Blog Tour: Mystery and Mayhem

Blog Tour: Mystery and Mayhem
Welcome to the second stop on the blog tour for Mystery & Mayhem: Twelve Deliciously Intriguing Mysteries, a collection of crime short stories by some of my favourite authors. For my stop on the tour, here’s part one of The Crime Club’s favourite childhood mysteries!

Blog Tour: Mystery and MayhemRobin Stevens
The book that really got me hooked on mystery was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. My father gave me a copy when I was 12 and challenged me to solve it. I thought I knew everything about the rules of mystery novels – and all my expectations were destroyed. Of course, Agatha Christie outwitted me completely. I put down the book knowing that when I grew up, I wanted to be a murder mystery writer.
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Book Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

Book Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

Shelved: Young adult fiction (contemporary, romance)
Buy: Foyles
More: Goodreads

I’ve had people tell me for years how incredible Emery Lord is, but for some for some inexplicable reason, I’ve only just picked up her books. And boy was it worth the wait!

Set in Verona Cove (California’s own Stars Hollow), When We Collided tells the heartbreaking story of Vivi and Jonah. Vivi storms into Jonah’s life with unstoppable energy and is soon part of the family. Jonah has lived in the close-knit town his entire life, but he’s only struggled since his father died six months ago. Jonah looks after his five siblings while his mother deals with her own grief, unable to find the motivation to get out of bed and come back to her family. As their worlds collide, Vivi and Johan show each other that it is possible to keep going.

As it’s a huge campaign in publishing at the moment, we’re all aware of how important it is to represent mental health in books, especially young adult books. When We Collided is a perfect example of how to portray mental illness faithfully. Vivi is lively, passionate and euphoric. But before it is given a name in the story, the reader can tell that she is struggling with bipolar depression, even if she’s unable to acknowledge it herself. It is one of the most poignant and realistic portrayals of mental illness I’ve read so far; helping the reader understand Vivi’s behaviour – and feel everything with her.

As for the other characters in When We Collided, they lift the story off the page. Etienne St. Clair and Jace Garrett are my favourite boys in contemporary fiction, and Jonah Daniels has made it to the list. He’s caring, respectful and makes the most delicious meals. I adored his passion for cooking and his love for his father’s Italian restaurant. He’s a considerate and assiduous boyfriend; the perfect antithesis to intense Vivi. It’s also impossible to forget Jonah’s little sister Leah, who’s a little ray of sunshine.

When We Collided is my favourite book of the year so far and I cannot wait to read Emery Lord’s other contemporary novels, Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You. If you loved My Life Next Door, Saint Anything & The Sky is Everywhere, give When We Collided a try.

Published: April 2016
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 352
Source: Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!

Book Review: When We Collided by Emery LordBook Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

Behold the Pretty Books! / March Book Haul

Behold the Pretty Books! / March Book Haul
March was a busy month book-wise! My birthday was at the end of the month and I received some super cute cat manga: The Complete Chi’s Sweet HomeI visited some new bookshops in Windsor and bought How Hard Can Love Be? and The Ecliptic. I also found A Spool of Blue Thread and The Foreshadowing in a secondhand bookshop. I’ve just finished Holly Bourne’s Am I Normal Yet? and really enjoyed it, so can’t wait to move onto the next book in the Spinster Club series. I also treated myself to The Martian. I really enjoyed the film and have heard such great things about the book itself.

Behold the Pretty Books! / March Book Haul
In the post, I received Emery Lord’s When We Collided from Bloomsbury and read it almost straight away – and loved it. It’s my favourite book of the year so far; a stunning story about Vivi and Jonah. I was sent Head Over Heels, the next book in the Geek Girl series, and some perfect books for spring: Girl Out of Water, The Unexpected Everything (Morgan Matson!) and What I Thought Was True. I’m very much looking forward to reading all of these!

I was also lucky to attend the Scholastic Bloggers’ Book Feast, where we heard from many of their fantastic authors and teams in design and editorial. I nabbed beautiful editions of the Sally Lockhart quartet, To All the Boys I Have Loved Before, and The Jungle Book. We were also given a goody bag containing The Marvels. I also received two adorable young children’s books in the post from them: Erica’s Elephant and Harper and the Circus of Dreams (you may remember that I loved Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella).

Behold the Pretty Books! / March Book Haul
My (new!) shelves are creaking already!

Are any of these books on your TBR?
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6 Best Bookish Tumblrs

Now we’re in the world of Bookstagram (i.e. the book community on Instagram), people may forget that Tumblr is home to hundreds of thousands of book lovers. I run a Tumblr book blog (or Booklr) and follow over 1000 blogs. Here are 6 of my favourites!

