Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell make his YA debut with Spellslinger, published in the UK by Hot Key Books. Spellslinger, as de Castell mentions on the book’s Goodreads page, is the first in a planned six-part series. Existing fans will be pleased to hear it takes place in the same universe as his Greatcoats series, but in another part of that world, in a place that felt – to me – a bit like a combination of the very masculine Wild West and Classical or Middle Eastern magical mythology. Kellen, our main character, seems destined not to succeed as a powerful mage like his father, while his friends gain their magic and pass trials around him. However, he discovers something more sinister is afoot, and eventually uncovers a conspiracy that could destroy his family and homeland. Continue reading “Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell”

When the real world is a dystopia, here’s what to read

A lot of people have been searching for a book to make sense of the world in the last week, and 1984 by George Orwell has soared up the charts. What people looking for tips may not realise is that things don’t work out so well for the main character, despite the fact that it’s one of the best-known dystopian novels of recent times. I wanted to recommend some alternative choices from women and writers of colour whose stories will strike a chord and who deserve to be read more widely. Continue reading “When the real world is a dystopia, here’s what to read”

YA Podcast: Recommending great BAME YA

This month, Kate and Darran recommend great YA books by BAME authors, and chat about the politics behind why it’s important. It’s a bit of a political episode, as it goes, given recent events around the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile and the following protests in the US, and the rise in incidents of racist abuse in the UK following the EU referendum. We wanted to use the platform we have to champion BAME authors, and some books which have BAME characters as part of a realistic diverse cast. If you click ‘read more’, you can listen, click through to buy any of the books we mention, and there are some other positive actions you can take too. Continue reading “YA Podcast: Recommending great BAME YA”

World Book Night 2016: Q&A with Leigh Bardugo

Yesterday, we shared a Q&A with Holly Bourne, author of Am I Normal Yet?, one of this year’s World Book Night books. As supporters of World Book Night, I’m really pleased to be able to share another fab Q&A with you this today, just before World Book Night itself, from Leigh Bardugo, whose book Shadow and Bone I absolutely loved and reviewed. This time, Leigh shares her reading habits, advice on recommendations for reluctant readers, and Shakespearean favourites. I hope those lucky people receiving Shadow and Bone this evening enjoy it as much as I did…! Continue reading “World Book Night 2016: Q&A with Leigh Bardugo”

Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast, March 2016

On Saturday 19 March, a group of enthusiastic bloggers, phone batteries duly charged, were invited along to Scholastic HQ to hear about a selection of their new titles for 2016. I’ve storified my tweets from the afternoon, plus a few tweets and pictures from Scholastic and some of the other bloggers – just ‘Read More’ to see what we chatted about. Continue reading “Scholastic Bloggers Book Feast, March 2016”

Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson and Dr Olivia Hewitt talk about their new book, illustrated by Gemma Correll

On Thursday 21st January, I headed over to the first event at the newly opened Waterstones Tottenham Court Road (open until 11pm – try the cocktails!) to hear Juno Dawson and Dr Olivia Hewitt talk to Jo Elvin, editor at Glamour Magazine, about their new non-fiction book for teens Mind Your Head, illustrated by Gemma Correll. Continue reading “Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson and Dr Olivia Hewitt talk about their new book, illustrated by Gemma Correll”

Review: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke – #laurelloganlost blog tour

LOST. 

When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith’s childhood was dominated by Laurel’s disappearance – from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister. 

FOUND.

Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans’ old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home at last, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that’s lost can be found again…

Blog Banner - The Lost and the Found

Continue reading “Review: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke – #laurelloganlost blog tour”

True Face – Siobhan Curham on Empowering Books for Women and Girls

True Face coverWhen I received an email recently from Faber, offering me the chance to read True Face by Siobhan Curham, and to host a guest post, I jumped at the chance. The effect of the media on young women (and men), in the twenty-teens, is huge – not only is there a bombardment of images telling you what you should look like and how you should act in TV and magazines, but our total immersion in a world of social media means that your appearance is constantly up for discussion and distribution.

While I – thankfully – didn’t have to cope with the combined effects of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and tumblr aged 12, I definitely felt that pressure myself as a teen, and one of the big things that helped me feel positive and empowered was reading about some fantastic female characters and the amazing things they were able to achieve. I asked Siobhan if she could share some of her recommendations of empowering reads for women and girls, and I’m glad to say she’s obliged. Read on, and discover them for yourself… Kate x

Continue reading “True Face – Siobhan Curham on Empowering Books for Women and Girls”

Review: Othergirl by Nicole Burstein

A teenage girl with a burning secret…(…and a lot of homework).
A worldwide network of superheroes looking for hot new talent…and a best friend left behind to pick up the pieces.
Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica’s a freaking superhero.

When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself.

Life isn’t a comic book: it’s even crazier than that. Continue reading “Review: Othergirl by Nicole Burstein”

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”