Posted in Extracts, Young Adult

Today I am sharing an extract from a new YA release – I am Winter by Denise Brown

Today I am delighted to be spreading a little love and sharing an extract from I am Winter by Denise Brown. We are currently awaiting a copy and will be sharing a review on completion as Daisy is looking forward to this one as she loves a murder mystery. The cover is gorgeous and catches your eye straight away and I can’t wait to find out more about Cee and how they go from sitting in the park in the prologue to Cee dying from a cardiac arrest.

Book Blurb

When Summer’s best friend Cee dies from cardiac arrest after both girls have taken pills, the accusations on social media begin, but as the bullying intensifies, Summer grows closer to revealing the secret both families are harbouring. A must read YA murder mystery.

Prologue

Cee was nine months older than me. We were in the same year at primary school—there were only twenty-three of us so our hands couldn’t help touching when we did the hokey-cokey— but we weren’t friends. 

She was loud and embarrassing and bossy. If there was any performing to be done, Cee was at the front of the class with a hand up in the air, the words to ‘It’s a Hard-Knock Life’ already tumbling out of her mouth. At Christmas nativity in the village church, she played Mary or an angel or both. It didn’t matter to her so long as she was seen and heard. Sports Day she took part in everything. When parents were invited in to ‘Show and Tell’ or Mother’s Day tea parties, Cee invented an invisible family to make up for the lack of real family in attendance and gave them weird names like Archibald and Elizabetta and Geraldine, poured them tea in plastic cups, and kept up a steady stream of conversation about visiting her grandmother in London, where Great-Uncle Jimmy slipped and broke his neck one winter when the weather was Baltic. 

She lived in a fantasy world and no one else was allowed in. Apart from her big brother Ritchie. Cee and Ritchie were like shoes and socks or Jedward, weird when they weren’t together or close to each other. I’d have been her friend sooner if it would’ve made Ritchie see past my ankle socks and pleated skirts and look at me the way he and his mates looked at my mum. I loved Ritchie more than I loved Harry Styles. He had brown skin and curly hair and there was something about the way he walked around with his hood always up that made me feel like the ground was trembling under my feet. 

The summer I turned eleven, it seemed Cee lived outside on the walkway linking our houses, with Ritchie circling on his bike or huddled on the grass with his mates pretending they weren’t sharing a smoke or pictures of tits. 

“That girl’s always outside,” Gran said whenever her leather trousers squeaked through the front door. “Her mother’s obviously got no time for her.” 

I asked if could go out to play. My best friend was on holiday on an island, the name of which I’d forgotten as soon as she told me, and although she promised to bring me back a seashell or a dolphin to put in my ballerina box, her absence left my chest wide open and infected with a sense of abandonment. 

“Course you can, sweetheart,” Gran said. “It’ll do you good to get out.” 

Mum checked the mileage on her exercise bike odometer. Sweat dripped from the end of her nose and she brushed it with the back of her hand. Her legs kept moving. 

I sat on the step outside our house and smiled at Cee. She came straight over. 

“Do you want to go to the park?” she asked. 

I shrugged. It was the first time I’d been anywhere without telling my mum, which meant that “Any Tom, Dick, or Harry could pounce on you and no one would know where to look”; that’s something Gran would say. 

We walked. Cee talked. She told me Ritchie was going to move away, live with his dad in a shiny apartment in Glasgow. When he was settled, he’d come back and get her and she’d get a proper education, go to college, and become a policewoman. 

“You can see me with a gun, can’t you?” she asked. 

I didn’t know what to say because I thought her arms were too skinny to hold a gun, and her hair was so long it might get caught in the trigger and rip bald patches in her scalp, and then she’d look like she had alopecia which was Gran’s nightmare because her sister had it. So, I didn’t say anything. 

