Browsing Category



COMPETITION: Meet Rebecca Donovan, author of What If!

I am SO excited to be able to give you all the opportunity to enter a competition to win tea with Rebecca Donovan today, author of What If and Reason to Breathe.

image002Fancy enjoying a posh afternoon tea at the Penguin offices with bestselling superstar novelist, Rebecca Donovan?

We’re giving one lucky competition winner (plus one friend) the chance to meet Rebecca and spend the afternoon with us here at Penguin, chatting to her all about her amazing stories  – as well as tucking into plenty of yummy cupcakes, of course!

You’ll be able to ask Rebecca all about her writing process, what it’s like to be an author, and how she came up with the amazing characters of What If – plus you’ll get a sneak peek inside the Penguin UK offices and – in honour of What If’s lead character Nyelle – the opportunity to feast on oodles of hot chocolate and sweet treats!

You must be free on the afternoon of Thursday 16th April.  To enter, email with the subject heading ‘Meet Rebecca Donovan’ before 12 noon on Friday 10th April.  In the body of your email, please state your Name, Date of Birth, and your favourite character from What If.  Please also let us know the Name and Date of Birth of the friend you’d like to bring along.

Entries are open to UK residents aged 16-25.  Penguin Books are based at 80 Strand, London and unfortunately we cannot reimburse any transport or accommodation costs incurred.


Good luck, and I might even see you there!

Blogging Uncategorized

DIY: Rejuvenating Your Blog


It’s finally Spring, so the perfect time to sort your blog out and freshen it up for the rest of the year ahead! I always do a big spring clean every year, and today I wanted to show you how you can start by finding the direction you want your blog to go in.


What You Will Need:

– Plain Paper – I used 6 pieces of A4 paper and stuck them together, or you could use an A2 sheet of paper and it will work the same.

– Cello tape

– Pens – I used brightly coloured pens, like Sharpies, to make things stand out lots more.


I first started by sticking the A4 paper down in a 3×2 formation so that I had maximum space to write. The bigger the paper, the more you can splurge all of your ideas down on to it.

Then, once you’ve finished, turn the paper over and you’re ready to start writing!


The aim is to work out the fundamental parts of your blog – the skeleton, if you like. These will make up the main parts of your plan and allow you to brainstorm the smaller and more intricate parts.

I started by writing my blog name in the middle, and then chose the things I wanted to focus on. For me, it was: Content, YouTube, social media and features. Then I started to expand. When I expanded, I made sure I covered all the areas I thought were important.

For example, coming from social media, I included Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr because they’re the platforms I want to concentrate on this year. You could include what you want to post there, when you want to post it, how often you’re going to post. It really is up to you!


I found this worked really well from me to muster up some motivation and also to set myself on the right blogging path. I hope it works for you too!

Once I’d finished, I found myself having enough direction to sit down and focus on reaching the goals I’d set and it was easy to transfer certain points on to my computer and on to my blog.

If you’ve tried it out, tweet me @LucyTheReader because I’d love to see!

Will you be having a blog Spring Clean this year?


My Adaptation Wishlist

With books such as The Duff and Paper Towns being adapted into films this year, I’ve been wondering about some of the books I’d love to see on the big screen.


The Rain by Virginia Bergin is an incredible dystopia about killer rain. A meteor means that all of the water on Earth becomes contaminated. Just one drop will kill you! I think it would adapt amazingly into a film because the book seems so realistic – it’s as if you’re actually experiencing it! When I was reading it, I was scared to go out in the rain and even drink a glass of water! That’s how much it affected me.


Throne of Glass is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It would be a fantastic adaption because it’s thrilling and Sarah J. Maas writes so vividly that it wouldn’t be hard to bring to life. Celaena Sardothien, the protagonist, is one of my favourite characters because she’s the kind of character that all of us feminists wish for all of the time.


Cruel Summer is a murder mystery novel set in Spain. I had absolutely no idea who the murder was throughout reading and when it was announced I was so shocked! I think it would work well as a TV series because it’s so gripping that you wouldn’t be able to help tuning in every week as more and more things happen.


We Were Liars was the book of 2014. It ripped out the hearts of the many people who read it, and it had me in shock months after I put it down. It would make for such an exciting film, with the family politics, amazing setting of the island, and the twists and turns in the plot. It would be so exciting!

What books would you like to see adapted in the future?

Lucy Recommends... UKYA Uncategorized

Lucy Recommends… [6] Keris Stainton


I’m so excited for this edition of Lucy Recommends… because I’m going to be recommending one of my favourite UKYA authors! Keris Stainton writes amazing contemporary books that one can devour in less than a day. Here are some of her books:


Della says: OMG! 

Della has such a realistic teenage voice and is the perfect introduction to YA for people looking to start reading it. It’s about a girl called Della whose diary goes missing and extracts from it appear on Facebook and are sent to her mobile. I think it’s my favourite of Keris’s books!

Jessie Hearts NYC 

Set in New York, it tells the story of Jessie who moves to New York and hopes to forget about her ex-boyfriend, and Finn who falls in love with his best friend’s girlfriend. It was the first of Keris’s books I read and it really made me fall in love with her writing.

Emma Hearts LA

Can you guess where this one is set? In LA! It’s a companion novel to Jessie and I loved reading a book set in the US from a British person’s perspective.

Starring Kitty

My favourite of Keris’s books, and you can read my full review here! It’s so diverse and features great friendships. It’s perfect for readers of middle grade who’d like to start reading YA because it’s light enough that it introduces YA gradually, but it also represents the kind of emerging issues that YA does very well.

Have you read any of Keris Stainton’s books? Which was your favourite?


Bye bye, reviews!



After lots and lots of thought, I’ve decided that I’ll no longer be doing formal reviews on my blog. 

