Thursday, 10 November 2016

REVIEW: Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North

Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan NorthI received a copy of this book from the publisher for free, in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: Ryan North
Published by: Orbit on 10th November 2016
Genres: Fiction, Humour, Graphic Novel, Shakespeare Retelling
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle


Shakespeare’s plays weren’t meant to be read. They were meant…to be played.

What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits? This choose-your-own-path version of Romeo and Juliet—packed with fun puzzles, secrets, and quadrillions of possible storylines—lets you decide where the plot goes every time you read. You might play as Romeo, or as Juliet, or as both of them at the same time. You might even unlock additional playable characters!

That’s right. We figured out how to have unlockable characters in books.

This is different. Like really different. Not something I, myself, would pick up when I browse the shelves of bookshops but I sure as hell would appreciate it if I were to come across it and flicked through the pages. But I've been in a weird reading mood lately and wanted something a little less... traumatic.

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On first impressions, I was as confused as the terminator when he woke up butt-naked. My brain was working like clockwork, the cogs and gears clicking, trying to  piece together on how to actually READ this book. Naturally my mushy brain figured it out and I ended up following along with the story embedded inside. Now Romeo & Juliet is my favourite Shakespearean play, contrary to popular belief - it's tragic, dramatic and exciting. Hell, Leonardo Di'Caprio still plagues my mind with that opening scene of him on the beach. Hot damn. But we're not here to talk about him. Sorry.

So this was Romeo & Juliet - but far more entertaining, ridiculous and downright enjoyable. The reader, that's you, has the choice to decide where the story goes and how it ends. You get to choose (via multiple choice options) how the characters should react in certain scenarios and follow up on the instructed page to see how it unfurls. You get to play GOD.

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And this doesn't follow the original angsty trope from the play - no, you get options that makes you stare at it in absolute awe and think "seriously?" and after a few passing seconds, you'd reconsider rewriting the entire play and replace the soppy and angsty scenes with these ludicrous alternatives. Because why would you choose the option to accept poison that would slow your heartbeat enough to fake your death, when you could get a lethal tonic to end the sorry life of the guy who's responsible for the banishment of your beloved? I'm telling you, you'll burst a gut laughing because of how ridiculous it all sounds yet you envision it to be so much better than to what happens in canon storyline.

Even if you haven't read/never heard of Romeo & Juliet (to which, my friend I think you need medical assistance because you've been in that cave too long)  then I strongly advise you find yourselves a copy of this book and embrace the humour and the exquisite experience that it offers. It's certainly worth the time and indeed, the best thing to pick up if you need a good giggle. Snort with laughter if you must. Enjoy it. Wholly.

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A brilliant and hilarious take on the original Romeo & Juliet - a reading experience that you won't forget for a while. Fantastic idea and rather cool artwork. (I snorted a few times.)

Silver Wreath

Friday, 14 October 2016

BLOG TOUR: Finding Black Beauty Q&A

Welcome to my stop in the Finding Black Beauty blog tour!

Now usually I'd ramble on about several things but due to a wrist injury, I'm afraid I'll be keeping my commentary short and sweet! So, Black Beauty is one of my favourite classics which meant I was super willing to take part in this tour and host a Q&A with lovely author - Lou Kuenzler! Also, check out that cover!!! SUPER GORGEOUS.

Make sure to keep up with the rest of the tour and check out earlier posts hosted by other amazing bloggers!

Now onto the Q&A!

Shall we begin with my favourite introductory question? Tell us something we don't know about you!

I was born left handed but was forced to write with my right.  I think it explains a great deal about the way I engage with - and often get in a muddle over - the everyday world around me.  Things quite often just seem a little bit the wrong way round. But perhaps that is why I am a writer. Fiction is a great way to make sense of chaos.

You've written a variety of children books - what made you choose to write about a classic? Why Black Beauty?

I think revisiting classic books is a great way to engage contemporary readers with wonderful stories they might otherwise overlook. I hope children who read Finding Black Beauty and have not previously discovered Anna Sewell’s original will do so now.  I loved Black Beauty as a child, mostly for the sheer drama of the story.  It is about life and death - it is a book where things really matter.  I loved that.

On the topic of classics, is it something you read a lot of? Which is your favourite?

Truthfully, Black Beauty really was one of my favourite books as a child.  I was lucky enough to have a (small, fat, hairy) pony of my own. I read Anna’s Sewell’s classic many times - always pretending that Black Beauty could one day be mine.  I remember sitting in the back of the car, driving along the motorway, and jumping the hedges on the wonderful black horse in my mind.

