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Review | Undercover Princess | Connie Glynn

Review | Undercover Princess | Connie Glynn

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I'm going to start this review bluntly by saying that whilst part of me loved this book and was taken back to my childhood, the other part was not really a fan. It's not that its a bad book, in fact its rather good especially for a debut but there were just some things which really let it down and therefore lowered my rating.

Undercover Princess written by Connie Glynn tells the story of two girls. One, Lottie is an ordinary girl who's always longed to be a princess, the other, Ellie, is a princess. The two get roomed together at the slightly mystical Rosewood school and hijinks ensue. Sounds like an intriguing plot right? Well it is but for some reason I didn't fully connect with it.

I think my overall issue with this book is the pacing. I found the first half particularly slow and it took me a couple of sittings to really get into it; the second half was much faster but at points reached warp speed and I felt like I'd be spun round with no idea what had just happened! Whilst it was good because a lot was happening, it felt like too much was happening all at once and there wasn't really any time to explain anything. 

Another issue I have is with  the two main girls themselves. I loved the majority of things about them and found them likeable and witty but I have some faults. Firstly, they're 14 but act 20! The girls are meant to be young and I get some teens are wise beyond their years but it's just a bit much. I think it would have been better to make them just a little bit older and therefore more believable- I've never known a 14 year old who'd be so ready to give up everything to help a friend they met a week ago. I also wish that Ellie was more badass! So much emphasis is placed on how she's the lost cause, rebel princess but the only shocking things we see her do are breaking into places a few times and having a messy room for a day which doesn't really scream rule-breaker to me.

Whilst I love the friendship between Lottie and Ellie, I'm confused as to whether its more of a relationship with the "sparks" that fly when they touch hands and the odd things they do together. If it is I think that's great, unique representation in a princess story but if not its just a bit curious... 

Of course this is the first book in The Rosewood Chronicles series and I think there's so much room to grow and develop. I fully understand that the first book has to be about world building but I just feel that there's a bit much in this. Some parts seemed unnecessary (Bina's gift which never came to mean anything??) and led to plot holes. I'm sure we'll find out all the answers in future books but I just feel that too many things were woven in at once which, making it overwhelming and losing its direction a bit.

Despite these things, I did enjoy reading Undercover Princess and I will most likely read the next book in the series which I think will make or break it for me. When I was younger and didn't think into things too much, I would've adored this book but my 21 year old overthinking brain just can't skim over the flaws. 

Despite not being Connie's YouTube audience, the audience for this book should definitely be middle grade. I think younger children will eat this book and the series up. It's sweet and mystical and certainly motivation for girls (and boys) to be kind and strong in the face of adversity and I look forward to seeing where Connie goes with the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

*This book was sent to me by Penguin for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own*

Review | Flirty Dancing | Jenny McLachlan

Review | Flirty Dancing | Jenny McLachlan

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A while back I went to an event at Bloomsbury publishing where I had the delight of meeting Jenny McLachlan; after hearing her talk about the Ladybirds series I couldn't wait to read them... so on the train home, my best friend Emily and I sat next to each other laughing to ourselves at Jenny's witty and uplifting book!

Flirty Dancing follows our protagonist Bea as she faces boy troubles, friend troubles and general life troubles, all the while trying to compete in a prominent television dance series. This book, along with Love Bomb (which I finished within the next few days) had me transported back to being 13 and I was not complaining! I remember feeling all of the emotions Bea feels and her character really made me realise it wasn't just me who thought I was an alien growing up- I just wish I'd known that when I was going into secondary school!

I adored the humour so much in these books, its very rare that I laugh out loud at a book but I was chuckling all throughout this... the people on the train loved me! 

All the characters in Flirty Dancing remind you of somebody you know/knew at school which makes it very relatable. Although this book is mostly aimed at younger children, I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to have a blast from the past, remembering their mortifying childhood moments but realising that they're not the only one who felt a little out of place.

Jenny's writing is witty, heartwarming, romantic and just thoroughly enjoyable throughout so be sure to check out The Ladybird Series

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tag | The Hamilton Book Tag

Tag | The Hamilton Book Tag

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Like basically every musical theatre fan, I'm a little bit obsessed with Hamilton and when I was thinking of post ideas I thought I'd make a Hamilton Book Tag... turns out Maureen Keavy has already made one so that's what I'm going to be doing. LETS GO!

1. THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS: A book world you would put yourself in

Whilst I'd love to be in a magical world like Harry Potter, I'd actually choose to be put in the land of Dash and Lily's Book Of Dares... NEW YORK aka my dream home location. Since childhood I've always wanted to live in the big apple and since visiting for my 18th birthday I want to make it my home even more!

2. THE SCHUYLER SISTERS: An underrated female character

Now this character probably won't be underrated but seeing as the book only came out recently, I haven't heard many people talking about her. This character is... Romy from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She's a great character and I love her because she's strong and genuine and really relatable.

3. MY SHOT: A character that goes after what they want and doesn't let anything stop them

I feel like this is a villain thing? I mean sure, the heroines/hero's fight for what they want but the villains go to crazy levels. So for that reason I've got to go for Voldemort... splitting your soul?! That's pretty extra even for the world of Harry Potter!

4. STAY ALIVE: A character you wish was still alive

The Fault in Our Stars... that's all

5. BURN: The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you've ever read

The ending of Allegiant RUINED MY SOUL AND BROKE ME! Honestly I'm still not over it and don't think I ever will be.

6. YOU'LL BE BACK: The sassiest villain

I genuinely can't think of a sassy villain??? Maybe I should find some and add them to my TBR. So seeing as I don't have one, I'll tell you my favourite general sassy guy: Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments... for obvious reasons!

7. THE REYNOLDS PAMPHLET: A twist you didn't see coming

RED. QUEEN. When that twist was revealed I was well and truly shook.

8. NON-STOP: A series you marathoned

I was actually really late on the Divergent trend and didn't read them until the films were released but when I did, I raced through!

9. SATISFIED: Favourite book with multiple POVs

I recently read The Sun is Also a Star and I absolutely adored it. Nicola Yoon's writing style is beautiful and the perspectives of Daniel and Natasha are wonderful. It's truly a fabulous book.

10. WHO LIVES, WHO DIES, WHO TELLS YOUR STORY: A book that will live on forever

I feel like its only right to say Harry Potter. I just feel like the love and praise for H Pizzle is never going to die.

So there we have it, The Hamilton Book Tag! Have you listed to/seen Hamilton? What's your favourite song? I'm seeing it in London in February and can't wait!

I Tag: Lucy, Katie, Jordan and Amy

Interview | Marta Jorgensen | Donny and the Sun King

Interview | Marta Jorgensen | Donny and the Sun King

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I am all about helping new writing because who doesn't want something fresh? So when Marta Jorgensen contacted me about her show which she has written and is currently trying to raise funds for, I was very intrigued and excited to talk to her about her process and what she's trying to do... 

What got you into writing?

In my thirties I was married to a songwriter who ran off with his songwriting partner. In the beginning the urge to write was spurred on by wanting to get even. But as time goes by, one realises that revenge is a dish best left in the ice box. I was ready to throw it out and just write. Screenplays, songs, a lot of political writing and opinion pieces. 

I found it nice to be published until… well you know, then you get a rebuttal. I ran for political office in the US and wrote extensively for that. Sustainability, Straight Talk and Citizen Activism. Politics is like theatre and that inspired several songs about politics and media. From those songs came the play.

Has it always been a passion of yours? 

No, but singing has been since watching tiny Michael Jackson onstage at a young age singing like an adult. I wanted to be on stage at six years old. I caught a fame bug.

Can you explain what Donny the musical is about?

Donny is done as a play within a play or a kind of Metatheatre. I use this literary device; it is Rhoda’s inner workings, her mind and her thoughts, her emotional state. Freud talks about the dream within a dream and Shakespeare used it with success. The play talks about itself and is aware of itself. In the story she brings her family into her imagination, they sing about it, she sings about how she wants to write an ending she can live with. Rhoda in her dialogue calls attention to the plot and how it is not going her way. Characters give advice to her about what others should do.

