Saturday, 16 January 2021

5 Most Anticipated Books of 2021

I'M BACK.

After taking a few days away from Twitter (too much doom-scrolling), I decided to use the time to spruce up my blog a little bit. I've updated my pages, and have even added a new page!

'MISC' will be regularly updated with links and videos of cool things I've found on the internet, either to learn or just to enjoy. If you ever feel like you're doing too much doom-scrolling too, come to my blog and check out what's on that page. I'll put any content warnings so that you don't get a nasty surprise, but for the most part they will be light-hearted and fun.

I wanted to kick this new chapter off with showing you a few books I'm really looking forward to in 2021:



 1. Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

If you know me or follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I am completely obsessed with The Doll Factory. During the first lockdown, Elizabeth even sent me some of her pottery work, and now I can't get enough of her beautiful mugs and dishes either. 

I have been eagerly awaiting her second novel, and it is finally up for pre-order! I've put myself on a book buying ban (apart from books for academic work) but even before the new year I decided I was allowed to buy this one for myself.

SO. EXCITED. And a bit jealous of anyone who was given an advanced reader copy.



2. Heartstopper Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

Who doesn't love this series? 

Nick and Charlie are pretty much the cutest couple in YA right now, and I can't wait to add to my collection of these stunningly illustrated graphic novels.

I ship it.



3. Kill Joy by Holly Jackson

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder was the first book I read in 2020, and it remains one of my favourites for the entire year. If you are looking for a young adult thriller, this book is the perfect addition to your shelves. 

I only just found out this World Book Day short was on the way, and I am too excited! £1 for a prequel to the original story behind AGGGTM... who could refuse?



4. Afterlove by Tanya Byrne

LESBIANS. 

REAPERS. 

LESBIAN REAPERS.

That's all I really needed to know, and its going to take all of my strength not to break my book-buying ban for this



5. Love Letters of Vita and Virginia 

Me and my friend Emily have been a bit... obsessed with sapphic ladies of the early 20th century lately. Vita and Virginia especially. 

There are lots of books with extracts of their letters to each other, but this book is rare in that it finally collects lots of them together. 

This is one we are both looking forward to! 


Which book are you most excited for in 2021? 

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

BLOG TOUR: CHERRINGTON ACADEMY BY REBECCA J CAFFERY



Hello! Long time, no blog.

I've been working on a few things, which you'll hear more about soon!

But for now, I am so excited to be on the Cherrington Academy blog tour! 

Logan’s the new boy at Cherrington Academy, a boarding school that’s promised to provide him with a safe haven away from homophobic bullies and neglectful parents. He’s left all that 2000 miles away.

What he doesn’t expect Cherrington to provide is; a bunch of friends who want to adopt him, a mysterious roommate who’s never home and a gorgeous guy with a secret crush on him.

His perfect new life begins to unravel when he discovers a web of secrets amongst his friends. Plus his roommate? Partial to blackmail. That gorgeous guy? Well, he’s taken by one of Logan’s now closest friends. Can Logan shut off his feelings to protect his new friendships and the happiness he’s found at Cherrington Academy? Or is love really just all-consuming?


Today I get to interview author Rebecca J Caffery on her debut, and get some scoops on upcoming projects.

  1. What inspired you to write Cherrington Academy?

It sounds very cliché and I think everybody who comes back of their study abroad year feels enlightened or like they’ve had a life changing experience, but my year living and studying in Canada changed my life. Living in a North American style dorm and my love for boarding school books inspired the school side of things and then Logan had been a character in my mind for over a year before I came up with the school. Somehow they both just fit so perfectly together and all of a sudden Cherrington Academy was born and before I knew it I had a whole gangs worth of character for the book!

 

  1. Who is your favourite character, and why? (I know, tough question!)

I wish this was a tougher question for me. I love Logan, flaws and all, he is a teen who makes mistakes, who hurts people and gets hurt. But, Noah is my true love and favourite. He is the best kind of antagonist for me, as I absolutely suck a writing the like ‘villain’ of a story. When I first started writing Cherrington Academy Noah wasn’t going to have a huge role in the story. He completely snuck up on me and Logan/Isaac and he became this big character that got his own backstory and then his own arc and redemption and I just love him. One of my favourite things about writing the sequel to Cherrington Academy was that I got to give Noah a bit more airtime. He deserves so much and I’m so glad he became this bigger thing in my little Cherrington world.


