2018, book, organisation, planning, Uncategorized, yaliterature

How I organise my evergrowing TBR

Before I began this blog, I had a large TBR which mostly consisted of books I’d been given and just never gotten around to reading. However, when I started this blog my number of books rapidly increased from events (YALC), competitions, a rare bit of book mail and buying more books myself. The difference now is that I get severe reader guilt when I don’t read the ARC I won, or fail to read a book I got in subscription box or really guilt over not reading what I own. Hence, severe reading slumps as I battled between my physical TBR, the latest releases, and Netgalley. So, in the past months, I have been honest with myself over what I will read and reduced my collection significantly. Despite it I was still left pretty unaccountable to the reality of how many unread books I owned, therefore, I have reorganised my TBR a process I decided to take you along for- Enjoy 😊

Where I began

The unhaul left me with a maybe pile which consisted of books I felt I perhaps wouldn’t get to but was unkeen to give them up what I like to call my ditch or keep collection where if not within a year they had to go. Which, let’s be honest was down to the infamous allure of a pretty cover, or a classic case of reader guilt induced by hype. This pile took me to reassess my book storage, to ensure that most of the books I haven’t read are on my TBR shelf.


From there, I resorted my shelves. The top of the TBR shelf mostly containing my ditch or keep books, the second shelf being I Want To Read and the third is well those awkwardly tall books. My shelf outside my room was sorted into having: read, Want To Re-Read and Partially Read Series. This left me with my cubby hole shelves where all I did was place the unread books to the front- sadly I have no room and have to resort to double stacking.

IMG_1876 edit


I left myself with this system for the Summer to see if it ensured I actually read my physical TBR, especially after my massive YALC haul.  Did it? Nope. I sat there my sofa not just a week ago and nearly bought all of Lara Jean books by Jenny Han. Despite the fact I have no room and have all these other books. Then I realised I needed to reassess. That’s not saying I’m not going to buy them just when I’ve read more of what I have.

What I wanted? An efficient way no matter if I’m at University or at home to know what books I have to read which does not push me into a slump of guilt.




Solution: Goodreads

I recently learned there is a scan feature on the app so I sat for about 40 minutes scanning all my books. I spilt these into four lists:

  • TBR 1: This is books I Want to Read and own.
  • TBR 2: My ditch or keep books, I have to read them within in a year or they are ditched.
  • Re-read: This consists of, mostly, series I wish to re-read.
  • Harry Potter: These are the Harry Potter books I wish to re-read in their differing formats.


So far, I like the system and I definitely think I will appreciate it once I’m back at university. I think the downside is the upkeep and remembering to catalog my books but I feel with this structure it may work out. I also hope it will provide this with more structure as I desperately want to return to a regular uploading schedule.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading out my organisation process and found the fact I undid the shelves to get that one photo as amusing as I have- How do you organise your TBR?

2018, book, Uncategorized, yaliterature

YALC 2018: Wrap Up

Last year, attending YALC was one of the highlights of my year so this year I knew I had to go again and I decided to attend the whole weekend. My TBR was a complete fail but I was more organised and took more advantage of the event rather than putting my efforts in beforehand. It was absolutely exhausting and I’m not certain I’ll do all three days next year- but surviving the horrific heat and battling travelling chaos was all worth it. So, here’s my wrap up.


This year there were fewer authors I had an interest in meeting which meant I focused more on the stalls and other aspects. However, I can say that by Sunday I believe I learnt the art of queuing. As I said last year I learn I’m just too impatient to queue, however, on the Sunday I managed to time it all perfectly that my friend and I only queued for Holly Bourne for 20 minutes! In the end I attended planning to have books singed by Louise O’Neil, Laura Steven, Marieke Nijkamp Vic James and Holly Bourne. In the end on the Saturday I decided to queue to have my copy of Floored signed I’m still two authors short of having the seven but in the end I chose to have lunch instead. I also must note it was amazing to see authors, particularly Laura Steven, become really excited. I feel like witnessing their joy about the event and the attendees showed that their readers are more than numbers.


The only down side to the queuing this year was that they only ran efficiently on Sunday. On the other days there was lack of turning ridiculously long queues into virtual queuing and poor treatment of disabled attendees. Something I feel needs significant improvement for next year. By Sunday, however, there was a significant improvement (or at least that’s what I saw) in terms of queues.

Agents Area

This year I took full advantage of this on the Friday and attended the workshops on How to Write a Covering Letter and a Pitch as well as the How to Get Published Talk. These were thoroughly informative and next year I hope to attend some more to learn more about the industry. I really hope this area never leaves the event as I think it’s a great way for us as readers to access information which is otherwise tricky to find.


Last year I mentioned I regretted not attending more of these so this year I planned more to attend. I think , just like the singings, these only worked smoothly on the Sunday that was the only day singning up was required. Whereas, on the Saturday I had to queue about 30 minutes before hand and hope I was within the limit of attendees. .  In total attended four: The MuggleNet Potter Party, Alice Skinner: Stop! Disrupt! Listen!, Holly Bourne’s: Camp Reset, … Secret’s of The Alchemist Workshop.

