BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall: a fitting end to a trilogy I adored


“When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.”

Hello, my name is Steph and I ABSOLUTELY adore the Rebel of the Sands trilogy. If you are unware of this trilogy, it follows the incredible Amani (a gunslinging, sandcontroller) who ends up part of an excellent army of rebels trying to overthrow the cruel Sultan. Over book 1 and 2, Amani ends up part of the incredible band of merry men (she’s like a modern day female, brilliant Robin Hood) and they’re just MAGNIFICENT. I’d totally recomment you read this trilogy – there’s sand, magic, brilliant friendships and peril. SO MUCH PERIL. (See my reviews: Rebel of the Sands review and Traitor to the Throne review)

Image result for rebel of the sands trilogy

Anyway, I’m here to talk you through my sheer joy and UTTER SADNESS that this trilogy is over. That’s how I feel: it’s a bittersweet time of my life. I have ADORED this trilogy and reading Hero just proved to me why this series is special. The storytelling, the characters, to magic, the mythical elements, Jin (be still my heart), the progression of the characters, the closure. It’s just wonderful. Alwyn is an incredible author and I’m excited to see what’s coming next!

One of the things that hit the hardest about this book was the sense of family and belonging that Amani gets throughout. The gang get back together and you see her in her element with all the people around her she loves. The characters, both new and old, blew me away at times. Their actions speak volumes. The new characters add a whole new level of brilliance for me. These books wouldn’t be as massive a hit for me if it weren’t for such an excellent bunch of characters. They balance each other out. They complement each other. There’s moments throughout of reminding me why I fell in love with them all individually, but collectively too. They fight for each other; the fight WITH each other but they stick together and fight for the same brilliant cause. 

Another of the things that’s been prevalent throughout the whole series is the myths and fairytales beautifully woven into the plot. I am a MASSIVE fan of this. I think it adds intrigue and interest to books, it gives them a history that you couldn’t have without them. Hero features, among others, 2 massive new myths which both are incredible. There’s a remarkable parallel between what the characters are going through now and what the story tells of. Amani and Jin have their own moment of life imitating art which absolutely BROKE MY HEART and put it back together again. (More on Jin later).

As I read through, there was an absolute need to read more and know how things were going to end. I wanted to see where these characters were going to end up, how their stories ended… and I was SO satisfied with the ending. The arcs and progressions of these characters is something I adore. Amani herself goes on quite an important journey of accepting herself, accepting her varying position in the group, and her battle with some tricky decisions was a brilliant plot line to watch unfold. 

You get the chance to revisit locations from book 1 and 2 in Hero and it made my heart so happy. Revisiting Dustwalk and the location of the camp in particular gave me flashbacks, reminding me of books 1 and 2. It was gorgeous to have those nods to the past 2 books, whilst still bringing in brand new locations, characters and plot. There’s a satisfying amount of loose ends tied up by the end of Hero, which for me makes me happy. There’s nothing worse than knowing a trilogy is ending and having a whole load of unanswered questions. 

Jin. Oh Jin. *heart eyes* I love him. I think all of my reviews of this trilogy have had their own Jin paragraphs. I’d like my own Jin. He’s such a brilliant human. I adore him. I adore his and Amani’s relationship. They’re just lovely. They balance each other out so much. He’s smooth and mellow, a total opposite to Amani, who can be like a tight knot at times. I’m glad they got the ending they did. They deserve it. I am all for a happy ending (it’s not without its rollercoaster though).

I need to take a moment here to mention my sheer appreciation for the cover (and the covers of the trilogy). They are EXCEPTIONAL and look brilliant together. I am a sucker for some gold.

Where does Hero stand on the crying front? (I know you all know I’m a crier) I CRIED SO MUCH. I reckon I cried for the last 100 pages or so. SO MANY TEARS WERE SHED. It’s SO SO SO WORTH IT THOUGH. There’s scenes that deserve the tears; some were heartbroken tears; some were disbelief tears; some of the tears were sadness at saying goodbye. 

