Friday, 23 December 2016

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby - Review

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps - gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza goes missing, the people of Bone Gap aren't surprised. After all, it isn't the first time someone's slipped away and left Finn and Sean O'Sullivan on their own.

Finn knows that's not what happened with Roza. He knows she was taken, ripped from the cornfields by a man whose face he can't remember. But no one believes him anymore. Well, almost no one. Petey Willis, the beekeeper's daughter, suspects that lurking behind Finn's fearful shyness is a story worth uncovering. But as we, like Petey, follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap - their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures - the truth about what happened to Roza is slowly revealed. And it is stranger than you can possibly imagine.

Even reading the blurb gets me excited about this book all over again. If it hasn't convinced you to preorder immediately, let me try! I've had a really good run of magical realism books recently and this is one of my favourites that I've read this year.

The best part of this for me was the way magical and fantastical elements were woven into a convincing contemporary story. It felt at times like a beautiful, dark fairy tale and at others like a really gripping contemporary novel.

In a lot of ways, I interpreted this as a coming of age book, with Finn trying to find himself as much as trying to find Roza. His relationships with Petey and his brother were incredibly realistic and complex. 

I also really liked getting the story from Roza's point of view, so you knew what was happening to her even when the boys didn't.

The unpredictability of this also kept me invested. There were a lot of aspects that I wasn't sure where they were going and I loved that!

This was a gorgeous book to end the year on. It comes out in just a few days so treat yourself!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Anna-Marie McLemore's favourite things

Anna-Marie McLemore is the author of my favourite book from this year, so I couldn't be more excited to share her favourite books, movies and characters!

'When the moon was ours' is my book of the year for so many reasons. It's not only the most beautifully written and plotted magical realism story that I've ever read. It also has incredible characters and explores identity in a moving, beautiful way that is rooted in Anna-Marie's own experiences. You can read my entire five star review here

Now for the main event - welcome to YA Under My Skin Anna-Marie!

Favourite YA book/s


Aisha’s language is precise and evocative, and she has a gorgeous way of depicting characters’ relationships with their families and family histories.


Look out for this one, both a family story and a camp story, in spring 2017. It’s also a brilliant, honest portrayal of faith.


This one meant so much to me, I wrote a whole post about it for Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader:

IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan

In addition to being a study in how to write a book that’s short and spare but also rich and detailed, this book spoke to my heart as a queer WOC.

Favourite adult books

PASSING by Nella Larsen

If you haven’t read it and need more convincing to read it, consider that it’s also author Dhonielle Clayton’s favorite book!


A sister story, a love story, and a story of the Mexican culture I’m proud to come from, this was one of the first books I ever saw myself in.


There’s new magic in this book every time I read it. The first time I stumbled through it in French class, and I keep coming back to it. I want to learn new languages just so I can read it again with a new perspective.

Favourite movies (of all time and now)


Cecilia Cackley of Hooray for Books! also loves this film, so much that we periodically have Twitter quote wars.


I know I’m using the term “now” *really* loosely since it’s ten years old, but considering most of my best-loved movies are classics, I’m hoping this magical story counts! 

Favourite TV shows (of all time and now)

All time: This is more a category than a single show, but some of my best growing-up memories were watching American soap operas and the occasional favorite telenovela with my mother.

Right now: UnReal, though I’ve only seen Season 1 and I hear worrying things about Season 2?

Favourite song/ band

Oh, this changes constantly. But right now I’ve been listening to Gregory Alan Isakov a lot. “Idaho” often ends up on repeat.

Favourite characters from YA books

Emerson Birch from Saundra Mitchell’s THE SPRINGSWEET

Emerson is my YA book boyfriend. *swoons*


She may be a horse, but she immediately came to mind: “‘It is nice to be nice,’ Kamala said with a sage nod. ‘It is also nice to eat people.’”

Favourite character/s from adult books

The Lisbon sisters from THE VIRGIN SUICIDES

As a girl with many brothers, I’m enthralled by sister stories. The subtle relationships we see among the Lisbons always pulls me into their world. 

Favourite characters from books that you read as a YA

The de la Garza sisters from the above-mentioned LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE

Their relationships are messy and complicated, sometimes loyal and sometimes full of betrayal. Even though I don’t have sisters, these women grabbed me by the heart.