In the Mugglenet workshop I was taught how to make a Mandrake and it was then I learnt that part of the enjoyment of these workshops was talking to other attendees as you, often, struggled to complete the task.


I decided to attend Alice Skinner’s workshop because after flicking through her book I was impressed by it and how it was trying to engage young people with politics. There we made protest boards, see mine below, a clever engaging task which was a nice break from the chaos of YALC. My slogans weren’t great, but I did manage to squeeze in literary link.

With Holly Bourne’s workshop I was worried I wouldn’t manage to get a space as my friend was joining me on that day just for that workshop- a lot of pressure. But we had success! And let’s just say my origami skills were lacking and another attendee had to fix my work.

My friend and I decided to sign up to Sarah Holland’s Alchemist Worshop as it sounded like a fun activity. We had a blast! Just sitting their mixing things that shouldn’t go together to make a drink. In the end mine consisted of: Coconut Water, Lemonade, Glitter, Lime Juice and Skittles. It was fine until I reached the skittles then I was gagging.


This year I loved the increase in stalls and the variety. My personal favorite was Penguin’s Penguin theme it perfectly fitted with their books. The lockers were really neat with each having a different book to promote. To top it off there was the year book something I would describe as a genius marketing technique and can say with certainty it caused me to buy one of the books- I will 100% not be the only one. They also with Mind created a quiet space something which was lacking last year. Instead this year there was a more secluded designated with improved seating.


  • Speaking to more people around the convention. Last year, I really failed at this but this I managed to speak to quite a few I ended up bumping into each day.
  • BKMRK’s YALC Survival Kit. It was my saviour for the heat.
  • Managing to get copies of both Izzy and Tristian and Devoted. I desperately wanted both of these and was so excited to get my hands on them.
  • Meeting up with ProbabilityReading. Last we met at the convention and it was great to see her again!
  • Meeting Vic James. I only just read her book, but I was in love and was so excited to meet her! She was so friendly, and it was so nice to talk to her about holding her book for the first time; as my copy of Gilded Cage is an arc I won.
  • Talking to publishers- another thing I didn’t do last year. But this year I rectified the error and talked to them about the books especially the ones I’d already read.
  • Spending the Sunday with one of my best friends. I persuaded her to attend as Holly Bourne was attending and it was great to a) show her my obsession and b) to introduce someone to the wonders of YALC.
  • Going down to ComicCon. There I bought deathly Hallows and began my Pop Vinyl Figure collection with a Maz Kanata and a mini Severus Snape.
  • Spotting ReadbyZoe on the tube. I mean I didn’t say anything, but it was just exciting to see her.
  • The Vic James Afternoon Tea- those cupcakes were too die for.
  • The sales on the Sunday- I ended up buying two books of Andersen Press for £1; Bargin!
  • The amount of metal pins- They are so cute and I cannot wait to attach them to my denim jacket!
  • The live Evan Hansen performance.




As you can see I picked up a lot of stuff! In my defense it is not completely because I’m a free stuff fanatic I do collect pretty images to use as home decor.In terms of my favorite freebies they have to be: Laura Dockrill food postcards, the Star Wars postcard from Quirk Books, The Feminists Don’t Wear Pink sampler and the Fated Sampler.


Now for a focus on the books I collected. The left is what I bought, the middle the arcs I won and the right the books I took. So far, I’ve read both Floored and Darkest Minds and I can say my bookshelf has a new vibrancy.

So, did you attend- if so please let me no what you got! And which book should I read next.

2018, art, author, book review, Uncategorized, yaliterature

Try 50 Pages: YALC 2018 Edition

As YALC is less than a week away I thought it was about time I released an update on my reading so far. If you couldn’t already tell from my lack of YALC posts, compared to last year’s never-ending posts, I have been in a major reading slump. However, I am slowly recovering from this devasting turn of events. So, to prepare I got 18 books out of the library, I think I have a problem, and read 50 pages of most of them. Then I had to decide whether to continue, stop and have some initial thoughts. An initial note despite wishing to continue some I have decided to prioritise some over others.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

This one I managed to get my hands on last year and when I saw Mellissa Albert was attending it rose to the top of my TBR. After 50 pages I continued the book- I was intrigued by the dark and twisty fairy tale plot and intrigued to understand who the true culprit was. And as of posting this I have about 20 pages left, and I feel it is unlikely that I will finish them. For some reason despite the fact this book has all the components to be my perfect book halfway through I didn’t like it. I kept going and the more I read honestly the more I hated it. But I am very much looking forward to the film adaption!

