that has passed and share some of my favourite moments!

Starting Book Pigs!


At the start of the year, I started a blog on Tumblr called Book Pigs, where I share pictures of some of my guinea pigs with books. It’s taken me by surprise just how much people have fallen in love with my piggies and it’s also made me try and up my photography game. It’s one of the best jobs, although there have been some funny moments, like when one guinea pig ran around under my bed for ten minutes!



It came as a total shock to me when I won Champion of YA in the UK Young Adult Blogger Awards earlier in 2015. It means the *absolute world* to me to be recognised for something I love doing so much and I still can’t believe it, really!!

Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour


It was SO amazing to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tours for the opening of the Hogwarts Express with Holly, C.J. and Josh (and my dad!). It’s so weird, but so great, to feel as if you’re walking around parts of Hogwarts and living in the world of Harry Potter. It’s such a memorable experience because I don’t think there’s anything quite like walking through the doors of the Great Hall for the first time, a place that has inhabited your imagination for years and also a place you’ve seen so many times on your TV screens.

Stonewylde Gathering


I have discussed my favourite book series many times on my blog, and this year I got to go to the annual Stonewylde Gathering. It was so much fun and lovely to see Kit again. There was also a quiz later on that I’m sure I got very competitive at… It was nice to test my own knowledge on the books (because I’ve read them so many times!) but it also reminded me how you can read a book a million times and return the next time and find tiny details that you didn’t pick up the first million times. And…. I won! I’m pretty sure that is going on my CV now. LIFE HIGHLIGHT!

UKYA Events!


One of the best things about being a blogger is getting out and meeting like-minded people, and this year I’ve had the pleasure of attending quite a few events – publishing ones, book festivals, and others like the UKYA Extravaganza in Birmingham and the Young Adult Literature Convention. The above picture was taken at the UKYA Extravaganza (full post on it here) and it’s been amazing to see this event flourish this year, especially as it is author run. Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery have put a lot of work in it, so to see it doing so well is a credit to them.



Running #ukyachat on Twitter is always the highlight of my week and this year I’ve been lucky to watch it turn from my baby into my child. Being able to talk to such wonderful people, and making lifelong friends out of it, is one of the best parts and I’m looking forward to a year of chats in 2016!

I’d like to take this moment to thank each and every person who has participated and supported #ukyachat in the past year – the authors, bloggers, and passionate readers who take part and have championed it. Thank you!!! You always put a massive smile on my face.

2015 has been one of the best blogging years and I’m looking forward to watching how it develops in the year ahead. THANK YOU to all of you who have made it extra special!

What are your bookish highlights of 2015?

Discussion Uncategorized

To Read List


With so many books constantly popping through my letterbox all beautifully packaged and very appealing, it can be good to sometimes sit back and take stock of the books I still haven’t read.

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

I went through a phase a while back where I devoured as much middle grade as I possibly could and this was one of my purchases then. To me, it sounds like a middle grade version of Mr Selfridge which was on TV a while back, with a mystery thrown in. How cool does that sound?!

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

When I received a copy of this from the publisher, I fell in love with how gorgeous it is. I can’t wait to read it because Nicole has been raving about it for a while, and I’ve heard that it’s told in an unusual way – not through a typical narrative, but through documents and emails in a really creative way. I LOVE books like that!

All of the Above by James Dawson

I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet! I love James’s writing and I am incredibly proud of him, especially as he is now starting the process of transitioning into a woman. James is one of the best UKYA writers and I love him.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

After hearing wonderful things about Courtney Summers’s books from Holly Bourne and then finding out that All the Rage is going to be published in the UK in 2016, I got very excited to read it. It’s had some great reviews on Goodreads and I think it will be a great feminist read.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Kind of cheating by adding this one because I’m currently reading it, but I had to include it because I’m loving it so much. It’s a brilliant tale of friendship and how abuse doesn’t just affect one person, it affects a number of people. The way that Sara writes the friendship between Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne is beautiful and very realistic. I will be recommending this book a lot!

What books are you hoping to read soon?

Booktube Discussion


Lately I’ve noticed a horrifying trend in YA books – a lack of menstruating characters. Can you honestly tell me that Bella or Katniss never got their period? I find it hard to believe.

As part of my new feminism series on YouTube, I decided to make a video discussing this subject, and I’ve compiled a list to go alongside it. The books below are YA books that feature periods as plot points, or even just mention periods. Even these, surprisingly, are hard to find. The first step to getting more authors to write about menstruation is to talk about it and how important it is to talk about. We are letting teenagers down by not doing so.

I hope you enjoy the video!


Continue Reading


Fangirl for Fangirl…






Sometimes I think it’s great to try to recreate your favourite book and turn it into a picture. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is an all-time favourite of mine for a variety of reasons and I’m growing to appreciate it even more as I get older. It’s re-readability is off the scale – whenever I’m sad, I know I can pick it up and it will put a smile on my face.

I love how relationships are portrayed in Fangirl – not as simple and straightforward, but complex and with ups and downs.

I also love how it feels as if Cath has been created from a piece of my soul. She’s a character who I can relate to on so many levels and who I feel just gets me.

I love how every time I read it I learn something new about the characters, the plot, the settings.

I love Fangirl. I love it with all my fangirl heart.