  1. What are the main themes of the book, and why are they important to you?

One of the biggest things I wanted to do in Cherrington Academy was give an LGBTQ+ character real life situations that weren’t just based around their sexuality. I think coming out stories have done so much for LGBTQ+ representation in books, but I think there has to be more than that to these characters, in real life there is definitely more to it than just their coming out stories. After this I really wanted to start a conversation about male mental health, I hate that we have to normalise it because I wish that it didn’t exist, but as it does we really need to talk about it. I really wanted to just show that therapy is always an option, that it’s okay to talk when you aren’t feeling great as well.


  1. How has publishing a book during a global pandemic been?

It’s been interesting, I think I’ve been really fortunate in the fact that it hasn’t had any huge knock on effect for me! Publishing in general has been the most amazing experience for me, stressful yes, but still just absolutely wonderful ride! Working with SRL has been fantastic, not only did we end up partnering with a cover artist who I was already familiar with, but they let me have a lot of creative input on it. Not only that but we’ve really worked as a team to do all of the marketing and promotion for Cherrington Academy from working on the book blog tour to all of the images that have been put out on social media.


  1. Do you have any advice for young people who want to write?

Write, write, write! Write anything and everything and literally write whatever you damn like. Write a story because you love a character or write a story because you love a trope. Don’t focus on writing to sell books or for any other reason other than because you love to write and you love the story that you want to tell. Don’t stress if the first draft or the first ten drafts aren’t perfect, they never are, just don’t give up on it! Keep writing until your little heart is content.



And finally, are you working on anything new?


I am working on wayyyyyy too many new things. Not only am I currently editing the sequel to        Cherrington Academy - ‘Coming Home’, but I am also in the third round of edits for ‘Olympic Enemies’ a Contemporary NA sports story that I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo in April! On top of that I’m around 10,000 words away from finishing a NA Romance about a British boy on his study abroad year in Canada – definitely not inspired by my own life or anything like that! I also have around 15 shelved, half written or planned stories that I would love to work on in the future.


Thank you so much for talking to me Rebecca!





If you'd like to read Cherrington Academy, you can find it on Amazon, Waterstones, and The Book Depository

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

The Most Comforting Reads from my Shelves

Everyone knows what I mean when I use the term 'comforting reads'.

Those books that, when you're in a reading slump (or general life slump, as I'm sure we can all relate to right now), we turn to for familiarity and warm feels.

A lot of you are looking for recommendations right now, and don't want to buy anything before knowing its a safe read. So, I'm going to tell you about five comforting reads that you'll be able to read and escape from reality for a brief moment.

1. The Call of the Weird by Louis Theroux





This. Man. 

Louis Theroux is pretty much one of the most comforting people in the world. Watching his documentaries feels like sitting down with an old friend. This book is full of his stories of his earlier journeys around subcultures in America, meeting people who live differently from wider society.

From people who believe they can be spiritually channeled by aliens to twin children who sing neo-nazi songs, Louis' first book will satisfy your curiosity.


2. Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav




Lang Leav is one of my favourite poets, and this book is both enlightening and heart-breaking. Her words will seep into your soul, and you'll often turn back to the pages where your favourite poems lie.

Seriously, read her stuff. It's slightly longer than Rupi Kaur, each poem being around half a page, but makes far more of an impact (in my opinion).



3. Carol by Patricia Highsmith




If you follow me on Twitter, I don't think I really need to explain this one. My ultimate comfort read, to the point where I can quote half of the book.

Woman works in shop. Second woman comes in and buys something, leaving her gloves on the counter. First woman returns the Second woman's gloves. The women fall in love.

That's all you need to know. It is not all sunshine and rainbows, but no one dies at the end, and it is such a beautiful romance.

This is my original copy (of many) and it has so many post-it notes in it, which means that it is loved.


4. The Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman




Oh my goodness. You probably already have these in your collection, but if you don't... where have you been?

This is the ULTIMATE comfort read for everyone. Two schoolboys develop a crush on each other and the whole series is about them just falling in love. So much love, so much happiness. The pick-me-up we all need.

Alice Oseman is here to make you smile, when you don't think you can anymore.


5. One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton




The idea of a summer holiday feels so far away at the moment, but Keris is here to save the day. Feel like a short break to Italy? Read this book.