My silence made her roll her eyes.
“Well, I’m not staying here.”
“What about your mum?”
“She’ll only miss me when the baby cries.”
We passed the woods. We kept right on going until we 

reached the park at the bottom of the hill, sat on the very top of the climbing frame, our legs dangling and my heart rushing too fast with the fear of falling and breaking my neck and ending up with a wonky head. Cee told me she’d seen her mum having sex with a man. 

“They were on the living room floor. She still had her shoes on, and her knees jiggled when his bum slapped on top of her and after, she had carpet burns on her back. She showed Sam and Sam called them battle scars.” 

“Who’s Sam?” I asked. I didn’t really care who Sam was, I was just buying time, incubating the shared secret until it became a tangible thing, a rope binding us together. It didn’t occur to me she might have told this story to anyone else. This was our special moment, the spark that would ignite our friendship and from then on, we would be inseparable. 

Or so I thought.
“Sam’s her mate. She’s a lesbian.”
To me, wobbling in the breeze, my knuckles white around the climbing frame, Cee was a warrior princess, fearless, strong, honest. My brain was humming with panic, sifting through the fragments of my life trying to choose one secret that might live up to Cee’s, one special moment that would seal the deal, unite us forever. 

And of all the things I could’ve possibly mentioned, I told her about my bear-wolf. I blurted it out, confident in my newfound friendship and my closeness to the clouds. I told her about all the trinkets the creature kept safe for me, about the ball stuffed with beads from my mum’s necklace, and The Hunger Games book my friend gave me, and how one day I’d live in the woods and eat nuts and wild mushrooms—although I didn’t like mushrooms yet, but I would do when I was older. I’d never trusted anyone enough to tell before now. But there on the climbing frame, the backs of our legs metal-chilled, I believed Cee was the same as me. I believed I’d discovered a kindred spirit. 

“You actually think you found a bear-wolf?” she asked. “What even is that?” Her eyebrows arched and I felt silly because I could’ve told her I’d seen my mum having sex too. 

“It lives in the woods. I thought it was a dog, but she’s furry like a bear.” 

Cee blinked slowly and I felt like I was losing her, my euphoria being replaced by twisting cramps in my stomach. 

“She’s real,” I said. 

Thunderclouds rolled in, purple grey, booming like elephants. 

“My brother Ritchie loves storms,” she said jumping down onto bark chips, her hair flying behind her. 

I climbed down the steps with the rusty paint, holding onto the rails like a child. 

“Run!” she yelled, giggling as fat drops of rain dotted our clothes and our hair. We were drenched before we reached the main road; I could see her bra through her white T-shirt, and I wished I’d worn one of the white lacy bras Mum had bought me from Primark. 

It was still chucking it down when I stopped at the door to our house and waited for Cee to say goodbye, but she kept on running till she reached her own front door where she fumbled for a key in her pocket and let herself in without glancing behind her. 

That summer I didn’t go back to the park with Cee. The next day, on the walkway outside our houses, someone had drawn chalk pictures of a flat-haired stick-girl holding hands with a long-tailed bear. 

Available to purchase here

Meet the Author

Denise Brown is a writer, housekeeper, and single parent of five children. Her debut novella Devil on Your Back was published by Salt in 2014, and her short stories have featured in various online publications. In 2019 she was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award. Born in East London, Denise has now settled in Scotland where she feels certain she must have lived in a previous life. She loves dogs and snow globes and has a teensy obsession with Jack Skellington.

Many thanks for the invitation to read and review your latest release.

Massive thanks to everyone who has stopped by to visit my blog, please remember to like and share to help spread the book love far and wide!

Have a great day

Daisy, Jacks & Kel x

Posted in Blog Tour, Young Adult, Younger Readers Age 9-12

If you are passionate about animals and conservation, check out my review for The Adventures of Ellie & Boo by Millie Kerr

Today we are sharing our thoughts and feelings after reading The Adventures of Ellie & Boo by Millie Kerr.

My Review

I love reading middle grade and young adult releases with Daisy as we both love to talk about the books we have read and the different feelings they create. As soon as I read the blurb for this one, I knew Daisy would love it as she is so passionate about animals and her cat Toodles is never far away.