For someone who rarely reads classics, which classics would you recommend?

Other than Black Beauty, it would have to be The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. That glorious moment when Lucy steps out of the back if the dusty World War II wardrobe into the snow and wonder of Narnia. It’s like a doorway right into C.S Lewis’s imagination … and then we get to have tea with a faun!

What is your writing process like? Do you plan beforehand or dive right in and plot as you go?

I do plan. I teach Writing For Children to adults at City Lit College in London. An analogy I often use with my students is that if you want to make a journey to Scotland, a little planning is going to stand you in good stead.  At least knowing you should head north is a good start. Train, bus or car?  Without these basic things, you will be in a terrible muddle very quickly.  Writing fiction is much the same.  You don’t want to end up going via Truro on a bicycle if you were heading for Aberdeen by plane. Strangely though, once the planning is in place, if you decide a detour to Truro is a good idea, that can often work out just fine!

Which authors inspire you the most? Which ones shaped you to be who you are today?

Gosh, I do think the writers we read nourish us and leave their mark. I love Jane Austen. I don’t know if she has actually shaped my writing (I should be so lucky!) but I do know that I marvel at her use of character to drive a plot.  
I was also lucky enough to do a writing workshop with David Almond very early in my career. He taught me never to underestimate children’s capacity for fiction - they are young, not stupid. This is such an important thing to remember. Always respect the reader.

Let's switch things up a little! If you could go on a writing retreat with 3 authors, who would you pick?

Oh - J K Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and Judith Kerr - three fabulous women who, between them, know just about anything there is to know about telling stories for children. I hope someone brings cake ...

If you had the chance to co-write a book together with another author, who would it be? Why?

I was asked this recently in another blog and thought about picture books, so here I will turn my mind to longer fiction. I would love to collaborate with Jeremy Strong and do something for older teens (a bit of a departure for us both). I would love to trade jokes and build our combined but different humour into the heart of a really funny teen-mishap plot.

Is there a specific genre you'd like to write but just haven't had the chance to yet? (e.g. Thriller, Dystopia)

I would like to have a go at detective fiction. I love the idea of developing a plot around a series of clues false leads.

How do you feel about book-to-movie or book-to-theatre adaptations? Is it something you'd like to see happen with Finding Black Beauty?

Yes please! As a book lover, I always like to read the book before seeing the movie but there have been some great adaptations - alongside some absolute stinkers - but let’s not name names. I would love to see Finding Black Beauty made into a film or TV series: think Poldark meets Victoria with lots and galloping and great costumes!

Can you give us a little hint about your next book or work in progress?

I have a new very young picture book, My Digger Is Bigger, with gorgeous illustrations by Dan Taylor coming out with Scholastic next year. Meanwhile, for older readers, i am definitely thinking history and animals (but I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait and see) ...

What advice would you give someone who wishes to write a retelling of a classic?

Make sure you love the original book - you are going to have to spend a lot of time with it! Then, don’t worry about it too much. Whatever you do, the original will still always be there for readers to enjoy.

Thanks so much for being on my blog Lou! Loved those answers and cannot wait to read Finding Black Beauty!

You guys should definitely check out her work. All links below!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Super Awkward Blog Tour: Review


It's finally time for me to shine. Well, not really. I'm here to spotlight a rather fabulous book I read recently and that I think you should all pick up too. Because AUTUMN is finally here! Or Fall - which I strongly prefer these days. Because leaves fall, y'know? And that's Autumn in a nutshell. That and pumpkin spiced flavoured stuff.

Look at me rambling.

I first met the lovely Beth Garrod on my BIRTHDAY. At the Scholastic Blogger's Feast. (ON MY BIRTHDAY. SERIOUSLY. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.) So I was totally going to join in on the #SuperAwkward blog tour so I can talk about Beth's brilliant book. She's so cool, despite the title of her debut. I think she's pretty great. 

Let's get onto my review so you can hear me rambling some more. Hopefully I wasn't too awkward... (I had to throw that in there.)

Super Awkward

Author: Beth Garrod
Published by: Scholastic on 1st September 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Awkward
Pages: 405
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher


I, Bella Fisher, am absolutely WINNING at FAILING at life. 
1. I once got my tongue stuck to a box of Calippos in a supermarket. 
2. I accidentally called my geography teacher Mum. Twice. He wasn't impressed. 
3. I'm a geek. And not in a geek-chic kind of way, but in a secretly-caring-about-failing-maths-and-science way. 
4. I always fail maths and science. 