Rhoda Haynes, a quirky New York playwright has a grudge against Frenchy King and his lying King Media Empire. Rhoda and her family are suing King Media over fake stories written about them. She can’t do anything or say anything to jeopardise it. But, she wants to get even. Hubert, Rhoda’s husband tells her to write and get it off her chest. So Rhoda, sitting at her desk, starts banging away on an old fashioned typewriter. She starts a play called “Donny and the Sun King”. Here is the story as she creates it - inserting herself and her family members, husband Hubert Haynes, daughter Blaze Haynes, as themselves (Rhoda Haynes, a playwright, Blaze Haynes, Rhoda’s daughter, a famous singer and Hubert Haynes, a Congressman). Just like in real life, the character family debates with Rhoda about plot issues involving them. Rhoda wants an ending she can live with so she tries to write one.

What made you write this show?

From the 80’s to now media has evolved and taken over our lives to an extent that we have lost control of it. Standing at the checkout counter you see name after name splashed there about some affair or travesty they had, then later you read the paper got sued for writing a fake story. Now everyday it’s on the Internet. I started this play three years ago with just that in mind. Now it’s done and we have Mr. Trump in office and all anyone talks about is fake news. So I have tapped into the zeitgeist of the times. But to tell you the truth, I have a fascination with the tabloid world. I love headlines like I married Bigfoot; Aliens are Living in my Basement. Frenchy King sings about these kinds of stories.

The subject is extremely relevant, what made you choose it?

The subject chose itself. How can you not write about it? It is today’s reality. How else can you write about Perry’s Poorhouse, Rhoda’s concept of Hell, a combination of Don Giovanni and Married with children and get away with it. Tabloid media lends itself to fanciful worlds and situations.

You’re raising the money for a score through Hatchfund, can you tell us a little about that?

Yes, Hatchfund is an arts crowd funding organisation. You have to submit to get accepted. They give you an account manager who baby sits you through the crowd funding process. They have a 75% success rate. I am raising money to hire a studio in Santa Barbara CA, Hidden City Studios and its owner, Elliot Lanam, to help flesh out the play songs and other music. 

It’s a long process and the biggest part of producing a musical of course. I need $4000 to $5000 to meet my goal by October 31, 2017. There are 19-20 songs with names like My Story, Ratings R Us, Donny’s Lament, Hope and Pride, Perry’s Poorhouse, Babel, Ball and Chain, What’s in a Word, Lower Slobovia. The music is a mix of styles, kids have their sound, the media upper class have their sound and the Rhoda and her family have a sound of their own. All pulled together by a thematic through line.

Did you model the characters on anyone you know?

Well yes, but I might not be able to divulge that. LOL. I don’t want to be sued. That would be too much like the story acting out itself.

But I have to say there is a lot of Rhoda Haynes in me. If you want to know what parts you will have to read the play and donate to the cause. Then I might reveal it.

If you could sum the show in 5 words what would they be?

Beware of writers with grudges.
Hilarious, satirical and very entertaining.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Go to school and learn it right. Treat writing like a job but be yourself. Or if you are not yourself, after you write for awhile you will find yourself. Then maybe you might want to lose yourself. 

Listen to the small still voice in your head at 5 AM saying get up I have a scene I want to work on. That’s the muse. Or it could be the TV. Most of my work comes while walking in nature. Writing is channeling the universe. A wise man once said that and I find it to be true.

Donate to Marta's campaign here.

*this is a sponsored post*

Review | Our Demons, Best Friends | Diana T. Scott

Review | Our Demons, Best Friends | Diana T. Scott

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Its a well known fact that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but lets be honest, everybody does it! I am certainly guilty of picking one book over another because of its cover but sometimes what's outside really is what's on the inside and in the case of Our Demons, Best Friends (ODBF) that's definitely true!

"Ava and Sebastian are two medical residents who in a perfect world, would really like each other. But both of them are closely watched by their demons. Their baggage is not light - Ava has hers carefully folded in vacuum bags to occupy as little room as possible; Sebastian wears his like a lead armour that makes him slouch sometimes. They like each other, but how are their demons going to get along?"

So once I got over the beautiful cover of this book I started reading it and I was instantly drawn in. In my opinion, ODBF falls more into the New Adult category as opposed to the Young Adult category, however the angst throughout does give it a YA feel. 

One of the things I love most about this book is the fact that its set in a hospital with all the characters being medical students on their placement. I've never read a story which revolves around people in the medical profession so I found it very exciting and unique. All the characters in this book are extremely likeable; each have their own little quirks and habits similar to real life friend groups which I loved. The reality of the story is really what I enjoyed most about this book, not only were the characters themselves extremely life-like but the main romance between Ava and Sebastian also felt extremely real. Of course there are some moments of fluff and over intensified emotions, but who doesn't want that in a book?! Nothing felt strained and the whole story felt natural. Each chapter was kind of like watching an episode of a TV series for me, with the general story always continuing along with the over-aching 'will they, won't they' problem. 

Overall I found this a truly enjoyable read and I can't wait to pick up Diana's next (and also beautiful) book: Love Me While I'm Gone. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
*This book was sent to me by the author for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own.*

Review | The Loneliest Girl in the Universe | Lauren James

Review | The Loneliest Girl in the Universe | Lauren James

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If you read the blurb of this book and think you know what's going to happen, you are wrong. In this book, Lauren James has perfected the art of the plot twist and the slow release of information so that you're on the edge of your seat throughout and never know who to trust or what to believe.

Now I must admit, when I first started reading The Loneliest Girl in the Universe I was a little underwhelmed as it seemed very similar to the 2016 blockbuster, Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt (aka the man of my dreams.) There are a number of ideas which appear in the book and the film, however, after 150 pages or so, the world of The Loneliest Girl comes into it's own and the story feels truly unique.

Romy is a completely badass 16 year old girl who is the first human born in space, travelling to a new planet all alone after the tragic and mysterious loss of her parents. The only 'earthly' things she's experienced have been through reading fanfics, watching her favourite tv programme, Loch and Ness and communicating with her friend at NASA, Molly. As well as reading it, she writes her own fanfic and we see her personal growth through the growth of the characters in her stories. She's strong, clever, logical and a fantastic role model for young adults; inspiring them to be strong and independent but to be unafraid of anxiety and having flaws.

When Romy finds out that another spaceship has taken off and is heading to the new earth with her, she is filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety. She soon becomes entwined in communications with J. Shoreditch on the other ship but all may not be as it seems...

This book draws you into a false sense of security and warmth and then rips the floor out from under your feet when you least expect it. The story is compelling and I became completely absorbed in it as I flipped through the pages at warp speed on my various tube journeys over two days. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe should definitely be on the top of you TBR and I'm sure you'll race through it in no time. 

I'm still undecided on whether I would like a sequel to this book or not. Part of me feels satisfied with the ending but another part is intrigued to see how the story continues and I'd absolutely love to learn more about Molly and her time on earth which I think could be very interesting (Lauren, if you're reading, help a girl out and write this please!)

So yes, I'd definitely recommend this book. It's layered and emotional and the perfect read to get you out of a slump!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*This book was sent to me by Walker Books for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own*

Review | Binge | Tyler Oakley

Review | Binge | Tyler Oakley

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I'm writing this post at 2am Monday morning because I have just spent two and a half hours speeding my way through Tyler Oakley's Binge and I need to get my thoughts down straight away on this fantastic memoir.

As a big fan of YouTube and social media, I have been aware of Tyler's online presence for a long time but I've never been a religious watcher of his videos until fairly recently, so when I picked up his book it was purely because I'm nosey and like to know about other peoples lives! And I can certainly say I now feel like I know a lot about Tyler's life!

Binge is a candid and unashamedly honest look at some of Mr Oakley's biggest slaying moments and some of his lowest cringing and trying moments. We are told about Tyler's childhood and family relations, his rankings of Disney Prince hotness and what he'd do if he became Queen Bey for the day; as well as a deep insight into how Tyler is winning at the YouTube game.

Binge had me laughing out loud as well as close to tears. Tyler puts all his cards on the table in this book and his rawness and sincerity is clear on every page. Reading felt like a natural conversation and there were times when I just wanted to interrupt and ask a question! Everything flows perfectly, with creative and hilarious chapter titles and outrageous anecdotes throughout. Each chapter of Binge could stand on its own as an essay but Tyler cleverly winds them together to create  a perfect mix of absurdity and honesty.

