Review and #TeamNice Giveaway: One Small Act Of Kindness by Lucy Dillon

What can you do to make the world a better place?
If you follow me on Twitter (I’m @magic_kitten – come and say hello!) you might have noticed me tweeting about #TeamNice. If you want to know all the details, head over to http://www.teamnicehq.com but – long story short – this was a hashtag inspired by a customised necklace and a desire to spread more positivity on social media, to counteract the outrage and keyboard warriors. This snowballed into a Month of Kindness throughout February, with a suggested ‘small act of kindness’ for each day of the month.

Those eagle-eyed people in the Hodder marketing department (who kindly had me pop in for a couple of weeks interning before Christmas) did spot the hashtag and have joined #TeamNice with a small act of kindness of their own. One Small Act of Kindness, the new novel from Lucy Dillon, will be published in April this year, but I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak while I was in the office. They’ve kindly provided a copy for me to give away here as we bring our Month of Kindness to a close. If you like the sound of it from my review, I’d love you to enter and become part of #TeamNice too! Continue reading “Review and #TeamNice Giveaway: One Small Act Of Kindness by Lucy Dillon”

Review: Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

Lara’s life is far from perfect, but being an upbeat kind of person she saves her venting for her diary. It’s the only place she can let out her true feelings about the family dramas and hideous bullying she has to face every day.
And then a shining light comes out of the darkness – the new, young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with.
The one person who can never love her back…can he?
Continue reading “Review: Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre”

Review: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. 

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. 

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long… Continue reading “Review: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson”

Review: No True Echo by Gareth P Jones

Eddie is pretty certain nowhere could be more small-town, more boring, and more inconsequential than his home town of the Wellcome Valley. Unfortunately, he is about to be proved spectacularly wrong.

Eddie’s problems start when he sees his teacher getting shot (possibly with an elastic band) and then promptly vanish into thin air. Or maybe they start just a little bit before then, with the arrival of Scarlett, a new girl in town who seems rather too confident and mysterious for your average schoolgirl. She attracts trouble (and Eddie) like a magnet, and she’s apparently only interested in two very strange things – protecting the local crackpot scientist, Dr Wolf, and telling Eddie absolutely nothing about what on earth is going on. Because things quickly go from weird to worse for Eddie, and he’s about to find himself in the middle of a dangerous battle for the fate of not just himself, Scarlett and the town – but Time itself. Continue reading “Review: No True Echo by Gareth P Jones”

Review: The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner

Sixteen-year-old AJ Flynn holds a key is his hand. It has his name and date of birth on it. But it’s a key to a door that leads to where? Or when?
On the other side of the door is a tumbledown house, a city booming with trade, and a murder mystery that echoes through the centuries.
AJ steps through the door and finds himself at the centre of it all. It is London and it is 1830.
Life is tough in 1830 – sickness murder and crime abound – but is it so different from the London of now that AJ and his friends know?
AJ needs to find the answers to the mystery and decide where he belongs.
Continue reading “Review: The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner”

Podcast: Our Books of 2014

Here’s our final podcast of 2014, looking back over the books we’ve read and enjoyed this year. Some of the books are older, some were published in 2014, some we’ve mentioned earlier in the year, but all have been books that we can recommend! Kate has cheated unrepentently but only because there were so many books she couldn’t omit – we’ve both had a great year of reading. Continue reading “Podcast: Our Books of 2014”

#BalletYA: Edward Scissorhands at Sadler’s Wells

Yesterday evening, a select group of YA-lovers gathered to enjoy an evening of fantastic dance and storytelling. Edward Scissorhands is Sadler’s Wells’ Christmas ballet this year. I had seen it once previously, during its first run, but having hugely enjoyed recent New Adventures revivals including Matthew Bourne’s iconic Swan Lake, as well as his magical reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, I was excited to see how this unusual adaptation of a Tim Burton film would have evolved. Continue reading “#BalletYA: Edward Scissorhands at Sadler’s Wells”

Lush Bubble Bars and Bath Bombs: the ultimate bath-reading accessories?

A lot of people love nothing better than a cup of tea, a book and a bath. I must admit that in the past I’ve always been more of a showers girl, but now I’m embracing the joy of reading in the bath under Rob’s expert tuition. Of course, any bath should be a real treat, so here are some recommendations for relaxing and luxurious bath products from Lush to make your bath-reading complete.

Continue reading “Lush Bubble Bars and Bath Bombs: the ultimate bath-reading accessories?”

Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?
Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. But I never expected Oz to look like this. A place where Good Witches can’t be trusted and Wicked Witches may just be the good guys. A place where even the yellow brick road is crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy.
My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I’ve been given a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
And then – Dorothy must die.
Continue reading “Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige”

Review: Blood’s Pride by Eve Manieri, Book 1 of the Shattered Kingdoms series

Generations have passed since the Norlanders’ great ships bore down on Shadar, and the Dead Ones slashed and burned the city into submission, enslaving the Shadari people.
Now the Norlander governor is dying, and as his three children struggle against the crushing isolation of their lives in the desert, the time has come for the Shadari to fight back – and they have a secret weapon: the Mongrel, an unbeaten mercenary warrior.

But the Mongrel’s terms are unsettling, she will name her price only after the Norlanders have been defeated, leaving the Shadari to decide: is the price too high for freedom? Continue reading “Review: Blood’s Pride by Eve Manieri, Book 1 of the Shattered Kingdoms series”

Review: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too.’

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning. Continue reading “Review: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce”