Tuesday 28 February 2017

Book Haul For February 2017 2/2 Received from Publishers/Friends

Part 2 of my book haul for this month - a huge thanks to all the generous publishers who sent me books! Yesterday's, listing books I bought, is here.

I loved the Stripes event a couple of weeks ago and was excited to come away from it with Sophia Bennett's Following Ophelia, which looks gorgeous, and a beautiful classics colouring book. Stripes had previously been kind enough to send me Katy Cannon's And Then We Ran, which I'm super excited to read - Sophia and Katy are both favourite authors of mine. Following Ophelia is about a girl in the London of the pre-Raphaelites, inspired by artists' muse Lizzie Siddal to try and reinvent herself as a model. And Then We Ran sees Megan persuade her friend Elliott to elope to Gretna Green to get married, as they both need to get away from their families for different reasons - this sounds like such a fun road trip book!

Hannah Witton's Doing It was sent to me and I'm really pleased to get the chance to read it; I used to teach PSHCE and definitely wish there were more accessible books about sex education around at that time to recommend to students. Speaking of non-fiction, I also got sent 404 Ink's Nasty Women - I read most of it before passing it onto Debbie who was really keen to read; I knew from the moment I finished the first piece - by Katie Muriel - that I would definitely be buying a copy, and I'm hugely looking forward to their event on 29th March. This is a must-read!

I got several from series I'm not currently up to date with - thanks Egmont for the Devil's Paintbox by Robin Jarvis and for Silver Stars by Michael Grant, along with Michael's World Book Day short Dead of Night, Bloomsbury for The City Bleeds Gold by Lucy Saxon, Orion for King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard and Simon & Schuster for Danny Wallace's Hamish and the Gravity Burp and Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I definitely need to catch up with these series if possible! (I know Lady Midnight is the first in a new series, but I have real problems reading out of order so want to read the rest of the Shadowhunters universe first - which could well keep me going until 2019 or so...)

And some intriguing others as well; I'm a massive fan of Laura Ellen Anderson's so it was great to get the 2nd collection of Evil Emperor Penguin comics! Karen Gregory's Countless and Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon both sound great, with Done Dirt Cheap particularly intriguing me as I've seen Sons of Anarchy comparisons. And speaking of screen comparisons, One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McMahon is being described as a mystery reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, a favourite movie of mine - I'm super excited for this one!

Which of these are you most looking forward to? Leave me a comment, or tweet me @yayeahyeah!

Nasty Women (404 Ink)

Evil Emperor Penguin v2 by Laura Ellen Anderson (David Fickling Books)

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Orion)

Following Ophelia by Sophia Bennett (Stripes)

And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon (Stripes)

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster)

Silver Stars by Michael Grant (Electric Monkey)

Dead of Night by Michael Grant (Electric Monkey)

The Devil's Paintbox by Robin Jarvis (Egmont)

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon (Amulet)

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus (Penguin)

The City Bleeds Gold by Lucy Saxon (Bloomsbury)

Rugby Runner by Gerard Siggins (O'Brien Press)

Hamish and the Gravity Burp by Danny Wallace (Simon & Schuster)

Doing It by Hannah Witton (Wren & Rook)

Monday 27 February 2017

Book Haul For February 2017 1/2 - Bought

Another month in which I somehow bought far more than expected! I'm aiming to read more non-fiction this year and was inspired by seeing the film of Hidden Figures twice and loving it to get the book it was based on. I also picked up When Breath Becomes Air and Mad Girl, both of which sound like stunning memoirs, and Matthew Syed's Black Box Thinking; I loved his previous book Bounce.

After the Carnegie longlist led to a lot of people talking about the lack of BAME authors - read my piece on that here, by the way - I remembered I need to catch up with Alex Wheatle's series before book three, Straight Outta Crongton, comes out later this year. Another series I'm loving is Anne Digby's Trebizon, brilliantly reissued by Egmont with gorgeous artwork from a new favourite illustrator of mine, Lucy Truman. (As well as these books, she does super-cute drawings for Katrina Charman's Stripes series Poppy's Place!)

I bought two hardbacks which is incredibly rare for me, but couldn't resist the gorgeous-looking Alexander the Great: Man, Myth or Monster by Jamila Gavin with illustrator David Parkin; it was definitely a good call! And Tereze at Tales on Moon Lane hand-sold me a hardback for the second time in as many months, telling me how brilliant Robyn Travis's debut novel Mama Can't Raise No Man and letting me read the first few pages of her copy - I ordered it there and then, picked it up the following week, and devoured it quickly.