So if you hadn’t guessed from this review… I really quite LOVED Hero at the Fall and would ABSOLUTELY recommend the whole trilogy. Please go out and buy them, if you haven’t already. SO WORTH IT.

Have you read Hero at the Fall?
Do you think you’d be as badass as Amani?

Talk to me about this book, this trilogy, Jin, magic, WHATEVER. Just talk to me. This book, this trilogy, these characters are EXCELLENT and deserve all of the praise they get. Just read them!

S x


BOOK BLOG: Goodbye, Perfect

Goodbye, Perfect: hello brilliance


“Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with a guy Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. And it’s the last person she would have expected. Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts. As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.”

Hello, my name is Steph and I think Sara Barnard is one of the most incredible authors ever. Her books are just WONDERFUL and Goodbye Perfect is absolutely NO EXCEPTION. I was lucky enough to receive a proof a few months ago and I am STILL thinking about it now. It is STILL in my head. Eden, her crew, her story, her choices, her sheer brilliant, are all still in my head. That’s HOW GOOD this book is. If you like SHEER BRILLIANT stories then please check it out. 
My initial review of this book is just: OH MAN. I LOVE IT. But I think you guys probably want a bit more than that, ha! 
So, Goodbye Perfect tells the story of Eden and her best friend Bonnie. Best friends. Have been best friends forever. Spend all of their time together. Total opposites, but it works for them. Eden is “all edges” (a quote from the book which I absolutely adore), Bonnie is her “perfect” best friend – she never does wrong, works hard in school, everyone likes her. Eden loves her best friend. They are the qunitessential best friends. They do everything together. When Bonnie starts in a new relationship without telling Eden, things start to spiral out of control. Bonnie’s new boyfriend, unbeknownst to anyone is their music teacher, Mr Cohn. This blows Eden’s socks off. Bonnie ends up running away with Mr Cohn saying they’re going to be together forever. For everyone in her life this is a toal shock, it’s totally out of character. Eden goes on an incredible journey to try to rescue her best friend, to get her best friend back.  
One of the things that stands out and hits me in the gut every single time I think about this book is that ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending is incredible. It’s so real. It’s so raw. I definitely cried, quite a lot. When I read it, I emailed Sara and sent her an incredibly long email saying “Yes. That was totally the right call“. Just now thinking about the ending, the story, the progression, the changes, it’s making me a bit emotional.
Eden has this incredible support network around her that she doesn’t even realise she has because Bonnie is her life and she sees Bonnie as her all. Once Bonnie is gone, Eden crumbles a little (only natural, we all have that best friend!) She’s got an incredible boyfriend, Connor, who I absolutely adore. Her big sister, Violet, is a brilliant big sister. Eden falls into a hole and feels initially like there’s no one to support her, but she’s picked up and pulled out of the hole when she needs it most.
One of the things I always love about Sara’s books is the use of an interesting layout. She always includes texts and interesting layout features in her books. Goodbye Perfect features texts and bullet points/newspaper articles. I love it when books have quirks like that. It makes them so much more readable. Text messages are my favourite, they can convey so much about a character in their texts. Sara is the queen of that – Queen of Text Messages with Friends in Books. The newspaper articles included in the book add another level of interest into the book – they give a scandalised version of the story. They are probably a pretty accurate interpretation of our media too… sometimes, while reading, they made me infuriated, but let’s be honest, in real life people read them. People believe them. Seeing the story for real and the story in the paper, sensationalised version vs real version was an interesting spin on things. It certainly gave me a lot to think about.
I adored it. It is definitely one of those books I will reread. I love that it touches on quite a taboo subject, but it’s handled with care. It’s not overly scandalised. I just can’t praise this book enough. It’s just brilliant. Sara Barnard keeps knocking out absolute winners. If you’ve read A Quiet Kind of Thunder or Beautiful Broken Things and loved them then Goodbye Perfect is just as brilliant. if not my fave of the three. 
My Goodreads review encapsulates this whole book so well:
“This book is perfect.
There’s a tough and “all edges” MC, her “perfect” best friend, her increidble family, a gorgeous boyfriend and a lot of trouble.
I love everything Sara Barnard writes and this is no exception. Possibly my favourite thing, I just adored it.”