So it figures that when I meet the FITTEST BOY IN THE WORLD, Zac, I'm doing solo star jumps. While dressed as a cereal box. 
(NOTE TO SELF, fancy dress = HE-WILL-NEVER-EVER-FANCY-ME dress.) 

Now I've got to somehow persuade Zac to come to prom with me while avoiding my evil ex and dealing with a secret so mega-awks I want to Ctrl-Z my brain... What could go wrong? 
Oh yeah, that's right. Absolutely everything.

So this was me at the end.

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Beth Garrod quite possibly has written one of the most accurate and entertaining stories of the year. Quite possibly one of my favourites! Quite possibly - the most relatable when it comes to awkwardness. Because believe it or not, I'm hella socially awkward. All kinds of awkward. I'm the type of person who mistakenly pours salt into their coffee instead of sugar.

(Spoiler: it's pretty gross.)

I've been suffering flu-ish hell as of late so reading Super Awkward was probably the best decision I had ever made. This book brought smiles to my face, it made me root for Bella Fisher, whom, despite her poor decisions at times, was perhaps one of the greatest and realistic characters I have ever read about. She is the inner child inside all adults. Not even joking. We've all got a Bella Fisher trait. I absolutely loved her! It's truly a shining element. Just following her mad adventures, her fangirling and awkwardness is enough to make any reader love her!

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Super Awkward is one of the most entertaining stories out there that can easily tackle dreadful slumps, hangovers and even the flu. (Speaking from experience.) Filled with fifty kinds of emotion - humour, fluttery butterfly gleeful feelings because FLUFF - all kinds of fun really. It's a heartwarming and light read, super quick and 100 percent enjoyable! I dare you not to love this book. I loved the characters, especially the favourite trio Bella, Rach and Tegan! I see so little of friendships being the spotlight in contemporary novels so it was great to see that the drama between the three friends and how they tackled the conflict wasn't a side-story plot. If that makes sense. 

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(I'm Castiel in this GIF.)

Honestly, this is the perfect read for any time of day, month, season, year but in this case - totally perfect to kick start the Fall season (yes, I used the US term because I can). If you ever find yourself in a foul mood or in need of a humourous and light read - Super Awkward is your go-to! The writing is brilliant and fluid, so enjoyable! I promise it'll bring you smiles. A truly wonderful and outstanding debut!

Also, we totally need a book two. Because I need Mr MIAGTM scenes and fluff. And more Luke doucheyness. More Bella Fisher awkwardness please. I can compare this book to the Faith series by Candy Harper which I ADORE. 

Get out there and read this book guys.

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Silver Wreath

Thursday, 18 August 2016

YA Shot: Q&A with L.A. Weatherly

Hello! And WELCOME. Today is rather special as it's that time of year again where the fantastic #YAShot team are hosting another fun-packed Blog Tour! I've been partnered up with one of my long-term favourite author's - L.A. Weatherly (AKA Lee Weatherly) whose books I've been reading for YEARS. I couldn't be happier and more proud to be paired with such a successful and lovely woman! 

So, Lee and I conjured up a fun zombie-tastic Q&A for our post so without further ado, here we go. Hope you enjoy!

Let's start off a little differently... Tell us something we don't know about you!

OK, I’m actually insanely boring (which is in itself a fact about me that you may not know!), so I’m racking my brains for something vaguely interesting here…how’s this? I love jewellery and do silversmithing. I made a pair of cufflinks for my husband’s last birthday. Here’s a pic of the evidence:

(S: Amazing!! I am very VERY impressed Lee...)

From what age did you begin writing? What was the first piece you had written?

I began writing at a very early age – maybe six or so? The first piece that I can remember was about a horse and a fox who were best friends. I think the horse got sent to the glue factory. Clearly I was a morbid child. 

There's a Zombie Apocalypse and you get to choose your dream team! Which 5 of your OWN characters would you pick? Any particular reasons why?