The thing is I really dislike writing reviews. I find them such a chore and they take me twice as long to write as any other post. Recently I’ve been going through a bit of a blogging and reading slump, so I’m in the process of having a major blog spring clean. I knew immediately that my blogging block was coming from the frustrating process I had to go through every single time I sat down to write a review.

Reviews are some of the least-liked posts in the blogosphere, but for some crazy reason we all feel obligated to write them. It’s as if you’re not a “real” blogger if you don’t write them. I want to try and break away from that thought.

So what does this mean?

You’ll be seeing lots more book recommendation posts and book-related discussions on the blog from now on and, hopefully, a lot more posts altogether! Although there may be an odd review popping up now and again, mostly I’ll be changing up a lot of the content that features on the blog. I’m very excited about it!


Harry Potter Studio Tour

On Thursday 12th March, I was invited to go to the Hogwarts Express preview event at the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I was incredibly excited beforehand, as I’ve been a massive fan of everything Harry Potter related since I read the books for the first time in 2013. It was my first time at the tour and I loved it!


It’s unbelievable to see a world you’ve imagined in your head and seen on a TV screen to come to life right before your eyes. It’s even more unbelievable to live the moment surrounded by people who are even bigger fans than you are.

The new Hogwarts Express part of the tour is fantastic. As you round the corner, you see the Platform 9 3/4 sign and you are suddenly transported to the platform that you can visualise so clearly from the books. You can have your picture taken by the trolley (as seen above!) and wander around the platform itself. The train is a magnificent sight to behold, as it’s all realistically scaled, with smoke coming from the top. The ambience was amazing!


You can even climb the steps and enter the train, looking in through the carriage sections to discover tiny details about the characters. It most definitely felt as if you were actually there.

I enjoyed the whole tour so much – if you haven’t been, I would HIGHLY recommend it!

You can see a video on my time at the tour here. 

Have you been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour before? What did you think?


COVER REVEAL: The Next Together by Lauren James

The Next Together_intro image I’m incredibly excited to be able to reveal the cover of Lauren James’s debut novel, The Next Together today, and also allow you a sneak peek of the prologue!



Part 1 of the exclusive extract from The Next Together by Lauren James




The last time they were together, it was late evening and they were being followed.

“It’s happening again,” Kate said, and immediately regretted it. Matthew didn’t reply, only squeezed her hand a little tighter, following behind where she led him. She knew what it meant. They were going to die.

They ran. Kate tried to be quiet, but her breath sounded dangerously loud in the silence and as heavy as her heartbeat pounding in her ears. Matthew pressed a palm against the small of her back, urging her on.

She could hear footsteps behind them, growing faster and faster, gaining on them. They turned a corner and ducked into a room. Matthew locked the door behind them with trembling fingers.

They stared at each other, listening for the sound of their pursuers. For a moment there was silence. They had a few minutes, but that was all. They were going to be found; it was just a matter of whether they could finish their task first.

“Next time, we’re moving somewhere hot and quiet before any of this happens,” she declared resolutely.

“I like Spain,” Matthew agreed and pulled her into one last, slightly desperate kiss.


To read the next exclusive extract from The Next Together, go to

The Next Together publishes in September 2015 (Walker Books) and can be pre-ordered now.


The Next Together cover reveal

About The Next Together

How many times can you lose the one you love?

For Matthew and Katherine it is again and again, over and over, century after century. Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again. Each time their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. But why do they keep coming back? How many times must they die to save the world? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different…


About the author Lauren James

Lauren James is a scientist by day, writer by early hours of the morning. She graduated in 2014 with a Masters degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She now lives in the village of Berkswell, West Midlands. You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, which she mainly uses to fancast actors as her characters and panics about all of the overly ambitious plans she has for her PhD, or her website at


UKYABA Awards – Champion of YA



On the evening of Saturday 7th March, I was sitting in my bedroom when I received a tweet. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the UKYABA (UKYA Blogger Awards) ceremony on the evening, but I knew some of my friends were there. I had been shortlisted for the awards, but was sure somebody else would win because I was up against lots of amazing bloggers.

The tweet said that I had won an award. I went into total shock. I hadn’t wanted to get my hopes up because there are so many brilliant bloggers in our community that all deserved to win. For some crazy reason, though, I was chosen to win the Champion of YA award. I am still completely over the moon!

As I wasn’t there to collect the award in person, I thought I’d write out a few thank you’s today. I really hope I don’t miss anyone out!

When I started out 3 years ago, I never knew about the wider community. I had no idea I could become so attached to so many people in such a short space of time. In the 3 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen our community grow and become stronger, so connected. 

I’ve always pushed myself to work hard on my blog and to do as much as I can to help out the wider community. I’d like to think that in ten or twenty years when I look back, I’ll still be proud of my achievements and know that I put every single amount of effort I could into it.

I’d like to thank my parents mostly, for putting up with me when I abandon them to go to events (and who put up with me when I do idiotic things like stand in cement when I go to those events), for supporting me when I stay up until midnight changing my blog design and I’m grumpy the next day. For standing by me no matter how crazy my ideas become.

I’d like to thank the people that take the time to comment on my blog, tweet me, watch my videos… Without you, I couldn’t do ANY of this! You make it all worthwhile and put a smile on my face every day. I have so much love for all of you!

Without the UKYA community, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. My confidence has soared since blogging and I now do things every day that I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing 3 years ago. 3 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of going to an event on my own and, God forbid I had to talk to anyone! I would have been hiding in the corner!

My life is crazy. I’m currently balancing GCSEs and my blog and YouTube channel, but I love every single second of it. I wouldn’t change it for the world! 

Thank you, dear reader, for allowing all of my wildest dreams to come into fruition! You mean the absolute world to me.