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I have always heard of Alice Oseman’s books and wanted to read them but never had much of an interest in the premise. However, when I heard about I was Born For This it went straight to my TBR; I just love books surrounding music. Initially I was unsure of the book, however, when I reached the 50 page mark I definitely wanted to read till the end. I really love the diversity and how its used. Rather than it being the token characters of sexuality or race to appear diverse they are characters who happen to be Muslim and happen to be Transgender. The characters express real concerns and issues which are very relatable but not in a ‘how do young people act, how can we help them’ fashion. Instead Oseman, creates very authentic voices which are very exact and honest. I really hope to finish this before next week!




Editing Emma by Chole Seager

I remember the popularity surrounding this book at YALC last year. The I added it onto the liberal reserve list and after 50 pages I had no interest in continuing. I read it and thought: I like the style, I can see why its funny, its different. But I feel like for me it was just not my sense of humour.

The Revolution Handbook by Alice Skinner

Now this isn’t a book you read so I was actually just giving it a flick through. However, I felt like it deserved a mention because I really loved the simplistic drawings. The bold black lines went through a simple narrative of starting a revolution in fact its just about evoking change and inspiring the reader to be involved. And during this political climate I think books like this are an interesting idea and perhaps necessary in stirring young people into having an interest in social and political issues.

Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery by Keren David

When I found this book, whilst searching for books by…., I was honestly gagging to read it because if you didn’t know last year due to YALC, I read my first contemporary novel. Windfall- all about the lottery. So, this seemed right up my street. But after 50 pages I wasn’t gripped in the same way. I think it just came down to me comparing it to my love for Windfall and just having other books which interested me more.

starfishartStarfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

I had heard about this months ago and it instantly, when the YALC line up was announced, rose in my TBR. After 50 pages, I’m loving it! The perspective of an Asian individual is rarely shown, and I like that her race is not the sole focus of the book. Instead the narrative following her relationship with her family and her difficulties became the focus. Will I continue? Yes! I really hope to finish this before I attend the convention.

Unboxed by Non Pratt

Like Alice Oseman I had heard of her work but never picked it up. I thought this year was the time for this to change. I chose this simply because it was short and thought if I love it I will pick up one of her longer books. Since it was short I finished the little book and yes, I enjoyed it but I wasn’t gagging to read more by the author and decided this short taster was enough.

Misfit by Charli Howard

When I reserved this book, I had no idea what it was about and when I started I was surprised when I realised it was non-fiction.  Rather than read 50 pages I chose to read a couple of chapters which interested me.  I really think this book is brilliant it has a humorous undertone where Howard reflects back on the hilarity of her embarrassing actions as a child or she emphasises the stupidity. It is a raw perspective I really enjoyed, and I plan to read more in the future; perhaps not before the convention.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

I bought this last year and never got around to reading it but I did create a nail art look. Then came the time to read it I read 50 pages and well I didn’t put it down. It just had this addictive quality where I had to know what would happen. I absolutely loved this and thought it was a very fun read!

There is my YALC reading with less than a week to go! How has your preparation been going? And what are your thoughts on the addition of more graphics and art to my posts ?

book, favourites, review, Uncategorized

A – Z Bookish Survey

This is a tag I saw circulate every so often and have always wanted to do it. Then I sat here with a complete mental block on what to post. I have YALC posts under construction but not completed then I found this and I was instantly inspired. So here is my A-Z Bookish Survey!- Enjoy 😊

Author you’ve read the most books from:

This would have to be, like most YA fans, Cassandra Clare. I have read 10 of her books which I did love at the time but now I have honestly out grown them. Despite this I think they are great, fun and addictive novels.

However, considering I am no longer a significant fan I feel my mass reading of J. K Rowling (no explanation needed), Teri Terry and Louise O’Neil deserve a special mention. Teri Terry- I was introduced to her by my friend and since then I have read, nearly, all of her books. Then Louise O’Neil I am genuinely obsessed! I count down the days for her next release! Each of her books creates such a meaningful and important message which always causes me to evaluate my own views on controversial issues.

Best Sequel Ever:

For me the judgement of a great sequel is whether you are desperate to read the following book and if you consider it to be better than book one. This would, without a doubt, be The Dark Days Pact by  Alison Goodman. It made me fall further in love with the series and become absolutely desperate to read the final instalment.

Currently Reading:

I am currently reading many books in preparation for YALC.  I was Born for this by Alice Oseman is the main focus.

Drink of Choice While Reading:

When I read I usually start with a drink, often black tea, and then forget about it. So, although I have one it is rarely finished.

E-Reader or Physical Book?

Absolutely a physical book. Recently I have started using the kindle app on my phone and have grown to enjoy it. But nothing beats reading from a physical book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Genuinely, no idea.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Immediately when I read this I thought of City of Halves by Lucy Ingils.  This was a book I received from the old Guardian Children’s Book Programme and thought the blurb screamed cliché. But I decided to give it a go. The best decision ever. I know the reviews of this are mixed, but I just love the historical context used it brings the city of London to life!