I would recommend anyone (unless you're easily offended) to read Binge; not only is it witty and creative, but the overall arching message of family, friendship and the desire to succeed whilst remaining true to yourself, is something which I think will resonate with many people today. Go on, just let yourself Binge!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review | After Anatevka | Alexandra Silber

Review | After Anatevka | Alexandra Silber

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Not just a writer, but a renowned actress both here in the UK and across the pond, Alexandra Silber has successfully made an incredible transition from stage to page with her debut novel, After Anatevka. The novel is a study of love and tradition in Russia in the early twentieth century and is the perfect continuation of Fiddler on the Roof and Hodel's story. Silber's writing is stunningly eloquent and she conjures up images of the long gone world with a delightful flow and accuracy.

With the ever growing popularity of sites such as fanfic and wattpad, there seems to be a desire to continue the stories of our favourite characters, but whilst these can sometimes be cheesy and idealistic, Silber's is raw, truthful and gritty.

We last see Hodel, the second eldest daughter of Tevye and Golde, when she is leaving her father in Anatevka as she gets on a train to Siberia to work and be with her love, Perchik who has been branded as a political criminal by the Tsarist government. As the train approaches, Hodel promises her father that one day, she and Perchik will be married in a traditional Jewish ceremony although they both know Tevye will never see this happen as she says "God alone knows when we shall see each other again". This is the final time we see Hodel and are left to to deal with the heartbreaking reality of what she would have faced when she reached Siberia.  

After Anatevka tells us exactly what Hodel faced in the corrupt, violent world she was placed in on her mission to reach her fiancé. I think what's most heartbreaking about this novel is how much truth is in it. Whilst this is a work of fiction, the happenings are not fictional and many, if not all prisoners of the state were treated in the same atrocious ways. What's clear is how painstakingly meticulous Silber's research was and how she was able to weave this all in to create a shockingly truthful portrayal of Siberia in the early twentieth century. 

As well as showing the pain Hodel experiences in the present, Silber also throws in little anecdotes about her childhood and her relationship with her sisters, especially her somewhat combative but loving sister, Tzeitel. Their love is clear and provides moving passages showing the longing she feels to see those she left behind. Perchik's backstory is also particularly interesting and adds a layer which is not seen in the show and shows why he fights his way through the Gulag's challenges so ferociously.

After Anatevka is a profound debut novel. Alexandra provides a sentimental, insightful and truthful take on a world where change and tradition and forever at war with one another and a beautiful look at love. Silber's writing flows with an ease and simplicity that makes it a joy to read and she is an extremely accomplished story teller.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I also run a theatre website where I post reviews, news and interviews about all things West End and Broadway:

*This book was sent to me by WW Norton Books for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own*

Review | When We Collided | Emery Lord

Review | When We Collided | Emery Lord

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When We Collided is the first book by Emery Lord that I have read and I adored it. I've been hearing amazing things about Emery's writing but had just never got round to investigating for myself, so when this surprise package came through my door from Bloomsbury I was very excited!

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.
Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.

I've been holding off on writing this review for a while now, not because I didn't like it or didn't know what to write. I just didn't know how to articulate it in a way which would do the storyline and writing justice so this is me giving it my best shot. 

The story is told from two perspectives: Vivi and Jonah. Each character is written uniquely and wonderfully. One of the main subjects broached in this novel is mental illness which is discussed delicately and beautifully. I don't want to give a lot away about the story but both characters are extremely layered and we find new things out about each one right until the end. 

Something I really loved was the passions of both characters. Being an extremely passionate (borderline obsessive) person myself, I love seeing characters who love something so much it almost consumes them because it just feels more realistic to me. Vivi's passion is art and fashion whilst Jonah's is cooking. I love how both characters aren't afraid to show what makes them, them.

I sometimes found Vivi slightly annoying but I sort of felt that I couldn't judge her for anything because her actions were because of her mental health. It was kind of difficult for me though because I didn't know what was the 'real' Vivi and what was the medicated Vivi but I think that confusion adds to the emotion of the book and adds to the realism of mental health and trying to escape from yourself. 

I loved Jonah and he's for sure a cutesy YA book boyfriend who kind of reminded me of Etienne St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss but he was sometimes a bit too perfect. Of course he had issues in the book but it felt like he was just too good and dealing with everything and it was kind of unrealistic. I still loved him but I would have liked maybe a bit more focus on his problems and thoughts!