Ooh, I LOVE this question! Well, obviously Alex from the Angel series needs to come; he’s an amazing shot and a great leader and just an all-around ideal person to have on your side in a zombie situation. I think Willlow from Angel also needs to be there – she can hotwire cars and her half-angel abilities would come in very handy. But we need more good shots. Let’s bring in Sam from Angel, as well; he took over the Angel Killer team when Alex was gone and is extremely competent. Amity from Broken Sky is a pilot, which could be really useful, plus she’s very kick-ass in her own right, so she should come along too. Much as I love the boys from Broken, Collie and Ingo, they’re both pilots and neither of them are really fighters in terms of wasting zombies…so I think, sadly, we’ll leave them behind and instead bring Kay Pierce, the devious astrologer. She’s completely ruthless and would do anything to survive. 

On the subject of Zombie Apocalypse... Who would most likely be the first to be eaten by a Zombie?

If I’m there with my dream team, then without question it would be me! Otherwise…hmm. Possibly Willow. She’s just too nice and might hesitate at a crucial moment. 

Moving on from Zombies... How about music playlists? Do you listen to music as you write? If so, do you have set playlists for each series?

I don’t often listen to music as I write (too distracting; writing is HARD), but yes, I love to create playlists for my books. It’s a great way to stay in the world of the story even when you’re not writing. For the Broken series, which takes place in a sort of distorted 1940s, this was especially fun – a mix of music from the era and more modern stuff. If you’re curious, you can check out my playlists for both Angel and Broken here (the Broken playlist is divided in three parts):

ANGEL series Playlists:

Research! Is it something you do when you write? Do/Would you ever travel for research purposes?

Oh, absolutely! I tend to write about things that I have little real-life knowledge of – shooting guns, fixing cars and flying Spitfires immediately spring to mind – so research is essential. Even though I’m writing fiction, it needs to feel true. In the pursuit of research, I’ve travelled across the US, gone to Mexico City, flown in a Spitfire (amazing!), and spoken to numerous experts. But research can be dangerously involving. The temptation is always to include more than your story actually needs. I think the key is to keep the story in mind and use research to flesh it out, rather than drive it.

Where is your ideal writing location?

I have a home office, which is my refuge. But sometimes it’s nice to sneak off to a cafĂ© and write there instead. 

Quite interested to see your answer for this one - Are you a plotter, or a pantser? Do you have to outline every single plot line, scene etc. or do you just go with the flow?

I’m a mix, I guess, though I come down much more firmly on the planning side. I do a LOT of preliminary thinking about the world, the storyline and the characters. I write loads of notes and do outlines; I block out scenes before I write them. I need to know my characters and have a rough story ‘shape’ before I can start writing. But at the same time, I tend to write big, epic books…and you just can’t plan everything. Inevitably, I learn a lot about the world and its characters as I go along. So I need the initial plan in order to ever have the confidence to get going, but quite often I also need to ditch elements of the plan to accommodate all the things I find out along the way. It’s frustrating, actually, given that I’m a bit of a control freak. But often I just have to listen to my intuition and my characters, and go where they lead me. 

(S: I think we've all had this particular Sheldon moment at some point during our writing process...)

Which of your series was your most favourite to write? Which was the most fun?

Thinking about this question, I find it interesting how ‘most fun’ and ‘favourite’ are very different things! I loved the Angel series, but I have to confess that the Broken series is my hands-down favourite so far. I adore the characters and the weird, distorted 1940s world. I’ve found it very challenging at times, but also extremely fulfilling. 

Most fun? Well, that would have to be a series I wrote under the pseudonym Titania Woods: Glitterwings Academy, for younger readers, about a school for fairies. Oh my gosh, SO much fun! During my events I wore fairy wings and a tiara and wafted a magic wand around. Life doesn’t get much better. 

Do you ever read back your own work after publication?

Not usually, until a fair amount of time has passed. Once something goes to print, the author has gone over it so many times that you’re not only sick of it, you genuinely have no idea whether it’s good or not. Reading my stuff when it’s just been published inevitably brings about, “Argh! I knew I should have changed that word!” Having said that, I recently reread the Angel series and was surprised at how much I still liked it. It was very cool to come across a line I’d forgotten about that I found absolutely hilarious. It’s sort of a surreal feeling to be laughing out loud at your own work. 

How about some writing tips? What advice would you give someone new to writing?

Follow your passion. Write your greatest truth. Write what you’d most like to read. And if you really want it, don’t give up. You have something of value to say.

Those were some AMAZING answers Lee! Thank you so much for being on my blog today and for being a great YA Shot partner! I hope the readers enjoyed this Q&A as much as we did. (I had lot's of fun hunting out suitable GIFs for certain parts...)