I loved the relationship between Ellie & Boo at the beginning of the story and how she took her gorgeous furry friend everywhere with her. Boo is the pet that we all dream of having as we all wish we could communicate with our pets and see how they are really feeling.

A story that highlights lots of facts whilst being a work of fiction, it will help raise awareness of the impact society is having on animals natural living conditions and what we can do to help. Where we live we used to have a badger set close by and we used to love seeing them running around, however since more houses have been built they have disappeared and this added to the impression this story left on us.

A brilliant read that will make children stop, think and ask questions, with a few images scattered throughout to help with visualisation and impact. We both found the story informative and factual and it created lots of talking points. Hopefully it will help to create more awareness in children surrounding conservation and animal protection.

Book Blurb

A nature-loving cat and her conservationist mum team up to save endangered species!

Boo the tabby cat is born on a Lincolnshire farm and seems destined for a simple life. Everything changes when she’s put up for adoption and is taken in by Ellie Caldwell, an adventurous Cambridge graduate student who loves animals and is studying to become a wildlife conservationist.

Between lectures, Ellie heads to the countryside for camping trips, her Instagram-anointed ‘adventure cat’ in tow. On rocky trails, Boo discovers that, like Ellie, she has a passion for the natural world, and because she’s able to communicate with all animals, she can relate their challenges back to Ellie. But there’s a serious problem: whenever Boo tries to tell Ellie something, all Ellie hears is “Meow.”

Can they work out a communication system, and in doing so, save endangered animals from harm while encouraging public support of nature and wildlife?

Available to purchase – Amazon UK, Amazon US, Waterstones

Meet the Author

Millie Kerr is an author, journalist and photographer focused on wildlife conservation. A former lawyer, Millie uses storytelling to help people see splendour and fragility of the natural world. Her creative essays and reported articles—which predominantly involve travel and wildlife—have appeared in dozens of top-tier American and British publications, among them The Economist, National Geographic Traveller, Popular Science, and The Wall Street Journal. Millie has also worked for numerous global conservation NGOs, both as an in-house writer and an external consultant; and her legal career saw her working in private practice and government. She graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Masters of Philosophy in Conservation Leadership and has lived between the UK and USA for fifteen years. Her adopted cat, Baboon, has been her constant companion, although unlike their fictitious counterparts, they only enjoy indoor adventures.

Where to find Millie Kerr

Twitter @millieckerr

Instagram @milliekerrphotography / @millieckerr

Many Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join the blog tour. Please remember to like and share to help spread the book love

Thanks for visiting Love the Smell of a Book today and I hope you have a great day!

Daisy & Kel x

Posted in Blog Tour, Young Adult

#BlogTour Today we are sharing our review for Can Dreams Come True by Kristen Lindsay Hager (The Cecily Taylor Series Book 1) #review #backablogger #yaread #rachelsrandomresources @rararesources @krystenlindsay

Today we are joining the blog tour for Can Dreams Come True (Book 1) The Cecily Taylor Series by Krysten Lindsay Hager.

Our Review

This was Daisy’s first read by Kristen Lindsay Hager and she loves a series so was keen to read and discuss with me.

She was lucky enough to receive a paperback copy and she loved how easy it was to read and the format of the book.

She enjoyed the style in which it was written and quickly wanted to keep reading about Cecily and to see how she handles being around Andrew who she has a major crush on.

She flew through it in just a few days and is keen to read the next one in the series and see what comes next for lead character Cecily.

When talking to Daisy I loved how she could compare this to real life and take away from it how relationships can be complicated. I am hoping that these YA reads will help her navigate her teenage years and this was a great example that she really enjoyed.

Book Blurb

Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?

Available to purchase here

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Da-ting the It Guy. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Read-ers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.