Overall I would consider this a novel about change. The characters we meet at the start who fall in love with each other throughout are completely different from the characters we end with. Its a beautiful story of acceptance, love and development and I would recommend it for summer without a doubt.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*I received this book from bloomsbury publishing. All views and opinions are my own.

Review | Unfiltered | Lily Collins

Review | Unfiltered | Lily Collins

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I recently went on holiday and although my usual beach-reads would be cutesy contemporaries, this time I was very into autobiographical books, reading three during the week, one of which was the beautiful, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins. I have been a huge fan of Lily for as long as I can remember and have always felt in a weird way, that we were friends. Lily's natural talent for writing and personal anecdotes further exemplified this feeling and it was delightful to read such a stunning and relatable book.

Lily is one of my top actresses; Love Rosie is my all time favourite film and whilst it's clear she is an incredible actress, I was wary as to whether her writing would be up to the same standard or whether she was just publishing a book for the sake of it. I'm pleased to say that Lily is a phenomenal writer and her book is touching, meaningful and useful to so many people, especially young women.

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me is a collection of essays detailing personal moments of Collins' life, as well as offering advice to those who read it. Lily's main focus is on her feelings of confusion and loneliness as a child which contributed to challenges she strived to overcome in her adult life such as her tendency towards unhealthy relationships and her eating disorder. She explains that if she'd realised that other people- namely the women and celebrity role models- in her life felt these same emotions, she may have felt less alone and would've found it easier to ask for help. Therefore providing this guide to be that role model for young adults.

I think it's really wonderful that Lily has used her platform as an actress to help young people and somewhat expose the falsities of the 'perfect' Hollywood to remind us that no matter what our status in life or where we are, we are not alone. Lily strives to shatter the idea of impossible beauty standards through her candid and sincere writing. Whilst Lily, as the daughter of an extremely successful musician, obviously didn't have the typical upbringing, her writing makes her seem extremely down to earth and gives off the general vibe of an older sister imparting all their wisdom on their younger sister (or brother).

I wouldn't say Unfiltered is a book which will drastically change your life, but it certainly makes you think and it's truly comforting to hear such relatable stories from a Hollywood star. Lily's extremely eloquent writing is touchingly honest and she is certainly wise beyond her years. Her continual positivity is envious but ultimately inspiring and infectious.

"You deserve happiness. You deserved to be loved just as you love others. You deserve everything."

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Interview | Jennifer Niven | Author of All The Bright Places

Interview | Jennifer Niven | Author of All The Bright Places

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Jennifer Niven, is the amazing author of All The Bright Places and Holding Up The Universe. Jennifer is not only an incredible author but also a lovely person and she was kind enough to answer some questions for an interview about her books, writing and her life.... enjoy!....

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?  
I heard that you wrote All The Bright Places in six weeks. How!? 

Actually, I’ve been traveling so much lately for my book tour—and I leave again soon for a few weeks—that I’d be right where I am now:  home. 

For Finch and Violet's geography project, they visit lots of 'wonders' of Indiana. Where/what/who are some of your own 'Wonders'? 

My greatest wonder/bright place was my mom. She died a few months ago, and I’ve taken solace in my other wonders—my fiancé, my three literary kitties, my best friends, my family, and Los Angeles, where I live. I’m giddy in love with L.A., and it will always be my favorite place to wander.

In All The Bright Places, Finch's mental illness is undiagnosed, what made you write him this way? 

Eighty percent of people with mental illnesses go undiagnosed, and bipolar disorder is particularly hard to diagnose in teens. I wanted to alert readers to the signs of this illness so that they know to pay attention, to reach out, that you shouldn’t try to hide what you’re feeling from others, that you don’t have to do this by yourself, and that there is help out there for those who need it.

You previously worked as an actress, can we expect to see you acting the film adaptation of All The Bright Places?

That’s up to the producers and director, but I’d love to have a cameo in the movie!

What's your guilty pleasure TV show? 

I love TV! But my favourite show is definitely Supernatural.