Also, a huge thank you to the INCREDIBLE YA Shot team who were happy to have me on board and included on this amazing project once again! You guys are superstars. Seriously.

Make sure to keep up to date with all the previous and upcoming posts by checking their Twitter! And if you haven't already, then buy tickets to the amazing #YAShot event taking place on October 22nd 2016! You can purchase tickets through their website. Hopefully I'll see you there!

All links below.

Until next time, my fellow minions.




YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. We believe in equal access to books and opportunities for all – YA Shot brings UKYA and UKMG authors together to pursue that goal, supporting libraries and young people across the country. At present, we’re a not-for-profit organisation but we’re seeking to become a charity.

YA Shot is a one-day annual festival based in the centre of Uxbridge (London). The 2016 festival will take place on Saturday 22nd October 2016. Around 70 authors are involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre, Waterstone’s Uxbridge and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops. YA Shot is run in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge.

YA Shot is incredibly grateful to have been awarded an Arts Council Grant for our inaugural year. YA Shot and its Libraries-Schools Programme is supported using public money and National Lottery funding by Arts Council England. Thanks to this grant the 2015 Libraries-Schools Programme will comprise a minimum of 35 events that will be free to host Libraries in the London Borough of Hillingdon and the local schools that will be invited in for these events. We will also provide a free copy of the relevant author’s book to both the host library and the school library for each event.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

BLOG TOUR: Infernal by Mark De Jager

Welcome to my stop in the fantastic #Infernal blog tour! I jumped at the chance to read and review Mark's book and take part in promoting his debut - now that day has finally arrived and I have my review to share and a great giveaway to host! 


I received an ARC of the book from the publisher for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: Mark de Jager
Published by: Ebury Press/Del Rey on 11th August 2016
Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Anti-Hero
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle


Stratus wakes in an unfamiliar place, with nothing but the knowledge that he is not human, with no memories of his past but possessing great strength, a powerful sorcery and the burning instinct to survive at any cost.

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, he sets out across a landscape torn apart by the ten year war between the Kingdoms of Krandin and Penullin, now reaching new levels of savagery as a dark magic drives the world to the brink of destruction.

As his personality grows with each step he slowly uncovers the truth of what he has become and the unquenchable thirst for vengeance that has led him there.

If you thought I would miss out on the chance to read Mark de Jager's debut novel - then you thought wrong. Ever since I first heard about him conjuring up his own Fantasy novel, I placed it on my list of 'books I absolutely must read'. I'm a huge fan of his wife's - Liz de Jager - work as she writes YA Fantasy about sassy characters and mindblowing plots, so you could say I was incredibly curious as to see how differently both husband and wife write whilst living under the same roof. Surely their ideas would merge somewhere along the line?

Mark brings forth a new kind of anti-heroic Fantasy story, a new voice and style of writing that I'm always on the look out for. I was ecstatic and over the moon to see that the main character, Stratus, was a character of colour. YES. Diversity is always very much needed in Fantasy because it's the genre where I believe it lacks most. It was so refreshing to read an epic Fantasy tale that highlights elements such as diversity, friendship and self-discovery. The world is rich, highly imaginative and built up very nicely. I say we need a map to seal the deal.

Can we talk about characters? Because I believe it to be one of Mark's strongest points. Tatyana and Stratus are my favourite duo. They are your Kell & Lila from Victoria Schwab's Shades of Magic series. They're your Kit & Aiden from Liz de Jager's Blackhart Legacy series. They form such a great bond despite being from two very different backgrounds. Tatyana is the witty, sardonic and bold female companion and matched together with the dark, yet equally sarcastic Stratus, the narrative was a delight to read! It worked so well, a mixture of entertainment and a intense storyline. I loved seeing these two together in action and when an author succeeds in making the reader attached to their characters - then you know it's a damn good story.

I won't lie. This book probably is not for the faint-hearted or those who are quite sqeuamish. There's a lot of gore. And violence. And limbs. Ah yes. Lot's of those. But I lapped it all up. Call me psycho but dark fantasy's where the main character is some demon spawn without a memory kind of wins me over.

The plot flows at a steady pace, but it works. It may take a few pages to really get into it but you'll soon find yourself immersed and seeking to find out what happened to Stratus. And as you join him on his adventures, slowly discovering pieces and fragments of the answers he so desperately seeks, you'll be blown away by the ending. It. Was. SO. GREAT.

I eagerly anticipate the next book. Political conflict and bloody wars are my thing.