Hidden Gem Book:

The Red Queen series. They are popular but they also over the years have received a lot of dislike for the use of tropes. So why is it a hidden Gem? People fail to continue the books and miss the even better later books which are not just a typical YA fantasy.

Important Moment In Your Reading Life:

When I was read Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. She was the first author I became obsessed with and did nothing but read her for months.

Just Finished:

Unboxed by Non Pratt.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I won’t read books about witchcraft. Can’t explain I just never end up liking them.

Longest Book You’ve Ever Read:

Maybe a Harry Potter novel? I just don’t know because I have read many which are large but the font is bigger than lets say a book 100 pages shorter so its difficult to compare.

Major Book Hangover Because of:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. After reading this I was left bereft and I was lost for words. Just brilliant.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

4- One proper small one as my bedside table, a set of cubes which stack to be shelves, so I label this as two and outside by room I have cupboards where I use the top as one very long shelf. I also have the use of some shelves on some family book cases and some shelves at university.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

For this it would have to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling. This is hands down my favourite of the series and I rarely re-read books; but this is the exception.

Preferred Place To Read:

In bed amongst a horde of cushions and a blanket.

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:

I don’t often remember quotes from books or relate to them. One I do remember is:

‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light’- Harry Potter

Reading Regret:

I don’t have any books I regret reading but I do have things I regret doing. Like, not reading more classics or recording my reads earlier.

Series You Started and Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

The Percy Jackson books. I need to finish them! I loved them, and they just kept getting better but I keep starting the fourth and then forgetting. So, by the end of 2018 I will finish them!

Three of your All-Time Favourite Books:

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

The third and final book in the Lady Helen series. I need to know how it ends! I was left with such a heart-breaking end I need closure.

Worst Bookish Habit:

I am very hot and cold with reading. I am either non-stop reading or just don’t read something I am desperate to change.

Your Latest Book Purchase:

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Asking For It by Lousie O’Neil

There it is a quick-fire round of bookish question which should help you get to know me better. So what is your worst bookish habit? Or a book you think I just need to read!?

2018, author, book, book review, Uncategorized

War Storm (Red Queen 4) by Victoria Aveyard: Review

As I entered 2018 I knew it would be a difficult. I had to part with two of my favourite series: Red Queen and The Dark Days Club. I truly don’t know how I will say goodbye well I do I will just start again! In terms of Red Queen, I have been a fan since the second book, Silver Sword, came out in 2016. As soon as I read them I didn’t know how would cope with waiting a year for Cruel Crown then another year for this finale. It was difficult. Now I have entered the stage of grief knowing it is all over. To celebrate here is a culmination of my thoughts possibly a review but it seems to be its more of an organised ramble. Be warned many spoilers ahead.

Why I Love them?

Looking back, I can accept the earlier books were a bit cliché; a revolution about class and race with a poor girl rising up into a protagonist who grew to become distant and cold. Sounds like many YA series yet I feel like Victoria Aveyard changed these tropes. I mean the twist in the first book with Maven not being that sweet boy was explosive. Epically with the manipulative scene controlling Cal to murder his beloved father! Then his iconic development into a truly manipulative nasty genius villain was beautiful to witness. This series to me, as it went on, has grown to having a dark undertone I mean Mare being held captive and branded is not typical. A tone which I grew to adore.

Now I am rambling failing to get to the point which is why did I become so attached to these books. I loved the Machiavellian aspect. That someone was always behind the scenes pulling the strings and as a reader I was never told till, usually, it was too late for the “good” people to change the events.  Like when Cal’s grandmother arrived to rearrange a marriage to Evangeline without his consent what a twist.

But my best example truly is Evangeline. In book 1 I loved her elegant clothes the idea she wore ballgowns out of metal was just so bad ass. But I hated her. She was cruel, cold and calculating and truly seemed to be Mare’s enemy. In Book 2 I thought she was again just the enemy with nothing else except wicked battle skills. But then in book 3 I encountered her perspective and realised she was not a villain. She became strong, brave and badass in beautiful ballgowns. Then in this finale I love her! Hands down my favourite character. Evangeline became a victim of the game someone who just wanted to be herself and accepted that those she thought were her enemy were in fact her allies. She became an example of how people change and well she is just badass.


Now I have rambled over and over about Evangeline I feel this manipulative arsehole definitely needs a note. He was well a perfect villain. Why? It wasn’t clear cut. Was he a nasty violent king or should we see the vulnerable boy who was controlled by his mother? He was broken so his he like Mare a victim of the system? The answer is you just don’t know making him a constant debate for the characters. Let alone the stupid desire of Cal to desperately save his beloved younger brother when in fact that little boy he loved was lost forever. Quite a tragic end for a villain.

Thoughts I had on the finale


Well she was never my favourite character but with this book she grew on me. She always wined too much and was always the aloof cold heroine which is often created in YA fiction. Yet by this finale Mare seemed to have outgrown her angst and instead ensured her fight for equality was fought for It was an interesting blossom from the girl who pretended to be Mareena the long lost princess as she the end grew to become a girl worthy of the title.