Daisy Buchanan from THE GREAT GATSBY

Oh Daisy Buchanan. The glamorous white girl fifteen-year-old me so badly wanted to be…

Thanks so much for sharing your favourite things with us and growing to be read piles everywhere!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

British Books Challenge 2017

I'm really looking forward to taking part in the 2017 British Books Challenge! I try to support British authors as much as I can and this will definitely keep me focused in my reading.

I've listed a few books that I'm excited about for now and I'll add more as I think of them. I'm planning to concentrate on UK authors that I've come across at YALC and YA Shot conventions and authors of classics that I really should have read by now.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Books that give me hope - #YaXmasTour2016

Merry Christmas everyone! I'm so happy to be on this blog tour organised by the lovely Virginie (who you probably know as Chouette, blogger extraordinaire at

2016 has been a big, strange year for me and for the world. More and more, I seem to gravitate to books that give me hope and I wanted to share those as part of the blog tour.

These are some of my favourites from the past, this year and next year.

Northern Lights came out when I was eleven. My grandad used to take me to WH Smiths to buy books that were well-written and award-winning. I think he was trying to break my Point Horror habit! One such visit drew both of us to Northern Lights. I still count it as one of my favourite books because it started my obsession with fantasy and is so beautifully written. I loved Lyra because I aspired to be brave and wilful like her (and I'd still quite like to have my own daemon).

One of my newer favourites is Rebel of the Sands. I loved the Wild West meets Arabian Nights premise and like Lyra I think Amani is an incredible character. It makes me so happy to think of young girls (and people in general) discovering her for the first time. Alwyn did a brilliant post about her favourite things to promote YA Shot, which you can find here if you want to check it out.

I read Radio Silence earlier this year. From the moment I started reading it, I couldn't stop. This book was real, current and raw. It felt like such an accurate portrayal of what it's like to be a teenager and refreshingly is not a love story! I wish there were books like this when I was a teen and I'm so glad it exists now.

Anna Marie McLemore has become one of my favourite authors. The Weight of Feathers and When the Moon was Ours are beautiful, original and magical. Her writing sweeps you into the world and gives you all the feels! I can't wait to read what she comes up with next.

Laini Taylor is my favourite YA author so I was almost unbearably excited to get an advance copy of Strange the Dreamer. The only reason I haven't read it immediately is that I'm trying to savour it. The writing is just gorgeous and the plot and characters are stunningly original and realistic. I predict that this will become one of my favourite books of all time.

Based on this year, I have no idea what 2017 will bring (though I'm certain it has to be better!) At least we know that it will bring books and bookish conversations.

Merry Christmas everyone and a happy 2017!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich - review

Publisher: Orion Children's Books (14th July 2016)
US Publication title: And the Trees Crept In (6th September 2016)

When sisters Silla and Nori escape London and their abusive father, Aunt Cath's country house feels like a safe haven. But slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to unravel. Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic and spends day and night pacing. Every day the forbidden surrounding forest inches slowly towards the house. A mysterious boy appears, offering friendship. And Nori claims that a man watches them from the dark forest - a man with no eyes, who creeps ever closer. . . (Publishers' blurb)

When I read The Dead House last year, it really stayed with me. I'm not easily rattled or surprised by a book and The Dead House well and truly got under my skin! I
 put off reading Creeper Man until I was in the mood and it was everything I wanted.

First, take a minute to check out that cover. I love it for so many reasons and it gives me a little shudder every time I look at it.

One of the reasons why I adore Dawn Kurtagich's writing is that her books don't follow a straightforward narrative. There are extracts from characters' journals and other titbits that lend authenticity to the plot.

My favourite part of this book is the world building. You've not only got this disturbing, oppressive world that is shrinking as the trees creep in. Subtle details are also used to create a detailed picture of a crumbling outside world.

The characters are another fantastic part of this book. All of them, even those who appeared briefly, made a meaningful contribution to the plot and felt like heroes of their own stories. 

There weren't a lot of lighter moments in this, though for me that suited the building sense of threat and inevitability. It's a genuinely scary book with the qualities of the darkest, best kind of fairy tale. 

This is another original, surprising book by Dawn Kurtagich. If you like being scared, I highly recommend it.