Did I mention how much I love Lucien? *clutches heart*

I'm so impressed by Mark's debut. Lovers of Fantasy need to read this. It really did exceed my expectations and took me by surprise! I can't wait to see what else he has up his sleeve...

Silver Wreath


The lovely team at Ebury Press have granted me 3 beautiful shiny hardbacks of Infernal to give away to THREE LUCKY WINNERS! So if you wish to enter, follow my Twitter and RT my pinned tweet!

Giveaway is open until 21st August 2016 and open to residents of UK & IRE. Winners will be announced on Twitter! Good luck!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

BLOG TOUR: Q & A with Louise Gornall

It's here! Under Rose Tainted Skies has finally graced the beautiful shelves in bookstores in the UK and I couldn't be more excited! Rose is perhaps my favourite book surrounding mental health - it's definitely the best I have read so far! I fell in love with the story, with Luke and Norah and most importantly - Louise Gornall's writing!

Not to mention, Louise is pretty much one of my favourite people EVER. She's just a beautiful person - inside and out! Her tweets just bring me so much joy.

Naturally, I was all fired up about the URTS blog tour and knew I wanted to feature Louise on my blog! And what better way to get to know a new master writer in the making than a fun-filled Q&A? So I rounded up some questions for Louise to answer - including a few quick fire ones!

Make sure to check out all the other past and upcoming blog posts during the tour! If you haven't picked up a copy yet... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Did you know there are THREE gorgeous pink editions to choose from?! Fall in love with Norah and Luke's story three times over! And if you need an accurate and honest representation of mental health in YA - look no further. URTS is your go-to.

Louise had asked me to take a selfie when I found one of her finished copies in store and pull my best happy face. So I did. My love for this book summed up in one picture guys.


Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.

For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …

Links to buy the book all below!


Without further ado, let's welcome Louise Gornall!

#1 - Let's dive straight in! What made you decide to write about mental health? And why agoraphobia?

*backflips* It wasn't really a conscious decision. It happened because I was going through some things and started to write down my feelings and MH behaviours. See, I’m agoraphobic, and I was having a really hard time locating my self worth. Rose only became a book once I realised how all these small things that I’d written down, the little battles that I was having daily, unfolded like an epic war. It helped to see that, to see how hard I’d been working to get myself better. I didn't feel so useless anymore.

#2 - Do you read a lot of books about mental health? Which are your favourites?

Brutal honesty? I don't, not a lot. Reading is my escape from all the things that are wrong with me, a chance to live in worlds beyond the confines of my own. The literal confines. That said, there are, of course, some titles that just sound too amazing not to read. Holly Bourne’s, Am I Normal Yet? is fantastic. Jennifer Niven’s, All The Bright Places. Laurie Halse Anderson’s, Speak, is an amazing novel, but all of Laurie’s books tend to tap into mental health/mental well being, and they handle themselves so perfectly. I’m also a huge fan of It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. 

#3 - A general question, but have you always wanted to be a writer?

I haven't! When I was really young, I wanted to be an RAF pilot. I spent my teens wanting to be an actress, even went to college to get my BA (hons) in performing arts. Alas, before I could give that a real go, I got sick and had to readjust. 

#4 - What was the first book you had ever written? (Bet it was something pretty cool...)

Gah! You! was an MG fantasy, about a crime-fighting group of superheroes at a “gifted school”. NOT AT ALL LIKE X-MEN!! *whispers* it was exactly like X-Men. 

#5 - Let's talk about your upcoming debut! Norah & Luke. Two characters who I absolutely love! Are they based off on anyone you know in real life? When did they first invade your mind?

Thank you, lovely. Well, I am Norah. Surprise!! No, really. That chick is my carbon copy. Remember how I said that Rose was a product of me writing stuff down because I was having trouble with my self worth? Well, all I really changed was her name. She does have an ending that wasn't my own, but it does serve as a metaphor for something I went through. Luke, too, is based on the kindest, most compassionate, patient and understanding guy I have ever had the privilege to meet. He helped me in the same way Luke helps Norah. 

#6 - Under Rose Tainted Skies is one of my favourite titles! How did you come up with it?

In the book, Norah talks about rose-tinted skies, and because her view is obscured by various “tragedies”, she makes this comment about her skies being less tinted and more tainted. It just seemed to encompass everything. A bit of trivia: the book was originally called Under Rose-Tainted Skies and Other Lies.