Having a Cal and Maven perspective

On this I am undecided. I really enjoyed it and thought especially with Cal that it was an accurate voice. But I just was not sure if it was needed. And I think the Maven perspective tried to reflect his declining mind state, but it fell a little flat. It just screamed I am trying to be a lunatic losing his mind rather than a lunatic losing his mind- if that makes sense.


Did I like her no. I thought her perspective was interesting and gave a neat insight into life within the Lakelands something which until then was mentioned rather than truly explored.  And her ability is just so awesome and badass. She rose a sea to flood a fort-impressive much?! However, I thought her doubts about crushing Norta was an idea which was left underdeveloped. Iris clearly doubted her mother’s plans and clearly showed she was a strong woman considering she managed to handle Maven. Yet, her fears were mentioned but not explored they were kind off a side note when her plot could have been equally gripping if as the novel progressed she gained her voice and stood up for her opinions.

Little bits

I loved the fact that the characters were disturbed by the brutality of war; its something I often think lacks in literature. Instead in books we are shown them happy which yes I want that- who doesn’t want to know that everyone is ok. But I ,as a reader, appreciate the recognition of the fact war causes gruesome acts which can’t just be brushed under the rug and in fact in this case its shown that a lot of time will be needed to heal those wounds.

The moving of locations. Through the fact the conflict kept moving there was anew insight into the foreign nations let alone the smaller communities within Norta. It gave a wider perspective of this world something I loved.

Julian and Annabel. I loved their partnership because the whole way through it seemed Annabel was the one in charge pulling the strings; she clearly thought so too. The one with fire on her side a past general determined to protect the crown. And throughout Julian appeared to support that. Yet by the end it became apparent he was playing the long game and had played them all by pulling away what they had fought for to complete his own agenda. His sister’s wishes that Cal would not be king.

The Plot

I loved it! It was a brilliant mix of political games, conflict, revolution, diplomatic relations, family conflict, acceptance of self and romance. So much was fitted into a book which I entered thinking it would mostly be about war. I loved the arc of Evangeline and how Mare realised she had to find herself before she became an anything with Cal. I like the realisation that Maven could never be saved, however, his initial down fall was a little flat. One minute he was there the next taken with little struggle. The other aspect which fell flat was the retreat of the Lakelands one minute they were winning and raising hell the next due to the addition of a submarine they just left.

However, the awkward tense encounters in the council were just beautiful. The conflict between the Red Dawn and Cal. The tension surrounding Evangeline and her parents her slow rebellion. These small scenes built the book into having multiple dimensions; not just an explosive finale.

What would I want next?

I want a short story collection about what happened to some of them next an epilogue; kinda. The people would be:

  • Evangeline finally happy in…
  • Iris and her struggle with the rebellions in the Lakelands
  • Kilorn and his return to the Stilts
  • Cameron and her reconstruction of the Tech Slums
  • Farley finally with Clara seeing her as a mother
  • Cal seeing his battle with thinking he now has nothing
  • And one about the construction of a government to see who takes charge- I vote Julian or Farley

I hope you enjoyed or even understand my passionate ramblings about this series drawing a close. I would love to know what your thoughts are on the Red Queen novels.

author, book review, review, Uncategorized, yaliterature

‘The Exact Opposite of Okay’ by Laura Steven

I initially heard about this book at YALC and have since then been desperate to read it; I just knew it would be phenomenal! Then when I decided to finally join NetGalley I was ecstatic to receive a copy which I demolished in a day!


Synopsis from Goodreads35817737

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…


Where do I even begin! This book is one of those that you want everyone to read and know that everyone should read it. The themes explored by Steven from poverty to sex and inequality are highly prevalent today. When I had finished the book, I sat and told my sister ‘This is the book! The one has been needed in YA.’ For me something that has always lacked in YA is a true representation of teenager’s sex lives without it feeling uncomfortable and awkward. Instead Steven shows that these actions are normal

The idea that a man’s sexual conquest is praised yet a woman is slut shamed for the same action is true; a theme which is rarely touched upon in such a raw fashion. The public shaming of Izzy is the cruel extreme of what many women live with. Rather than her actions be applauded, if she were a guy, they are shamed in the form of revenge porn resulting in her life taking a downward spiral.

In one sentence: A feminist, empowering book which is vital for teenagers to understand.


IMG_1921 (1)


What I liked

  • The humour the book was side splittingly funny- ‘Baxter, is he the arrogant mofo with the micro-penis complex?
  • Izzy- Her sarcasm was comedy gold and how she was so devoted to her best friend. It was beautiful! But by far by favourite aspect was her wisdom. Izzy had a brutally honest commentary on societies treatment of women. ‘boys will be boys, and girls will be sluts.’
  • The “nice” guy aspect. Danny is depicted, initially, as the classic best friend who falls in love with his childhood mate, however, the difference with this is that Steven shows that being well intentioned does not mean you are the person in the right. That showering anyone with gifts does not equate to love and that being their friend does not equate to them being your possession.
  • Pop culture references. My favourite being the anecdote about her dog being called Dumbledore and the tale Izzy will tell once he dies.
  • How it was an honest representation of teenagers rather than the PC version I often encounter with YA where they are shown to be how parents hope them to behave rather than the reality. Or you get the complex heroic protagonist who saves the world at the mere age of 16. Now don’t get be wrong I love those books they have their place but something like this book is refreshing. It has a honest raw depicition which I can see many relating to.