Posted in Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

#Review Happy Publication day to Lana Melyan! Today I am sharing my review for Legacy (The Weight of Magic Book Two) #PublicationDay #BackaBlogger #TBConFB @lanamelyan

Legacy picks up straight from the end of the first book where Nicky is left reeling following the death of her parents and with many unanswered questions. I was left hooked after the first instalment and keen to read this book which I devoured in a short sitting.

The book is now really picking up the pace as it is unfolding and during this short story you learn more about the families history and how this links to the chain of events that are currently taking place and the dangers that they are facing.

A brilliant second instalment that I flew through eager to see where to story was headed and I am looking forward to continuing to read this series.

 

Book Blurb

I’m a witch now.

I have my powers, but the price I paid was too high.
And as if that wasn’t enough, the responsibility dropped on my shoulders by Callahan magic is too heavy to carry alone.

The only one who can help me is Nathan.
But can I trust him?

 

Screenshot 2019-10-10 at 10.02.33

Available to purchase here on kindle

Many thanks to the TBC Reviewer Group for the opportunity to read and review this series so far and don’t forget to check out my earlier blog post for the first book in The Weight of Magic series

 

 

Posted in 5*, Debut Book, Young Adult

#Reviews This evening I am sharing a review from Daisy for One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus #OneofUsisLying #KarenMcManus #YAbooks @writerkmc

Screenshot 2019-09-09 at 14.20.00

Hi Everyone I am Daisy and I am 12 years old.  I love to read and rarely go anywhere without a book to read, in case I get bored! Over the summer I read a lot of books some by authors I hadn’t read before and I really enjoyed One of Us is Lying as I didn’t know what was going to happen from one page to the next, this book was one of my favourite reads of the summer.

My two favourite characters were Bronwyn and Nate for multiple reasons, Bronwyn has a positive outlook on life. Nate and Bronwyn are both responsible in different ways and they are the most unexpected couple yet the best. I found that Simon’s death had a massive impact on the past. present and future and a mirror impact on Nate and Bronwyn’s relationship.

I didn’t know what to expect when I chose this book and it was really good, so good that I was reading in the middle of the night when I should have been asleep. I am already looking forward to reading Two Can Keep a Secret as I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more.

I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, it combined all of my favourite genres action, thriller and romance.

 

Book Blurb

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad boy 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.

Screenshot 2019-09-09 at 13.54.48

Available to purchase here

 

About the Author

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. When she isn’t working or writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McManus loves to travel with her son.

One of Us Is Lying is her debut novel. To learn more about her, go to her website, karenmcmanus.com, or follow @writerkmc on Twitter.

Posted in 5*, Psychological Thriller, Young Adult

#Review Daisy is taking to our blog today and sharing her review for This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher #bookblogger #teenbooks #YAbooks #ThisLieWillKillYou @Chelsea_Pitcher

Today I am really excited as Daisy is sharing her review for This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher. Daisy is 12 years old and is fast approaching the age where she is finding the books on her bookshelf a bit too predictable, so we paid a visit to Waterstones and had a browse through the Teen/YA section to see if any books jumped out at her.

Daisy’s Review

I really enjoyed this book, I picked it up after reading the blurb and deciding that this could be a good fit for a different type of read to what I usually choose. This Lie Will Kill You is a thriller with a tiny hint of romance that I loved and found I couldn’t put down after the first couple of chapters. I became engrossed as I never knew what was going to happen next and found this an addictive read and finished it in just a couple of days.

My favourite characters were Juniper and Ruby as I found their personalities really interesting and wanted to know more about them.

This was my first book by Chelsea Pitcher but I would definitely read more as I loved this book. I have already recommended this book to my cousin who is the same age as me as it was such a great read.

 

Book Blurb

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens all played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Instead, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge who wants to finally unravel the truth about what actually happened that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

 

Screenshot 2019-09-01 at 18.33.54

Available to order here

 

About the Author

Chelsea Pitcher is the author of The S-Word and This Lie Will Kill You. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves twisty mysteries. Follow her on twitter at @Chelsea_Pitcher and visit her website at ChelseaPitcher.com.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read Daisy’s review today, please remember to like and share to help encourage our teens/YA to keep reading!