#7 - What research did you do for Under Rose Tainted Skies? Was it a difficult book to write?

I’m lucky enough to have a mum who has worked for 25+ years in the mental health sector. And I have a sister with 10 years experience under her belt. I’m unlucky enough to have a close, personal relationship with the mental health spectrum. It is an enormous part of my life, and while I’m mostly used to it sharing my head space, it is still painful to talk about. It was killer to write about. Not an experience I enjoyed at all, but hopefully Rose contributes to the mental health conversation in a positive way, making it all worth it.

#8 - Finally, can you tell us what you'll be working on next after URTS? Maybe even a little hint??

No! It’s all, top-security-clearance type stuff, an even bigger secret than the reasoning behind the shape of a McFlurry spoon….. I kid. I kid. I’m trying to get to grips with an angry disabled chick who is learning how to love her broken body. She is another me, that is, she is who I was at 16.

How about some fun quick fire questions?

Heck yes!

A fluffy romance or a spine tingling thriller?

Fluffy Romance.

White or Brown bread?


Favourite colour? 


Favourite food? 

Anything chocolate. 

Favourite book?! 

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

Summer or Winter? 

Winter because CHRISTMAS! 

Spring or Autumn?

Autumn because HALLOWEEN!

Your dream superpower? 

I want to be the Scarlet Witch.

And lastly, tell us something we don't know about you! 

I’m an identical twin ❤ And she is my best bud.

Thank you Louise for such fantastic answers! (I totally forgot you had a twin and I had a jaw-drop moment...) It was an honour to have you on the blog!


Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, and she is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. A YA aficionado, film nerd, identical twin, and junk food enthusiast, she's also an avid collector of book boyfriends. Her debut novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies, will be published in July 2016.


Saturday, 9 July 2016

GUEST POST: Top 5 Summer Holiday Locations by Aimee Friedman

Hello, and welcome to my stop in the Two Summer's Blog Tour!

Now, perhaps most of you already know that I favor the chilling ice cold months of Winter - opposed to the radiant sun and blistering heat we get during Summer. I've just never been a fan. But that is slowly changing my friends! And since hearing about Two Summer's, I've grown even more excited about spending my summer days reading fun summery and fluffy books (mainly contemporaries)!

Two Summers is the perfect summer contemporary for a reader to invest themselves in - which also gave me an idea! When people think summer - they think holidays. And it's true. What better time to take that well deserved break?

So today, I have the lovely Aimee Friedman on the blog to share her top 5 summer holiday locations!

Fun, non?

Let's go!


France, of course! The dream trip would be to start in Provence (where Summer spends one of her summers in TWO SUMMERS). Stay in a cabin overlooking a vineyard. Soak up the glorious light, the sunflowers, the delicious food….and then hop a train north to Paris. City of Light! Go shopping, visit the Louvre, go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower…and just relish in all the romance. Perfection.


Although I live in New York City, I love to play tourist in my own hometown. And it is a great holiday destination. There’s so much to see and do: have dim-sum in Chinatown or pizza in Little Italy, take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, tour the museums, explore Central Park, catch a Broadway show (maybe you’ll even get lucky and win the Hamilton lottery!). 


Nothing beats a classic American beach setting like Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Atlantic Ocean sparkles, the air smells of salt, the seafood is fresh, you can walk around all day in swimsuits and flip-flops, eating ice cream and feeling gloriously lazy.  To me, Cape Cod IS summer.


As a massive Harry Potter fan, I’ve been wanting to go Edinburgh, Scotland forever. I’ve heard it’s absolutely beautiful and enchanting, a city full of rich history and charm. Maybe next summer!


Another bucket-list trip? Thailand! It would be thrilling to sample all the cuisine, experience Bangkok, and of course see the world-class beaches. Definitely an adventure! 

TWO SUMMERS is available now for purchase from all bookstores. Grab your copy now!


Aimee Friedman was born and raised in Queens, New York, in an apartment filled with books and different languages. She wrote her first story at the age of five, and was off and running from there. Aimee wrote all through her years as a student at the Bronx High School of Science and then Vassar College. After graduating from college in 2001, she became a children's book editor, a job she still does, and loves, to this day! Aimee published her first novel, the New York Times bestseller, South Beach, in 2005, and is now the author of several novels for young adults, the latest being Two Summers. Aimee lives in New York City, where she can usually be found writing in cafes, window-shopping, or searching for the perfect iced latte.