What I didn’t like

  • Nothing, I loved it all! Perhaps there are flaws here and there but to me there is nada.

I hope after this you hunt this book down and demolish it! Have you read a phenomenal books recently which transformed your view ? Let me know in the comments!

author, book, politics, publishing, Uncategorized, yaliterature

What is a Political (YA) Novel ? by Catherine Barter

Today’s post is something very different and very exciting! To promote YA Shot I have been lucky enough to take part in this blog tour. For this stop I have been really fortunate and given the opportunity to work with Catherine Barter, the wonderful author of Troublemakers. I gave Catherine a vague idea of the themes she could potentially discuss; she chose politics and YA.  Enjoy 😊 

What is a political (YA) novel?

This year’s YA Shot is human rights themed. I couldn’t be more excited to take part, and to go to some of the panels and discussions. The topics are things like Power, privilege & inequality, Whose stories get told? Who tells them?, and If we didn’t have human rights.

Sounds amazing, right? These are such urgent and necessary topics to talk about right now, in relation to arts across the board – film, fiction, poetry, TV and theatre. But it feels to me like YA and children’s books are becoming a front line for politics in literature. Certainly political topics are all over the place in YA literature right now: from The Hate U Giveto Things a Bright Girl Can Do to recent anthologies like Make More Noise(a collection of short stories celebrating girls and women). And it looks like there’ll be plenty of politics in YA in 2018 too: Nikesh Shukla’s forthcoming YA novel Run Riot, which deals with gentrification, is one I’m especially excited about.


When my first book, Troublemakers, came out last year, I was lucky to be invited to take part in some conversations and panels about politics in YA, and to write a few pieces recommending political books for young people. It was timely – by chance, Troublemakers came out in the same month as an unexpected general election. And I work in a political bookshop where I’ve been trying to grow our children’s books section, so it was a topic that was on my mind.

Troublemakers features a fifteen year old girl who is trying to find out about her political activist mother; her brother, also her guardian, is working for an opportunistic politician who is running for Mayor of London, which is driving a wedge between him and his partner, Nick, a lefty vegetarian type who runs a Fairtrade Coffee Shop.

So, no doubt, there’s lots of politics in this book.

But it all got me wondering: is Troublemakers a political novel? Actually, I’m not sure. What is a political novel, anyway?


On one hand: all novels are political. Who gets published, and who doesn’t, is political. Who defines the qualities of ‘good’ literature, and the impact of that on things like book prizes, is political. This is true for all of the book world, but maybe more urgent when it comes to children’s publishing; the impact of stories that are read by young people can last a lifetime.

And for all the conversations about diversity and representation in children’s books, it’s not clear that much progress is being made in making YA more inclusive or reflective of its readership. Mariam Khan’s (@helloiammariam) recent posts on twitter revealing she could only find 9 UKYA books being published by BAME authors in 2018, for instance, was a bleak reminder of the structural inequalities that persist in YA.

So on one hand: everything is political.


But, apart from the wider context in which books are produced, what else makes a novel political?

I asked a group of students a while ago what they thought were the necessary ingredients of a story. A couple of them thought that books ought to have a ‘message’ — a point of some kind, or a moral. A message isn’t necessarily political–it could be something like value your friends or seize the day. But quite often it is. Some of the most famous political novels have a clear message. 1984, for instance, is a thumping critique of totalitarianism. Its message is pretty clear: let’s not do this.

Dystopias, of which there are plenty in YA world, have always been fertile ground for political fiction. Whether it’s through stories about environmental wastelands or brutal dictatorships, dystopic fiction is an obvious place to look for a political message. It has always found ways of offering stark warnings about the darker side of human behaviours.

But clearly, and maybe now more so than ever, political YA novels are not limited to dystopias.

Some of my favourite and the most talked about recent YA novels are explicitly political novels that are set very much in the here and now. Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give is a powerful challenge to racism at all levels of culture, one that ends with a spine-tingling call to arms. Louise O’Neill’s Asking For Itis a blistering critique of rape culture, brave in its subject matter and its refusal to spin a happy ending. Marcus Sedgwick’s Saint Deathoffers up a fierce condemnation of a global capitalist system that creates poverty and destroys lives.

In addition to being evidence that YA is serving up some of the most timely, radical and exciting fiction around, to me there’s no doubt these are political novels, because, in different ways, they challenge the status quo and advocate for change.