I really just wrote the story I knew. Years ago, I knew and loved a boy, and that boy was bipolar. I witnessed up-close the highs and lows, the Awake and the Asleep, and I saw his daily struggle with the world and with himself.  The experience was life changing, and for a long time I wasn’t sure if I could write about it. But once I started, I found I couldn’t stop.

You've written fiction, memoir and non-fiction, what made you move onto young adult? 

Even when I was writing adult fiction and nonfiction, I read young adult books for pleasure. Of all the genres, I’ve always enjoyed reading YA most, and I’ve always known I wanted to try to write a YA of my own one day. In the summer of 2013, I was finishing work on the last in a series of adult novels, and I knew that for my next project I wanted to do something new and different. So I decided to think of a YA idea, which led me to the story of the boy I knew and loved.

Which author would you love to collaborate with? 

I’d love to collaborate with David Levithan because he’s not only THE loveliest person, he’s a brilliant writer and I think we’d have a lot of fun. I’m also a huge admirer of Melvin Burgess and Phil Earle, and it would be terrific to work with them.

When writing All The Bright Places, did you cast the characters in your head for the movie? 

Yes! I always pictured Elle Fanning as Violet, and now she’s going to be playing Violet in the film version, which I’m so, so excited about! The person I pictured for Finch is Nicholas Hoult, although sadly he’s too manly and mature to play the role now. As for the other characters, here’s a link to a piece I did on my dream cast:

What advice would you give to budding authors?  

Write, read, and work hard.  Remember to enjoy it. Don’t get hung up on making it perfect, because there’s no such thing. Write the kind of book you’d like to read. Write what inspires you.  Write what you love.

A huge thank you to Jennifer for doing this interview. Be sure to check her out on sisal media as well as reading her books.

Review | All That She Can See | Carrie Hope Fletcher

Review | All That She Can See | Carrie Hope Fletcher

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If you haven't read this book yet then you won't understand the significance of me wearing my pyjamas as I write this review. Whilst this is partly because I just got back from holiday it's also my little nod to the character of Cherry!

All That She Can See is the third novel released by actress, singer, youtube and author, Carrie Hope Fletcher and her third work of fiction including her short novella. As a prominent youtuber and West End star, Carrie has a huge following who of course support each of her endeavours including her writing. However, Carrie's writing is heartfelt and truthful and this work especially stands on its own as a great piece of fiction and I'm sure would do well with or without her loyal group of 'hopefuls'.

"Cherry has a hidden talent. She can see things other people can't and she decided a long time ago to use this skill to help others. As far as the rest of the town is concerned she's simply the kind-hearted young woman who runs the local bakery, but in private she uses her gift to add something special to her cakes so that after just one mouthful the townspeople start to feel better about their lives. They don't know why they're drawn to Cherry's bakery - they just know that they're safe there and that's how Cherry likes it. She can help them in secret and no one will ever need to know the truth behind her gift.

And then Chase turns up and threatens to undo all the good Cherry has done. Because it turns out she's not the only one who can see what she sees . . ." 

As an avid Disney fan, it's not a surprise Carrie's book has got a magical twist to it but aside from giving a fairy-tale vibe, it's also a very unique and interesting way to tackle the topic of mental illness. Carrie brings forth the idea that positive feelings can be just as bad as negative feelings and questions whether seeing our emotions would make us as act differently to ourselves and one another.  

The story starts with a romantic, airy, Nanny McPhee-esque feeling but about two thirds of the way through we take a twist into a dystopian world which I was not expecting at all. This adds another level to the story, making it more than a fluffy contemporary read and also shows of Carrie's versatility as a writer. There were points where I was on the edge of my seat and really didn't know what was coming. However, in saying that, the switch from the airiness to the drama was very sudden and kind of felt like a different book. I enjoyed it but was a little confused when everything happened so fast and came out of nowhere.

All That She Can See isa wonderful story and unique world. The characters have depth and emotion and I love how theatrical Carrie's writing is. The idea of everyone having magic in them is very sweet and I praise how real Carrie made the character of Cherry. She is kind and generous but does make mistakes and really comes across as a real person with faults. As with Carrie herself, Cherry is genuine and a great role model for young people. Overall  All That She Can See is a story about unity and the importance of caring for one another which is so important.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*This book was sent to me by Little Brown Books for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own*
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