Have you read Goodbye Perfect?
What would you do if your best friend ran away with a teacher?
Could you stand by and let it happen, or would you intervene?
Talk to me on twitter, or in the comments. I have a lot of passion for this book. I need to talk about it. I also need everyone to buy it. So please do. 
S x


A while back, the amazing people over at Scholastic asked me if I wanted a proof copy of a book that I had heard nothing about. I happily said yes, and then I was asked if I wanted to be part of the blog tour. Again, I happily accepted!

Everyone, it is my pleasure to introduce you to ‘Shell’ by Paula Rawsthorne

Shell: thrilling, gripping and a little bit freaky!


“What if you thought you had died, only to wake up in someone else’s body? When Lucy, a teen diagnosed with terminal cancer wakes up cancer-free, it should be a dream come true. But faced with a life she didn’t choose and trapped in a new body, Lucy must face the biggest question of all . . . How far would you go to save the one you love?”

Imagine that, just for a minute, you thought you died, but lo and behold, no. You’re alive. The jubilation at being alive, but then realising you are in fact in someone else’s body, living in their body, with your memories and your thoughts. When I heard this… I was taken aback and reading this book I was thrilled, but I was also a little bit freaked out! 

Initially, besides being freaked out by the thought of being me in someone else’s body, I found Lucy a little bit hard to like (I think she’s difficult and hard to reach at times) BUT she completely comes through as a likeable character. She’s flawed, which makes her a lot more relatable, and I definitely grew to like her a lot more throughout the book. You realise some of the decisions she makes, some of the things she does could have justifiable reasons behind them. Knowing Lucy’s story definitely justifies some of her behaviour.

There’s some quite challenging themes in this book – life, death, memory, friendship, family, our willingness to do things for those we love – and I found that was one of the things that kept me coming back to this book. It challenged my own thoughts and feelings towards the characters, the story and also, made me think what would I do? (I would not like to be in Lucy’s place, or her parents’ place!) There’s a lot of struggle through this book – not from me, but from the characters. I definitely found myself pretty emotionally invested by the end, it was a lot. 

Building on the challenging themes, there are some interesting twists and turns… I’m RUBBISH at seeing twists and turns, so when they came along I was SMACKED in the face with them! I don’t do surprises well, but the brilliant story line, along with some great pace, plus characters I rooted for by the end, I was game for all of the twists and turns. They definitely kept me on my toes! It’s pretty grim and dark at times this book… but don’t let this put you off reading it. It’s gripping in its darkness. 

Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate that cover? HOW FREAKY IS THAT EYE MAN?

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and this book is an ode to that story! Definitely an interesting spin on the original idea. Now that I’ve read Shell, I am definitely interested in reading Frankenstein! Happy birthday! 

Have you read Shell?
How do you think you’d cope in someone else’s body?
Whose life would you like to live for a day?

Check out the rest of this blog tour! There are some amazing other reviews (worded much better than mine!) and some interesting posts! 

Shell Blog Banner

Paula Rawsthorne is the award-winning author of Blood Tracks and The Truth about Celia Frost. She first found success when she won the BBC National ‘Get Writing’ competition with her prize-winning story read on Radio 4. She has also been a winner of SCBWI’s ‘Undiscovered Voices. She is passionate about enthusing teenagers to get reading and is a writer in residence in a secondary school for the national literacy charity ‘First Story’. SHELL is her third novel for young adults.

COVER REVEAL: Truth Sister

Today is a very exciting FIRST for me here! 

Today is my very first COVER REVEAL.