That’s not to say they’re didactic–they’re all more nuanced than 1984, if you ask me, and they tell moving stories of families and friendships through rich, complex and real characters. But they’re doing political work, too.


I’d love to write books like this, but I’m not sure that Troublemakers is a political novel, or at least not in the same way. It’s about the toll that political activism can take on people, and it’s about trying to work out your own politics when you’re surrounded by arguing and divisiveness and fear. To me, though, those things are more about politics than political. The most political storyline might be the one involving a politician who takes advantage of the threat of terrorism to grow his own power. This is rife at the moment, it has been for a while, and it’s something I’d like to think the book is critical of–but this storyline isn’t the backbone of the novel. A novel that involves a politician isn’t necessarily a political novel; some kind of message, or advocacy, or challenge to power is necessary, too.


What blurs all these lines is: as an author, you can’t control the meaning that will be created between your book and the reader. You can set out to write whatever you like, but what a reader takes away from a novel will depend on what they brought with them, as much as the author’s intent. An author might not write with a message in mind–but a reader might find one anyway.

This is part of the magic of fiction. Unlike non-fiction books, which are more likely to deal in facts and make fixed arguments, fiction is all about the messy, sparkling, unfixed world of imagination, the mysterious, open place between and reader and a writer where new pathways of thought and empathy are carved out.

Politics is nothing without imagination. So maybe all good novels, whether they explicitly advocate for social change or not, can be radical places, sites of rebellion. Maybe YA could be the most rebellious of all.

Thank you Catherine for creating such a thought provoking piece! From this I have taken so much! From more books to add to my ever growing TBR to never reading YA fiction in the same away again.  Don’t forget to check out my twitter where I will be hosting a giveaway for Catherine’s brilliant novel!

2018, author, book, book review, Uncategorized, yaliterature

The Devil’s Poetry by Louise Cole: Blog Tour

Devil’s Poetry Review

Not that long ago I saw the opportunity to be a part of this blog and at first glance I was unsure. I thought I have to much to do already, do I have time ? and will I really like the book? But I decided to say yes and I am so glad I did!


Questions are dangerous, but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.

Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.


With this book at first, I was bored and struggled to enjoy it. However, after about 50 pages I was hooked and there was no chance of dragging me away!

I think the most interesting aspect of the plot was the over arching presence of war. It had a sense of looming which built suspense throughout. I genuinely believe the theme of WW3 and the presence of nuclear war presents an interesting future showing the importance of the issue today. Cole, successfully creates a realistic future for the world highlighting the importance of past actions and their future consequences; something I think which has great importance today.  Despite its futuristic setting The Devil’s Poetry has a fascinating commentary on the current state of the western world and where it could lead us; a theme not often explored in YA.

Personally, at points I thought the idea of a book saving the universe was cliché and highly implausible. Although, I still think the latter I believe that as the book continued the idea grew into a more realistic image. So I would recommend preserving with this book because it gets better the further you read!

However, I think Cole successfully created a suspenseful fantastical book with characters who you become heavily invested in. The characters are very realistic and have great back stories which instantly explains their actions and behavior.

Overall, I would give this book 3.5 stars. It is a series which has great potential and I am excited to see where it goes next!


2018, bullet journal, flip through, organisation, planning, stationary, Uncategorized

Bullet Journal: Flip Through

At the start of the new year the tradition is to plan, organise and prepare. This year, as always, I enacted this yearly ritual but with a difference. As I have dyspraxia I am inherently disorganised therefore I create multiple systems to ensure I contain my chaos. The issue with this has always been I don’t stick to it! Each year I would buy a pretty diary and by the end of January I had stopped using it. This was always down to having no care in the diary so for me it didn’t matter if I lost it. So, you ask what did I do instead? Used my head. A bad bad plan. It always failed. I always forgot something.

This year I wanted to consistently control my chaos to ensure I was able to balance everything then I could complete everything I wished. I wanted something flexible. This led me to giving in, after all the years of uming and erring, to doing my version of a Bullet Journal. And I know what your thinking but why do you care about this? This is something everyone asks, and the answer is I just do. Perhaps it is the colours, the linear nature or the fact I can keep every list I make; either way it has worked! And it has changed my life! No exaggeration there!

What I Use

The notebook is the LEUCHTTURM1917 with plain pages. I know most people purchase dotted pages, but I felt that dots would constrain me to solely using straight perfect edges. This was something I wished to avoid as I knew it would mean I would spend more time fussing about perfection that focusing on the organisation.

The pen I use is the Uni Pin Fine Line in 0.5. I chose this just because I already used it for illustration and like how it flowed across the page with a consistent black line.

Flip Through


Initially I was not planning o use then but then I realised as I was using not only to plan my present but by future that using this would help me locate these lists.  So occasionally, I update this index ensuring I know when the journal is more filled I can located my lists. 