8 Best Bookish Tumblrspaperbackcastles
Rikke lives in Denmark and works in publishing. She writes in Danish on her blog and posts book photography on her Tumblr. All her photos are stunning; I can always tell it’s her photo before I check. She reads widely and owns beautiful editions of books, particularly classics.

8 Best Bookish Tumblrswindblownpages
Anne Nikoline is friends with Rikke and has an equally as beautiful style of photography. Like Rikke, she runs both a written blog and a Tumblr. I’d love to get tips from them both as they always achieve perfect lighting and angles.

8 Best Bookish Tumblrstilly-and-her-books
Tilly is an Australian blogger and once you follow her Tumblr, you’ll get serious personal library envy. We have a similar taste in books and so I’m always reblogging her photos. And she has a tiny goat.

8 Best Bookish Tumblrspollyandbooks
Polly is a fellow British book blogger and I often find myself reblogging the bookish photos she takes herself as well as the ones she curates on her Tumblr.

8 Best Bookish Tumblrsbibliolectors
Sàlvia is a Spanish blogger who feeds my love of illustration. If I had any artistic talent, my dream job would be a children’s books illustrator. She shares wonderful pictures of books, reading, libraries and bookstores. (Illustrations above by Richard Scarry, Lisa Anchin, and Teresa Wiles).

8 Best Bookish Tumblrs
Ursula is also popular on Instagram, but I have been following her Tumblr for ages. She’s an instant reblog for me because her photos are always incredibly creative and artistic.

What are your favourite book blogs on Tumblr?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Classic #3)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Classic #3)

Shelved: Classic (children’s, fantasy, science fiction)
Series: Time Quintet (#1)
Published: 1962 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Rating: ★★★
Challenge: Classics – #3
Buy: Hive
More: Goodreads

This is my third post for the 2016 Classics Challenge – sign up and join 430+ other people in reading one classic each month.

Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure – one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
It’s a children’s classic that I’ve been aware of since joining the book community. It’s super popular in the US, but not so much in the UK. Last year, Puffin got in touch to offer me a bunch of newly redesigned and published Puffin Classics. I couldn’t say no and requested A Wrinkle in Time.

WHY I Chose to Read It
A Wrinkle in Time is not only a highly-regarded classic (it won the 1963 Newbery Medal), but a much-beloved classic. I was excited to finally pick it up.

WHAT Makes It A Classic
It’s a novel that is seen to be for 9 to 12-year-olds and yet tackles highly complex themes. Good vs. evil – illustrated in the story as light vs. dark – and conformity vs. freedom are woven into the plot. It’s scientific and philosophical, and some say religious.

Jean Fulton wrote: “L’Engle’s fiction for young readers is considered important partly because she was among the first to focus directly on the deep, delicate issues that young people must face, such as death, social conformity, and truth.”

“A straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.”

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I was intrigued, particularly by the concepts of wrinkling time and tessering; folding the fabric of space and time. Meg, Charles and Calvin are promised that they’ll travel from one area of space to another and arrive back home five minutes before they left. As for the characters, I adored 13-year-old Margaret “Meg” Murray and her younger brother, 5-year-old Charles Wallace, who is both a genius and telepathic. They are the key to saving their father, a scientist studying tesseract, who is being kept on the planet Camazotz.

A Wrinkle in Time is one of the few children’s science fiction classics I’ve read. It’s impressive, challenging and ambitious. As my experience of science fiction is limited to dystopia and post-apocalyptic – and so therefore much easier concepts to grasp – I just about got my head around the science. But I appreciate that it was explained. I attended an event about writing children’s science fiction a few years ago and a comment was made that it’s easier to write for children because there’s less to explain. I’m sure Madeleine L’Engle wouldn’t agree. Rather than simply “travelling through time”, the reader becomes more invested in how this might happen and what could go wrong.

Even so, A Wrinkle in Time was often a little too bizarre for me, as someone who generally reads contemporary fiction. I was hoping that I’d get into the story much more than I did. But I thoroughly enjoyed the personal journey that the children went on and it’s one I’d happily give another shot.

“The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly.” 

WILL It Stay A Classic
I’m sure it’ll continue to be popular within in the US, but it may be a little too peculiar to be reintroduced to the UK – but time will tell as a new adaptation is currently being made!

“They are very young. And on their earth, as they call it, they never communicate with other planets. They revolve about all alone in space.”
“Oh,” the thin beast said. “Aren’t they lonely?”

WHO I’d Recommend It To
People who love science fiction. People who love stories about complex and challenging themes.

“We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”

A Book and a Bag / #PackAPuffin A Book and a Bag / #PackAPuffin