The lovely people over at Impress Books asked if I would reveal the cover (which has also been revealed on their twitter account, go give them a follow @ImpressBooks) to a new and exciting YA book they are publishing in July! 

Without further ado:

Truth Sister 1920x1080

I love the mathematical, geometric, science-y feel to it!

A bit of info about Truth Sister:

“The year is 2149. The Women’s Republic of Anglia seeks to harness forgotten technologies from the time when men ruled the world. But when Clara Perdue stumbles on information that the Republic has tried to keep hidden, she begins to realise that the society she has been taught to believe in – and trained to defend – is not all that it seems. A secret from Clara’s past puts herself, her family, and her friends in danger, and Clara must choose between subservience and rebellion.

In a world where knowledge is power, what you know can save your life. Or it can get you killed.”

Described as The Power meets Only Ever Yours, this sharp, dystopian young adult novel raises  all sorts of questions about climate change and what we could be faced with in years to come.

I’m not going to lie… it was that final line that ABSOLUTELY had me sold. I can not wait to read this book. 

Thank you so much Impress Books for allowing me to host this cover reveal! #TruthSister out in July!

S x

S4S – 2018 books I’m excited for

Where did 2017 go? But really, WHERE DID IT GO? 

Here we are on the last day of 2017! What is everyone doing for New Year? I will be doing nothing but sleeping, I am not a massive fan of New Year tbh. Keep your eyes peeled for later today, I’ll be posting the prompts for #SixforSunday 2018 later on today! 

Today is the last #SixforSunday of 2017… to all of you who joined in thank you so much! I hope you continue to support little old #SixforSunday! There’s graphics to come too! 

Today’s prompt is:

2018 books I am excited for

I’m not going to list 2018 books I am excited for, rather books released in 2018 that I am excited for!

  1. State of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury (let’s be real, I’ve been excited and impatient for this since the second I finished TSQ. I need this in my life ASAP)
  2. Goodbye Perfect – Sara Barnard (yes I’ve read it, but I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. Plus, I need a finished copy!)
  3. Hero at the Fall – Alwyn Hamilton (let’s be real, I need to know if she kills Jin or not. That’s the important thing)
  4. Floored – a whole bevy of brilliant UKYA authors (I’ve read the sampler and need to know which author wrote which character)
  5. Beyond the Odyssey – Maz Evans (this is book 3 in the WLTGO series AND I NEED IT SO MUCH)
  6. Spark – Alice Broadway (I am so excited for the sequel to Ink. I can’t wait)

So there we go. Let’s be honest, there’s MANY OTHERS I am excited for, but these I am particularly impatient for! 

Remember to share your #SixforSunday using the hashtag on twitter! Link me to them, and keep your eyes peeled for next year’s prompts coming later today! 

S x

Best of 2017: YA edition

3 more days of 2017. 3 more days of books. 

As you might’ve seen yesterday, I shared my favourite MG books of 2017. Today, I am sharing my favourite YA books of the year. This year was one filled with absolutely incredible YA books and it was TOUGH to whittle it down to only 12. (Why 12 you ask? A 3×4 is much more aesthetically pleasing to me than a 2×5!)

I’ve properly fallen in love with the whole of YA this year, there’s been some absolute crackers. I’ll give a very brief opinion of the book and share the link to my full review, if that’s your cup of tea. If there isn’t a review up of it right now, there is one scheduled in the near future. I promise. I haven’t included any of the 2018 releases that I’ve read this year, just books released this year or earlier. There’s so many books from this year and earlier I haven’t read yet. I’m hoping 2018 I will be able to read all the ones I didn’t get round to, but for now… I introduce:

The best YA books of 2017

2017 YA best(just like yesterday, these are in no order in particular!)

Wing Jones – Katherine Webber
BOOKBLOG: Katherine Webber
Bravery, brilliance and some properly amazing family moments. I can’t believe it’s been almost a whole year since I read this. Katie is LUSH.