Posted in Blog Tour, Young Adult

#Blogtour #Review 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe #RandomThingsTours #10ThingsToDoBeforeYouLeaveSchool @BernardOKeeffe1 @AnneCater

10 Things to do BT Poster

Today I am taking part in the blog tour for this brilliant YA book 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. Many thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

When I read the blurb for this book it really jumped at me, the book is based around Ruby who has had a really bad year leading up to her final year in school. She lost her father unexpectedly and this book is about the aftermath and her trying to find her feet again in the world.

We meet Ruby as she is returning to school after being off for a long period of time, around the same time as she returns to school she finds a letter addressed to her from her father. The letter contains a list that helps her navigate her final year in school and helps her to feel close to her father again.

I found this a raw read as it captures the essence of loss alongside the grief and depression that accompanies the loss of a loved one. This book helps you relate to the every day pressures our children are experiencing  to fit nicely into society. It then adds the insight of how grief changes their feelings and perceptions about everything they have ever known.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to my teenager daughter, it highlights the thoughts and feelings surrounding the black cat and helps raise awareness to encourage our children to discuss mental health openly and hopefully feel that they aren’t alone with their feelings.

Massive praise to Bernard O’Keeffe for the delivery of this book and I will definitely be looking out for future releases.

Book Blurb

Ruby has had a difficult year to say the least. Just before she started Sixth Form, her father died from a heart attack. In the difficult months that followed Ruby became so depressed that she attempted suicide. She missed a lot of school, but now she’s about to go back and she’s worried. Is she well enough to get through her final year? Will the depression return? Should she apply to university? The night before term begins, Ruby finds something that makes the prospect even more daunting: an envelope addressed to her in her father’s handwriting. Inside is a list: ‘Ten Things I Hope You Do Before You Leave School’. It makes no sense. She can’t understand why he’d want her to do these things, let alone whether she’ll be able to do them.As Ruby navigates her way through UCAS, parties, boyfriends and A-Levels, she decides to give the list her best shot, but her efforts lead her into strange situations and to surprising discoveries. Will Ruby survive her last year at school? Can she do the ten things on The List? Will doing them make any difference?

10 Things to Do cover 2

Available to purchase on Amazon

About the Author

Bernard O Keeffe Author Picture   After graduating from Oxford, Bernard O’Keeffe worked in advertising before training as a teacher. He taught for many years, first in a North London comprehensive, then at Radley College, where he was Head of English, and most recently at St Paul’s School in London, where he was Head of Sixth Form.

He has reviewed fiction for Literary Review and The Oxford Times and, as an editor of The English Review, has written over a hundred articles for A Level students on subjects ranging from Nick Hornby and Roddy Doyle to Jane Austen and Shakespeare. In 2013 he published his first novel, ‘No Regrets’.

Website: http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/

Twitter : @BernardOKeeffe1

 

 

Posted in 5*, Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Childhood Classic, Debut Book, Historical Fiction, Memoir / True Story, Monthly Round Up, Seasonal, Young Adult

2018 – A Small Chink out of my TBR Pile!

I have had an absolutely amazing year for reading, I have smashed my target of 100 books which I thought was optimistic when I set it and have been lucky enough to read some truly amazing and memorable reads that have stayed with me.
I have been trying to think about my Top 5-10 books for the year and it is so hard to decide and so I am still debating if I can actually condense it down into a few books that are my absolute favourites.
So far as of mid December I have read 109 books which translates to a massive 31892 pages! This is a number that will continue to increase as I am planning on some major reading sessions over the Christmas holidays as that is my favourite way to relax.
Here is a visual summary of the books I have read so far in 2018, this is a mixture of authors I have read before and loved, some cherry pop reads and some debut releases!
If you are looking for a read over the festive season I can promise that all of the books featured above are all fantastic reads with a bit of something for everyone and I am really excited to see what new releases 2019 will have to offer!