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samantha shannon

Guest Post

Samantha Shannon on the BBC YWA

bbcnssa2014_prizesWhen I was fifteen years old, I started my first novel. It wasn’t a particularly good novel, and fortunately it was never published — but it was a product of my uncontrollable need to write. I was lucky enough to discover my passion at an early age, and I wrote around every obstacle that stood in the way of my pursuit of it: GCSEs, A-Levels, UCAS applications, stress, and the need for human teenagers to get some sleep every once in a while. It wasn’t until I was nineteen, several years later, that I wrote ‘The Bone Season’, which was published in 2013. Although that first book never saw the light of day, it taught me a lot about how to fit writing in to my life, how to format a manuscript, and how to tell a story.


This year, the BBC and reading charity Booktrust have teamed up to create the BBC Young Writer Award to seek out young writers with a passion for their craft, whether they’ve been writing for years or have never put pen to paper before. If you’re a writer aged 14 to 18 and living in the UK, this is a fantastic opportunity to get your work read to the whole nation on BBC Radio 1. All you have to do is send in a short story of up to 1000 words on any subject. Entries will be judged by presenter Alice Levine, author Matt Haig, and me. As a judge, I will be looking for experimentation and courage in the entries — whether that’s in the mixing of genres, unconventional styles and voices, or an original and unpredictable plot. Here are four tips to help you get started.


  1. Don’t be afraid. It can be daunting to look at an empty Word document or a blank page, but think of it as an exciting prospect. This is raw material to be shaped purely with your imagination. You can create absolutely anything on this canvas.


  1. Make time. As an author, you often hear “I’d love to write, but I don’t have time”. If you really want to write, you’ll find time here and there. Whether it’s scribbling a sentence in your lunch break or squeezing in a couple of paragraphs before you sleep, there will be moments in your day when you can set pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.


  1. It’s not too weird. Books are doorways to new worlds, new ideas, new ways of thinking. You don’t have to confine yourself to what’s been done before.


  1. And finally, trust your gut. Literature is incredibly subjective; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to tell a story. Constructive criticism is great, and you might want to share your writing with someone to get an opinion on it — but remember, it’s your story, and nobody can tell it like you can. Follow your own instinct first.


samanthashannon_200_200The deadline for entries is 5pm (GMT), Wednesday 25 February 2015. For more information about the BBC Young Writers Award, please visit –

Book Haul

Stacking the Shelves (17)


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! It is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

I’m so proud of myself because I didn’t buy anything this week. I don’t think that will last long though…


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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman- I swapped this for The Ghost Bride and am really looking forward to reading it. I haven’t read anything by Neil Gaiman before but have heard really good things. Thank you, Sarah, for giving me this!

To review:

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This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales- I hoped to get this to review but didn’t know I was until it popped through my letterbox. Can’t wait to read it! Thank you, Macmillan!


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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon- I went to an event that Samantha did at a nearby bookshop earlier in the week and had a really good time. It was very interesting to hear her talk about The Bone Season, especially as I enjoyed it so much when I read it a month or two ago. I also got my copy signed which was very nice. (Also, The Bone Season fell on my head when I went to take it down from my shelf and I now have a headache. I thought I should add this.)


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I love this bag so much!! I take it everywhere with me and even thought about taking it to bed…We’re inseparable!

What did you get this week? Let me know! 

UKYA Uncategorized

August Wrap Up (2013)

August has been a really good month for me. I’ve been off school for the month and have got lots of reading done. In one week, I even read eight books! Wow! I’m trying another format for this months wrap up post so I would love to hear your feedback.

This month I’ve read:


The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon; The Elites by Natasha Ngan; The Duff by Kody Keplinger; The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa; The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa; Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire; The Distance Between Us by Kasie West; Losing It by Cora Carmack; Faking It by Cora Carmack; The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle; All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill; The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan; Keeping Her by Cora Carmack; All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry; Shadowhunter’s Guide: City of Bones by Mimi O’Connor; Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett; Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein; Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein; United We Spy by Ally Carter.

..That’s nineteen books in total!

Next month I’m hoping to read:

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher which looks fab! The cover is absolutely gorgeous, too.

Night School by C.J. Daugherty because I need to read more UKYA.

Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones for the same as above.

Things happening in September:

The second UKYA chat is planned for Friday 13th September at 6:30 PM BST. I’d love to see you all there! Anyone can join in, you don’t have to be a blogger. Authors, bloggers and readers come along for a chat! I have a lot of fun things planned.


I’m busy planning the UKYA author blog tour in November and lots of other upcoming UKYA events. Very exciting!

Best books of August:

1. Losing It by Cora Carmack

2. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

3. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon


How was your month? Let me know below!

Book Review Uncategorized

REVIEW: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

When I first started The Bone Season, we had a rocky relationship. Until I was about twenty pages in, I absolutely loathed it. There was a huge info dump and I found it so confusing to keep up with all the terms and I wasn’t sure how I’d manage to read through it all. Thankfully, things picked up and I then loved it.

The Bone Season is set in alternate version of Earth, where the government, Scion, monitor the population for those people with extraordinary powers: clairvoyants. A member of one of London’s clairvoyant circles, Paige Mahoney spends her life trying to act normal to her father, whilst hiding from Scion. Just by breathing, she is committing high treason. Just by breathing, Scion has an excuse to kill her.

Once the plot starts running, The Bone Season will be constantly glued to your hand. Its charms are irresistible! The overall plot is intricately planned and flows really well. There were so many twists and turns, I think I got whiplash. You couldn’t say that this was predictable in any way because I was constantly sat on the edge of my seat.

I liked Paige, but I didn’t love her. She got better as the book went on but at the start I felt like I didn’t know her well enough. I did, however, admire her determination and will because she certainly didn’t give up.

Warden. What can I say about Warden that will make him sound as amazing as he actually is? He was so intense and passionate. I really liked seeing him develop as the novel went on and as we got to know him better.  I need the second book now just so I can read more about him!

I did like the secondary characters and am looking forward to seeing them develop further in the coming novels. There was more of a focus on Nick and Jaxon and the other members of the clairvoyant group rather than the people in Oxford. I’d like to see more characterisation given to the Oxford dwellers in the second novel because I don’t feel as attached to them as I probably should at the moment.

I loved the writing style of The Bone Season. It really allows the reader to see into Paige’s mind and see how she’s feeling. This definitely wouldn’t have had the same effect were it written in third person.

I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series and it’s certainly not a novel I’m going to forget in a hurry. A highly recommended book by a debut author I can’t wait to see more from.


July Recap & August Goals 2013

Today I’m here to do the July Recap and August Goals post. 

This month I read:


The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Moon and M
ore by Sarah DessenAttachments by Rainbow Rowell

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram

Bittersweet by Cathy Cassidy -NOVELLA

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo



The Midnight Heir by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan -NOVELLA

Level 2 by Lenore Applehans

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Split by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo


My three favourites were:

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, Angelfall by Susan Ee and The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey.

I’ve done so much in July, like moving to WordPress which was a huge thing for me. As well as moving, I made my own header and blog button, which was something I was nervous about doing. I’m normally useless when it comes to design.

August Goals

In August, I’m hoping to read:

The Elites by Natasha Ngan which is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I have a proof sat on my shelf at the moment and it’s taking all of my self-restraint to stop me from picking it up.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is another review book sat on my shelf. I have the gorgeous hardback and I’m going to be starting it as soon as I finish my current read.

My Mad Fat Diary by Rae Earl sounds so much fun and so I’m really looking forward to reading it.

August means that I’m no longer at school so I’m going to be trying to get through my TBR pile and also filming more vlogs (hopefully!)