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones was a much anticipated read which I'd pre-ordered on Kindle; I didn't get far before ordering a paperback as it's so beautifully written I KNOW I'll want to lend it to people! And I've heard amazing things about The Witch's Boy so was thrilled to see it at Tales. I also bought the new Robin Talley, Our Own Private Universe there - I'm a big fan of hers.

I realised that I had some money left on a WH Smith gift card from last year and ventured into adult fiction again to check out their fresh talent promotion - The Life Assistance Agency and Under the Udala Trees both sound superb!

I also grabbed a few e-books I've been waiting a while for as they were on sale; looking forward to reading The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn, while The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World Again - a collection of short stories starring women from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality - sounds really interesting!


The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers)

Hockey Term at Trebizon and Into The Fourth at Trebizon by Anne Digby, Lucy Truman (illustrator) (Egmont)

Alexander the Great: Man, Myth or Monster? by Jamila Gavin, David Parkins (Illustrator) (Walker)

Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon (Headline)

I Am China by Xiaolu Guo (Vintage)

The Life Assistance Agency by Thomas Hocknell (Urbane Publications)

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones (Titan)

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Vintage)

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Granta)

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly 

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed (John Murray)

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (Harlequin)

Mama Can't Raise No Man by Robyn Travis (OWN IT!)

Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle (Atom)


The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (Harlequin Teen)

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (Hodder & Stoughton)

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones (Titan)

Sunday 26 February 2017

Shorts on Sunday #9

My Shorts on Sunday recommendations continue.

What The Heart Wants by Naomi Tajedler 

Availability: Either as part of the superb Duet Books anthology Summer Love (which I would highly recommend!), or can be bought individually on Amazon

Story: A teenage girl develops her first romantic feelings, falling for a beautiful female model at art class.

Why I'm Recommending: It manages to include a young girl coming out, a gorgeous first relationship, a strong friendship, sibling rivalry, and a character who identifies as asexual. (This last, in particular, is something I want to see SO MUCH more of and barely ever find!) This is so well done it feels as rich and fulfilling as many novels do, in the space of just 40 pages or so

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert

Availability: As part of Summer Days and Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins (Macmillan)

Story: When the cousin who practically brought her up breaks the news she's moving away with her girlfriend, a Chicago teen struggles to cope with her leaving, but meets a boy who may become part of her life. 

Why I'm recommending: I really like stories about endings and beginnings, and this captures both perfectly. It's my first Brandy Colbert and has me even more excited to read her debut novel Pointe (sadly not out in the UK) which sounds absolutely amazing; she captures her characters so well.

Untitled story by @MicroSFF

Availability: Read it HERE

Story: It's 140 characters long; I can't really describe it without giving it away!

Why I'm recommending: A stunning example of flash fiction which is my favourite yet from a brilliant account! Please consider backing MicroSFF on Patreon if you are able to and enjoy this or other stories. 

Friday 24 February 2017

Twenty Things I've Read #12

My new (hopefully weekly!) links recap format continues. 

As mentioned in week 1, there are some sites which could quite conceivably fill this list between them EVERY WEEK as they constantly produce amazing posts - and I find it way too hard to single them out! So instead, I will just list them at the start of each post. If you're not reading the following, you are REALLY missing out.

Safe Space

Media Diversified
The Pool
Teen Vogue 

Addition: Given the current political climate, I would strongly suggest also reading EVERYTHING Celeste Pewter tweets; she is incredibly insightful and her tweets on US politics have helped me figure out which things going on are reasonably worrying and which are absolutely terrifying.

The Twenty

I'm seeing lots of trans recs on my timeline at the moment, which is great, but quite a few lists I'm noticing contain some books which generally seem to be viewed as problematic by the trans community. Please read Vee S's superb piece on The Acceptance Narrative in Trans YA. Also, you should definitely read Janet Mock in the New York Times - Young People Get Trans Rights. It’s Adults Who Don’tNewsweek published Katie M Logan's superb piece on why Kamala Khan is the Muslim-American superhero America needs right now
Harper Collins have an awesome post from Sheba Karim, Why YA Books With Muslim Protagonists Are More Important Than EverAnd over at The Conversation, BJ Epstein talks about why children's books that teach diversity are more important than ever too.