This page is one I am kind of happy with I love the calligraphy, but the layout is a little sloppy. On the left page are my goals and then a list of key dates. But this is wonky and honestly just a page filler. Then the right page although neat is poorly planes as I just don’t have enough deadlines to fill that page. Any ideas on what I could add? IMG-1315January spread

This by far one of my favourite pages! Everything looks great and makes sense! Once I had made this page I just knew that this journal was the best decision I had made of 2018. The way I have chosen to lay out my monthly pages is to separate university and my blog; my two priorities. Each month I plan to keep this layout and continue to use the colour coding laid out here but each time have a different piece of decal. IMG-1320

A list

I have to admit this page does look rather chaotic. I initially attempted to makes this look arty but then I decided to face the fact that endless lists are just not pretty.IMG-1321

My first weekly spread

And after the week was inspired by spreads I had found online and after the week was complete I realised this layout did not suit my organisational needs.  The to do list is too narrow and the days are not constrained enough therefore there was no structure forcing me to be on top of my work. IMG-1323

Future lists

These lists are some of my favourite aspects of having my journal because it firstly allows me to keep on top of my plans and reminds me that I wish to do these things. I personally created:

–          A list of purchases I wish to make with a separate section for books.

–          A list of what food I order online to ensure I don’t double purchase.

–          An expenses page which is rough list of my larger expenditures.

–          A to be read/watched page which is personally my favourite.


My new weekly layout

I love the structure and flexibility this layout provides. The decision to have a whole page dedicated to my to do list allows me to keep track with everything as often when placed unto a day an activity does not take place. Then the table structure and use of color-coding with events ensures I can quickly garner what I have to do in the coming days. IMG-1327

This bullet journal has changed my life I now can keep on top of all my life and rarely forget to do anything! If you are also stuck on how to take charge pf your life take a leap of faith and join the bullet journal band waggon.

Beauty, book, book review, Nail art, Nail Polish, Uncategorized, yaliterature

My Thoughts: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

IMG_1190After winning Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu over on twitter form the lovely BKMRK I decided I had to create some content surrounding it. At first, I considered a nail look but then I realised explaining how I created my last nail art was something I found dull. So, instead I have created a post on my thoughts accompanied by some nail art which this unbelievably fantastic book inspired me to create. #MoxieGirlsFightBack



Vivian Carter lives in an ordinary and, in her view, boring Southern town. Everything is the IMG_1193same the attitudes, the behaviour; nothing has changed since her mom was her age. Viv has always been viewed as a good girl the complete opposite to her mom who was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Grrrl in the 90s. But one day she awakes fed up. She is done! Done with her high school teachers who place the football team on a pedestal in their eyes they can do no wrong. Done with the sexist dress codes, disgusting comments from the guys in her class mates and mostly done with always having to follow the rules.

Viv takes inspiration from her mom’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine which she anonymously distributes to her classmates. For her it’s a way to blow off steam but her classmates respond and become inspired and take up the gauntlet thrown by Moxie.

 A novel of empowering female friendships which creates a page-turning feminist message which everyone should acknowledge and read!




When I heard of Moxie I knew I had to pick it up! When I did I was beyond amazed! Blown away in fact! It’s a fiercely feminist read that I wish had existed when I was 15! Mathieu creates an interesting perspective of the small-town girl’s feminist journey from the good quiet girl to the brave confident protestor!

I personally related to the journey of Viv how she went from accepting that she was resigned to IMG_1191 the behaviour and attitudes of her High School. Only, to be infuriated enough to act not only act but become the architect of a movement!  For me it felt like a a book where the reader would take a journey. Starting as a feminist believer without an understanding of the causal sexism only to end awoken to sexism which takes place around them. This journey is more than inspiring its fascinating and highlights to all young girls out that these attitudes should be challenged and are definitely not the norm!

I was captivated the most by the different female narrative Mathieu follows. Although, it perhaps could have been more interesting to write from the other characters’ perspective alongside Vivian’s.  Despite this their voices like the perspective the female football player highlights the issues of race in a small town and the discrimination against female sports. The voice of her childhood best friend highlights how many teenage girls dismiss themselves as not feminists showing the misconceptions of the term. Whilst shinning a light of the transition from non to feminist and the though process behind that.

Finally, the most important plot Mathieu explored was sexual assault and the stigma surrounding it. The background of a small town cantered around American Football emphasised the negative culture this environment can potentially perpetuate and how people can burst this bubble. She creates an empowering message about female friendships portraying strength and confidence reinforces  the idea that “girls are a revolutionary soul force that can change the world for real.” Which by the way is the best line in the book!


Inspired by the novel I created my own Moxie look.



Products I used:

·          Kiko Milano White Look Base Coat

·          Kiko Milano Tropic Heat Nail Lacquer

·          BarryM Nail Art Pen in Black and White

·          BarryM Plumpy Hi Shine Topcoat


I would love to know if you have any fabulous feminist reading recommendations? If you want to see more nail looks go follow by Instagram which can be found below! Have a great weekend!