Traitor to the Throne – Alwyn Hamilton
BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton 2
I absolutely love this work that Alwyn has created. The characters are brilliant and the ballsy attitude of Amani and her friends is just spot on. (If she kills Jin in Hero at the Fall, I will FALL OUT with her!)

The Scarecrow Queen – Melinda Salisbury
BLOG TOUR: The Scarecrow QueenBOOKBLOG: Melinda SalisburyBOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2 (lol, I love Mel ok?)
If you’re a friend or follower of me, you will know my feelings on this book. I LOVE IT OK. Twylla’s journey from TSED to TSQ is everything. If you’re friends with me and you haven’t read these, then you need to get on it.

Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield
(review to come)
This book BROKE MY HEART. It deals with a pretty dark subject, but there’s moments of light in this book that make it worthwhile. Prepare yourself with lots of tissues.

Ink – Alice Broadway
Oh man, Ink. Ink is something special. Like properly brilliant. I properly want to go and read it again. I can’t wait for the sequel Spark to come out next year.

Countless – Karen Gregory
BOOKBLOG: Karen Gregory
Like Paper Butterflies, this book broke my heart. The last page tops off the heartbreaking-ness. It’s so brilliant though. 

After the Fire – Will Hill
This book came out of nowhere and slapped me in the face with its brilliance. Cults, fire, death, revenge and survival all make for an incredible story.

One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus
Absolutely brilliant. This book continued to impress and stun me as I read. I did not see the ending coming. GO GO GO GO READ IT.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James
BOOKBLOG: Lauren James
This has one of the most sinister characters I’ve met this year in it and I was SO there for it. It surprised me how much I loved it, but I really did. 

The Call – Peadar O’Guilin
BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín
This is an excellent, dark and grim dystopian novel. It surprised me at how dark it was, but I devoured it. It’s just so devilishly good.

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman
BOOKBLOG: Alice Oseman
This was one everyone told me to read, and when I finally got round to it, I was sufficiently impressed. Alice Oseman is an absolute wonder. I devoured Radio Silence in about 3 hours.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard
This book is special. This book inspired me to learn, and then teach my kids, some sign language. I absolutely adored this book and its exploration of being brave, bold and the need (or lack thereof) to communicate by speaking. Steffi and Rhys’ story is special.

So there you go.
My favourite YA books of 2017.
There are so so so many others that could’ve been on this list, but all of these punched me in the gut and made me feel so intensely that they needed to be here. 2017 has been an incredible year for YA stories. There’s been love, heartbreak, pregnancy, inclusion, exclusion, friendships, laughter, tears. 2018 has a lot to live up to.

What’s on YOUR list?
How many of my books have you read?
How NOT surprised are you that Queen Mel is there?

See you in 2018 for even more brilliant YA books!

S x

Perfect Presents: YA edition

Hello! So far this week we’ve looked at picture books and MG books, but today I’m sharing some of the YA books that I think the YA lovers in your life will really enjoy! Again, there’s been so many incredible YA books out this year and I haven’t got round to reading them all, but here goes….

Ink – Alice Broadway

“Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.”

The Paper Magician – Charlie N Holmberg 
(the first of 3, with book 4 to come!)

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series, Book 1) by [Holmberg, Charlie N.]

“Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.”

The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury 
(first of 3 books… buy them all!)
(Bookblog: Melinda SalisburyBOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury)

“Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company. 
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love?”

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
(BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard)

“Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk and, as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James
(BOOKBLOG: Lauren James)

“Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…”

One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus
(BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus)

“Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.”

The Fallen Children – David Owen
(BOOKBLOG: David Owen)

(colour may vary!)

“Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot. But change is coming . . . One night, everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.”

After the Fire – Will HIll
(BOOKBLOG: Will Hill)

“Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?”

So there we go! A very quick round up of some of the best YA books I’ve read this year. There are SO MANY OTHERS. I would love to know what books are on your must buy/must recommend lists! YA books have had an exceptional year that ANY book you buy will be a great investment! 