I loved reading about Noëlle Santos's mission to open the only bookstore in the Bronx - it's amazing to see the $100,000 target has been reached! Noëlle also featured in a brilliant Fusion piece, alongside The Education of Margot Sanchez author Lilliam Rivera, on how the two are flipping the script on Bronx stereotypes. Margot Sanchez is one of the books I'm most looking forward to reading in the coming months, as is Ibi Zoboi's American Street - there's a great interview with Ibi at BookPage. Speaking of brilliant interviews, check out this fabulous one with podcasters Melanin Millennials at Refinery 29. And a fantastic piece as ever from Danielle Dash, this time talking about Serena Williams & Unfettered White Fragility

The brilliant blog Bookishness and Tea had a great piece on Diversity In Fantasy/Science Fiction: Why It’s Important & 40 Book RecommendationsChris McCrudden's slide show on the audience for diverse books fascinated me! And this study - Publishing Statistics on Children's Books about People of Color and First/Native Nations and by People of Color and First/Native Nations Authors and Illustrators - is interesting if deeply depressing in many ways. Graham Douglas has a great piece on Book Careers about why working remotely is the key to diversity in publishing. And I loved the brilliant Stripes Showcase event last Saturday; Katy Cannon's blog on it is awesome. 

As usual, some amazing lists going around! I loved Sophie Davidson's Birdsong piece, Boys with Books: An alternative reading list suggesting books by women for some of the men she saw on a dating site who only seemed to list books by men in their favourites. YA Interrobang recommended some fabulous February releases including Margot Sanchez, American Street, Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give (April in the UK but ABSOLUTELY worth the wait!) and Nina LaCour's We Are OkayOn Bustle, Swapna Krishna recommended 9 Science Books Written by Women To Read When You Need A Break From Fiction. RO Kwon's piece for Electric Literature, recommending 34 Books by Women of Color to Read This Year, has really added to my 'wants list'. And finally, Amy Diegelman gave some recommendations if you're looking to complete the Read Harder challenge at Book Riot using graphic novels.

News and Things

Two upcoming deadlines! If you're an unpublished and unagented BAME writer you have until 28th February to submit to Stripes' anthology A Change Is Gonna Come, which looks like it will be AMAZING! Details here. And I'm loving Fiyah magazine which closes subscriptions on 1st March; subscribe here for a year of amazing Black speculative fiction.

The Inside A Dog longlist was announced and looks brilliant; great to see favourite books of mine by Nicola Yoon, Alice Oseman and Heidi Heilig, especially. 

And one of the most exciting book announcements for AGES as Macmillan announced a collaborative novel from 7 of UKYA's top talents! Floored is written by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood. - find out more about this 2018 release (HOW WILL WE WAIT THAT LONG?!) here.

My posts

I shared my thoughts on the disappointing lack of BAME authors on the Carnegie longlist.

Looking ahead to March, I previewed 10 of the books I'm most excited for in the coming weeks.

I posted about ten books I loved more than I thought I would.

Lisa Williamson joined me for a guest slot in my Shorts on Sunday feature. 

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd, I had an EXCLUSIVE gif from Emma Shoard - thanks Barrington Stoke!

And Richard Davis posted about his favourite things about his lead character Saul Marshall

Exclusive Emma Shoard gif from The Pavee and the Buffer Girl

Super excited to have an animated gif by Emma Shoard today! Emma has illustrated Siobhan Dowd's The Pavee and the Buffer Girl, which is published next Thursday (2nd March) by Barrington Stoke.

Emma's also written a bit about it - over to you, Emma!

Emma Shoard:

I decided a while ago that after I had finished the illustrations for The Pavee and the Buffer Girl and the drawings decided upon had gone off to print, that I would like to animate a few scenes from the book. I studied animation a little bit at University but this would largely be a new process for me and it was exciting to imagine what it might bring to the illustrations. It was a way for me to continue developing a project that I have loved working on since receiving the commission back in 2015.

With these animations I wanted it to create the idea that the world inhabited by Jim and Kit continues beyond the page by introducing small movements to an illustration or having a character move through it. The three scenes I have chosen - the first of which appears here today - are all from different points in the book and hopefully tell you a little about the characters and setting of the story. 

The Library
For Jim’s walk cycle I began by drawing key points in the movement on pieces of tracing paper, overlaying them and testing the sequence in Photoshop. It was surprising how few frames were needed to describe the movement, your imagination fills in a lot of detail. The important things to think about were giving the trolley some weight and thinking about how Jim might stand, how he might pick up a book.

Thursday 23 February 2017

The Month Ahead... (March)

My monthly preview feature continues! I actually haven't read any of these yet, but am very excited for all 10.

21st February

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab (Tor Books) 
(Yes, I know that last Tuesday isn't TECHNICALLY the month ahead; I messed up on release dates though!)

I adore Kell, Lila and the rest of the cast of characters in VE Schwab's magnificent trilogy, while the world-building is sensationally good across the four Londons. This is one of several series concluding this month where I'm thrilled to see what happens next, but really don't want it to end!