Somehow, this novel brings all the warmth and seduction of Italy to the pages, and it is a total comfort read.

Also, go and follow Keris on Twitter, because she's really funny and she talks about Harry Styles all the time. What else do you need?

Monday, 13 April 2020

REVIEW: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Photo by me @hannahkimmins on Instagram

Title: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: 2nd May 2019
Genre: YA Thriller
Page Count: 448
Original Language: English
Format Read: Paperback
Other books in series: Good Girl, Bad Blood
Movie Adaptation: N/A

Buy here: WaterstonesAmazonThe Book Depository 

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth . . . ?

Review


This was the first book I read in 2020, and it was kindly gifted to me for my birthday by my lovely friend Charr on Twitter. It's 448 pages, which is quite long for me, but I enjoyed every single moment of it.

The young adult market is amazing with thrillers lately. They are fast-paced, exciting, and the characters drive them to where they need to go. 

This book was no different. In fact, I would say that Holly Jackson is one of the leading voices of this genre. 

When doing independent research for her Extended Project Qualification, Pippa Fitz-Amobi decides to do a journalism project of the murder of schoolgirl Andie Bell. As she gathers evidence, she begins to become increasingly curious about the truth of the case, and whether Sal Singh was the real killer. When she uncovers a few things she probably shouldn't have, she decides to solve the case.

This is everything you could want in a good thriller - danger, humour, and a few big twists. It is Holly's writing on top of all of this which is the real treat. I have recommended this book to several people, and they have all loved it too!

I will continue to recommend this book, as well as the sequel Good Girl, Bad Blood  which is coming out soon.

Reading a novel about murder should be FUN. And this book is completely, utterly fun.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Five Quick Ways to learn something new Online

At the moment, my brain feels a little bit fried.

With my university being closed, despite the wonderful lecturers doing their absolute best to recreate some form of normality, I do not feel like I am learning as much as I normally would.

Whether you are studying, or have time off work and want to learn something new, the internet has a lot of free and cheap resources to get our brains moving again. Especially with the lockdown, information has been made available to us like never before, and we should be able to take advantage of this!

So, to help you out, I've found 5 online resources which help you learn quickly and effectively: 

1. Susie Dent's Twitter Word of the Day

Susie Dent is an absolute British icon, and her Twitter account is no different. Every day, she treats us all to a new word and a short, tweet-sized explanation of where the word came from.

Follow her and learn something new every day. She'll help improve your vocabulary! 

This could be a great way to teach your kids something new, if you're stuck doing homeschooling. 



2. @paintings.daily on Instagram

This is an absolutely beautiful account which looks aesthetically pleasing on your feed and also teaches you something new every day.

Every day, this account posts photos of classic art and presents a short description as well as telling you who painted it.

I am art-obsessed! I love art galleries, and this is satisfying my need for art during the lockdown.






3. 120 Hour TESOL/TEFL Course Online 

The International Open Academy has lowered the price for the online course for teaching English as a foreign language and now its only £19! 

If you have the money, this would be a great thing to do in any spare time you have. Gaining a qualification will open doors for your future, when our futures can resume. If nothing else, you've learnt something new.

If you wanted to, you could teach English overseas, and have the adventure of a lifetime when we are allowed to travel again.

Full site and information here: https://offers.internationalopenacademy.com/jen.priester/course/tesol-course

There are also other courses on this website if you want to choose something else.



4. The StudyTube Project

I'm currently studying a Masters at university, and since we have moved to virtual learning, I have really struggled to keep my motivation up. I really like learning independently, but the current situation has made wanting to do any work quite hard.

I recently found this Youtube channel made up of many different people who are interested in their own subjects, and they are uploading study videos to create an online learning environment. This is a brilliant idea, and they talk about everything from English to Archaeology to Gender Studies.

You could even choose a new subject away from your current studies to learn as a hobby!





5. Museum From Home 

This is a Twitter project where people who work in museums all over the world are making small videos explaining something you would find in a museum.

As someone who loves museums and art galleries, this is something I am OBSESSED WITH. I love learning, and having these short bursts really helps you to retain information. Plus, it doesn't take that long!

Just search the #MuseumFromHome hashtag on Twitter, and choose what you want to learn each day. Take notes, or just listen and enjoy the experts talking!

(You can also go on virtual tours of some museums. DREAM. COME. TRUE.)