Which of my recommendations have you read?
Are there any you think I’ve missed out?
Which 2017 books would you recommend to me?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Holly Bourne

It Only Happens In The Movies: heart-breaking and moving.


“Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…

The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel”

When I heard that Holly Bourne was writing a new book, I knew I needed it straight away. When I heard Holly Bourne was going to be doing an event in Newcastle (which I sneakily found out at YALC, a few weeks before it was announced!) I knew I needed to be at it, regardless. It isn’t often that events come to Newcastle, so I was THERE. If you’re interested in my blog post about the event, you’ll find it here: Events!

But onto the book. The main event. I managed to NOT buy the book before the event, despite everyone shouting about it, I was good and MY GOSH was it worth the wait. It is just incredible. It broke my heart in so many places, that even now a few weeks later I am still putting my heart back together. In ‘Movies’ (let’s call it Movies, cause it’s much shorter), you meet Audrey: a teenager, trying to get through life, despite everything falling apart around her. Her mam is struggling a lot with the separation from her husband; Audrey gets a new job (where yes, of course, there is a handsome young man for her to fall for) and she’s trying to deal with the stress of exams and the future. She split up with her ex and there’s reminders of him everywhere, she gave up things when they split up that she regrets. She’s just trying to keep everything together, when it just seems to be falling apart.

She gets a job at a cinema and things in her life outside of home perk up from there. She gets to meet some amazing friends. Does a bit of acting. Learns how to make guacamole. Confronts some sexism. Kisses a boy. Pulls apart some romantic comedies. Fights against stereotypes (there is an amazing monologue from Audrey in the sampler that I needed the book for). While all these things seem to be going well, her mam is falling apart. Her mam is REALLY struggling. She’s not coping, at all. She seems to have good days. She has really bad days. Audrey needs to often balance looking after herself, with looking after her mum. 

I just have so many feelings about this book that I will never get them down in a way that does this book justice. Audrey is brave and bold. She’s brilliant. Keeping herself together while everything with her mam is falling apart must be the hardest thing ever. My heart broke for mam. My heart broke for Audrey. I cried for a good 20 minutes after finishing this book. WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME BOURNE?!

The thing that stands out for me about this book is that it deals with very real problems, without shying away from them. Mam’s struggles. Audrey’s worries about her past relationship. The relationship between Audrey and her mam. Audrey’s brother. The feminism shouting. I just adored it. 

Go on. Read this. You won’t be disappointed. 

Have you read It Only Happens In The Movies?
Do you have any favourite romantic films?

I am a fan of a romantic film, so go on, shout some at me. I (totally don’t) need more in my life. Leave me a comment, or catch me on twitter (@eenalol)

S x

S4S – Diverse books

Good afternoon!

Sorry I’m late posting my #SixforSunday today! I’m not sure where my scheduled post disappeared to! It is most certainly a mystery! 

Today’s theme is: 

Diverse books

The list includes books I have read, are on my TBR and books I am yet to buy, but am so ready to! 

  1. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (I haven’t read this yet, I think I may be the only person in the world to not!)
  2. The Lover’s Dictionary – David Levithan (side note: David Levithan is one of my favourite all time authors)
  3. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman (yet to read, but SO WANT TO)
  4. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell (this is one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently… I just adored it!)
  5. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo (again, not read BUT MY GOSH I NEED TO NOW)
  6. Release – Patrick Ness (I met him a while back and his books are just so gorgeous that this is one of my must reads…)

This is just 6 of a growing number of books. I would love to take more suggestions for diversifying my book list! So please shout them at me… it’s always welcome!

Let me know your choices for #SixforSunday too! Link me or tweet me! 

Thank you for all your support with #SixforSunday, it is appreciated massively!

 S x

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Thank you so much to Kelly from Kelly’s Ramblings for tagging me in the ‘Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag’ (I know, it’s not the middle of the year, but shush!) I’ll share MG and YA books, if I can think of one each!