23rd February

The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone (Simon & Schuster) 

I am SUPER excited for this one, the climax of brilliant heroine Moll Peckitt's adventures! Also sad to say goodbye to her and the rest of The Tribe, admittedly - but I know Abi will have made the finale an excellent one.

Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson (Katherine Tegen Books) - I think, at least! I'm seeing a couple of different release dates around, but the publisher's UK site has it down as today.

A teenage black girl, convicted of causing the death of a white baby when she was just nine, gets pregnant in this contemporary debut which is getting lots of praise on my Twitter timeline. With the threat of losing her baby, Mary has to find the voice to fight her past. This sounds like a tough, but completely compelling, read.

1st March

Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes (writer) and Selina Espiritu (author) (KaBOOM!) 1 of 4 

I love reading comics but certain companies are losing my interest with the ridiculous amount of crossovers, so I'm sticking to shorter self-contained things for the moment. 4 or 6 issue miniseries are perfect for me, and this story about a girl creating a restaurant to serve food to monsters sounds BRILLIANT.

2nd March

See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Puffin) 

Road trip novel about an 11-year-old boy wanting to capture recordings of life on Earth on his iPod, then launch it into space so other lifeforms can learn about the planet, sounds joyous and moving - I can't wait to read it!

Exit West - Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton) 

This novel about two refugees trying to get away from an unnamed country on the brink of civil war, and what happens afterwards, is receiving praise for the gorgeous writing and wonderful characters. It sounds like a must read!

7th March

Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fourth Estate) 
I loved Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists, which I read last month. I'm so excited for this new essay, written as a letter to a friend giving her advice on how to raise her newborn baby girl as a feminist.

9th March

Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be by Gemma Cairney (Macmillan Children's) 
There never seems to be all that much commercial non-fiction for teens around, but there have been some great exceptions over the last few years - notably Juno Dawson's This Book Is Gay and Mind Your Head, and Siobhan Curham's True Face. This book from Radio 1 agony aunt Gemma Cairney - who was fabulous at last year's YALC - sounds like an excellent addition.

Masquerade by Laura Lam (Pan Macmillan)

I have this at last and am still pinching myself; I have been waiting YEARS for the conclusion of Micah Gray's story after adoring Pantomime and Shadowplay. (I'm also thrilled to be quoted on the back cover of this, a line from my Bookbag review of Pantomime coming just below a quote from a favourite fantasy author of mine, Leigh Bardugo.

US release
28th February

Ten Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (Alfred A Knopf)

This book about a girl dealing with anxiety and falling in love with a local girl who doesn't seem to worry about anything sounds gorgeous and uplifting. It's being described as perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella's Finding Audrey, which I adored.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Guest Post: Richard Davis's Favourite Five Things About Saul Marshall

Great to have Richard Davis, author of the adult thriller Saul Marshall series, on the blog today talking about his main character!

Fave Five Things about Saul Marshall

1. His sense of humour.

Unlike Vannevar Yeung – Saul’s loyal sidekick, who speaks in a stream of wise-cracks – Saul is far more sparing with his humour. But for Saul, less is more, and I have a lot of fun making sure he gives as good as he gets. I believe the best thriller protagonists are the ones that can see the dark humour in among the shit. 

2. His fallibility. 

Saul Marshall is a highly trained ex FBI agent, who also did a stint with the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, an elite special forces unit dedicated to saving lives. But whereas most protagonists with these sorts of credentials can’t put a foot wrong, and steamroller their enemies without breaking a sweat, Saul Marshall, like his real-life counterparts, often makes mistakes – sometimes big ones. I think this is more interesting, but also more honest. 

3. His eyes.

At the risk of this sounding like a love letter, I like Saul’s eyes. As it so happens, they have never been referenced in the books as of yet. However, he has heterochromia iridis; in other words, his eyes are two different colours: one brown, one blue. 

4. His sense of loyalty.

Saul doesn’t forget who his friends are, and always has their back – and it surely goes without saying, this is a damn fine trait. That said, if you cross him, there’ll invariably be hell to pay. 

5. He does everything I tell him. 

And this effectively makes me a spy handler – which is cool. 

Saul Marshall Series by
Richard Davis

A psychotic terrorist has his son. He will do anything to save him
When a rogue cult turns deadly, the FBI call on former conman Agent Saul Marshall. FALSE PROPHET introduces a gripping new series from thriller writer Richard Davis
Marshall is soon drawn into a cat and mouse chase with the leader of the cult, Ivan Drexler. As the scale of Drexler’s terrorist ambition becomes ever clearer, news arrives that he has taken Marshall’s son hostage. Removed from the line of duty, he must work alone, off-grid.
As the attacks intensify, Saul will stop at nothing to defeat Drexler.
But the FBI are questioning Saul’s own part in the carnage. He must work fast to save both his country and his life. Can Saul stop the carnage before it’s too late? And can he save his son?
As wave after wave of attacks break, the clock is ticking for Saul.

Information about the Book
Title: False Prophet (Saul Marshall #1)
Author: Richard Davis
Release Date: 25th January 2016
Genre: Crime
Publisher: Canelo
Format: ebook

Saul Marshall is on the run.

As a wave of seemingly random assassinations engulfs California, Marshall finds himself drawn into a situation spiralling out of control.

He soon discovers some of the webs’ most secure protocols have been compromised by a rogue team of former Chinese agents. When Marshall realises what they plan, the stakes are raised…

And that’s before the Secretary of State gets involved. Can Marshall unravel the deceit and tricks before it’s too late? Can he stop the carnage, or will he become part of it? One thing is for certain: either way his enemies will never forget.

Information about the Book
Title: Never Again (Saul Marshall #2)
Author: Richard Davis
Release Date: 20th February 2017
Genre: Crime
Publisher: Canelo
Format: ebook

Author Information

Richard Davis graduated from University College London in 2011 and Cambridge University in 2012. The Saul Marshall series was born from Davis’s extensive travels around the United States and his long-standing
obsession with thriller fiction. He lives in North London, UK, with his girlfriend.

Tour Schedule

Monday 20th February

Tuesday 21st February

Wednesday 22nd February

Thursday 23rd February

Friday 24th February

Saturday 25th February

Sunday 26th February

Monday 27th February

Tuesday 28th February

Wednesday 1st March

Thursday 2nd March

Friday 3rd March

Sunday 4th March

Sunday 5th March

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Liked More Than I Expected

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Fourth Estate) - I'm trying to read more non-fiction and this essay is breathtaking. I knew it would be excellent, but wasn't expecting it to be as accessible as it was - the perfect read for anyone wanting to know more about feminism.

Poppy's Place series by Katrina Charman and Lucy Truman (Stripes) - I'm not generally a big fan of animal books but this won me over with the wonderful author-illustrator team. Katrina's warm, sweet stories are complemented perfectly by Lucy's super-cute drawings.

God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen (Deeya Publishing) - I was drawn to this by the description of it as "A Muslim Nancy Drew", being a big fan of that detective when I was younger. This is an interesting mystery but where it shines is the portrayal of lead character Asiya's relationship with her family, which was great to read.

Russell's Attic series by SL Huang - A self-published one which I wasn't sure about but which I absolutely loved; this is an incredibly exciting action series where the main character - Cas Russell, whose mathematical skill is so (superhumanly?) great that she can dodge bullets, calculate trajectories, and generally avoid death in incredible ways - is a favourite of mine.

We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen (Vintage) - Anything over 400 pages needs to be incredible to keep my attention; Jensen's seafaring epic weighs in at 700 plus and kept me absolutely gripped. Outstanding.

Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka (Vintage) - I don't actually read that many adult novels generally, and hadn't read anything from a Sri Lankan author before this. In addition, cricket isn't a sport I'm generally interested in, but this sounded interesting enough to take a look at and the narrator's phenomenal voice completely blew me away - a truly stunning read.

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master (Bloomsbury) - I was expecting to like this when I read it - it was one of the earliest MGs I reviewed for the Bookbag - but wasn't expecting to fall in love quite so hard with it; Master creates a great set of characters and the setting, in India just prior to Partition, is outstanding.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber and Faber) - I read The Girl Savage, Katherine Rundell's debut, and thought it was a beautifully-written book but wasn't keen on the characters, so I wasn't sure whether to try her second. I was won over by the amazing reviews I was seeing and it absolutely lived up to them - a truly gorgeous MG with brilliant characterisation, especially that of main character Sophie and her foster father Charles. One of my all-time favourites (along with Katherine's third book, The Wolf Wilder.)

Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh (Crown Books in the USA) - I've read lots of short stories this year and have enjoyed some collections a lot; however this is one of the very few I've read where I would say EVERY story was very good or better. Bookended by masterpieces by Matt de la Peña and Walter Dean Myers, the quality barely drops at all.

Mama Can't Raise No Man by Robyn Travis (OWN IT!) - As mentioned, I don't read that many adult novels but was sold on this by a friend telling me how wonderful it was, and by reading the first few pages which gripped me completely. Told as letters to and from Duane, a young black man in prison, it tells an utterly compelling story. The characters all have outstanding voices and I stayed up until 1:30 am this morning to finish it so that I could put it in this list.