1. The Best Book of the Year So Far…

YA: The Scarecrow Queen – this rounds off the trilogy so perfectly. I was absolutely blown away by Twylla’s journey in this book and I just can’t praise this book enough!
MG: A Place Called Perfect – this book was the perfect amount of spooky, adventures and sheer brilliance. It captured my imagination brilliantly.

2. The Best Sequel of the Year So Far …

YA: Traitor to the Throne – I was over the moon when I got my hands on this and I consumed it exceptionally quickly. I love this world that Alwyn has created. I can’t wait for Hero at the Fall (2018 is so far away!)
MG: Simply the Quest – I loved Who Let The Gods Out? so so much and when I finally got my hands on STQ I was just as in love with it! I love this series so much… again 2018 is too far away!

3. A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To …

YA: The Hate U Give – Everyone keeps talking about this and I just haven’t found the time to read it yet! I have it on my shelf though…
MG: The Nowhere Emporium – luckily we have this in the library at school so I will be borrowing it and will read it!

4. Most Anticipated Release for Autumn/Winter …

YA: It Only Happens In The Movies – I am a massive Holly Bourne fan and from the sampler I think this is only going to be incredible! Bring on October!
MG: The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club – I’ve seen this on a few twitter friends’ pages and they’re all very excited about it… I am v jealous they have it already!

5. Your Biggest Disappointment of the Year So Far …


YA: Caraval – I had such high hopes for this book and I just didn’t love it. It was fine, it was alrite. Go read it for yourself to see what it’s all about. I know A LOT of people who loved it though.

6. Your Biggest Surprise of the Year So Far …

YA: After The Fire – absolutely incredible. I loved this so much. I strongly suggest you all go and read this NOW. It is SO good.
MG: The Last Wild – I had seen this everywhere and never picked it up and when I did I was blown away by how much I loved it.

7. Your New Favourite Author …


Peadar O’Guilin is EXCEPTIONAL. I have read The Call and I was lucky enough to get a proof of the second book (The Invasion) and I just adore his writing. If you’re looking for an exceptional dystopian… look no further!

8. Your Newest Favourite Character …

YA: Ink – Leora is one of those brilliant characters who you come across every now and again who makes an impact. I can’t wait to find out where her story takes us next!
MG: The Explorer – there are so many things I loved about this book but the man they meet in the jungle is again one of those exceptional characters from stories that stay with you for a long time. I would love to know more about him. 

9. Your Newest Fictional Crush …


Henry. Oh Henry. 

(Shout out to Jin from Rebel of the Sands/Traitor to the Throne… but he’s not a new crush!)

10. A Book That Has Made You Cry … (lol, all of them!)


Countless is one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve read. It is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I cried SO SO SO hard at the end. I can’t think about this book without it making me sad. Please go read it, but get yourself some tissues.

11. A Book That Has Made You Happy …

YA: Unconventional – one of those gorgeous books that comes along and just makes me smile. I loved it a lot. It was such a feel good book! 
MG: Bookshop Girl – this is one of my favourites this year! I can’t wait to use it with my kids! Just such a brilliant little happy book.

12. The Most Beautiful Book of the Year So Far …

YA: A Quiet Kind of Thunder – I have so so so many brilliant words to say about this book. You need to get on it if you haven’t yet. Sara is such a brilliant author and Steffi’s story is just incredible. This book inspired me a lot.
MG: The Island at the End of Everything – Kiran Milwood Hargrave writes these exceptional books (her other one The Girl of Ink and Stars deserves ALL OF THE PRAISE it gets) and this one just knocked my socks off. I absolutely adored it. Such an incredible story.

13. Some Books You Need to Read Before 2017 Ends …

So there we have it! My (no so) mid year book freak out tag!

That was quite the blog post!

Let me know your choices and link me to your blog posts, I’d love to see your answers!

S xx